OTTAWA, Ont. – As Carleton University gets ready for job action by teaching staff, the unions involved and the students are pledging to support each other against potential university attempts to divide-and-conquer.
Teaching Assistants (TAs) at Carleton University, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and the faculty and academic staff union (CUASA), have committed to support each other should either of their two groups reach a settlement while the other continues to count the days to a strike. CUPE 4600 is in a legal strike position on November 11th; CUASA’s deadline is November 15th.
CUPE and CUASA have promised each other picket support, financial support and in-kind support, bargaining solidarity actions including lobbying the board and the President, and asking their members not to do the work of striking workers. Mark Langer, CUASA spokesperson, says: “The level of solidarity between our two unions this year is unprecedented. We’re stronger together, and we’ll support each other even if we reach a settlement.” Jessica Squires, President of CUPE 4600, adds: “These two unions represent teaching staff, and we share common concerns about fairness, respect, and security.”
The student unions, Carleton Undergraduate Student Association (CUSA) and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), have pledged to move their operations off campus should either union walk off the job. They are also pressing to win academic amnesty for students who wish not to cross picket lines. CUPE 2424, the union representing staff at Carleton, has also pledged its solidarity to the two unions.
“These two unions are fighting for quality post-secondary education,” says Shawn Menard, president of CUSA. “They deserve job security, better pay, and respect,” adds Lee Weiler, GSA VP External. “Half of our members are also TAs, so we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their struggle.”