OTTAWA, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At a special membership meeting today, contract academic workers at Carleton University voted overwhelmingly against the university’s latest offer and reiterated their support for a strike if Carleton doesn’t address their concerns seriously.
The more than 3,000 members of CUPE Local 4600 include graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants and contract instructors. The local has stated that members will strike on Monday if a deal is not reached by the end of the weekend.
“We wanted to update members and check in with them, and the membership was unequivocal. The employer’s most recent offer does not even keep up with inflation. It doesn’t address workload or education quality. Our members have spoken. Carleton needs to act now to avert a strike,” said Noreen Cauley-Le Fevre, president of CUPE 4600.
The local already has a strong strike mandate from its membership. After being presented with information about the current state of negotiations, members told the union’s bargaining team that the employer’s offer just doesn’t meet their needs. Members of Unit 1, who are teaching assistants, research assistants and service assistants, voted 93% in favour of striking if the University does not improve its offer. Members of Unit 2, who are contract instructors, similarly voted 88% in favour of strike action.
“Nobody wants to go on strike. We want to continue working. But we’re tired of being pushed around and taken for granted by management,” said Cauley-Le Fevre. “Carleton prides itself on being a progressive institution, but they’ve also shown that they are happy to save money even if it means our members are forced to use food banks.”
CUPE 4600 members are looking for wages that will help catch up the more than 10% they have lost to inflation over the last decade and that will bring contract instructors closer to what their counterparts at the University of Ottawa earn. The members are also pressing the university to bring in student-to-TA ratios that will allow instructors to properly plan courses and that will improve the quality of education for students.