The books were closed for the day at the Douglas College campus in Coquitlam on Wednesday as dozens of support staff walked off the job for a one-day strike.
The college's BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) workers have been without a contract for two years, and the job action comes on the heels of a similar strike at the New Westminster campus last week.
Sandra Mountain, an instructional facilitator at the college, said the workers are looking for parity with their counterparts at B.C. universi-
ties. The union is looking for the same deal CUPE support workers at universities ratified recently, a two-per-cent raise each year in a two-year contract.
The colleges have been offered one per cent a year for two years.
"Why would we get offered half? It's nonsensical," Mountain told The NOW.
She argued the support staff do the same work as their university counterparts and deserve the same agreement.
Mountain said she hopes the job action will spur the government to offer a better deal.
As a show of support Wednesday, Douglas College faculty joined the rainy picket lines with support staff.
Mountain acknowledged some students may be unhappy losing a day of class, but suggested it's not the union's intention to hurt students.
"The last people I want to hurt are the students," she said, noting many are sympathetic to the employees' plight.
"We need a living wage. We need a workable living wage."
Barb Thompson, a receptionist at the Coquitlam campus for 17 years, said she's hoping for a quick end to the labour strife.
She's conflicted by the strike, noting her own son is missing class at the campus.
"My passion is for the students, so it is a very mixed feeling to not be inside the building offering those services today," she said.
However, Thompson said she stands firmly behind the union, pushing for equity between the colleges and universities.
Support staff at a handful of other colleges throughout the province went on strike Tuesday. There is no word on if or when the employees might consider walking off the job again for the day.