Carleton University Negotiations with CUPE 4600 – Update #7

Carleton University and CUPE Local 4600 representing teaching assistants and contract instructors have reached a tentative settlement. Classes are continuing Monday and the university is operating as usual.

The settlement was achieved after mediation talks over the weekend.

Details of the settlement will be released after a ratification vote by members of the bargaining unit and the university.

Carleton University Negotiations with CUPE 4600 – Update #6

With mediated talks starting today, it is important to provide the university community with an update on the status of the bargaining process.

The university remains hopeful that a negotiated settlement will be reached with Teaching Assistants and Contract Instructors and that a strike will be averted. However, it is also essential for the welfare of our students and campus community that we prepare for the possibility of a full strike.

CUPE Local 4600 Units 1 and 2 are in a legal position to engage in a strike at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 6, 2017.

A key commitment for the university in the event of a strike is fulfilling our obligations to our students. The campus will remain open and all classes will be offered. All students are expected to attend their classes, labs, tutorials, etc. and to carry on with their assignments, readings and other academic and research work. All departments and services will be open as usual. All services for students, including residences, dining services and the library, will remain open.

The university has obligations to other employee groups at Carleton. Employees must be able to report to work and continue to receive pay and benefits. Those employees who are not members of CUPE 4600 are required to perform their regular duties. A legal strike with an employee group does not permit employees outside the striking bargaining unit to stop or reduce their work.

We are reminding members of the university community that a striking union has the right to establish picket lines at vehicle and pedestrian entrances to the campus. Therefore, it is likely that there will be delays entering and leaving campus. It is legal for the union to communicate information at picket lines. On the other hand, students, faculty and staff, including members of any striking bargaining units, have a legal right to cross the picket line. It is an offence for picketers to use force, threats or threatening gestures to block access to campus. Likewise, picketers should not be subjected to such behaviour. Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines about how you can approach and cross a picket line contained in our Questions and Answers document here.

Should a legal strike occur, the rights and responsibilities of 4600 members are as follows:

  • The right to withdraw services once the union has given notice that it is on strike. The university cannot compel 4600 members to report for work or to perform any of their duties for the duration of the strike.
  • The right to participate in lawful picket line activity. Picketing on campus is not permitted.
  • The right, under provincial law, to cross the picket line and continue to work.

Employees who choose to go on strike are reminded that:

  • Pay immediately ceases.
  • If you are on strike and decide to return to work, you will need to advise your chair, director, manager or supervisor immediately in order for your pay to be reinstated.

Please note that student benefit coverage will not be impacted.

Department of University Safety officers will be at picket line locations to ensure safe picket line practices are followed. If assistance is required, please call 4444 or 613-520-3612 at any time.

In the event of a strike, there will be service disruptions to OC Transpo and Para Transpo. Staff and students are asked to visit the OC Transpo site for more information and alternate pickup and drop-off locations. Taxi drivers are unionized and some may honour the picket line. Taxi dispatch will advise callers of pickup arrangements. O-Train services to and through campus will be maintained in the event of a strike and the university will provide further updates as they become available.

Carleton is committed to being as well prepared as possible to respond to any possible work stoppage. Our goal is to continue our educational mission and to provide students with access to their courses. We want to reassure the entire university community that we are also working hard to reach negotiated settlements.

A Questions and Answers document has been prepared to help inform you. It will be updated during any strike action that may occur.

A Questions and Answers document for students can be found at our student page.

Employees are encouraged to discuss issues as they arise with their department chairs, managers or supervisors.

Carleton University Negotiations with CUPE 4600 – Update #5

After a brief period of conciliated talks, CUPE 4600 representing Carleton University teaching assistants and contract instructors has exercised its legal right to put itself in a strike position as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 6, 2017.

The university remains committed to achieving a negotiated settlement with the union. The parties are scheduled for mediation convened by a provincially appointed mediator on March 3 and 4, 2017. The parties have a long track record of resolving their differences and concluding agreements without the union resorting to strike action.

Carleton has been bargaining since July 2016 with CUPE 4600 Unit 1 (representing approximately 1,800 teaching assistants) and since August with CUPE 4600 Unit 2 (representing about 800 contract instructors). A conciliator was appointed by the province in January.

Carleton University Negotiations with CUPE 4600 – Update #4

Carleton University is fully committed to achieving a fair deal with its teaching assistants (TAs) and contract instructors (CIs), and applied for conciliation before Christmas to assist in resolving remaining issues in a timely manner. Last summer, we began offering dates to the union for discussions. Since the summer, each university bargaining team offered more than 40 days to meet to bargain and renew the agreements.

The university has tabled wage increase offers; the union has not yet tabled its wage proposals.

