Strike action launched at YorkU

March 4, 2015

Contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and research assistants are on strike at York University after union members voted against sending the university's final offer to a ratification vote. Union leadership had recommended rejecting the offer, stating that it did not provide adequate wage increases or job security. "We have directed our bargaining team to go back to the table ... I am confident that this is going to be wrapped up ... The university knows we're not that far apart," said CUPE 3903 Chair Faiz Ahmed. York has suspended all classes, exams, and academic activities, with limited exceptions; libraries, residences, computer labs, cafeterias, and athletic facilities will remain open. In a statement, YorkU President Mamdouh Shoukri said, "the compensation and other collective agreement improvements we are offering are highly competitive with, if not better than, recent settlements elsewhere." He added that "we value our relationship with CUPE 3903. I am confident that, when we return to the bargaining table, we will reach a fair and competitive settlement." Teaching assistants at the University of Toronto are also on strike. CUPE 3903 News | YorkU News | Toronto Star | CBC

Postscript: March 10, 2015

The bargaining unit representing contract faculty at York University have ratified a settlement offer from the institution; however, the units representing teaching assistants and graduate assistants will remain on the picket line. 65% of contract faculty voted in favour of the administration's latest offer on Monday night. However, 59% of striking teaching assistants and 77% of graduate assistants voted against the proposal. CUPE Local 3903 Chair Faiz Ahmed said that the union hopes to resume bargaining as soon as possible. Classes remained suspended on Tuesday, but YorkU administrators were reviewing plans that would allow as many students as possible to return to class. YorkU News Release | CUPE 3903 Blog | Globe and Mail