The CUPE 3902 strike began at U of T today.

I put in eight hours of picketing, and also got photos of all the picket sites on the St. George campus.


I fear that my list of project ideas, which I assemble out of an optimistic hope that the future will bring a long span of free time for such undertakings, includes an idea for a screenplay.

It would be a film in the style of Apollo 13 (technically and historically accurate, and developed with lots of research in collaboration with the people involved) based on the STS-27 and STS-107 Space Shuttle missions.

I have a bunch of ideas, but I definitely don’t have time to write such a script, given my work with, photography, and being on strike as a TA at U of T.

Still, I think it could be a powerful story. Ultimately, it’s a sadder story than Apollo 13, which may limit its aesthetic and commercial appeal. Still, like any story about crewed spaceflight, this is a story of courage and dedication applied in the pursuit of scientific understanding. Twelve amazing people: 5 who lived and 7 who died.

I can provide a more detailed breakdown of the screenplay idea, if someone wants to try working on it a bit.

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Ice pillar at Massey College

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I am at Convocation Hall for a meeting of the members of CUPE3902 Unit 1 – the union for teaching assistants at the University of Toronto.

We are discussing a tentative agreement which the bargaining team reached with the administration late last night.

To me, the proposed deal looks deeply inadequate. They are proposing wage increases of 1%, 1%, 1.25%, and 1.25% over the next four years.

For starters, the Bank of Canada calculator shows that the real value of the funding package has fallen by 9.89% since it was set in 2008. In addition, the proposed wage increases don’t even keep up with inflation for the years in which they happen.

We will see what happens in this meeting, but I hope my fellow union members won’t accept something so inadequate. The objective here is to get beyond poverty wages for TAs – not to reduce them further.


Toronto Symphony Orchestra 2/2


Fresh from the CUPE 3902 mailserver:


A few minutes ago, our Bargaining Team voted unanimously to recommend a tentative agreement. All seven Bargaining Team members believe that this is an agreement we can proud of, with many significant gains for our members.

Of course, members will have the final say on this agreement. As per previous notice, we will meet later today (Friday, Feb. 27) at 3:30 p.m. in Convocation Hall. Sign-in will begin at 2:30. We believe there will be a large turn-out, and we ask members to come as early as possible.

To alleviate the need for the Union to print tens of thousands of pages, we ask all members who are able to bring tablets or other electronic devices so that they can view the tentative agreement electronically.

The Employer has agreed to provide work release to any members who need to miss work to attend the meeting. There will be no loss of pay. Please notify your supervisor or department.

We look forward to discussing this agreement and to debate over the agreement later today.

In Solidarity,



CUPE 3902

February 26, 2015

in Photography, Toronto

Photos from today’s CUPE rally

The strike deadline is in five minutes.


Toronto Symphony Orchestra 1/2


Roy Thomson Hall 2/2


Roy Thomson Hall 1/2