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Union members at University of Guelph approve strike mandate

university of guelph student campus

Some union members at the University of Guelph have voted in favour of a strike mandate as the union calls for better working conditions.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3913 represents teaching assistants and sessional lecturers at the University of Guelph.

In a vote late last month, 92.5 per cent of members voted in favour of a strike mandate.

In an email to CTV News, union president Scott Duchesne said, "As with every bargaining round, we seek to increase wages and benefits for our members. This round is different insofar as we are looking to address lost wages due to Bill 124, as well as accounting for inflation and cost of living, which in Guelph is particularly high. In addition to this, we are seeking a decrease in workload for our teaching assistants in favour of more funding for their research, greater mental health support, and stronger job security for our sessional members."

Although a strike is not necessarily imminent, the vote gives the union approval to call for a strike if the union cannot reach an agreement with the university.

Duchesne said the union and the university will be meeting with a mediator on Friday.

"We do not want to strike, but we will absolutely do so if necessary," he said.

Duchesne said bargaining began last October, but the union believes the university is unprepared to address some of the union's proposals.

"One of the central reasons we filed for conciliation is our fear that, intentional or not, negotiations would drag into the summer semester, when we have far less leverage and capacity to respond. They agreed that they wanted to come to a settlement before the end of the winter semester, so we wanted to hold them to that objective."

In a statement, university representatives said, "The University is committed to reaching an agreement that is fair and responsible. We remain confident that an agreement can be reached.

We deeply value our teaching assistants, graduate service assistants and sessional lecturers and their work, and look forward to continued discussions." Top Stories

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