January 9, 2009 – TORONTO, ON.
After five days of negotiations that brought the two sides significantly closer together, CUPE 3903 is frustrated and disappointed by York University administration’s decision to walk away from the table and call for a forced ratification vote on an offer that a general membership meeting rejected last night by nearly 90%.
“Our members agreed that the university’s offer is inadequate and does not address several key priorities set out by the membership,” said spokesperson Tyler Shipley.
In particular, CUPE 3903 members are deeply concerned by the administration’s unwillingness to maintain a historic commitment to converting contract professors into tenure stream jobs, especially in context of more than 100 retirements that have occurred in the tenure stream.
“York’s lack of commitment to conversions not only creates hardship for contract professors but also institutionalizes the casualization of university teaching,” said Maria Wallis, a contract professor. “Teaching at the university level should not be a ‘McJob.’”
This tenth week of the strike marked the first time that York could be persuaded to stay at the table with the union’s bargaining team, Shipley said. Prior to Jan. 3, there had been only five days of bargaining. Though both members and leadership are disappointed that this recent period of fruitful negotiations has come to an end, Shipley said they are confident that a ratification vote will only reiterate the union’s strong commitment to its priorities and to its members’ ability to provide a high-quality education at York.
According to Ben Nelson, a teaching assistant and York University senator, “The resumption of negotiations as soon as possible is the best and quickest way to end the strike.”