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U of T strike continues as teaching assistants reject tentative deal

Teaching assistants at the University of Toronto's downtown campus took to the picket line on March 2, 2015. 680NEWS/Kevin Misener

Teaching and graduate assistants at the University of Toronto (U of T) have rejected a tentative deal, pushing their strike into a fourth week.

A new tentative agreement was reached last week between U of T and the union representing the school’s teaching assistants, but the deal was rejected in a vote on Sunday night.

Just over 100 votes separated the yes’s from the no’s, with 1101 members rejecting the offer and 992 voting to accept it.

More than 2,000 of the union’s approximately 6,000 teaching assistants cast a ballot in Sunday’s vote.

The deal proposed a wage increase of 3.75 per cent, to more than $43 per hour. It also offered tuition assistance for senior PhD and masters students.

The union is requesting the university put the per-member value of the benefits in writing.

On Feb. 27, CUPE 3902, including approximately 6,000 teaching assistants, voted to reject a bargaining deal sending them to the picket line at all three of the university’s three campuses (St. George, Mississauga and Scarborough).

Only a handful of classes have been cancelled since the start of the strike.

Meanwhile, teaching and graduate assistants at York University remain on strike. Most classes have resumed but school officials said that due to the strike some tutorials and labs associated with these and other courses may not be active.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post stated the university’s offer would boost the annual salary of TAs to $17,500 a year, up from $15,000 and guarantee tuition relief for PhD and masters students. That information has been replaced with the specific terms outlined by the university.