How much did the 1997 cost YorkU and Undergrads?



A 1997 professors’ strike at York University that stretched the school year into May caused an estimated loss of summer earnings to students of $12 million, or about $630 per student, according to a study conducted at the time.

The landmark survey of a sample of about 540 undergraduates by York social science professor Paul Grayson – one of the only studies in North America to look at the impact of a campus strike on students – shows that 37 per cent of students were worried about getting a late start on their summer jobs.

When contacted five months later, the students were asked to estimate how much they had lost by missing up to a month of summer because of making up classes, and the average was found to be $630 per student, said Grayson, of York’s Institute for Social Research.

“For low-income households, this is a considerable amount of money. One of the problems was that employers were a bit wary of hiring students because they knew that (if they started May 1 during the strike), their tenure at the job would be interrupted once the strike was over,” explained Grayson yesterday.

“The total loss to full-time undergraduate students at York because of the way the strike affected summer jobs was approximately $12 million.”

The study interviewed the same 540 students both during and after the seven-week strike that shut down classes March 20, before final exams, and lasted until May 13.

During the strike, three out of four students said they had “major concerns” over not knowing how long it would last, and 61 per cent had major concerns over how their assignments and tests would be changed when the strike ended. More than half were afraid they would have forgotten important information over the seven weeks.

“The strike had a very significant impact on students,” said Grayson, citing senior students in particular who were applying to graduate school, education students whose practice-teaching in schools was disrupted and science students, who worried that gaps in their coursework would hamper them in years to come.

Yet when asked five months later whether the strike truly had disrupted their academic year, most said no, which Grayson said could be linked to the human tendency “to mellow our recollections over time.”

Still, 86 per cent of students said they had no problems finishing their courses, although almost half of them had to wait until August to get their final marks and 15 per cent were still waiting in October. About one-third asked for – and obtained – some sort of adjustment to accommodate academic problems caused by the strike.

About one-quarter said the strike disrupted plans for summer school, and 15 per cent had to postpone their graduation because of the strike.

Classes at York have been shut down since Nov. 6 by a strike of the Canadian Union of Public Employees 3903, which represents 3,340 teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants.

Union members are taking part in a secret-ballot vote tomorrow and Tuesday on the university’s latest offer organized at York’s request by Ontario’s labour ministry.

Both a petition by 282 professors last week and a letter from the university’s deans urged union members to accept the deal.

But a new letter from the York University Faculty Association has urged all York faculty to let union members make up their own minds and not try to influence how they vote.

“The faculty association reaffirms its support of free collective bargaining and does not endorse a ratification vote of CUPE 3903 members as forced by the employer,” said association president professor Arthur Hilliker in a public statement Friday.

Moreover, he said, the executive “does not endorse any YUFA member attempting to influence how a CUPE 3903 member might vote in the forced ratification vote.”



Filed under Uncategorized

25 responses to “How much did the 1997 cost YorkU and Undergrads?

  1. hmm

    I’m wondering if anyone will be thinking of switching schools for next year, considering how another strike may be possible in 2010 (my graduating year)…
    I came to york from UWO this year for the theatre department.. and now I may consider switching again if they get the 2-year contract… am I crazy?

  2. k - FEd

    yeah, but 2010 is when all unions at universities contracts expire…therefore – there is a chance that whatever university you go to they may go on strike…however they may not be striking for the same ideologies as the union is………

  3. Perplexed

    the star article is useful but it doesn’t report on the amount of money students made during that strike. i remember students doubling up on shifts and making a whackload of cash. the star either chose to just report on the money lost due to the extended year or the academic who did the survey didn’t pose the question about student income during the strike which would make it methodologically flawed if you are trying to dtermine the financial impact on student income as a result of the strike. i know of many students who have been working full time during this strike and will be financially better off as a result.

  4. tired of no school

    hey all,

    just wondering do we have any information as to what % chance there is that we will be back in school/if this forced rat vote will go through?

    just want some solid news rather than opinion and why things are as bad as they are. please get back to some facts, short and to the point.


