Volume 93, Issue 47

Tuesday, November 23, 1999


NEWS

UWO dealt blow by province

TA strike looms at Toronto U

Ad hoc committee fails in close Senate vote

Four year BAs and BScs considered

A week of false alarms and theft

Report reveals funding concern

Caught on campus

Bass Ackwards

TA strike looms at Toronto U



By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

After over a month of stalled negotiations, it is beginning to appear that the Teaching Assistants at the University of Toronto will head to the picket lines.

"The employer is intractable and has behaved, I think, repugnantly," said Stephen Pender, liaison officer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3902, who represent the TAs at U of T.

Since their contract with the university expired Aug. 31, Pender said 11 meetings with U of T administrators brought both sides to the conclusion an agreement could not be reached. "Our union will be in a legal strike position on Dec. 3," he said, adding CUPE local 3902 would be meeting with its members today to get the association's final approval on a strike.

He added the union has received overwhelming support in favour of a strike. "We've got an 82 per cent strike mandate," he said. "There's a real mood of militancy."

Despite the union's disposition towards a strike, Mary Ann Ross, associate director of human resources at U of T, said she was still hopeful a settlement would come before any picketing. "We haven't met for a couple of weeks and with [a strike] looming large, it will be useful to get back to the table on this," she said.

Ross explained the two sides brought in a mediator this week to make one last attempt at a settlement.

Pender said the biggest issue bringing the two sides to a watershed has been tuition waivers – whereby TAs would be expected to pay no more than 30 per cent of domestic tuition fees, depending on the number of hours they work. "The university has said 'no' on everything," he said.

The deadlocked talks have aroused the concerns of the Graduate Students Union, according to GSU president Paul Tsang. He said the union recently passed a motion declaring support for the TA's bargaining position.

But U of T's Students' Administrative Council has taken a more consultative approach to their support for the TAs, said Rick Scavetta, equity issues commissioner for the SAC. "We're supporting the TAs, but not the strike. We've proposed a townhall meeting where TAs can inform students of what's going on alongside the administration," he said.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999