October 7 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 22  

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Carleton bracing for strike?

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

A faculty strike looms at Carleton University as professors ask for their own piece of the pie, covered bike racks and a pony.

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, explained Kunz.

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.




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