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Teaching assistants set to strike Monday at McMaster University

McMaster university is alerting students, faculty members and employees of delays amid a strike by teaching assistants set to begin on Nov. 21, 2022.
McMaster university is alerting students, faculty members and employees of delays amid a strike by teaching assistants set to begin on Nov. 21, 2022. Lisa Polewski / Global News

Teaching and research assistants at McMaster University are set to strike Monday after bargaining talks broke down Friday with no deal.

Both the university and CUPE Local 3906 say picket lines will go up at the entrance of the campus at 7 a.m. on Monday morning.

“We do not take this action lightly. We acknowledge that this will be disruptive to students, who have already experienced so much disruption over the past few years,” the CUPE bargaining team said in a release after talks.

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Executives with the university say the facilities will remain open, and classes are expected to continue as usual despite the work action.

“People should expect delays and should leave additional time in order to access campus,” the school said in a release on Saturday morning.

In mid-October, 90 per cent of the assistants voted yes to job action demanding a fair and reasonable offer to protect students from tuition increases, address rising cost of living concerns in Hamilton, and the lack of work opportunities for graduate students.

The union is also looking for an end to alleged “inequitable wages” between undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants.

Representing about a third of the workforce at McMaster, the union contests the teaching assistants account for only 3.7 per cent of the school’s annual payroll.

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“Throughout this process, we have bargained in good faith and are disappointed by this outcome,” Susan Tighe, McMaster’s provost and vice-president, said in a statement after Friday’s talks.

“We value our CUPE members and the contributions that they make, and believe we put a fair offer on the table.”

Services on Monday are expected to continue as planned including athletics, libraries, and food services operating as normal.

The university is alerting students, faculty members and employees of delays when entering the campus via main entrances.

The strike next week will mark the first labour disruptions at McMaster since 2011.

The last strike involving teaching assistants was in 2009.

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