CUPE Ontario is proud to send its deepest solidarity to the members of CUPE 4600, academic workers at Carleton University, who began strike action on March 27.

The strength, determination and solidarity of these workers are clear. After months at the bargaining table, CUPE 4600 is fighting for a deal that will enhance the quality of education for students and that will allow teaching assistants and contract instructors at Carleton to earn a decent living.

Wages for these workers at Carleton are among the lowest of any university in the province, yet academic workers do a third of the teaching at this institution. Their wages have fallen so far behind inflation that, shockingly, graduate students now represent 80% of the campus’s food bank users – even though they make up only 6% of the student population. Contract instructors earn 15% less that those doing the same work at the University of Ottawa.

Academic workers’ demands for a fair contract also include being treated with dignity, respect and fairness in their working lives. For such goals, CUPE 4600 will always have the support of CUPE Ontario and its 280,000 members.

Workers and students at Carleton deserve a better future. Students cannot learn and Carleton cannot function without the knowledge, skill and dedication of CUPE 4600 members.

We urge the university’s administration to return to the bargaining table to address urgent issues around better wages, academic integrity, class sizes, fairness and equity for CUPE 4600 members.