Carleton University urges picketers to be respectful as complaints of traffic delays mount

Carleton University has issued a statement asking striking support staff to be respectful, amid complaints about delays entering or leaving campus.

“Carleton University today reminded the leadership of CUPE 2424 about its duties and obligations to adhere to the picketing protocol mutually agreed to by both parties and signed by the union and the employer,” Assistant Vice President of Human Resources Rob Thomas said.

The statement points to “long delays up to one hour” to exit campus, as well as complaints that delays entering campus resulted in students being late for classes and mid-term exams.

“Representatives of the Department of University Safety and the Ottawa Police Service have met with the union more than once to remind them that implementation of the picketing protocol is not optional and that there is an expectation that the protocol must be followed,” Thomas said. “Messages about the need to change picket line practices were also sent to picket line captains.”

Over 800 administrative, library, and technical staff have been on strike since Monday. Classes are continuing as scheduled. Pension benefits are the major issue in the contract talks.  

Thomas says picketers will be closely monitored by the university and “appropriate actions” would be taken if picketing guidelines are not respected.

“The university respects the union’s right to organize pickets. It is also listening to the community and taking action. Carleton will continue to consult with the Ottawa Police Service to ensure the safety of everyone,” Thomas said. “The picketing activities and undue interruptions at certain times over the past two days are unacceptable.”

The University adds no talks with the union are scheduled at this time.

As of 5:45 p.m. Thursday, CUPE 2424 had not published a response to the University’s latest statement.