Better MacFollowing a fruitless day of negotiations, the union representing 2,900 teaching assistants, research assistants, demonstrators, tutors and markers at McMaster University announced late last night they would be seeking a ‘No Board’ report from the Provincial Ministry of Labour.

The decision by Unit 1, Local 3906 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3906-1) means a lockout or strike could take place as soon as December 1, disrupting final examinations and grades for thousands of students.

“McMaster’s refusal to bargain seriously with its post-secondary academic workers has left us no choice but to declare that we are at an impasse with our employer,” said CUPE 3906 President Nathan Todd.

“The Ford Conservatives are accelerating what has been more than two decades of attacks on quality education, increased precarity and wage erosion that have been the hallmark of post-secondary education in Ontario. Our members are saying ‘enough is enough’,” he added.

Negotiators for CUPE 3906 and McMaster spent the day exchanging proposals with the assistance of a Provincially-appointed conciliation officer. While the parties resolved some outstanding issues, concessions remained on the table as the two sides exchanged proposals well into the night.

“In the end, the fact concessions remained, and McMaster wasn’t prepared to consider our reasonable requests to secure protections for our members against tuition increases and to provide training for TAs underscored their unwillingness to bargain seriously, leaving us no choice but to request the ‘No Board’ report,” said Todd.

A ‘No Board’ report is issued by the Ministry of Labour when a party to labour negotiation declares the sides to be at an impasse. After 17 days from the date the report is issued, a lockout or strike can take place.

“Now is not the time for even more of what we seen these past two decades. Our members won’t enable the Ford Conservatives as they try to gut quality post-secondary education and quality of life for academic workers across Ontario. Neither should McMaster,” said Todd.