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CUPE strike update Nov 3: Negotiations unsuccessful

Posted by Chris Hattie, Assistant Vice-President Human Resources (Acting) on November 3, 2022 in Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 3912


To:            The Dalhousie University community

From:       Chris Hattie, Assistant Vice-President Human Resources (Acting)

Date:        Thursday, November 3, 2022

Re:            CUPE strike update Nov 3: Negotiations unsuccessful

It is with great disappointment that we update everyone that negotiations this week between the bargaining teams representing Dalhousie University’s Board of Governors and CUPE Local 3912 were not successful.

In the midst of an ongoing strike affecting our entire Dal community — most of all, our students — the Board team returned to the bargaining table prepared to make meaningful progress towards an agreement. It presented a strong offer to our 2,000-plus CUPE members, which includes Dal’s part-time academics, teaching assistants (TAs), markers and demonstrators.

This offer (which you can review in full online):

  • Meets the union’s request for a four-year contract instead of three years
  • Increases the overall average salary increase across CUPE positions to 20 per cent over four years — an unprecedented increase, but one we believe is appropriate given the CUPE members’ important contributions to our university.
  • Meets the union’s request to raise TA hourly wages to $30 and to raise hourly wages for Markers and Demonstrators to the Halifax living wage ($23.55)
  • Commits to measures to a) require TA assignments to be issued in a timely fashion, and b) ensure roles and responsibilities for the various positions (TAs, Markers and Demonstrators) are clearly understood by supervisors and implemented appropriately across the university.

For the past two years, the Dalhousie Board bargaining team has worked diligently to come to a fair agreement with CUPE negotiators. The Board has moved substantially on nearly every topic at the table, to try and align with CUPE negotiators’ demands. It has not been a quick or easy process, but we believe it has resulted in an offer that provides significant gains for our valued CUPE members.

And yet CUPE’s negotiating team refuses to bring this offer to its members for a vote. The last time CUPE members had the opportunity to vote on a proposed contract was back in June. Many CUPE members — ones who only signed contracts this current academic year — have never had the opportunity to weigh in with their vote. The Dalhousie team has worked hard to revise its proposals in response to the issues that matter to CUPE members. We have formally requested that CUPE’s negotiating team bring this final offer to its membership for a vote.

We entered negotiations this week optimistic we would be able to reach an agreement to end this strike, but CUPE negotiators’ refusal to engage with Dalhousie’s proposals in any meaningful way means we remain at an impasse — one that poses further challenges to our students, our academic community and our capacity to successfully complete the fall term.

Students can expect more information shortly on contingency planning for the remainder of the term. This planning is currently underway. In the meantime, please continue to visit the CUPE Strike Information Page for updates and the latest information.

We remain committed to working with CUPE and its members on a productive and positive solution for our entire Dalhousie community.


Chris Hattie
Assistant Vice-President Human Resources (Acting)

Dalhousie University is located in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi`kmaq. We are all treaty people.

We recognize that African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose histories, legacies and contributions have enriched that part of Mi’kma’ki known as Nova Scotia for over 400 years.