TORONTO, Ont. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. this morning, the 3,700 members of Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3903) began a legal strike against their employer, York University.

At a special membership meeting held yesterday, members voted 71 per cent to reject the university’s last offer and commence strike action to support their efforts to secure a fair contract that takes action against the increasing ‘normalization’ of precarious contract teaching.

“Members sent a clear message to York University – We refuse to be dictated to, we refuse to accept that low-paid, insecure and precarious employment are increasingly the norm at York University,” said Faiz Ahmed, Chair of Local 3903, which represents contract faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants at York University.

The vote followed a demand by York University that Local 3903 present its last offer to members, even though negotiators for Local 3903 warned the university its offer was unsatisfactory.

“We are striving to turn back a system that’s keeping contract faculty strung along on short-term, low-paid, precarious employment contracts – in some cases for a decade or longer – with no security or stability,” said Ahmed.

“York’s last offer was woefully inadequate in addressing the serious priorities our bargaining team brought to the negotiating table,” he added.

Local 3903’s Bargaining Committee remains committed to finishing the job of negotiating a collective agreement that preserves quality post-secondary education at York University and is fair to the people who deliver more than 64 per cent of instruction, but receive less than eight per cent of York’s operating budget.

“We deeply regret the inconvenience this will cause students, and our commitment to them is that our bargaining committee remains available to resume negotiations on short notice, but we can’t negotiate a contract alone. York University needs to return to the table as well to finish the job,” said Ahmed.


For more information, please contact:

Faiz Ahmed, CUPE 3903 Chair, 416-879-7078

Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641