Volume 93, Issue 64

Tuesday, January 25, 2000


Toronto teacher in court with bribery charge

Gentlemen, start your engines

TA negotiations resume in Toronto

Government withholds refunds from students

Government reserves funding for hockey

Theft highlights slow crime week



Caught on campus

TA negotiations resume in Toronto

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

The University of Toronto and the union representing the school's 2,400 striking Teaching Assistants are back at the negotiating table.

Yesterday's meeting marked the first time the university and the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3902, which represents the TAs, have met since the strike's inception three weeks ago, said U of T's director of public affairs, Sue Bloch-Nevitte.

Hayssam Hulays, chair of local 3902, said he could only confirm the two sides were talking again, adding none of the details from yesterday's discussions could be released.

Although he would not comment on whether there was a new offer from the university, Hulays said based on the university's last proposal, which was issued in December, $3 million still separates the two sides.

Bloch-Nevitte said the fact they are back at the table is good news. "Everyone's optimistic there will be a prompt end to this," she said.

Sean Hermanson, grievance officer with local 3902, said the main points of contention remained tuition and wages. The salary paid to a TA at U of T averages $4,100, while tuition costs approximately $5,100.

The university's last proposal offered a 4.75 per cent increase in pay over a two year period.

Last Friday, administration set a Feb. 4 deadline, after which all classes using the services of TAs would be restructured. "The point of it is not to push TAs out of their jobs, but to let students know, among other things, how their courses will be graded and by who," Bloch-Nevitte said.

Hermanson called the deadline an attempt by administration to pressure the TAs and said in his opinion, it had not worked. "Their threat has backfired," he said. "Those who were mildly supportive are now angry at an administration who continues to play games with students' educations," he said.

Last week, administration cancelled 47 half credit classes which were scheduled to be taught by TAs.

Ates Tanin, a professor of chemistry at U of T's downtown campus, said he hoped the TAs would come back to work soon. Tanin said he has been forced to cancel all labs and tutorials which coincide with his undergraduate chemistry classes. "We're keeping our fingers crossed that they will settle this," he said.

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