Collective agreements set out the terms and conditions of employment of unionized workers as well as the rights, privileges and obligations of the union, employer and workers. U of T develops plans for a safe return to campus; U of T, however, is not sure exactly when staff will be called to work. Precariousness poses greater challenges for workers, especially for casual workers who “may not be eligible for employment insurance when the CERB expires,” Burke wrote. Leanne: UNITE HERE Local 75 members have entered into a collective agreement with Aramark on the University of Toronto`s Scarborough campus as part of contract food services. These Aramark employees also went on strike with their colleagues in York in March 2017. This has had a profound impact on UTSC workers and students. It was troubling to see workers in Canada`s largest and richest post-secondary institution lead a picket line for a $15 minimum wage. There is a great contrast between a for-profit company like Aramark and employees at the University of Toronto. When, after the end of its contract with Aramark, the university “stopped” food services on the St. George campus, they became employed by UofT and were covered by the collective agreement of CUPE Local 3261. Their salaries and benefits have increased dramatically. For example, a full-time cashier was paid $12 an hour at Aramark, but rose to $19.69 when he was employed directly by UofT.
It also noted that its unit of circumstance was “very hard hit” and that many casual employment contracts were not renewed in 1998 due to the pandemic. “Our casual unit has decreased by 700 people over the past year,” Burke wrote. On January 1, 2018, the University of Toronto raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour for the majority of its casual non-union workers. This is done as a result of CUPE and UofT residents in UofT negotiations and a gain of at least $15 for all unionized employees. This is a tangible example of how unions, when they raise minimum standards, are helping to increase the field for all workers. We spoke to Colleen Burke, President of ETC in 1998, and Leanne MacMillan, CUPE Servicing Representative, to understand how they fought and won the fight for all UofT workers.