Over the past few days, course directors have been receiving confusing messages from the employer directing them to immediately give students “assessed grades,” should they request them.
Our members are engaged in a legal strike, and have thus withdrawn their labour; the employer cannot force us to perform work. CUPE 3903 members are under no obligation to assign any grades during the strike. To do so would be to perform the very labour that we are currently withdrawing.
Despite the employer’s confusing messaging, they are fully aware that while students are entitled to receive “assessed grades,” they are not entitled to receive them immediately. CUPE 3903 teaching assistants cannot be compelled by course directors to submit grades. CUPE 3903 expects course directors to withhold normal and assessed grades until such time as a new collective agreement is reached. To do otherwise would be strikebreaking and would be cause for censure.
CUPE 3903 is grateful for the support that many YUFA members have expressed by suspending their classes during our strike. We want to remind them that the employer cannot compel them to assign or submit grades assessed by CUPE members while classes are suspended, and that they, in turn, cannot compel 3903 TAs to submit grades to them.
It is also highly inappropriate for YUFA faculty to do the labour normally assigned to 3903 members. The employer’s attempt to coerce YUFA faculty into performing this labour is disingenuous and divisive. We appreciate the efforts that YUFA faculty have made to support us and ask them to maintain that support in this crucial moment when the employer is now back at the bargaining table and provincial mediation is underway.
Until the employer negotiates a fair and just settlement with CUPE 3903, we continue to withdraw all of our academic labour. We ask our campus and community allies to continue to support us. The quickest way to end the strike and provide students with their grades is for the employer to table an acceptable offer and to negotiate a settlement.