Skip to main content

Carleton University faculty, librarians sign open letter in support of striking workers

CUPE 4600 workers on the picket line outside Carleton University. April 3, 2023. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa) CUPE 4600 workers on the picket line outside Carleton University. April 3, 2023. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)
Share

More than 170 faculty members and librarians at Carleton University have signed an open letter in solidarity with education workers who are currently on strike.

More than 3,000 contract instructors and teaching assistants represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 4600 have been on the picket lines for more than a week. The union has said the main issue in the dispute is wages, but contract instructors are also concerned about their intellectual property.

The letter, released Monday, called on university management to bring a fair deal to the table.

"As faculty and librarians we cannot succeed in our educational and research missions in the absence of sustainable working conditions for Contract Instructors and graduate students. How can we, in good conscience, continue to admit graduate students and work with colleagues who are likely to face housing insecurity, food insecurity, and debt due to exploitative wage rates?" the letter says.

"We demand the Carleton University Administration negotiate a fair settlement that honours intellectual property rights, provides equitable pay comparable with other universities in Ontario, and guarantees reasonable Teaching Assistant-to-student ratios across the university."

The letter states that Carleton University is in "a solid financial position", has a mission of social responsibility, and has been consistently ranked as one of the city's top employers.

"The university has the means and the professed commitments to reach a fair settlement, and a reputation at risk. We stand ready to support our colleagues in CUPE 4600 until they win a contract worthy of their work and of the educational and human standards they are fighting to uphold," the letter says.

Workers hit the picket lines March 27 and have yet to reach a deal with the university. Both sides met over the weekend but no deal was reached, and workers were back on the picket line on Monday.

"If you want to attract top quality researchers and students to a university, pay them," CUPE 4600 president Noreen Cauley-Le Favre told CTV News. "Students want to get back to classes. Graduate students want to get back to work and back to their research instead of staying out on the lines. I'm wondering why they don't just throw the money that they're spending on private security and lawyers to graduate TA's."

The university said in a statement that it does not anticipate having to extend the term or the graduation timeline because of the strike and it does not intend to cancel the term nor the current credits earned by students.

--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Dave Charbonneau.

FULL OPEN LETTER

Carleton University Faculty & Librarian Solidarity with CUPE4600

We, the undersigned faculty members and librarians employed by Carleton University, express our strongest possible solidarity with the striking CUPE 4600 Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants and Contract Instructors.

As faculty and librarians we cannot succeed in our educational and research missions in the absence of sustainable working conditions for Contract Instructors and graduate students. How can we, in good conscience, continue to admit graduate students and work with colleagues who are likely to face housing insecurity, food insecurity, and debt due to exploitative wage rates? And how can we promote enrollment in programs that fail to acknowledge, let alone adequately compensate, the intellectual and personal commitment university teaching requires? Our undergraduate students benefit immeasurably from our graduate students’ and contract instructors’ teaching, mentoring, and advising labour. Their working conditions are students’ learning conditions. Their struggle is our struggle.

We demand the Carleton University Administration negotiate a fair settlement that honours intellectual property rights, provides equitable pay comparable with other universities in Ontario, and guarantees reasonable Teaching Assistant-to-student ratios across the university. All these measures are necessary to maintain the quality of education that Carleton provides, and to ensure working conditions that support high calibre Contract Instructors and Teaching Assistants in a city with skyrocketing housing costs and robust competition from other universities and employers.

Carleton University is in a solid financial position, has a mission of social responsibility, and has been repeatedly ranked as one of Ottawa’s top employers. The university has the means and the professed commitments to reach a fair settlement, and a reputation at risk. We stand ready to support our colleagues in CUPE 4600 until they win a contract worthy of their work and of the educational and human standards they are fighting to uphold.

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

BREAKING

BREAKING Honda to get up to $5B in govt help for EV battery, assembly plants

Honda is set to build an electric vehicle battery plant next to its Alliston, Ont., assembly plant, which it is retooling to produce fully electric vehicles, all part of a $15-billion project that is expected to include up to $5 billion in public money.

Secret $70M Lotto Max winners break their silence

During a special winner celebration near their hometown, Doug and Enid shared the story of how they discovered they were holding a Lotto Max ticket worth $70 million and how they kept this huge secret for so long.

Stay Connected