By Jessie Stones
A campaign to unionize Ryerson’s teaching assistants is three weeks old, and although organizers say initial responses have been positive, they expect the drive to carry over into next semester.
“The first few weeks of a campaign are more about raising awareness,” said Derek Blackadder, an organizer with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Organizers have been walking the halls to recruit supporters, Blackadder said, but since nobody represents Ryerson’s teaching assistants, they’ve been a little hard to find.
In order for teaching assistants to form a union, at least 40 per cent of TAs must sign a card. After that, the Ontario Labour Relations Board will hold a vote, and if 50.1 per cent of all TAs decide they want a union, it becomes official.
Ryerson has an estimated 250 to 400 teaching assistants, some of whom were already teaching assistants at other universities. “When they arrive at Ryerson they are very surprised at the working conditions,” said Angela Ross, Ryerson’s CUPE staff representative. “Ryerson is the only university in the GTA without a TA union.”