York Strike 2018

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.

"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.

In some cases, full-time professors aren't willing to either.

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.

Even just getting to campus is proving difficult in light of the strike.

"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!"

Lead photo by

Felica Ponce


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