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Education workers threaten Monday strike at Carleton University

The Carleton University campus is seen Wednesday October 25, 2017 in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld) The Carleton University campus is seen Wednesday October 25, 2017 in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
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Carleton University says the university will remain open for students, faculty and staff if education workers go on strike Monday morning, but some classes may be disrupted" by the job action.

CUPE local 4600 says its members "overwhelmingly" rejected the university's latest offer and plan to go on strike Monday if a new deal is not reached for more than 3,000 graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants and contract instructors.

"We wanted to update members and check in with them, and the membership was unequivocal," CUPE 4600 president Noreen Cauley-Le Fevre said in a statement.

"The employer's most recent offer does not even keep up with inflation. It doesn't address workload or education quality. Our members have spoken. Carleton needs to act now to avert a strike."

The union says its members are looking for wages that will "help catch up the more than 10 per cent they have lost to inflation over the last decade and that will bring contract instructors closer to what their counterparts at the University of Ottawa earn."

Carleton and the union have been in contract talks since August 2022.

On Friday, Carleton released its latest offer to Unit 1 (Teaching Assistants, some Research Assistants, and Service Assistants), and Unit 2 (Contract Instructors). 

The offer to Unit 2 includes a salary market adjustment of 4.5 per cent retroactive to September 1, an increase to the base minimum stipend of 2 per cent retroactive to January 1, 2023 and an increase of 3 per cent in September 2023 and September 2024.

The offer to Unit 1 includes a salary increase of 3 per cent retroactive to Sept. 1, 2022 and a 2.5 per cent increase in 2023 and 2024.

The threat of a strike comes three weeks before the end of classes for the winter term and the start of exams. Exams are set to begin on April 15.

While the university says the campus will remain open if there is a strike, some classes, labs and tutorials may be affected. The university has released a list of classes that will be "disrupted" by a labour disruption.

"In the event that agreements are not reached in time, the university is taking steps to prepare for a possible labour disruption. Should a strike be declared, further updates will be provided regarding courses, exams and other campus activities," Carleton said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The university is committed to a successful end of term for students."

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