Late-night talks extend strike/lockout deadline

Mediator calls for communications blackout until August 8

University administration and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) extended the deadline for a possible strike or lockout until Aug. 8 after finishing their third mediation meeting shortly after midnight on Friday. Before the extension, the deadline for a strike or lockout was set for 12:01 a.m. on Friday morning.

The University filed a No Board report on July 6, marking a 17 day countdown to when a strike or lockout could legally occur. A No Board report signals the end to conciliation meetings.

Following the extension decision, the mediator imposed a communications blackout on all information pertaining to further negotiations between CUPE and the administration. CUPE represents over 400 Queen's staff, like library and research technicians as well maintenance workers and custodians. Negotiations between the administration and CUPE have been ongoing since January.

Queen’s communications director Ellie Sadinsky wouldn’t release any details regarding the meetings this week at the Days Inn.

“The parties recognized that more time is needed,” she said. “So they’ve agreed to extend the legal deadline (for strike or lockout).” The parties will meet again for meditations on Aug. 4 and 5.

“The University is very focused on reaching a negotiated settlement,” Sadinsky said.

Donna Carlaw, national representative for the three CUPE locals currently in mediation, said CUPE had 12 local representatives and two national representatives at the meetings. The University matched the number with 14 administrative representatives, she said.

Carlaw said the communications blackout is a normal process of mediation.

“We need to not have interference from outside," she said.

While she couldn’t project how long talks would continue for, Carlaw said there was progress made at the latest meeting.

"I can tell you that we have worked very hard around the clock with long meetings and we’re still talking,” she said.

-With files from Clare Clancy

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