3,000 York University academic workers go on strike

26 February 2024
3,000 York University academic workers go on strike


Some 3,000 academic workers at York University walked off the job Monday after the union representing them and the school failed to reach a deal on a new collective agreement.

The contract instructors, teaching assistants and graduate assistants officially went on strike after midnight, with picket lines set up throughout the morning and a rally scheduled for later outside York University subway station.

Erin McIntosh, spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3903 and a PhD student at York, said Monday the school did not bring an updated offer to the bargaining table over the weekend after union members voted in favour of strike action on Friday.

The primary issue for the workers are wages that reflect the current cost of living, McIntosh said last week.

“We’re struggling to make ends meet. Basic needs like housing and food have skyrocketed in price, but the wages for people who do the majority of teaching at York have been falling further and further behind,” McIntosh said at the time.

In a statement Monday, a spokesperson for York University said the school offered proposals on Feb. 7 and Feb. 21 that “addressed crucial items,” including increase in rates of pay.

“The University is ensuring that students learning needs remain the top priority. Contingency plans for all other aspects of university operations are in place and will be activated as required and we will continue to work toward a swift, equitable, and sustainable agreement with CUPE 3903,” the statement said.

The latest labour action comes just over five years after a 2018 strike at the university, when Premier Doug Ford’s government stepped in and passed legislation to end the months-long contract dispute.

Around the same time, the province also passed Bill 124, which restricted many public sector wage increases to one per cent for three years. The government officially repealed the legislation last week after two courts ruled it was unconstitutional.

“That law was subsequently struck down by the courts because it was unconstitutional, but York has yet to address the imbalance it created,” CUPE 3903 said following the strike vote on Friday.
Sucre: cbc
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