August 8, 2022 (Victoria) – Five University of Victoria (UVic) unions have organized a petition asking UVic to reconsider a planned parking increase of 50% for September 2022. In response, the University introduced a minor compromise, a three-year phased implementation for employees who are current annual permit holders and who make less than $68,000. It does not apply to those who were not annual permit holders or new employees.
“This is a significant increase for many of our members when they need to put food on the tables for their families,” said CUPE 951 President Kirk Mercer.
Cliff Haman, Chair of the UVic Chapter of the Professional Employees Association agrees that it’s a challenging time for everyone on campus with the cost of living continuing to increase.
“For many UVic employees and students, high housing costs mean their only option is to live and commute from remote neighbourhoods. Members with family responsibilities or those living with a disability don’t have the option to take transit to campus. They need affordable parking fees.”
Tony Ferreira, President of CUPE 917 adds that many members arrive at work before the buses run or must leave work after they stop running, and have no choice but to drive and pay for parking.
The University’s minimal concession does not apply to employees who earn less than $68,000 if they didn’t have a yearly pass this year. Lynne Marks, President of the UVic Faculty Association notes the unfairness of this because over the past two years most employees worked remotely as a result of the pandemic and didn’t require a parking pass.
The Unions are also critical of the University’s decision attempt to frame the parking changes as a green initiative.
“While justified by the University in terms of green initiatives, these changes only create more challenges for the employees and students who are least able to manage in the current economic circumstances,” says Marks.
The Unions have collaborated on a petition calling on the University to cancel the proposed changes and are planning direct outreach with faculty, staff, and students over the coming months and leading up to bargaining.
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Kirk Mercer, CUPE 951 President
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