​Ontario government launches commission to look into York University strike

More than 3,000 faculty walked off job March 5 in dispute over wages, job security
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 04/16/2018
Labour relations, strike
All three bargaining units of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3903 rejected the university's latest offer in what the union called a ``forced ratification vote'' earlier this month. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (CP) — The Ontario government has launched a commission to look into a contract faculty strike at Toronto's York University that has left tens of thousands students out of class for more than a month.

Labour Minister Kevin Flynn says an industrial inquiry commission will examine the remaining issues in the dispute and report on any steps that can be taken to address them.

More than 3,000 York graduate teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate research assistants walked off the job March 5 in a dispute over wages and job security.

All three bargaining units of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3903 rejected the university's latest offer in what the union called a “forced ratification vote” earlier this month.

The university this week called for binding arbitration, but the union refused, saying it wanted to negotiate a deal and move to arbitration only as a last resort.

York has argued the two sides have reached an impasse and that they are, in fact, at the point of last resort.

Flynn said the government understands that parties sometimes need support beyond the bargaining table, and the commission will look into the strike impartially.

William Kaplan has been chosen as the commission's sole member and will report back to the minister.

Advanced Education Minister Mitzie Hunter urged all parties to work with Kaplan and each other to resolve the dispute.

“It is disappointing that an agreement has not yet been reached between CUPE 3903 and York University,” she said in a statement.

“Our priority has always been to see students back in the classroom as quickly as possible to continue their education.”

The government said the last industrial inquiry commission was called in 2015 to examine a dispute between the United Steelworkers union and Crown Metal Packaging Canada.

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