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CUPE 3902 strike averted as Unit 1 vote to ratify new collective agreement

Members are covered by the deal until end of 2023
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Union, university signed the tentative agreement on March 26. EHSAN ETESAMI/THE VARSITY
Union, university signed the tentative agreement on March 26. EHSAN ETESAMI/THE VARSITY

An overwhelming majority of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3902 Unit 1 members have voted to ratify their tentative agreement with U of T. After a three-day voting period, CUPE 3902 released the results on April 1, with 94.2 per cent of members voted in favour of ratifying, and 5.8 per cent voted against. 

The successful vote means that CUPE 3902 members — including teaching assistants (TAs) and course instructors — are now covered under the new collective agreement until December 31, 2023. The announcement concludes a bargaining process that started in November and averts a potential strike of TAs and course instructors.

Following the ratification, Amy Conwell, Chair of CUPE 3902, wrote to The Varsity, “Over the past 14 months, Unit 1 worked tirelessly to put pressure on the University and make this new Collective Agreement possible.”

The agreement includes benefits such as increased paid training hours, a strengthened focus on equitable hiring, and permanent access to mental health resources that were opened in response to the pandemic. Annual salary increases of one per cent per year are also included, in accordance with the Doug Ford government limits on public employee salary increases.

“Many of the gains we made such as improved hiring criteria and guaranteed paid training were always necessary, and made even more so by COVID-19, which complicated who has access to work and put our members on the frontline of teaching at the University,” Conwell wrote.

On U of T’s bargaining updates website, the university wrote, “The University thanks the negotiating teams for their hard work, commitment and dedication throughout the collective bargaining process.”