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Performances hurriedly rescheduled as Capilano University strike hits theatre

4,300 students have had classes cancelled as strike drags into second week
Community performances and classes have both been cancelled after support staff went on strike this week at Capilano University. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News

Year-end performances for about 300 North Shore dance students this weekend had to be hurriedly rescheduled at the very last minute after a strike at Capilano University meant the Blueshore Performing Arts Theatre was unavailable.

Miranda Widgery-Webber, artistic director of Perform Art Studios, said three big year-end shows had been booked at the theatre for this weekend, featuring kids aged three to 18.

Widgery-Webber said when she got the call on Wednesday evening saying the theatre booking would have to be cancelled, “I was devastated,” she said. “The kids have been working so hard. It’s a huge deal for them.”

Widgery-Webber said she knew the chances of getting another venue were slim, as June is typically already booked up with graduation ceremonies, weddings and year-end recitals over a year in advance.

Fortunately, the community pulled out all the stops to see the show go on, she said, with the Pipe Shop being made available for a Friday night performance and the North Vancouver School District stepping up to offer rental of a high school facility on Saturday.

The dance performances are just the latest group to be impacted by strike by support staff at the university, who walked off the job on Tuesday morning.

Almost 4,300 students registered for courses during the summer term have also had classes cancelled this week.

MoveUp Local 378 members, who include those working in IT, some administration, and maintenance among others, began a full strike Tuesday morning.

Members of the Capilano Faculty Association, which represents teaching staff, have refused to cross the picket lines.

Striking workers allowed convocation ceremonies to go ahead as scheduled June 7 – 9 and over 860 students took part in five graduation ceremonies, as scheduled, at the university.

Both the union and the university say the sole sticking point in the labour dispute is whether to include language about remote work in the union’s contract.

The university and workers represented by MoveUp have already reached an agreement on wages and benefits, including a 12 to 13 per cent wage increase over a three-year term.

Striking workers represent between one quarter and one third of all workers at Capilano University, which is one of North Vancouver’s largest employers.