U of T Unit 1 CUPE members to vote on strike mandate

Following a five week long college faculty strike, thousands of students at 24 public colleges are now faced with having their semesters extended to make up the lost class time.

Now, students of the University of Toronto (U of T) may be forced into a similar scenario.

On Dec. 5, Unit 1 of CUPE 3902, consisting of teaching assistants, invigilators, graders, Chief Presiding Officers, met and took part in a strike mandate vote. According to the CUPE website, polls for the unit-wide strike will be open for voting to members on Dec. 6, 7, 8, 11, and 12.

If the union votes in favour of the strike mandate, it will have the ability to go on strike if negotiations deteriorate.

However, sessional lecturers at the University, members of CUPE 3902 Unit 3, recently ratified a tentative agreement with the University.

According to the CUPE 3902 website, “precarious labor” is the most prominent issue, claiming that sessional lecturers deliver more than 20 per cent of undergraduate teaching.

According to website, contract instructors at the University of Toronto not only earn less than full-time instructors, but they also face the struggle of job insecurity due to short term contracts.

According to their bargaining platform, some of CUPE 3902’s demands include better access to work and near zero tuition for members, support for domestic and sexual violence survivors, and better paid and more accessible pregnancy and parental leave.

Alissa Ermakov, a first-year student at the U of T, said that students will struggle if the union decides to go on strike.

“Being behind even by a class, let alone a semester will in turn delay ones academic route as a whole,” Ermakov said.

“I believe that the union feels the need to strike because they cannot maintain their familial lifestyle with their current salary,” she said.

The Charlatan reached out to the U of T for comment, but was told via email that they have no time to comment due to an influx of media requests.

Photo by Aaron Hemens