Carleton University Reminds CUPE 2424 to Uphold Picket Line Protocol Obligations

In response to concerns by students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus, Carleton University today reminded the leadership of CUPE 2424 about its duties and obligations to adhere to the picketing protocol mutually agreed to by both parties and signed by the union and the employer.

On March 6 and 7, 2018, undue interruptions and unacceptable delays were experienced by individuals travelling on and off campus, at both vehicle access points.

Many individuals experienced long delays up to one hour to exit campus. Students coming on to campus have also reported that unnecessarily long picket crossing times resulted in late arrivals for classes and mid-term exams. As a result of the safety concerns that emerged, the Ottawa Police Service has attended to assist with traffic management.

Representatives of the Department of University Safety and the Ottawa Police Service have met with the union more than once to remind them that implementation of the picketing protocol is not optional and that there is an expectation that the protocol must be followed. Messages about the need to change picket line practices were also sent to picket line captains.

The union has been advised that picketing activities will continue to be closely monitored by the university and appropriate actions will be taken if guidelines are not followed, including allowing all traffic to move during green lights and limits to sharing strike information when red traffic light signals are in effect.

The university respects the union’s right to organize pickets. It is also listening to the community and taking action. Carleton will continue to consult with the Ottawa Police Service to ensure the safety of everyone. The picketing activities and undue interruptions at certain times over the past two days are unacceptable.

On March 7, 2018, the president of CUPE 2424 appeared on CBC radio’s Ontario Today program. In that program, the president of CUPE announced to a provincewide audience that the union wants to get back to the negotiating table and has asked for more dates to continue bargaining. Regrettably, that statement is untrue. No further dates have been requested by the union. When the strike began, the union advised that it would be prepared to talk, but only if Carleton changed its position. This is an unreasonable pre-condition for talks to resume. Talks under that pre-condition would not be productive. Therefore, no talks are scheduled at this time.

The negotiating team representing Carleton has the full support of the university president. The president is kept apprised of the status of negotiations and plays no role in direct bargaining discussions. When bargaining resumes, the university will be represented by its bargaining team. Contrary to demands from the union, the president will not insert himself into the bargaining process.

The university remains open and classes continue.

Sincerely,

Rob Thomas
Assistant Vice-President (Human Resources)