As of February 8, your elected bargaining team has met with the employer 17 times, and tabled the opening package on October 20th. Financial proposals (Salary, Funds, and EAF) were tabled on December 12 and 19–nearly two months ago. Since there has been no response the Bargaining Team has filed for conciliation. We have been assigned a conciliator and are in the process of setting up the first conciliation meeting. In the meantime, we are still meeting with the employer and are still making slow progress on Articles. However, we are fast approaching the red lines that you and your colleagues have identified over the past couple years of surveys, meetings, and discussions.
Amongst the outstanding issues are:
The employer wants to be able to grieve the Union;
The employer doesn’t want to pay for more than 13 sick hours, nor for leaves of absences for illness/recovery, parental leave, and compassionate care;
The employer has outright refused to engage with our well-researched and pedagogically-informed proposed TA-Student ratio based on course/assessment types;
The employer has also refused to engage with our demands for clearer End of Term language that would mitigate the issue of TAs having to work over the holidays between Fall and Winter semesters;
The University has costed our financial proposals at 12.6 million dollars and has indicated that due to “stark financial realities”, they will not be able to meet this demand. They have not returned on any proposals yet, but spouted off about the rising cost of University maintenance and goods and services, the province’s lack of proper funding and loss of revenue due to the backlog of visa issues for International Students. While we are sympathetic to these issues, the University is not in the financial distress they claim - with close to 500 million in reserve funds. As you may have seen in the graphics that have been circulating, TA salaries (currently 24.4 million) only make up 8% of the University’s annual salaries budget. TAs are the largest group of workers on campus. $12.6 million amounts to roughly 2.7% of their reserve funds or 2.5% of their 500+ million dollar operating budget.
Your bargaining team fended off their claims of financial hardship with these statistics and others including that of the students accessing the campus food bank, 80% are grad students despite making up less than 7% of the student population. You and your colleagues are facing record high inflation and cost of living, and have taken year-over-year pay cuts when adjusted for inflation. We are demanding salary adjustments that account for this loss of income due to inflation. Carleton works because you and your colleagues do. You deserve wages and benefits that reflect that. You deserve wages and benefits that aren’t a poverty sentence.
Our next meeting with the Employer is on Friday, February 17th and we expect to receive their monetary counter proposals.
Check out the Bargaining Summary Tables for a detailed breakdown of each Article and it's status.
Yours in solidarity,
The Unit 1 Bargaining Team
Sloane Mulligan, Unit 1 Lead Negotiator
Noreen Cauley-Le Fevre, President
Sarah Fiander, VP Internal
Zoë Abernethy, VP Unit 1
Davide Ventrone, VP External
Ewen Cameron, TA and Member Mobilizer
Ariel Becherer, Bargaining Team Member
Codie Fortin Lalonde, Acting Business Agent and Organizer