Solidarity on display as York University Academic workers strike

With summer terms in jeopardy, York University slams door shut on talks to resolve strike

As a strike by 3,000 academic workers moves into its eleventh week, York University today appeared to slam the door shut on saving the summer terms by rejecting an urgent meeting request from CUPE 3903.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised that once again, York’s actions fail to match their many public statements,” said CUPE 3903 Chairperson Devin Lefebvre.

“Over and over again, York University has pressed for a speedy resolution, in the interests of students and the integrity of the academic terms that have been affected. They have repeatedly insisted our bargaining proposals need to be modified before any meaningful discussion can take place. Now that these things have happened, York has once again moved the goalposts, raising serious questions about their commitment to students and to academic integrity,” he added.

On Thursday, CUPE 3903 requested a face-to-face meeting with York University’s negotiators to present a revised package of bargaining proposals. York refused to meet, insisting they be permitted to review the proposals prior to meeting.

“We’ve been down this path with York before during this strike. The employer sets conditions for meeting, and when those conditions are met, the employer tells us it isn’t good enough and doesn’t live up to their commitment. Enough is enough,” said Lefebvre.

Earlier today, virtually every major faculty and student group at York University held a press conference to condemn York’s actions during the strike and urge the administration to return to the bargaining table. As well, the York Federation of Students, representing 50,000 undergraduate students at York, today passed a motion of non-confidence in York University President Rhonda Lenton and her bargaining team for their handling of the dispute, and implored the University to return to the bargaining table.

Units 1, 2 and 3 of CUPE 3903 walked off the job March 5, in an effort to push back concessionary demands that remain on the table and to reduce the level of precarious employment endemic in the post-secondary education sector.

Lefebvre said the Union’s amended bargaining proposals remain available as a framework for a resumption of bargaining, until Monday, May 14.

“We are available and ready to bargain, as we have been throughout the past ten weeks. York has an opportunity to finally do the right thing, save the Summer Terms and put an end to this dispute, but time is running out,” he said.

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