Volume 93, Issue 59

Friday, January 14, 2000


Bus pass to face new referendum

Enrollment stats to see increase

McMasters TAs reach settlement

New Year's prison party raises concern

Small amounts of praise for small towns

Hospitals stuffed up with vaccinations

Bass Ackwards

McMasters TAs reach settlement

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

McMaster University's Teaching Assistants put down their pickets last Saturday as the school's administration presented a three year offer they could not refuse.

Heather Larmour, manager of employee relations at McMaster, said the new deal includes a recommendation made to the university's Board of Governors by the vice-provost, Harvey Weingarten, to freeze tuition for TAs.

In addition, the TAs were offered a $100,000 pool of funds for their fifth year of PhD studies. Both of these issues originally brought the talks to a deadlock in December, she explained.

Larmour said administration was happy and relieved to finally have the deal put to rest. The TAs went back to work Monday after ratifying the new contract on Jan. 8 with a 92 per cent vote in favour, she said, adding the TA's spent close to five weeks on the picket lines. "Everybody's happy with the deal," she said.

But Mike Skinner, spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3906 who represented the TAs during the strike, said he had some reservations with the new deal.

"We got a three year contract, but we were hoping for two [years]. Originally it was five [years], so I guess three is closer to two than five," he said, adding the TAs hoped to renegotiate after a short time period.

Skinner said he was convinced the recommendation to freeze tuition would be honoured by the McMaster Board, although it was not necessarily a guarantee.

"There's still no guarantee the Board of Governors will follow suit, but in the past they've gone on the provost's recommendation," Larmour said.

Skinner said he was pleased the $100,000 pool of funds was set aside. As well, graduate TAs will get a 6.5 per cent raise in salary, while undergraduate TAs will get an 18 per cent increase over the three years, he said.

"I would have been willing to hold out for a little longer," said Brian Hendricks, a philosophy TA. "A big reason why we were pressed to come back was we knew how much the strike hurts the students."

Burke Christian, president of the McMaster Student's Union, said he was pleased the picketing was over, although he said there was a general slow down in the marking of exams. "We're glad to see it come to an end through negotiations and not through even more hostile means."

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