Carleton campus safety workers on strike and picketing

Campus security employees at Carleton University protesting low wages have set up a picket line at Bronson and University Avenue, slowing traffic in an out of the university.

OC Transpo bus routes won't enter university, but O-Train and Para Transpo buses will

Carleton University promises safe environment for students as security staff strike 2:36

Carleton University security employees protesting low wages set up a picket line at Bronson and University Avenue, slowing traffic in and out of the campus.

About 50 members of OPSEU Local 404, which represents special constables, dispatchers and student safety patrols at the university, walked off the job after failing to reach an agreement with the school.

About 30 picketers set up at Bronson and University Monday morning, where they handed out pamphlets as vehicles passed.

Kelly Brown, 24, said she was hit by a car on the picket line.

"The cars were in a line, obviously waiting a long time. An angry driver drove up and plowed through our picket line," she said. "His front bumper was broken so it was draped down. My foot got caught underneath but he kept inching forward, knocking me to the ground."

Brown said her colleagues helped to free her from the bumper. The car did not stop but Brown said she reported the incident and the car's licence plate to police. 

While the O-Train and Para Transpo were running normally, OC Transpo drivers, in solidarity with the campus workers, were not taking their buses across the picket line. Instead, they are dropping passengers off just outside the entrance to the campus at Colonel By Drive.

The university remains open, as are all classes, facilities and services. Managers at the university are still working and Garda security personnel have been hired to temporarily replace some striking workers.

Union says workers underpaid

Nelson Ross Laguna, the union's negotiator, said the campus security workers are the lowest paid in the province and make $10,000 a year less than their counterparts.

Carleton's campus population has grown by 50 per cent in the last seven years, but security staff hasn't grown with it, Laguna said.

The university reached a tentative agreement with its teaching assistants and contract instructors, who were also in a legal strike position as of this morning.

Carleton University president Roseann O'Reilly Runte wouldn't speak specifically about negotiations, but she said the university is ready to return to the bargaining table.

She said students shouldn't have concerns about their safety while the workers strike.

"We are assured that we have eight supervisory staff working full time, we have the people who are with a private security firm who also do security for other campuses like Algonquin... and we can call in the city police if required. So we do feel that our students should be safe and secure," said O'Reilly Runte.