The following is an update on job action and contract negotiations at the University of Windsor and a number of unions. The article was originally published in The Lance and is reprinted here with permission. 

 Sunday morning, CUPE local 1393 and the University of Windsor were unable to reach a collective bargaining agreement, landing the local in a legal strike position.

The strike has resulted in significant reduction of services including the shutting down of the St. Denis Centre’s Forge Fitness Centre and the cancellation, as of now, of numerous 50th Anniversary celebration events.

For now, the Campus Community BBQ on September 19, the classic car show on September 21, and the Lancer tailgate party featuring a Neverending White Lights concert, also on September 21, have all been cancelled due to the strike.

The union local represents fewer than 300 skilled trades, professional, and technical employees, which includes plumbers, electricians, therapists, nurses, and advisors.

CUPE Local 1393 president Dean Roy said that wage increases weren’t a priority, saying instead that, “The big issues are job security…and the pay-equity system.”

By Monday, former CAW locals 195 and 2458 — now Unifor — could also be in a strike position if talks do not result in an agreement over the weekend. In the event of a strike, mechanics, campus community police and parking services would join the picket line.

If all three union locals picket together, the university would be lacking 650 workers — and that is not including the 118 full-time and 202 part-time workers part of CUPE 1001 that are also in contract negotiations with the university.

Nicola DiRisio, a master carpenter for the drama department who began picketing on Sunday, said that the strike has devastating effect on students.

“This group of professionals work with the students here,” said DiRisio who has been working at the school for 29 years. “I have students that I have to grade for them to pass.”

“We have a production [University Players’ Suite Surrender] on stage right now, but it isn’t completed yet. Now it has to open the way it is.”

CUPE local 1393’s contract expired at the end of March 2013 and the membership voted 95 per cent in favour of a strike at the end of July.