Carleton bracing for strike?
By Marshall Bellamy
A faculty strike looms at Carleton University as professors
ask for their own piece of the pie, covered bike racks and
The faculty association at Carleton voted 94 per cent in favour
to authorize the steering committee to call a strike, said
Thomas Kunz, associate professor of computer engineering and
president of the Carleton University Academic Staff Association.
The CUASA is currently going through collective bargaining
with university administration after conciliation broke down
in early September and the faculty contract expired in June,
According to Kunz, the primary issue of the talks is a salary
increase, which the administration proposed as three per cent
in the first year, despite the cost of living in Ottawa rising
at three and a half per cent. "The feeling really is if
the money issue is solved then the other issues can be resolved," he
added. "We're quite committed to get a settlement at the
table," Kunz noted.
"We're still hopeful we'll get a settlement," stated
Stephen Green, assistant director of academic staff relations
for Carleton, adding neither side have reached their final
position or have broken off talks.
Green pointed out the CUASA obtained a strike vote but has
not set a clear deadline, suggesting the CUASA is also interested
in a settlement through conciliation, as opposed to a strike.
In addition to the salary issue, Green also stated merit pay
- a special set of pay increments based on academic staff achievement
- is an issue the administration is bringing up in the talks.
Talks have been temporarily put on hold until the CUASA decides
on a strike date which will probably be set at mid-to-late
October, explained Green, "I expect the announcement to
be soon," he noted.
"I honestly think that most students don't know what
is going on," said Kimberly Bryce, president of the Carleton
University Students Association.
According to Bryce, any faculty strike will severely affect
students, whether students know about the labour talks or not.
Bryce pointed out the CUSA has yet to meet with either side
of the dispute to decide on which side to endorse as student
opinion is difficult to gauge, especially in money issues such
as faculty salaries.