·  Media release   ·  

Casual contract workers win new deal with University of Toronto

Members of the USW Local 1998 Casual Unit bargaining team.

TORONTO – Casual workers at the University of Toronto who were seeking better treatment from the nation’s richest university have achieved a new collective agreement, including long sought-after paid sick days.

USW Local 1998 represents approximately 3,500 casual workers at the university. After pandemic-related delays at the bargaining table, the local union and the employer worked together to reach a new contract.

In bargaining, the local union demanded better treatment for casual workers, who work alongside full-time workers on the same projects, programs and departments but were not treated similarly. Casual workers are on contracts with the university, ranging from a few weeks to a full year. Many of the casual contract workers have been employed with the university for decades, without access to permanent position.

“We were bargaining with the nation’s richest university and it was reasonable for casual workers to expect the basic level of fairness from the university,” said Colleen Burke, USW Local 1998 President. Burke mentioned that the union also worked with the Decent Work and Health Network to campaign for a fair contract, including paid sick days.

The local union came away with some important wins, despite being constrained by the provincial government’s Bill 124, which prevents bargaining more than a 1% increase in wages and benefits. The USW has opposed and continues to oppose the government interference and restrictions on collective bargaining.

Major highlights of the three-year contract are a 1% wage increase, two paid sick days, better protection for members facing discipline or termination and improvements to the dental benefits.

USW Local 1998 represents over 8,000 administrative and technical workers at the University of Toronto, Victoria University, University of St. Michael’s College and University of Toronto Schools, including approximately 3,500 casual employees.

The USW represents approximately 10,000 post-secondary education workers in Canada. The union represents 225,000 workers across Canada, in nearly every sector of the economy with 850,000 members continent-wide.


For further information:

Colleen Burke, USW Local 1998 President, 647-883-2678, colleen.burke@usw1998.ca
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), sdevine@usw.ca

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