Teaching assistants at uToronto launch strike action

March 3, 2015

The union representing post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students employed as teaching assistants, markers, instructors, and lab assistants at the University of Toronto hit the picket lines on Monday after rejecting a tentative agreement reached between their bargaining committee and university negotiators. The 2 sides remain at odds over issues including graduate student funding packages and tuition costs for students who have completed their coursework. The union has emphasized that the $15,000 its members each receive annually from the university leaves them below the $23,000 poverty line in Toronto. In a statement, uToronto said that it is "disappointed" in the strike action. "We negotiated a generous agreement that lifts teaching assistants' compensation and benefits to some of the highest levels in Canada," said uToronto Provost Cheryl Regehr. uToronto's statement noted that the tentative agreement increased teaching assistants' hourly wage to $43.97 plus vacation pay and included improved health care benefits. uToronto said that it will remain open during the strike. The unit representing uToronto's non-student contract staff were expected to vote on their tentative agreement yesterday; results were not yet available at press time. CUPE 3902 News Release | uToronto Press Release | Globe and Mail | CBC