More than 3,700 education workers at York University could be on strike as early as March 3.
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903 — representing contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants and research assistants at the university — is preparing for a possible strike after the union voted 79.17 per cent for a strike mandate.
The vote saw a 40 per cent turnout, the highest in 10 years. Following the vote, the Ontario Ministry of Labour issued a “no board” report on Feb. 10, putting Local 3903 in a legal strike position as early as Feb. 27.
In an effort to maximize the chances of a negotiated settlement, however, the union extended the strike deadline to March 3 and scheduled three additional bargaining meetings with the employer.
“We are doing our best to avoid a strike, but the university is leaving us with very few options,” said Faiz Ahmed, chair of CUPE Local 3903. “We are trying to make the bargaining process work, but we also need to be prepared to strike if negotiations fail to achieve a fair contract for our members.”
The union is seeking improvements to job security for contract faculty, to funding for graduate students and to equity in the workplace.
The parties have been meeting with the assistance of a conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour since Jan. 16.
On March 2 CUPE Local 3903 members will meet to make a final decision about whether to accept the employer’s final offer or go on strike.
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