York University is now on strike
All teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty members at York University are now officially on strike – but that doesn't mean classes are cancelled outright.
CUPE 3903 (the union representing TAs, GAs, research assistants and more) rejected what university administrators called their "leading offer" on Friday night.
Bargaining was permitted to continue over the weekend, but neither the school nor the union could concede to reach an agreement ahead of today's strike deadline.
‘Twas the night before work stoppage, when all thro’ the university was preparation by the union, which will win with certainty. #CUPE3903 @yorkuniversity #YorkU #YorkStrike @cupe3903comms pic.twitter.com/8iAgAt4XEo— John Hayes (@jhayesthree) March 5, 2018
Thus, as of midnight on Monday, March 5, after six months of negotiations, CUPE 3903 is on strike.
"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."
York University had promised students that the school will remain regardless of what union members decide to do.
"All classes that can continue will continue," reads an info page on York's website. "Libraries, restaurants and other food outlets, administrative offices and other university facilities will remain open."
Things could get messy, regardless (and drawn out, if history is an indicator.)
CUPE 3903 says that its members are responsible for delivering 60 per cent of the course work on campus.
All full-time faculty are still expected to "carry out their duties and responsibilities at the normal times and places scheduled," according to York, but many have also spoken out online in support of their colleagues.
York's suggestion that "some classes, labs and tutorials will have to be temporarily suspended" might be a bit of an understatement. Either way, the school says students will be able find regularly updated information about their courses at the university's website.
Students are not so sure about this claim.
Ironic, @yorkuniversity couldn’t keep their courses website running all day, and now that it does, it’s inaccurate. It says 2 of my classes which my professors emailed saying they’re cancelled, are “active”. Just cancel all classes or (preferably) listen to @cupe3903comms!! pic.twitter.com/i8KnJIRQ79— Lulli Boyz for Solidarity With CUPE3903 (@LulliBoyz) March 5, 2018
A massive solidarity rally is set to take place today at 11:30 a.m. near York Blvd. and Keele St.
"In the 3 years since our last round of negotiations, York has demonstrated a clear intent to lower the quality of education, confuse our students, and undermine the union," reads a description for the event on Facebook. "This stops now."
"York is trying to tell us that times are tough, while hiding that they made $37 million in profits last year alone--a number that has been steadily increasing since 2013," it continues.
"How far is York willing to go to deny the dignity and respect its workers deserve?"
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