Stepping Up for Food Services Makes a Difference
The contribution PPWC (Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada) union members made to help Selkirk College Food Services out of a financial challenge is now being permanently recognized.
Earlier this month, PPWC Local 26 President Rod Fayant and Selkirk College President Angus Graeme met at the Castlegar Campus Ripple Café to unveil a plaque that will be displayed on the wall outside the cafeteria. The plaque recognizes the financial contribution Selkirk College PPWC members made to help buoy Food Services between 2004 and 2012.
Selkirk College President Angus Graeme (left) and PPWC Local 26 President Rod Fayant (right) with the plaque that now hangs outside the Castlegar Campus cafeteria.
“It feels good to make a difference,” says Fayant, a Recreation and Facility Programmer at Selkirk College’s Castlegar Campus. “The plaque is important because we don’t want it to be forgotten that we came together and did what we had to do.”
In the early 2000s, changes to the way post-secondary is funded in British Columbia put significant stress on the Selkirk budget and required the college’s leadership to make difficult decisions.
At that point, Selkirk’s Food Services—which operates the cafeterias on the Castlegar Campus, Silver King Campus and Tenth Street Campus—was operating significantly in the red.
Finding Solutions During Challenging Times
First included in the PPWC contract in 2004, food service staff wage rates were reduced and all PPWC members agreed to contribute one per cent of their gross wages to address the budget shortfall in the college’s cafeterias. The letter of understanding was renewed until the end of the 2012 contract.
“It’s a really good example of the union and the college leadership getting together in a time of tremendous pressure to contain costs and come up with a solution to solve it,” says Graeme.
Local leadership embarked on a Made in Selkirk solution to ensure the cafeteria service remained in the hands of those committed to the needs of students and staff.
“We see the providing of healthy foods options as part of the whole healthy campus and learning environment that we want our students and staff to be a part of,” says Graeme. “That is the potential difference to having your own staff involved in the preparation of food.”
Ripple Cafe' Skarlett Lemaire (right) and Lisa Jowsey (left) are part of the Food Services team that is bringing fresh options to students and staff on the Castlegar Campus.
Under the direction Selkirk College Food & Resident Manager Delina Underwood, today the cafeterias at all campuses are providing fresh and healthy options which have been well received by staff and students. The service has dug itself out of the financial hole and continues to employ PPWC members who take pride in the final product. Today’s success would not have been possible without the PPWC initiative.
“The contribution that the union members have provided has given us the space to really look at the service delivery model that we were running,” says Graeme.
Fayant agrees and adds the effort is a source of pride for PPWC members.
“This shows that if we come together, we can help each other and make a difference,” says Fayant.