  5. Warczaski

    what do you mean..?
    if this forced rat goes through then its on 100%

  6. s

    @ tired of no school

    about the vote, it’s simple.

    if it goes through with a YES, then we start class by monday at the latest. if it goes through with a NO, we don’t go back yet.

    nobody will know until tmr night – at the earliest.
    nobody has any ‘facts’ about it. not yet.

    and that’s all there is to it.

    hold your horses, hold your breath and just wait. we’re all in the same boat.

  7. tired of no school

    that’s kind of what i figured, just looking for some insider info. tough to get during a strike. Too bad there is so much left in the dark. It’s very unfair.

    Thanks for the reply “s”

  8. YES or NO

    any newz about todayz voting???
    or will they tell us 2gether after 2moro’s votings???
    plzz let us kno if u have any solid info….


  9. CUPE Insider

    Just got back from the voting. So far most people think the ratio for YES/NO votes is around 20/80.

    Ofcourse we still have tomorrow but I think there will be even more “NO”s tomorrow.

    We will see… 🙂

  10. ANgry

    @ CUPE Insider
    I love u I love u I love u

  11. Poor student

    @ CUPE Insider

    WOW! That is what I heard too. around 30/70 for NO/YES.

    Seems we are staying home a bit longer. Oh well.

  12. almost over

    Please vote no, union members!

    I agree with MR Two and many others.

    This latest offer from the employer has barely changed at all since the beginning of the strike. The university played dirty games and didn’t want to negotiate. Now they are working extra hard to make the union look bad if they vote no.

    But if the union votes YES, what the hell did they strike for so long for?? They could have said yes 2+ months ago to this same offer!

    If the union votes no, at least the employer will SERIOUSLY have to negotiate, for once. They don’t give a $hit about getting us back to school, or they would have negotiated since November 6th. Now with all their support from the media and the Deans they look like the good guys.

    I can’t believe I am on the union’s side for this, but, come on —- we can all hold on a few more days now, after all this. Otherwise they struck for nothing.

    and NO the year will not be lost at all!!

    p.s. i am not part of the union

  13. Lee

    thank u cupe insider for the update…i hate how the uni is playing games with our lives

  14. ANgry

    Vote NOOOOOOOOOOO n recieve a better Offer from York !!!! Bring the loozerrrrz down to their knees 😀

  15. ANgry

    @ Mark
    Suppp man?

  16. SumbanthH

    and a few spring rolls….

    but i do like orange chicken…

  17. ouch, stats always seem more dramatic. hopefully things will clear up.

  18. SumbanthHom

    damn it is all the chinese chickens faults

  19. ChinaseChickeing

    SumbanthHom you india
    you are becoming irritating to my nerves
    beware, we carry more diseases in the land of china then anywhere else combined.

  20. theowne

    He who counters hate with hate,
    is like a chicken with no head.

    -Lao Tzu

  21. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty stands behind the striking CUPE 3903 workers until the bitter end, just as you have supported us morally and financially for more than a decade.

    And if the province were to force back to work legislation I hope CUPE 3903 would not follow such undemocratic laws.

  22. sam

    I say vote NO!!!!! The year has already been lost whether we go back or not its just bull!!!!! We students lose out no matter how you look at it.

  23. Julie

    I have no clue on what I can do to take everything back to when I was only one of those “REGULAR” university students..if CUPE and university keep playing around like this..I probably want to refund the entire tuition fees and transfer to another school or something. However, my main point is that this is not only about the money. It is about wasting my precious time that no one would compensate…
    i feel so bad about myself even if its not my fault staying at home doing nothing and being joked around by my sister who goes to U of T…..

  24. Faculty, Teachers & Union are playing with the life of students. They have no morals and they teach morals.

    Terminate all the teachers, scrap the Union – shut down the University – everyone is joking and playing with the future of so many students.

    Shame on them, recession everywhere – Teachers should not be allowed to strike.

    Govt should intervene immediately and start classes immediately.

    God pl help students and give a sense to the edcuated faculty and teachers to stop all this nonsense. Regards Singh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s