Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

October 07, 2009 11:57 ET

U of T Sessional Faculty Vote 'Yes' to Strike Mandate

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2009) - Sessional teaching employees (contract faculty) at the University of Toronto (U of T) have given their Union, CUPE Local 3902 Unit 3, a strike mandate of 70 per cent.

Unit 3 of CUPE 3902 represents Sessional Lecturers who teach academic courses, Sessional Instructional Assistants, Writing Instructors, and Music Instructors, who collectively perform around 30% of the teaching at the University. The Union, which also represents nearly 5,000 Teaching Assistants and other student employees, filed jointly for conciliation with the University on Thursday August 27, 2009.

"Our members have the worst job security at the U of T, and in fact across the Canadian University sector," said Dr. Leslie Jermyn, Unit 3 Representative and Chief Spokesperson for the Union's bargaining team. "We must reapply for our jobs every 4 to 8 months, with no guarantee of future employment, and no notice of layoffs. And yet, the University relies on some of us for 10 years or more without offering us any security beyond a single academic term."

"The Employer has told us that because we are contract employees, job security is simply "inconceivable"; we've responded that treating talented and dedicated teachers this way is what is truly inconceivable – and a great waste of human resources."

The Union is seeking extended employment commitments to those sessionals who have been promoted for excellent teaching and long service at the University. They are also seeking support for research and scholarly activity for sessionals, who currently have none, and wage increases to keep up with comparable wage rates for contract faculty in the GTA.

"The University of Toronto can't claim to offer a high quality of education when it treats so many of its teachers like disposable labour," commented Sandy Hudson, President of the University of Toronto Students' Union, representing 41,000 full-time undergraduate students. "Many students here don't even realize that not all their instructors are full professors. But quality is compromised when the people who teach them are underpaid and insecure about their employment."

Contact Information

  • CUPE Local 3902 Unit 3
    Dr. Leslie Jermyn
    Bargaining Team Spokesperson
    CUPE Local 3902
    Mikael Swayze
    Staff Representative
    Sandra Hudson
    University of Toronto Students' Union President