Union worried about jobs

By Chris Beauchamp

The university branch of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is worried about the future of on-campus print services, as the U of C considers contracting to outside companies.

"There’s a certain fear from our members that their jobs will become McJobs," said Dan Tilleman, AUPE Local 52 Chair, citing the contracting out of University Health Services last year. "If you look at Health Services, it used to be in-house AUPE people. I believe six jobs were lost."

Tilleman believes outside companies would not be able to offer the same quality of service as AUPE members, and expressed concerns about non-union pay rates and benefits.

Manager of Printing Services Kevin Monk indicated a review process was ongoing, but stated there was no concrete plan to contract out the services.

"We’re just looking at certain options for the university," he said. "It’s not in the cards at the moment to contract out."

University of Calgary Director of Ancillary Services Peter Fraser said the university has an obligation to review current costs and practices. He said contract options are being considered for all of the university’s print services, including photocopiers and desktop services.

"The university is looking at almost an infinite list of operations to make sure they’ve got the best way of doing things," said Fraser. "They brought in a consultant to look at how all aspects of print service work on campus."

He stressed decisions are on hold and any plan for contracting out services wouldn’t proceed without negotiations with the union.

However, Tilleman is skeptical.

"The local is opposed to any contracting out and feels that given the unfolding events over the past year, even the exercise of [asking for quotes on our business], is viewed as an ominous precursor for our members," he wrote in an AUPE document. "We believe that the U of C administration should publicly acknowledge this and put a stop to the uncertainty that the current course of actions are taking."

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