Negotiations between Units 1 and 3 of local labour union CUPE 3902 and the University of Toronto are ongoing, according to CUPE 3902’s newly appointed chair Pamela Arancibia. The Collective Bargaining Agreement between CUPE 3902 and U of T is set to expire on December 31st of 2017.

Unit 3 members will be able to vote on a strike mandate through a secret ballot vote on November 16th in a meeting at Sam Sorbara Auditorium, St. Michael’s College. Units 1 and 3 will decide whether to grant their bargaining team the authority to legally begin strike action should talks between the two parties come to a deadlock.

Unit 3, which represents sessional lecturers, music professionals, writing instructors, and sessional instructional assistants, has held approximately 16 meetings with the U of T administration. Unit 1, which consists of student and postdoctoral teaching assistants, along with course instructors, has had approximately five meetings.

“I want to emphasize that the line of communication [between the two parties] is open,” says Arancibia.

According to her, the mandate meeting is to determine if the bargaining team would have approval from the members to initiate job action and that a strike mandate has to be approved for strike action to happen legally. Arancibia also highlighted that the union’s approach to negotiations and other matters is based upon what its members want, not on the executives themselves.

Arancibia stated that negotiations are currently at an impasse, regarding a demand for a path to permanent employment and an end to difficulty acquiring job security. A specific structure for this route has not yet been presented, allowing for room to accommodate the needs and constraints of both sides.

She also said that the local hopes to achieve improved benefits, and a $10,000 per half-course salary rate for its members, with Unit 1 also striving for $20,000 in funding per annum for graduate student members. These demands are in line with those made by other unions on campus as part of the 2020 Vision alliance, a set of nine demands put forth to the university as goals to be achieved by the year 2020.

Bargaining between U of T and Unit 1 of CUPE 3902 had formally reached a stalemate in 2015, resulting in a month-long strike of sessional lecturers and teaching assistants.

Currently, all college teaching faculty across Ontario have entered into the fourth week of striking in order to obtain higher wages and increased job security.

This article has been corrected.
  1. November 14, 2017 at 5 a.m.: Added information about graduate student funding.
    Notice to be printed on November 20, 2017 (Volume 44, Issue 11).

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