CUPE members on strike in 2015. Mallika Makkar/THE VARSITY

U of T is emerging from the aftermath of a month-long strike that occurred during last year’s winter semester. The strike caused the cancellation of many tutorials and labs and resulted in the implementation of a controversial contingency plan that allowed students to withdraw from classes after viewing their final grade.

Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3902 Unit 1, which represents graduate students employed as academic staff, went on strike after their collective agreement with U of T expired and they failed to reach a new deal. The two sides proposed and rejected deals as the strike went on.

Some undergraduate students took to the picket lines in solidarity with their teaching assistants. Professors attempted to continue their scheduled academic programming, with one professor moving his class outside when picket lines blocked the entrance to a lecture hall.

The strike ended when members of Unit 1 voted to accept binding arbitration, meaning that an arbitrator would resolve the dispute and that the union would have to accept whatever decision was made. When the arbitration meeting rolled around at the beginning of July, the arbiter ruled in favour of U of T. This means that going into next year, the labourers who disputed with the university will work under an agreement of which they never approved.

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