Research, teaching assistants walk out at McMaster - Macleans.ca

Research, teaching assistants walk out at McMaster

Union rejects university’s “best offer”; administration says classes will continue

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Up to 2,700 teaching and research assistants at Hamilton’s McMaster University have walked off the job.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees says pickets will be stationed at two of the school’s entrances this morning. Contract talks fell apart early Saturday after the union rejected McMaster’s latest offer.

McMaster official Andrea Farquhar says the university has offered to meet today, provided there was no strike while talks are ongoing. She says classes will continue but could not say how the walkout might affect tutorials and labs.

The university says the union also rejected a request to take the offer to the union membership for a vote.

What the university called it’s “best offer” included increased pay rates for graduate teaching assistants and research assistants to $39.40 an hour over the two-year term of the contract.

The university says the union’s refusal to put the offer to a membership vote isn’t fair to union members or students who will be impacted by a strike.

The union’s move to strike followed almost 24 hours of non-stop bargaining and it was in a legal strike position as of 12:01 Saturday morning.

– The Canadian Press