Teaching and research assistants at McMaster University may be on strike next week.
The university and CUPE Local 3906 have another mediated bargaining session on Friday and the union says if there isn’t a deal, 2,500 workers will walk off the job Monday at 12:01 a.m.
Earlier this week, 90 per cent of the assistants voted yes to job action demanding a fair and reasonable offer to protect students from tuition increases, address rising cost of living concerns in Hamilton, and the lack of work opportunities for graduate students.
The union is also looking for an end to inequitable wages between undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants.
“Not only are the proposals we have tabled around protections against tuition increases and extended work guarantees for graduate students reasonable and well within McMaster’s means, they also exist at many other comparable universities in Ontario,” said Local 3906 president Chris Fairweather in a release.
The university said the campus will remain open during any walkout and students will hear from their instructors if there are any changes to classes.
“Recognizing that a potential TA labour disruption may pose challenges to our community, the university has started making contingency plans,” said McMaster executives in their own release Wednesday.
Services are also expected to continue as planned including athletics, libraries, and food services operating as normal.
Should the assistants strike next week, it would mark the first labour disruptions at McMaster since 2011.
The last strike involving teaching assistants was in 2009.
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