The B.C. Labour Relations Board has ruled Simon Fraser University is guilty of bad faith bargaining with its more than 1,000 unionized support workers.
The board's decision was handed down last week and was based on the university's decision to require changes to the staff pension plan as part of contract negotiations.
While CUPE and the employer are in agreement that the staff pension plan is in need of revision, the university's attempt to keep the plan on the bargaining table was a breach of the Labour Relations Code.
The pension plan applies not only to CUPE members, but also to two other professional groups at the university, including administrative staff and trades workers, said John Bannister, business agent for CUPE Local 3338.
"We're certainly not unwilling to deal with the pension plan issues, it's just that we're saying the proper place is with the (SFU Employees' Joint Pension Committee), not with the CUPE bargaining committee," he said.
The university is "currently studying the decision to determine how best to respond," according to a statement on the SFU website.
The members of the CUPE Local 3338 have been without a contract for close to three years. SFU is the only university in the province that has not settled with its union support workers.
CUPE Local 3338 started escalating job action last September, with about 150 members setting up a picket line at the Burnaby Mountain campus on Oct. 4 and withdrawing services again on Nov. 1 after job action failed to make any headway with the employer.
Between SFU's three campuses, the union represents 1,200 support workers, including clerical workers, computer operators, library assistants, technicians, lifeguards, financial aid advisors, building technologists, programmer analysts, buyers, stores clerks, information specialists, control clerks, department resource specialists, maintenance schedulers and programmers.