York University braces for strike

All teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty members at York  University are poised to go on strike in just six days if administrators don’t meet their demands for a fair deal.

Members of the CUPE 3903 bargaining team, whose contract expired in August, are asking university executives to address the issue of job security for contract faculty, ensure funding is protected for teaching assistants, and maintain employment levels for graduate assistants.

Both parties have been at the bargaining table with a Ministry of Labour-appointed conciliator since January 8.

“The bargaining team had remained optimistic that we would see real movement on the key issues,” said CUPE 3903 spokesperson Lina Nasr in a press release on Tuesday. 

“Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any substantive movement from York U in a long time This week is York’s last chance to work constructively with us, acknowledging that we are an important part of the university community.”

Union members and their supporters rallied earlier today at York Univeristy’s Vari Hall.

Meanwhile, administrators are ensuring students that classes will not be cancelled, should a strike take place.

“We have made and continue to make every reasonable effort to reach a collective agreement with CUPE 3903 and avoid a strike,” reads a letter sent out to students from Interim Vice-President Academic & Provost, Lisa Philipps.

“We remain fully committed to continuing negotiations with the assistance of the provincially appointed mediator to reach a new collective agreement,” she wrote.

“However, if our teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty decide to strike as of Monday, March 5, the legal strike deadline, the University will take every possible step to limit the impact of the labour disruption on York students.”

York says that all the classes “that can continue will continue.” TAs, GAs and contract faculty say “Ha!” to that.

A strike deadline has been set for March 5.

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