CUPE 4600 files no board report

The Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4600, which represents Carleton’s contract instructors and teaching assistants, has filed a no board report, meaning they will be legally allowed to go on strike.

Janne Cleveland, a member of the union and part of CUPE 4600’s media committee, said a board report is filed when one or both of the parties feels negotiations are not going anywhere.

Essentially, the report means that CUPE 4600 believes negotiations have failed. It also means the union is one step closer to striking. The union can legally strike 17 days after the no board report was filed on Feb.10.

According to Cleveland, the union has been bargaining for seven months with very little to show for it.

“We are not coming to any resolutions,” Cleveland said, and added the 17-day period allows for both sides to reconsider their position and come to a resolution to avoid a strike.

Third-year cognitive science student Maria Abbas said although she doesn’t think she’ll be impacted by the strike, it’s unfair to other students who have tutorials and contract instructors.

“I do feel like it is a bit inconsiderate, considering that people are suppose to be graduating this year and may not be able to,” Abbas said.

Abbas said she thinks that teaching assistants (TAs) have enough time to prepare for their tutorials, despite CUPE 4600’s call for more notice on assignments for TAs.

“It’s the same with students, we could say that we don’t have enough time to do these assignments . . . that’s the whole concept of university, is just being organized and efficient,” Abbas said.  

While the union has never gone on strike before, Cleveland said it often takes them until the last minute to come to a resolution with the university.

But she pointed out the union has never received a strike mandate this high before. In January, 84 per cent of TA’s who voted were in favour of being able to call a strike, while 91 per cent of who voted contract instructors also answered “yes.”

“We would assume it sends a very strong message . . . Our people are willing to walk out,” Cleveland said.

The Charlatan reached out to the university for comment on a potential strike, but did not recieve a response in time for publishing.

York Yap, a second-year economics student, said he believes the union has a right to strike, but is concerned with how it will affect his school year.

“It would affect my semester as well because for my math class, I learn most of the content through tutorials,” he said.

Cleveland said she can’t be sure whether a strike will occur or not.

“I got new winter boots,” she said, adding she’s ready to stand on the picket line.

Cleveland said the union would commence strike action on March 6, if an agreement is not reached.

– File photo