Support staff at the University of Calgary will vote Jan. 26 on a contract between their union, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and the U of C. The new contract offers three paid days off to be used by December 2012 and a zero increase in pay. There is a promised three more paid days off and a one per cent increase across the board available April 1, 2011. The contract covers the next two years, ending Mar. 31, 2012.
"On the down side, over last year and this year we will not maintain inflationary rates at one per cent over the two years, so that obviously will have an effect on employees," said negotiating committee member Keith Gill. "On the other side, there will be six more days off, so if you're talking work/home balance that might be a good thing, but operationally that might be a little difficult for the university."
The AUPE expects a small or unnoticeable impact on the students at the university if the contract passes. The union said departments will still meet operational needs.
"A department will not allow people to take time off if they're going to be too short staffed," said Gill.
He added that if all the staff at the school had more days off per year, there might be a minor effect.
The AUPE contract covers support staff at the school, caretakers, administrative staff, technicians and more.
AUPE staff have been collecting the votes of AUPE university employees in Kananaskis and outlying areas of Calgary this week. There will also be a booth at the Foothills south campus for those unable to vote at the U of C.
Paulina Medori, a service employee for 28 years, hopes that a lot of people turn out to vote.
"I think it's all we're going to get, I don't think it's going to prevent layoff," said Medori. "Myself, I like the days off, but the increase in pay is huge too, because everything else has gone up." Medori doesn't think that there will be an impact on students.
"Maybe morale might be down, it always helps to have that extra money," Medori commented. "I think most of the people who work on campus are dedicated to helping the students."
"We're not going to get six per cent increases, this is the way it is."