Canadian Union of Public Employees members at Simon Fraser University, the University of Northern BC, Thompson Rivers University and the University of British Columbia served notice Monday.
They join CUPE staff at the University of Victoria, who issued strike notice last month.
UVic workers have been conducting escalating job action since Sept. 4, ranging from an overtime ban to the closure of several campus buildings.
The 12,000 union members at the five universities say they have been without a contract since 2010 and hope strike notice will force the universities to come to the table.
The main issues are job security, inflation protection and a fair and reasonable wage increase.