University of Toronto strike over as CUPE 3902 workers enter binding arbitration

Striking University of Toronto teaching assistants and other unionized workers will be back at work Friday after voting overwhelmingly to enter binding arbitration.
CUPE Local 3902 members, who had staged numerous demonstrations since the strike began at the end of February, are set to return to work at the U of T tomorrow. (Michael Charles Cole)

Striking University of Toronto teaching assistants and other unionized workers will be back at work Friday after voting overwhelmingly to enter binding arbitration.

CUPE 3902 Unit 1, which represents the some 6,000 U of T workers, said its members voted 942 for and 318 against entering binding arbitration at a Thursday evening vote.

Erin Black, Local 3902's chair, said while negotiating a settlement would have been ideal, the membership spoke "fairly decisively" tonight to end the strike.

“We are proud of the light that we have shed on the structural problems of higher education at the University of Toronto and we look forward to making our case to the arbitrator,” Black told CBC News, following the vote.

U of T President Meric Gertler said he was "very pleased" to hear the union had agreed to end the strike, which started on Feb. 27. 

"We are enormously relieved that the strike is over. And we share a commitment to resolving all remaining complications caused by the strike as soon as possible," Gertler said in a news release.

The university offered to send the contract negotiations to arbitration earlier this week after the union membership narrowly voted down a tentative agreement worked out by the local's executive. 

Under binding arbitration, an independent, neutral third party, would arbitrate all matters that remain in dispute and determine a final resolution that both parties would have to accept, the university said in a statement.

The university also put out a notice to students to answer questions regarding class and convocation schedules and more. 


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