Ottawa Citizen

Carleton has roles mixed up, union says

- CHLOÉ FEDIO cfedio@ottawaciti­

The union that represents teaching assistants at Carleton University said human resources is turning a labour issue into a student issue by billing some TAS additional tuition after an administra­tive mistake.

The university notified TAS in February that those hired on or after Sept. 1, 2010, were overpaid because of a university error in the calculatio­n of tuition rebates.

After TAS protested the administra­tion’s plan to cut their wages by up to $1,000 for the rest of the semester, the university told TAS it would tack the overpaymen­t on to their student accounts as unpaid tuition.

The move would prevent students who do not clear the balance from collecting transcript­s, registerin­g for courses and, for graduating students, from getting a copy of their diplomas.

CUPE Local 4600, which represents Carleton University TAS, is collecting grievances from members.

“(The university) has taken what’s a labour-related debt and put it on people’s student accounts,” said union spokespers­on Stuart Ryan.

“They’re mixing up their role as both a provider of education and an employer. They think if they can’t get (the money) one way, they’ll get it the other.”

Under their collective agreement, TAS who work at least 65 hours per term have their tuition rates frozen at the time of hire. However, all TAS hired since Sept. 1, 2010, were mistakenly given a tuition rebate based on 2009 levels.

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