About 2,800 teaching and research assistants at McMaster University are bargaining for better wages and job security ahead of a November 21st strike deadline, says CUPE 3906.
“We’re still right in the middle of historic inflation and our wages just haven’t been keeping up with the rising cost of living,” said Chris Fairweather, President of CUPE 3906. “We’ve been subjected to wage restraint legislation that kept our wages below the rate of inflation and the university’s current proposal doesn’t help us keep up, let alone ensure we get ahead.”
The union’s key proposals are a wage increase in line with inflation; funding and guaranteed work for 5 years for TAs enrolled in a doctoral program, as opposed to just 4, something they say is especially needed due to the expected degree completion time; protection against wages being lost to tuition increases in the form of reimbursements; and a closing of the pay gap between graduate and undergraduate assistants.
“We’re in mediation today and we’ll keep making our case that we need the university to accept the proposals, both for ourselves and for the university community that relies on our services,” said Shalen Prado, Vice President of CUPE 3906. “We want to continue providing services, but if we need to, we’re prepared to strike for good jobs this coming Monday.”