kelley p u l p c u l t u r e http://www.flash.net/~oudies/pulp_culture.htm
As you may have heard we the teaching assistants at University of Toronto have been on strike for over two weeks now. The central issue is tuition waivers. Given that the average ta earns $4,100, it becomes very difficult to pay the $5200 tuition. Unlike big american universities, U of T teaching assistants must pay full tuition. The administration is fighting a nasty fight. First they cancelled courses taught by graduate students, then they tried to get the faculty to restructure their courses to eliminate our work. When faculty resisted, they decided to hire scabs and eliminate us. At the most recent negotiating session, they kept our bargaining team there for 12 hours before they announced their new offer, which was worse than the offer we rejected before the strike. As part of this offer, they informed us that if we do not accept the offer by February 1st, they will fire all of us.
The university of Toronto senior administration thinks that it is perfectly acceptable for it to treat its staff like dog shit on their shoes and we could use help in our dispute. There are a number of ways that people can help:
(1) Phone the President, Robert Prichard, (416)978-2121 and Provost, Adel Sedra, (416) 978-2122 to let them know that you are disgusted with the university's behaviour. Let them know that if students get degrees without their teaching assistants (we do 40% of the teaching at U of T) they will not be getting a proper education (the University is pressuring faculty to make their courses all multiple choice) and that, as a result, U of T degrees will have to be looked at with scepticism should the strike not be settled;
(2) Also let them know that you may have to consider advising students who are considering attending U of T as graduate students that they may well be better off accepting offers from other universities. It is quite possible that this dispute will be an extended one and that incoming students next fall could be walking into the dispute; this would not be a good way to start a graduate program.
(3) Please ask your academic associations, graduate student associations, faculty associations/unions, departments, etc. to officially censure the University of Toronto for its behaviour. Follow this up with official open letters to the university administration.
(4) If you are scheduled to speak at the University of Toronto this term, please inform them that you will not speak on campus for the duration of the strike.
(5) If you are a University of Toronto alumnus, please inform the university that this dispute may lead you to have to reconsider future donations to the university. This is very important; the administration here cares about only one thing, other than their own paycheques, and that is the size of their endowment fund. Hit them where it hurts.
I am not an official of the union (our local is the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3902), just a teaching assistant at university of toronto who is sick of being treated like dirt.