Volume 93, Issue 19

Thursday, September 30, 1999



Waterloo set to join Travel Cuts lawsuit

Referendum motion denied

Third party to mediate negotiation

CSIS gets go-ahead from above

Tourism study to track homecoming cash

Vanier Cup scores rent break


Caught on Campus

Third party to mediate negotiation

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Disagreement on a salary issue has prompted teaching assistants and Western's administration to bring in a third party to mediate a contract negotiation.

Catherine Dhavernas, president of the Graduate Teaching Assistants' Union, said the negotiations came to a stalemate because the two sides can not agree on money matters.

The GTA union and administration are now awaiting a mediator from the Ministry of Labour to step in and help settle the impasse, she said.

Dhavernas explained teaching assistants are in tough shape since paying full tuition is a condition for employment and while tuition levels have risen 96 per cent in the last seven years, TA salaries have risen a disproportionate seven per cent.

"TAs carry out duties similar to those of professors and sessionals, but those two groups don't have tuition payments as a condition of employment," she said. "We're at this point because the university has not yet acknowledged the relationship."

Dhavernas said after paying their tuition, TAs are left with $294 a month. "You can't even pay rent with that," she said. "I think it's a very valid concern."

Alan Weedon, dean of graduate studies and co-chair of Western administration's bargaining team, said the fact a conciliator was called in to mediate the talks means both sides won't budge on their stances. "It reflects the two sides have found themselves still apart on certain issues and require the help of an exterior person."

Weedon said because not all graduate students are TAs, there is no relation between TA's tuition and their salaries. "Their demands are far from the university's position," he said.

Still, Weedon said he was hopeful the talks would end soon and in a satisfactory way for both sides. "We hope there will be a reconciliation."

He added the previous two year contract between Western and the GTA union expired Aug. 31.

Jerry Meadows, senior policy advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Labour, said a mediator is scheduled to meet with the two sides Nov. 8 and 9. "We'll help them try to find a common ground to reach a settlement," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999