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OTTAWA – Teaching assistants, sessional lecturers, office, academic support and IT support workers at Carleton University have begun negotiations with the University, hoping to settle collective agreements with their employer and avoid a work stoppage.

“We’re fighting for manageable class sizes and workloads,” says Fred Shultz, president of Local 4600 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 1200 teaching assistants and 350 sessional lecturers at the university. “Quality education depends on manageable class sizes.”

“The double cohort is swelling the ranks of new admissions and enrolment is way up,” says Karen Martin, president of CUPE Local 2424, representing 670 office, academic support, systems, admissions, IT support, fundraising, library, academic and personal counselling, print, and health workers at the university. “If we successfully address the issue of workload we’ll go a long way to maintaining the quality of education at Carleton.” Because the Ontario government eliminated Ontario Academic Courses (OAC’s) and compressed the Ontario curriculum into 12 years, there will be two streams of students set to graduate from high school at the same time in 2003 – the last group of OAC students will enter university at the same time as grade 12 students finishing their high school under the new system.

Other issues include protection against tuition increases for Local 4600 members as well as job security and protection against contracting out for Local 2424 members.

“Carleton University says it promotes education for life,” adds Schultz. “We want to make sure they make good on that promise.”

“Unfortunately it took a strike mandate to get Carleton to bargain seriously in the past,” says Schultz. “CUPE 4600 was an hour away from a strike in 2000 before we reached a tentative settlement the bargaining committee could recommend – a scenario we’re hoping to avoid this round of bargaining.”

“As front-line post-secondary education workers, we are trying to negotiate reasonable workloads and fair working conditions,” says Martin. “We want to strengthen the support services Carleton is well recognized for. We’ll be making every effort to avoid a disruption at the university – and we hope our employer will meet us half way.”


For further information, please contact:

Fred Schultz, President CUPE Local 4600
613-265-2096 - 613-520-7482
Karen Martin, President CUPE Local 2424
613-852-4334 (cell)
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications