In a written ruling, arbitrator William Kaplan said the university should not have to provide minimum funding for members of CUPE 3902 Unit 1, which comprises 6,000 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
“The main difference between the parties … has to do with administration and liability in the event that the allocated monies to the two funds are insufficient,” Kaplan said.
The union had argued the number of eligible individuals may increase, rendering the fixed sum not enough. Should that happen, Kaplan said, that should be addressed in future collective bargaining — not now.
The issue went before an arbitrator after a month-long strike that ended toward the end of March. The union had rejected the university’s terms after a ratification in which the “no” side won with a difference of a little more than 100 votes.
Funding was the last major disputed item in the collective agreement; the parties have already come to an agreement on the others.
A U of T representative was not immediately available for comment, though in an internal memo on its website, officials voiced their support for “academic processes” over collective bargaining and labour disputes.
CUPE 3902 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.