York strike escalates as picketers take to the streets
York University is officially a strike zone once again today, leading to a fair bit of confusion among students, teachers and random people who just happen to be travelling near campus.
CUPE 3903, the union representing teaching assistants, graduate assistants, contract faculty and more, rejected a final offer in response to their demands from school officials on Friday night.
Lets be clear: the offer that @YorkUniversity @YorkUPresident has put forward is gaslighting garbage. It is THE ADMIN's responsibility to put forward a serious offer, because they haven't done that so far, demanding cutbacks, clawbacks, and concessions. #Cupe3903 #YorkUniversity pic.twitter.com/dQnVl91sbd— Dock Currie☭☭☭☭ (@DockCurrie) March 6, 2018
"The York Administration has made it clear that they are not interested in improving the working conditions of its workers, or the learning conditions of its students," wrote the union on Facebook.
"Instead, CUPE 3903 has received a hard 'NO' on key issues such as: guaranteed funding for teaching assistants, job security for contract faculty, restoring the 800 eliminated graduate assistant jobs, prioritizing equity, anti-racism, and anti-sexual violence on campus."
With no deal on the table as of Monday morning, a strike was called – meaning that 60 per cent of all course work being delivered on campus has now suddenly stopped.
The university remains open, officially, but many students aren't willing to cross the picket lines.
One of the two courses I'm currently taking at @yorkuniversity are suspended for the duration of the #yorkstrike in support of TA's. I will not be crossing any picket lines. I encourage @yorkupresident to return to the bargaining table and negotiate fairly.— Katrina (@Astro_yyz) March 5, 2018
In some cases, full-time professors aren't willing to either.
One of my profs has said in an email that the English Department Executive Committee is recommending the suspension of all English classes for the duration of the disruption....so I can only hope that similar emails follow from the rest of my profs #yorkstrike #yorku— Marissa Twaddle (@MarissaLTwaddle) March 5, 2018
Still, mixed messages abound. Some students are being told they'll be penalized academically for missing class – which, as others point out, impedes their right not to cross picket lines.
Holy shit, one of my profs just said I will fail assignment if I don’t come to class, another said I don’t have to cross the strike. WTF should I believe ?!@yorkuniversity @cupe3903comms #yorkchaos #yorku #yorkstrike— Mo Udesh (@UdeshMo) March 5, 2018
Even just getting to campus is proving difficult in light of the strike.
@YRTViva What happened to that 107 bus that's suppose to be at my stop at 9:11am?? I even called the number for YRT and it doesn't tell me about any delays. I need to get to school 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/qO7l4e0Umr— Amanda Anastasio (@mandya87_) March 6, 2018
"Our routes servicing that area have been impacted by the strike at York," wrote York Regional Transit to one Twitter user in response to her query about an absent bus. "Congestion around the University has impacted service time."
Despite any complaints from students or staff, spirits remain high among the hundreds of picketers at York today.
"Solidarity to striking contract faculty #Cupe3903 at @YorkUniversity! Solidarity to West Virginia teachers and communications workers! Solidarity to Oklahoma teachers!" writes one supporter on Twitter. "Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!"
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