Carleton students struggle with instability as strike drags on

Carleton University students are dealing with more than headaches as a support staff strike continues into its third week.

Approximately 800 members of CUPE 2424 have been on strike since March 5

Picketers pose near the Carleton University sign on Bronson Avenue on the first day of a strike by hundreds of university support workers. (Christian MIlette/Radio-Canada)

Carleton University students say they're dealing with more than headaches as a support staff strike continues for a third week. 

Staff have been on picket lines since March 5 after a round of bargaining between CUPE 2424 and the university failed to yield an agreement. According to CUPE, the main sticking point has been pension benefits.

More than 800 administrative, technical and support workers are off the job, temporarily stopping vehicles, handing out pamphlets and explaining their issues with university management. 

CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning spoke to Carleton students to find out what their experience has been so far and how the strike has affected them.

Zahra Zahedi, systems and computer engineering PhD

(Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

"There is no paper in the printers in the library or in the other buildings. There is not enough technical staff in the building. I wanted to install something on my PC and couldn't. Also library hours are restricted.

"I'm able to manage but it's making it really difficult ... Also I'm [a teaching assistant] in the labs. When we're having a quiz going on we are always afraid something will happen to the network, because there is no one [in IT] to support. Everything is unstable."

Madeline Lines, journalism 

(Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

"All the technical editors and producers that work with us in the journalism program are currently gone. For example, right now, as we speak, I'm doing a radio [piece] for my same-day radio class but our radio technician is gone. So we are playing things off our laptops, trying to make do, but we can't function.

"We're not getting the skills that we really need. I'm in a filmmaking class and we can't take out [our usual] cameras right now. So the things I'm supposed to be producing, I can't produce."

Mohammad Matisa, computer engineering 

(Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

"I have labs that I couldn't attend… and I remember one prof couldn't restart the computer and there's no support about it."

Nagwe Shaiful, electrical engineering

(Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

"There was one time the mic couldn't [work] so the prof had to shout out loud."

Abbey Morris, neuroscience and mental health

(Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

"[As a volunteer at the science student success centre,] we do a lot of workshops on how to write lab reports, how to get into research if you're interested in going to med school. Or if they're struggling in a particular class we try to give them study strategies. Our workshops are cancelled as well. Also a professional speakers series. Those events had to be cancelled due to the strike."