The University of New Brunswick Professional and Technical Staff Union (PTSU) held a rally in front of the Student Union Building at noon Feb. 13, calling for action after six years of negotiation for their first contract.
The PTSU comprises over 350 members working in various sectors at UNB, including IT, labs, and recruitment.
Staff members have been working without a contract for the duration of their time at UNB. The union was officially certified in 2013, and has been in negotiation with the university for a contract since that time, with no response from the university.
“We’re a little fed up,” said union president Bruce Miller.
The University has yet to “come to the bargaining table”, and Miller is hoping this rally will inspire action without needing further drastic measures.
“We want to show UNB that we are unified, that we stand behind the bargaining team, and that we’re actually going for a contract,” said Miller.
Last four bargaining days are next week, and, if their calls remain unanswered, the union will be viable to contact the Minister of Postsecondary Education reporting the impasse and to take “job action” within two weeks.
“We’re not after a strike. We don’t want that,” said Miller. “We don’t want to use the students as pawns. But we need to make UNB realize that it’s been a long time.”
The PTSU is bargaining for grievance and harassment policies, job classification, parental leave, fair compensation, term employment, defined standard working hours, overtime pay, and inclusion in the “Layoff and Recall” article in the first Collective Agreement.
Also present at the rally were members of the AUNBT, UNIFOR, STUFAU, FAUST, NBCC IT, and other unions in the campus area.
The short rally was then followed by a march through campus to Sir Howard Douglas Hall, led by Tabatha Armstrong, the Student Engagement Officer for the Faculty of Arts.
“This kind of visibility will really make a difference in our bargaining efforts,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong led a large group of protestors in chants through the quad as they brandished flags demanding recognition for their work.