UManitoba teaching assistants turn down new contract

Vote to authorize strike action

Members of CUPE Local 3909, the union representing teaching assistants, markers, tutors and student instructors at the University of Manitoba, decided to reject the university’s contract proposal and approve strike action in a vote held last Friday, reported the Winnipeg Free Press.

The university’s four year contract offer called for a two year wage freeze while the last two years of the contract included an annual 2.9 per cent wage increase. 97 per cent of the union’s members voted in favour of rejecting the deal.

John Danakas, director of public affairs at the U of M, explained that the offer is similar to what other bargaining units at the university have accepted from the administration.

However, CUPE Local 3909 president Matt McLean argued that some bargaining units on campus will be receiving a wage increase in the second year of their contract as well as increases to benefits.

“We will not accept an agreement which fails to address our basic needs of getting paid for all the work we do, job security, guaranteed hours, and salary increases,” McLean said in a statement.

McLean explained that members typically work 60 to 80 hours each semester and make an average of $3000 for the academic year, according to the Free Press.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.