Volume 94, Issue 86

Tuesday, March 6, 2001


Seventeen suitors vie for VP spots

Bank boss says PhD deficiency disturbing

McMaster staff take to the picket lines

If you like to strike, you're not alone

Cancer care move scares CUPE

Head injuries give police headaches


Corroded Disorder

If you like to strike, you're not alone

Labour strife at McMaster University is only the latest in a series of recent strikes and narrowly averted work stoppages at Canadian universities.

Most notable was the York University strike involving teaching assistants, research assistants and contract faculty. For 75 days, from late October to January, 2,100 strikers walked the picket lines, seeking lower tuition rates, better benefits and a better salary structure.

When the dust cleared the academic schedule had been dramatically changed to accommodate the strike – the second term started Feb. 26, instead of Jan. 3, and the university's final exam period was altered to run until May 25.

Smaller conflicts have also dotted the university landscape. Last June, 100 University of Toronto bookstore employees walked off the job just five months after 2,400 U of T TAs had walked off the job to protest their own failed negotiations with the administration.

In November, Western avoided a labour conflict when caretakers and skilled labourers accepted a last-ditch proposal from the university on the eve of the union's possible strike date.

Also in November, Newfoundland's Memorial University was forced to cancel all classes when 16,000 faculty walked off the job for a short period of time. Salary structure was the focus of the argument.

Finally, in early February, Carleton University in Ottawa narrowly avoided its own TA strike. The issues again were tuition and salary structure, but both sides came to an agreement 15 minutes before the deadline.

-Aaron Wherry

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Copyright The Gazette 2000