Carleton's teaching assistants (TAs) and contract instructors, represented by CUPE 4600, reached a tentative settlement just before 1:30 a.m. March 10 after months of negotiations. The settlements will be presented to TAs and CIs in the coming weeks, who will then vote on whether or not to ratify it, according to Tabatha Armstrong, a member of the TA bargaining unit. "It was obviously a long a weekend and we're eager to go home," she said.
Unionized campus safety workers, represented by OPSEU 404, walked off the job slightly after midnight and are taking strike action. Members of CUPE 4600 will stand in solidarity with safety workers, but will be required to report to work as they usually would. "We will be supporting them on the picket line and we offer all our solidarity for them while they take job action to reach a fair deal with Carleton," Armstrong said.
Carleton and CUPE 4600 have been in negotiations since September 2013, as the teaching assistant and contract instructor collective agreements expired in August. During negotiations, a provincially appointed conciliator -- a moderator -- was called in to help the union and university come to an agreement. Either party can request for the conciliator to file a "no board" report to the Ministry of Labour if they feel negotiations are still not progressing. The union filed two no board reports, one for each party it represents, on February 21. CUPE 4600 asked the conciliator to file the two no board reports.
After 17 days, the teaching assistants and contract instructors were legally allowed to strike and the university legally allowed to lock them out. CUPE 4600 was in a legal position to strike at 12:01 a.m., March 10. More than a week prior, teaching assistants voted 82.5 per cent in favour of giving their union executives the power to call a strike, and contract instructors voted 87.5 per cent in favour.
Listen to the audio clip of Tabatha Armstrong, TA bargaining unit discussing the agreement.
This article and photo originally appeared on the Charlatan and is reprinted with permission.
File photo by Yuko Inoue