According to a message posted Sunday morning on the University of Torontos website, the University reached a tentative agreement with Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3902, Unit 3, and will be operating as normal on Monday. The Office of the Provost and the Office of the Registrar confirmed news of the tentative agreement by sending a mass email to U of T students.
The Unit posted a message on its site that read, (…) details of [the] settlement will be available soon. The strike planned for Monday, November 9 has been averted.
Negotiations between the union and the University have been taking place since August. A deadline was originally set for 12 a.m. on Sunday night. Had a bargaining agreement not been reached at that time, sessional lecturers, represented by CUPE Local 3902, would strike.
During a press conference that was held on October 28, CUPE Local 3902 revealed that sessional instructors teach about 30% of the classes at U of T and make about $15,000 annually—$1,000 less than York instructors.
During the conference, Dr. Leslie Jermyn, a representative of CUPE 3902, Unit 3, pointed out that the issues in dispute included wages, job security and support for scholarly activity and service.
When we talk about job security, we mean a better system of hiring sessionals so that our members dont have to re-apply for their jobs every four to eight months, said Dr. Jermyn.This is neither tenure nor a permanent appointment, but would allow senior sessionals some security and the ability to better plan their working and financial lives.
Before the tentative agreement was reached, the UTMSU remained neutral. In an interview with The Medium, UTMSU President Joey Santiago said that [the Student Union] supports fair bargaining. We are seeking to educate and inform students on the details of the bargaining process and the possible strike, in hopes that everyone will be knowledgeable on the issues at hand.
Im happy that theres no strike, but I also worry about the consequences. If the sessional instructors will get paid more, will my tuition fees go up next year then? said Abdul Farooq, second-year Commerce student.
CUPE Local 3902, Unit 3 did not return a phone call from The Medium about the effects that a strike would have on students.
McMaster University in Hamilton faced a similar situation with its teaching assistants. After five months of negotiations, they officially went on strike on November 2. The members of CUPE Local 3906 that are on strike form part of Unit 1, which represents 2,700 TAs and research assistants.