Volume 93, Issue 44

Wednesday, November 17, 1999


Oil spill threatened Thames

De-ratification may surprise USC clubs

TAs and admin reach agreement

Quality of college education falls

Drugs and alcohol use on the rise

UN payment conditional


Caught on campus

TAs and admin reach agreement

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Western's Teaching Assistants averted a strike last night by voting in favour of their union's recent agreement with administration.

Catherine Dhavernas, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 00610, confirmed Western's TAs ratified a tentative agreement quashing the possibility of a university-wide strike. However, since the agreement has yet to be passed by the Board of Governors and must remain confidential, she said she could not release the details of the contract.

Art Curtis, one of PSAC's main negotiators, said Local 00610 reached the tentative agreement with administration last week. The union represents more than a thousand TAs at Western, he added.

TAs have been working under an old agreement since August 31 when it expired, Curtis said, adding if the new agreement is ratified by the Board next week, the contract will cover the TAs until August 31, 2002.

"The TAs were mainly concerned with the issue over tuition [compared to their wages] and even though they ratified this agreement, it remains a concern," Dhavernas said, adding TAs only make $234 a week in take home pay.

Political science TA and PhD student Pietro Pirani said he voted in favour of the agreement, based on his need to keep working. "I'm an international student and without an agreement I won't be able to afford school," he said.

Michel Charrow, a geography TA, also voted in favour of ratifying the agreement and said he was quite pleased with what the union presented. "The amount they got for us is great based on the fact we already get paid enough as it is for the work we do," he said.

According to Bill Trimble, administration's representative at the bargaining table, the tentative agreement is both fair and equitable.

"We understand their concerns over tuition and we were able to present our situation. I think we were able to come to a mutual understanding," he said.

Trimble said a moderator who was brought in to solve a number of differences left after debates in the summer hit a deadlock. He confirmed 75 per cent of the contentious issues were monetary ones.

The issue will be debated and voted on at the next Board of Governors meeting on Nov. 25, Trimble said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999