Western TAs To Vote On Potential Strike

The Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Union at Western University is set to hold several meetings regarding a Strike Mandate Vote between March 19 and March 20.

The union, PSAC Local 610, will bargain for changes to be made for the GTAs’ collective agreement as the previous contract expired on August 31, 2017.

The meetings, in accordance with regulation 15 of the PSAC Constitution, will consist of presentations from the GTA Bargaining Team, followed by a question and answer session and the opportunity for all affected GTAs and other employees to vote.

Although the Strike Mandate Vote does not guarantee a GTA strike at the university, it does serve as an authorization, given by the membership to the Union, to initiate a strike action, according to a document posted to the PSAC website. The document includes details of the Strike Mandate Vote process.

Students at Western University depend on GTA participation in courses and in office hours for learning and extra assistance with their studies.

“GTAs inspire, encourage and guide students who embark on a learning journey in hundreds of programs in our 11 faculties across campus,” according to the Western University website. “A GTA acts as a resource and a mentor to students as they grapple with theories in all disciplines, and as they try to decide how they will use the knowledge they learn from them after they graduate.”

On February 6, 2018, the GTAs held a Conciliation session where they presented their full monetary package to the Employer and had received the Employer’s responses to Hours of Work, Letters of Offer, and the Duties Specification Agreement.

As of March 2, 2018, the team had not received a comprehensive response to the full monetary package, and both the union and the university made few compromises for movement.

Although some moves have been made since those dates, the majority of changes requested by the union could not be made without further consulting of the membership.

Western University has stopped payment of the Union Health Care Plan and Financial Assistant Fund as the GTAs are in bargaining.

An online petition on change.org called “Western, acknowledge the financial burden GTAs are facing and value their work” has been signed by over 1,100 people, with the current goal of collecting 1,500 signatures.

The bargaining details of the Union will be announced at the Strike Mandate Vote.

 

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