The union and the university have had extensive discussions on the issue of sexual violence and harassment and the grievance procedure at the bargaining table.

The Tuition Increase Assistance (TIA) is a distinctive benefit for Carleton TAs that few universities in the province offer. Carleton has tabled language regarding the TIA that fully protects eligible TAs from any increases while in their current program. Essentially, once a student becomes employed as a TA in their current program, their tuition in the program does not increase while they are employed.

On CI wages, at Carleton, the minimum pay per course for 2015-2016 was $6,745. The most recent data available indicate that the pay per one-term course for contract instructors across Canada for the same period was $6,244 (median) and the average was $6,392. Contract instructors in Ontario and Quebec are generally paid at a higher rate than elsewhere. Carleton is committed to a fiscally responsible and sustainable future that preserves employment and resources. It does not compare itself to institutions facing large deficits and staffing cuts. We also see no comparison with institutions in Toronto where workers face a vastly higher cost of living.

The university is committed to continue to bargain in good faith. That is why we have offered so many bargaining dates, why we have tabled a full set of proposals and why we have moved to bring in a neutral third party as soon as possible to bridge remaining gaps. Conciliated meetings have been scheduled for both groups in January and February.

Carleton University Negotiations with CUPE 4600 – Update #3

We have been advised that members of CUPE 4600 Unit 1 (representing approximately 1,800 teaching assistants) and CUPE 4600 Unit 2 (representing about 800 contract instructors) may hold information pickets on Wednesday, Jan. 18. These information pickets may occur at either the Bronson Avenue and Colonel By Drive entrances to campus first thing Wednesday morning. They may also occur during the lunch hour at other locations on campus, such as the University Centre.

Traffic may be slowed in the morning and we ask you to be patient and to respect the right of the union members to provide information. It is also your right to enter and leave the campus without difficulty. If you should encounter any problems, please call the Department of University Safety at 613-520-4444.

The information pickets relate to issues raised during negotiations with the university administration, which have been taking place.

Negotiations began in July 2016 with Teaching Assistants and in August 2016 for Contract Instructors. The parties have been bargaining in good faith, and while the progress has been meaningful, it has been slower than hoped. The university has requested that the provincial government appoint a conciliator. Conciliation has been scheduled for next week, as well as the second week of February.

The university is looking forward to future productive discussions with the goal of reaching a negotiated settlement as soon as possible. Please review update #2 for additional details.

Further updates about the collective bargaining process will continue to be distributed and posted on the university’s Human Resources web page at: https://carleton.ca/hr/collective-agreements/collective-bargaining-updates/

Carleton University Negotiations with CUPE 4600 – Update #2

Carleton University has requested the provincial government appoint a conciliator in its negotiations with CUPE 4600, units 1 (teaching assistants) and 2 (contract instructors).  Negotiations with Unit 1 began in July and in August with Unit 2. There have been 12 bargaining meetings with Unit 1 and 10 meetings with Unit 2.

The parties have been bargaining in good faith and progress toward renewing the collective agreements has been meaningful, but is slower than hoped. 

The most significant outstanding issues between the university and teaching assistants include the tuition increase assistance rebate, and tutorial and lab sizes.  The university has tabled a proposal that would fully protect eligible teaching assistants from tuition increases as from their second year of employment within their current program.  The university has also tabled a wage increase.  The union has not yet tabled its proposal concerning wages.

The most significant outstanding issues between the university and contract instructors include teaching evaluations, class sizes and multi-year contracts. The university has tabled a wage increase. The union has not put forward its wage demand.

Carleton University is optimistic that the assistance of a neutral conciliator who is highly experienced in the university sector can help bridge the remaining differences amicably and expeditiously so that the renewal of collective agreements can be finalized. 

 Trent University and McMaster have just concluded tentative agreements with their unions, assisted by the conciliation process. Brock, Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier have conciliation upcoming. Carleton remains committed to negotiating settlements with CUPE and is optimistic that deals can be reached.

 The university will continue to provide updates to the community throughout the bargaining process to keep you informed.

Carleton University Negotiations with CUPE 4600 – Update #1

Carleton University has begun collective bargaining with CUPE 4600 Unit 1 (representing approximately 1800 teaching assistants) and CUPE 4600 Unit 2 (representing approximately 800 contract instructors).

Negotiations began in July 2016 with Teaching Assistants and in August 2016 for Contract Instructors.  Five bargaining sessions have been held to date with Teaching Assistants and 3 bargaining sessions have been held with Contract Instructors.  Additional dates are scheduled for the remainder of September.

The University is looking forward to productive discussions with the representatives of teaching assistants and contract instructors with the goal of reaching a negotiated settlement.

Updates about the collective bargaining process will continue to be distributed and posted on this page.