Solidarity with CUPE 4600

CUPE 4600 is a union local made up of over 3000 people who work at Carleton University as 1) teaching, service, and internally-funded research assistants and 2) contract instructors. These two groups of stipend-based workers make up the respective Units 1 and 2.


For nearly a decade, public universities have been under attack at the expense of students’ education. As class sizes grow and budgets tighten, Teaching Assistants and Contract Instructors are increasingly overworked–forced to choose between doing extra, unpaid labour, or compromising students’ quality of education. 

Over the past five years, food and shelter costs in Ottawa have increased by over 30%, while wages have stagnated–particularly under Bill 124. Make no mistake, when employers like Carleton fail to keep up with inflation, their workers are effectively taking pay cuts.

Unit 1 - Teaching, Research, & Service Assistants

Unit 2 - Contract Instructors

TAs at Carleton are paid over 6% less than their University of Ottawa counterparts. TA salaries cover little more than tuition for domestic students, and a fraction of international students’ fees. Consequently, Unit 1 members are forced to juggle multiple jobs to afford basic necessities like food and housing. 

Grad students represent less than 7% of Carleton’s student population, yet they comprise a staggering 80% of those who depend on the Unified Support Centre’s on-campus food bank. This stark reality is an embarrassment for Carleton, its alumni, research partners, donors, community stakeholders, the student body, and other employees. 

Contract Instructors at Carleton are the third lowest paid in the province. They earn 15% less than their counterparts at uOttawa for performing the same work, in the same city. These precariously employed workers, who teach nearly half of all Carleton courses, are long overdue for a raise that adequately accounts for the astronomical rise in inflation and cost of living in Ottawa over the past five years.

Carleton University claims to be “Here for Good,” describing itself as “a pillar of the local community.” It seems that Carleton is merely here for good appearances, not the wellbeing of its students and front-line educators. 

Carleton University has a choice now: continue exacerbating these trends, or help mitigate them by engaging meaningfully with CUPE 4600’s bargaining proposals, developed through extensive research and in consultation with the membership. 

CUPE 4600 members voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking if necessary, and as community allies at the university and beyond, we will support any job action if the circumstances arise. However, I implore Carleton to seriously engage with CUPE 4600’s proposals and prevent a disruption to the academic year in the interest of students and workers. 

As an ally, I call on Carleton to do good by its employees, and get back to the table with offers that address the cost of living and improve working conditions for TAs/RAs/SAs and CIs. 

Solidarity with CUPE 4600

Carleton works because CUPE 4600 does.

Dear [recipient position will go here] [recipient name will go here],

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