There was a peaceful, but loud, protest just prior to the start of the University of Windsor's board of governors meeting late Tuesday afternoon.

Union members and supporters demonstrated against a decision to contract out work done by custodial and maintenance staff at three university buildings.

About 100 protestors carry signs and shout "shame."

The union claims the work now done by 29 workers will be contracted out. Those 29 employees are responsible for cleaning the CAW Student Centre, the library and the human kinetics building.

Hourly workers are angry. They fear the move by the university is the first step in outsourcing even more union jobs.

"We are not getting any full-time faculty recruitments either in terms of hiring at this university," said Brian Brown, president of the faculty association.

No job loss, says school

University president Alan Wildeman said no jobs will be eliminated because of the contracting out of custodial and maintenance work.

"Right now, our focus is on areas where students frequent. We have more students on campus than before and we need to find affordable solutions to increase service at the same time protecting the employment individuals here," Wildeman said.

In a media release, the university said the changes fully respect the collective agreement.

"No bargaining unit Employee employed by the Employer before July 31, 2010, and who has completed their probationary period shall be laid off by reason of the Employer contracting out the work being performed by such employee at the time of contracting out," the contract reads.

The union said the university has not hired union labour for three new buildings, including the engineering building on campus and two new buildings the school has acquired downtown.

While the university said it is not planning to lay off any workers, the union considers the contract work the same as a layoff because the unionized workers are being moved out of the buildings they work in and no new full-time unionized hires are being made.

CUPE's Dave Montgomery said the union feels betrayed.

"Dr. Wildeman does not understand the lives that are being affected by this," he said. "Our members that are in these buildings right now don't know where they're being re-deployed, in their words. They don't know their shifts."

CUPE believes what the university is doing violates the current contract. It's seeking a legal opinion.

The school, meanwhile, said it's being fiscally responsible.

In the media release, the school said it is an "obligation of the employer to undertake the operations and administration of the University of Windsor in the most efficient and economic manner possible in order that it may satisfactorily discharge its public responsibilities."