Days 6, 7, and 8 at the table!
Your bargaining team met with your employer on February 2nd, 7th, and 9th. Here’s what you need to know about the latest dates at the table:
Job Security and Work Expectations
Your bargaining team spent many weeks drafting proposals for your future collective agreement that attend to your most urgent needs around wages and salaries, hiring practices, job security, and other bargaining priorities. The University of Toronto has yet to provide any written responses or counter-proposals on these topics, but they’ve expressed their feelings at the table: they are satisfied with current hiring practices, and are not interested in guaranteeing subsequent appointments for undergraduate TAs or professional-stream doctoral (non-PhD) student workers. They also don’t think it’s reasonable to outline expected duties for Course Instructors in your Collective Agreement, or to standardize the hours of work per position or turnaround times for TA duties like grading. Is it really too much to ask for better job security and expectations around workload? U of T seems to think so, despite hearing from countless workers whose experiences have been represented at the bargaining table and in your bargaining team’s proposals.
The University has also expressed disagreement at the table with your bargaining team’s assessment of what a living wage actually looks like. But the University’s own payroll data tells a very different story:
In January 2024, the average Unit 1 worker made $1,358 per month before tax, but the average Unit 1 contract pays $847 per month before tax. 2,187 Unit 1 members (one third!) of your co-workers hold more than one contract at a time in order to cobble together a monthly income – one that is still woefully inadequate given the rising cost of living.
Remember, your bargaining committee submitted their entire package of proposals on the first day of bargaining on January 15th. Almost a month into negotiations, your employer has barely submitted any written responses or counter-proposals.
You can track your proposals and your employer’s responses here.
NO BOARD FILING
On Thursday February 9th, CUPE 3902 and CUPE 3261 requested that the Conciliation Officer file a no-board report with the Ontario Ministry of Labour. Once received by the Ministry of Labour, this begins a 17-day countdown until you are in a legal strike or lockout position.
To kick off the no-board requests, your coworkers from both locals held an on-campus press conference on Thursday February 8th. Watch the full presser on Instagram!
TAKE ACTION – STRIKE MANDATE VOTE IS NOW OPEN!
The Strike Mandate vote is a necessary step in any round of bargaining. The vote asks CUPE 3902 Unit 1 members to decide whether or not they grant the Union’s Executive Committee the right to call for labour action, up to and including a strike, if necessary to reach a fair contract with the University of Toronto. The Strike Mandate vote does not automatically trigger a strike – it merely authorizes the Union to call for a strike if needed.
The University prefers it when you and your coworkers are apathetic and disconnected from the bargaining process. They will never agree to your demands, no matter how reasonable or necessary, unless they know that you pose a credible strike threat. It’s easy to steamroll individuals. But the university cannot function without you and your coworkers. There’s no university without you, and they know that.
That’s why it’s essential to vote YES for a strike mandate. An overwhelming YES vote sends a strong message of worker unity to U of T, and puts your bargaining team in a more powerful position at the table. Without a majority YES vote, your bargaining team has virtually no power at the bargaining table.
The online polling system closes on Thursday February 15th at 8 PM. Anyone who has received a pay cheque for Unit 1 work within the last 12 months is eligible to vote. All eligible voters should have received an email from SimplyVoting with a unique voting link. If you are an eligible voter and have NOT received an email from SimplyVoting, please fill out the VOTING ISSUES REPORTING FORM.
Get the latest updates on your bargaining campaign and strike mandate vote by attending one of our online information sessions this week:
Tuesday February 13 from 2-3pm
Thursday February 15 from 1-2pm
MEET YOUR COWORKERS
“Graduate Teaching Assistants and Course Instructors contribute so much to the University of Toronto: innovative research, quality teaching, and critical support to undergraduate students. It’s time the University starts treating us like the essential workers we are!”
-Nastasha Sartore, Teaching Assistant in the Department of History