Striking TAs rally downtown for more education funding
Published Saturday, March 21, 2015 2:49PM EDT Last Updated Saturday, March 21, 2015 7:23PM EDT
Hundreds of people rallied at Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday, before marching up Yonge Street and Spadina Avenue toward Queen’s Park, to demand more funding for universities.
The rally, which started at 1 p.m., was jointly organized by CUPE 3903 at York University and CUPE 3902 at the University of Toronto, whose teaching assistants and other members have been on strike for weeks.
Nancy Ghuman, a graduate assistant in the Master of Environmental Studies program at York University, said she attended the rally to draw attention to “the commodification of our education.”
“Tuition fees keep increasing and our funding doesn’t follow,” she said.
David Owen, a teaching assistant in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York, said he was there in support of more funding.
“(Education) is the way you have a civilized society,” he said. “This is the way you have any industry advance – people who can critically think.”
Members of the Canadian Federation of Students, which is funded primarily by fees charged to undergraduate students, were there holding up signs that read “students & workers united.”
At York University, all three units of CUPE 3903 went on strike on March 3. Unit 2, which represents contract faculty (who are not students) reached an agreement to return to work. Units 1 and 3, which represent mostly graduate students who do research or assist with teaching, remain on strike.
Many classes at York have restarted after being cancelled for several days. On Saturday, the university added to the list of classes that will resume on Monday.
Meanwhile, teaching assistants at the University of Toronto, who walked off the job Feb. 27, are voting Saturday and Sunday on a deal that the union recommends members accept. The agreement would boost the TAs annual funding package from $15,000 to $17,500, according to CUPE 3902.
Here are some scenes from Saturday’s rally and march that were posted to Twitter and Instagram.