York U Strike – More Thoughts

I have been listening casually to the radio and have formed an uninformed opinion. This is my disclaimer.

I am curious to know what the York U contract staff and TA/RAs get paid per hour.  The CUPE site claims that the staff are being paid below the poverty line, but they don’t state the hourly wages.  Why does this matter?  They’re part time staff!  My contract lecturer worked about 5 hours a week for my course.  3 for teaching, 2 for prep.  If you’re working 5 hours a week and making less than poverty, well, that’s expected.

The union is also saying that they are prepared to strike for 11 weeks, as they did last time.  Firstly, an academic term (not including exams) is only 12 weeks long.

  • This means that the union does not have the students’ interests at heart, in any way, shape or form.
  • This also means that they don’t actually need the raise they’re asking for.  If they really were living in poverty, they wouldn’t be able to afford to strike for three months (quarter year!)

This union is not only being unreasonable, it should not even exist.

I am not against all unions.  I believe unskilled workers need to be unionized, because they are easily replaceable.  Skilled workers with degrees and certificates do not need to be unionized.  Nowhere else in industry will you find unionized white collar employees.  Why do we accept this from public institutions?

I am especially sympathetic to the “VERY angry student” who commented on the York U Strike blog regarding his applications to grad school.  I hope everything gets resolved soon.

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2 Responses to “York U Strike – More Thoughts”
  1. Tina says:

    From what i know they get paid around $65 dollars an hour and are expected to work 10 hours minimum a week. however if they exceed that minimum i am not sure if they are getting paid. i am completely against this strike. And to note, they are under the poverty line because i read that it comes out to around 17 500 a year and 6000 of that goes towards their tuition. However, they chose to go to graduate school, they are being paid to be in school. What bothers me is that it is a choice, just like us undergrads we are choosing to work part time jobs and full time jobs in the summer to pay for our education. I am sure there might be some other catches to this I heard that they can’t work in other places because of the union.

    The only thing I agree with is job security. Some of the contract faculty on strike are not TA’s they are contract faculty and they have to reapply for their positions which i find very unfair.

  2. jysung says:

    Thank you for that. $65/hr! That’s ridiculous! I’m a top-paid TA at U of T and I only get $36 and some cents. I think even $36 is too much, especially for the work that I do.

    I also have to pay $7k in tuition per year, but I get funded through scholarships, so my TA money is pretty much extra pocket money….I guess York doesn’t fund their grad students.

    If that’s the case, York has even more serious problems than an out-of-control union.

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