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CUPE 233 labour update

April 13, 2023

We are writing to advise our community that CUPE 233 has informed the university that the union will be implementing work to rule, effective today  and will initiate a strike as of April 17.

CUPE 233 represents employees who work within Facilities Management and Development and provide maintenance and operations, as well as custodial and groundskeeping support for the university. 

While the university respects the union’s rights to collective bargaining and the collective bargaining process, we are disappointed by this outcome. 

Classes and exams are moving ahead as scheduled

As always, our students are at the centre of everything we do, and at this time, the university does not anticipate any impact on exams or graduation. All students are expected to attend classes and exams as scheduled unless otherwise notified.

Expectations for non-CUPE 233 employees in the event of a strike

It's important to note that unless you are in a lawful strike position, faculty and staff are required to attend work and fulfill the obligations of their role. A strike by another union does not change these obligations and staff are required to report to work during a strike by employees in another union.

Accessing campus if there are picket lines 

If a labour disruption occurs, picket lines may be established. As a university and an employer, we respect the right of union employees to picket and protest within a culture of mutual respect. 

We ask our TMU community to treat striking employees with respect and courtesy. At the same time, it’s important to know that it is unlawful for any striking employee to intimidate or harass any non-striking individuals who are accessing the university.

We encourage you to leave extra time to make it through picket lines on time, and to contact Security at 416-979-5040 if you or one of your employees experience significant delay or issues crossing picket lines.  

Contingency plans now activated 

As previously shared, the university has been contingency planning in the event of a labour disruption. For the duration of a CUPE 233 work stoppage, Facilities Management and Development (“Facilities”) will focus on prioritizing the continuation of core activities and protecting the health and safety for our campus and community. 

As a result, you may notice some changes to Facilities support on campus such as pausing on responding to non-urgent items. As a result of limited support for event set up and tear down, this may also mean that some non-critical events on campus may be postponed or cancelled. 

Important information about key bargaining issues 

One of the key negotiating issues in this round of bargaining with CUPE 233 has been wages and contributions to the university's pension plan. 

With regard to wages, the university’s offers have been well in line with sector standards and recent settlements at other universities.

The university believes in transparent disclosure about the pension plan and its management, and that all pension plan members should have accurate and up-to-date information.

While we agree with the union’s concerns around a two-tiered pension plan, we also recognize that if the university moves further away from equal contributions, it will significantly destabilize the pension plan and put employee pensions at risk.

At this time, four of the five employee groups in the university’s pension plan, including its leadership, all contribute equally. The TFA filed a grievance and, as a result of an arbitration decision, they are the only employee group that contributes less than everyone else. The university was, and remains, disappointed by this decision.

We believe equal contributions by all participating groups ensures the pension plan remains strong and sustainable for the future.

We encourage you to read information about our pension plan online, including recently published corrections to inaccurate information about the university’s pension plan and its management.

For more information

We appreciate your efforts and contributions towards supporting the university and the TMU community during this period.

We encourage you to continue to monitor the Bargaining Updates website, including the Frequently Asked Questions for further information. For specific questions, please contact your human resources partner.