Reprinted from People's Voice Newspaper
At the end of February and beginning the first week of March, approximately 10,000 academic workers went on strike at two of Canada’s largest universities. They are represented by two CUPE Locals, 3902 and 3903, who represent Units of Teaching Assistants, Graduate Assistants and Contract Faculty at the University of Toronto and York University respectively. Nine thousand are still on strike.
The issues and responses at both universities, York with about 4000 strikers and U of T with about 6000, are so close that they can be detailed in the same general overview. A good place to start is with the words of Erin Black, Union Chair at U of T, “We are poor and precarious and need improvement in our standard of living”. This is by no means an overstatement but what analyses will show is probably an understatement of the precarious existence of Teaching Assistants (TAs), Graduate Assistants (GAs) and Contract Faculty (CFs) at most universities.