Langara Students’ Union employees are entitled to full benefits and salary even if they’re sent to jail, according to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) obtained by The Voice which the LSU has repeatedly refused to release.
The agreement, negotiated between the LSU and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 15 (CUPE,) outlines the conditions of work agreed to by the employers and the employee.
CBA details and benefits
According to the agreement, the current wage for full-time LSU staff is $30 an hour — which increased from $26.30 in 2007 due to a cost-of-living allowance and other adjustments. Sessional staff wage rates began at $16 an hour in December 2007 and are now at $18.40.
LSU staff are entitled to a buffet of medical benefits: full coverage of B.C. medical services plan, along with extended health care and dental are all provided, with coverage extending to the whole family.
With regards to non-medical benefits, staff enjoy full life insurance paid for by the LSU with coverage of one-and-a-half times their salary, a 10.5 per-cent contribution of the annual regular staff payroll into a registered retirement savings plan and five weeks’ paid leave if their spouse gives birth.
The agreement also has a provision granting leave without pay for any member sent to jail for a maximum of two years. The document specifies that if this incarceration comes as a result of action taken at the request of the LSU, the member will receive full pay, benefits, and not lose seniority while in jail.
To put some perspective to the LSU’s wages, Statistics Canada reports that the average wage for administrative occupations is $21.87.
Media and information blackout without legal foot to stand on
Both the CUPE Local 15 liaison and LSU media liaison declined to speak on the matter, with the former claiming an information “blackout” due to upcoming negotiations.
Larry Page, a Vancouver labour lawyer with Davis LLP, dismissed the LSU’s claim.
“Collective agreements are public and they are required to be filed with the Labour Relations Board of B.C.,” said Page. “Maybe the student union didn’t know that it was required to file the collective agreement with the LRB.”
Langara students weigh in on the issue
Rob Derman, a human kinetics student, didn’t have any objections to the wages and compensation enjoyed by LSU staff.
“It’s pretty sweet,” Derman said. “It’s right on par with what I get at my job with the city of Coquitlam.”
Christine Chan, an arts student, wasn’t sure if the wage justified the work done.
“It seems pretty high,” Chan said. “I’m not sure what they do so they might deserve it.”
Reported by Sam Reynolds