January 13, 2009
Parents should think twice about sending their teens to York University because of ongoing labour troubles, says a family that has launched a Facebook group and blog pressing for an end to a strike that is now in its 10th week.
With tomorrow’s university application deadline looming, Dagmar Kanzler and David Ross – parents of a second-year student – say they need to “warn other parents that York is not able to deliver the education” it promised because classes have been cancelled for almost all of the school’s 50,000 students since the strike began Nov.6.
“Both the university and the union have completely lost track of the fact that this is all about the students,” said Kanzler. “It’s not about them. It’s about 50,000 people who are just in limbo right now – people whose futures are going to be permanently affected.”
The university and the union representing its 3,340 teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants aren’t talking. Late last week, the university asked the Ontario labour ministry to organize a supervised vote on its latest offer, which includes a 9.25 per cent wage increase over three years.
No date has yet been set for the vote on the offer, but if employees approve it, the strike would end.
Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the striking workers, has planned a rally for noon today to protest the forced vote.
York spokesperson Alex Bilyk said parents can call the university for information and that “the quickest way to get our students back into class is for our employees to vote yes for the offer, which is reasonable and sustainable.”
He said the labour disruption could hurt applications for next fall, but once it’s over academic programs will go on. However, so far, the strike hasn’t appeared to scare off potential students, guidance counsellors across the province say.
Ronna Stulberg, at Albert Campbell Collegiate in Scarborough, said she has “not heard one single concern.”
Joanne Brown, the guidance head at Maple High School in York Region, said 79 per cent of the students applying for university there have chosen York, which is consistent with other years.
“The only thing I am seeing is potentially an increase in applications to Ryerson as well, whereas students in the past may have only applied to York,” she said.
Of 150 university applications, 119 students have chosen at least one York program, she added. Brown is involved with the Ontario School Counsellors’ Association and said no one is reporting a drop in interest in York.
“Students aren’t talking about it,” she added. “But if students came to us, we’d say next year was the perfect time to go. You know all the labour strife is over. It’s probably one of the best places to go.”
Well, I sure hope that they realise and inform all these kiddies coming into University that there are only a handful of Universities that are insulated from this coordinated labour movement of Cupe-University unions in the Province.
I will say now that if York does not get a 3 year contract then I am tranferring out of Province to finish my degree. If I have this in my fourth year again, I don’t know what I will do.