Letter: CUPE 116 opposes the AMS boycott of UBC Food Services

Last week, it was reported by The Ubyssey that the AMS student council had recently passed a series of motions outlining their opposition to the tuition increases proposed by the university’s Board of Governors. One of these motions directs the AMS to actively influence students to boycott UBC Food Services operations on campus.

While we sympathize with students on campus and their plight with escalating tuition fee increases, we take issue with the position the AMS has chosen to endorse to express these concerns.

CUPE 116 represents nearly 2,000 support staff on campus who are dedicated to providing meaningful services to students and other campus community members at UBC, including the members who work at UBC Food Services.  The university employs hundreds of workers at Food Services who work diligently to ensure food and beverage options as well as residence meal plans are available for student and community needs.  

Along with earning a modest income, these members work tirelessly to support their families and ensure greater opportunities for their children — many of whom are students at our university.

A boycott, like the one endorsed by the AMS, jeopardizes the livelihoods of the hundreds of women and men who are currently employed at UBC Food Services and threatens their job security as well as the university’s ability to provide a valued service.

To be clear, CUPE 116 stands with the AMS and students across the campus in their fight for affordable tuition and will offer our support where it’s welcomed. However, taking issue with escalating tuition fees at the expense of working people who live dangerously close to — or below — the rising cost of living is not a path that will lead to meaningful change. 

We are hopeful that the AMS will reconsider their position and work with their community allies in hopes of bringing real change to the university. 

In solidarity,

On behalf of the Executive and Membership of CUPE 116 

Colleen Garbe, President

David Lance, General Vice President