Carleton University Workers Strike against Poverty Wages and for Quality of Education

Education workers at Carleton University are set to commence strike action on March 27 in an effort to reach a fair deal with the University. CUPE Local 4600 President Noreen Cauley-Le Fevre states that despite months of negotiations, the University has failed to address the workers’ concerns regarding poverty-level wages, education quality, and intellectual property rights. Carleton’s inadequate offer was resoundingly rejected by Union members, with the University showing no interest in addressing their concerns.

The wages of teaching assistants at Carleton are among the lowest in the province. Inflation has ravaged the salaries of teaching assistants. Graduate students represent a staggering 80% of the campus food bank users, despite being only 6% of the student body. Contract instructors earn 15 per cent less than their counterparts at the University of Ottawa.

The University has also rejected proposals to establish a ratio of teaching assistants to students, which have been implemented in other universities, allowing instructors to prepare courses effectively and ensure quality education for undergraduate students. Instructors are also requesting intellectual property rights similar to those given to permanent faculty members at the University.

CUPE Local 4600 Units 1 and 2 will commence strike action at 7:00 a.m. on Monday. A rally will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the campus entrance at Bronson and Sunnyside avenues. The Union has given advance notice of the strike to allow the public to make alternative plans, and they have received tremendous support from students and the wider community.

CUPE Local 4600, whose members teach about 30 per cent of the courses at Carleton University, hopes that the University will address their concerns. However, there has been little progress on key issues.

Socialist Action is in full solidarity with the Carleton University workers and will provide unwavering support for their struggle.

by YK / March 29, 2023