CUPE 3902 had threatened a strike after not being pleased with U of T's initial contract offering. However, the tentative agreement reached over the weekend was enough for the CUPE negotiating team to send the proposal to be voted on by the general membership.
On Monday, November 16th, CUPE 3902 will hold a member's meeting to decide if the tentative agreement should be sent to a ratification vote. If sent to a ratification vote, polling stations will be opened across campus where members can vote whether or not to ratify the agreement. Should the membership vote to ratify the agreement by November 18, the possibility of a strike will have passed.
The tentative agreement, available on CUPE 3902's website, includes a higher base wage increase and greater job security than was previously offered. These were two of CUPE's major demands in threatening a strike.
"We're pretty confident [the tentative agreement] is going to pass," said chief spokesperson for the CUPE 3902 bargaining team, Dr. Leslie Jermyn, about the upcoming members' referendum. "The membership has checked it out on the website, and we've been getting positive feedback."
The U of T administration is still witholding comment until the Union ratifies the agreement, but in a public statement released to students after the agreement was reached, the office of the Provost did say that they were very pleased to come to an agreement and to have avoided a strike.
Did U of T almost pull a York? Professor Laurel Sefton MacDowell, specializing in Canadian labour history and relations, thinks U of T students have little to fear when compared to the TA strike debacle last year at York. "I think there is a different culture at York than other universities where there has been less turbulence."
The uncertainty about classes continuing as normal can be made just a little more certain now that CUPE 3902 has a seemingly favourable deal lined up for a ratification vote. However, no one can know for sure until that vote happens next week.