Strike averted for more than 8,000 U of T academic, support workers

A strike has been averted for more than 8,000 academic and support workers who were preparing to walk off the job at the University of Toronto on Monday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) confirm a tentative deal was reached with the university late Sunday evening. A rally scheduled for Monday will now instead be to celebrate the deal.

“Just minutes before midnight, we received the university’s final offers, and signed historic tentative agreements,” reads a statement from CUPE. “All CUPE 3902 and 3261 members should report to work as normal on Monday.”

The workers represented by three different bargaining units of the union include about 1,000 maintenance workers, caretakers, groundskeepers, veterinary technologists, casual workers, student residence and foodservice staff, along with another 7,000 contract educators, contract instructors, teaching assistants, and post-doctoral researchers.

The release from the union confirms the tentative deal includes a 12.8 per cent wage increase over the next three years for CUPE 3902 Unit 1 and across-the-board increases of 9 per cent, retroactive to 2023, for CUPE 3902 Unit 5.

Officials say along with specific demands that apply to each of the bargaining units, all three unions were demanding that the university accept proposed wage increases above Bill 124, which capped public sector wage increases to one per cent per year but was recently ruled unconstitutional.

The unions were are also calling on the university to pay the same wage to workers who do the same work, and access to free public transportation for contract education workers.

CUPE says members will be able to review the details from the tentative agreement ahead of a ratification meeting early next week.

One week ago, almost 3,000 academic workers at York University began a strike citing similar issues of affordability when it comes to the cost of living in Toronto.

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