McMaster, TAs and RAs reach tentative agreement

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Published December 12, 2022 at 10:36 am

The labour representatives of striking McMaster University teaching assistants and research assistants are “recommending ratification” of a new collective agreement.

Over the weekend, the Hamilton university and Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3906-1 (CUPE) reached a tentative agreement, which will likely ending a three-week strike. The membership is voting on the deal over the next two days, before a university board of governors meeting on Wednesday (Dec. 15).

“Unions are a democratic entity,” the local said in a social media post on Sunday. “Through the ratification process on Monday and Tuesday, our members will determine if they return to work on Wednesday under the new tentative agreement. The strike will continue if the tentative agreement is rejected.

“For clarity, the bargaining team is recommending ratification of the agreement.”

The TAs and RAs began the fall term at McMaster without a collective agreement after the former CA ran out on Aug. 31. There was 90 per cent support for a strike when a vote was taken in October. At that time, CUPE 3906-1 said wages and funding packages for the graduate students they represent were “stagnant,” and they wanted protections against future tuition increases and extended wage guarantees, which are in place at some other universities.

McMaster said last Saturday that any changes to courses created due to the strike will stay in place. Fall-term classes ended last Thursday and the last day of exams is Dec. 22.

“Any course contingency plans put in place during the strike will continue,” a statement at dailynews.mcmaster.ca reads. “For example, if an exam had been modified to a remote format it will continue to be remote.”

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