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By Cassandra Jowett

Canada’s largest union might take action against Ryerson if teaching assistants aren’t paid on time this semester.

Shawn McFadden, chief steward of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) for Ryerson, will join a discussion on the TAs’ pay at CUPE’s Jan. 16 general meeting.

TAs being paid late has been a repeated problem for several years. “We have a number of options available to us,” McFadden said. The options could include CUPE demanding the school pay TAs once a week instead of once every two weeks.

The school is scheduled to pay its TAs for the first time this semester in the third week of January. But Matt Feagan, the teaching and graduate assistant development co-ordinator at Ryerson’s Learning and Teaching Office, said some may not receive their first paycheque until a month or two after they’ve started working.

“This has been a problem for as long as Ryerson has had TAs,” Feagan said, adding that the problems arise from last-minute hiring and lengthy, complicated paperwork.

Contracts have to be filled out by the TA, the supervising instructor and the department in which the course is being offered. Then the contracts are sent to human resources for processing.

“It can all take weeks,” he said. The Eyeopener reported in 2006 that more than 150 TAs had their pay put on hold until their contracts were processed. McFadden said that last semester, only 30 TAs had to wait for their first paycheque, and he’s trying to ensure the departments will not sit on paperwork this semester.

“I have met with the chairs of many of the departments where the problems occurred, and they have assured me that this would not happen again,” he said.

CUPE staff representative Angela Ross said the last outstanding payment from the fall was not resolved until the beginning of December.

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