York University urges CUPE 3903 to step back from the brink
Negotiations at impasse; University begins preparations to reduce or cancel summer term
TORONTO, January 20, 2009 — All three units of CUPE 3903 voted against York University’s offer for settlement in a supervised vote that took place today and yesterday.
The results of the vote on the University’s offer are as follows: Unit 1 (teaching assistants) 62% opposed, Unit 2 (contract faculty) 59% opposed, and Unit 3 (graduate assistants) 70% opposed.
“We made it clear before the vote that we were making a fair, reasonable and comprehensive offer to settle the contract, especially in this worsening economic climate,” said York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “The Union characterized our offer to its members as a negotiating tactic, but it was not. We have no intention of negotiating for the sake of appearance. This is our offer for settlement. Now it is up to the Union and its members to reconsider their demands and step back from the brink.”
Shoukri said the parties are at an impasse and the summer term is in jeopardy.
“We know this is extremely hard on our students. At the same time we simply cannot sacrifice the University’s long-term academic future, or its financial stability, for short-tem goals. Nor are we prepared to subject our students to another strike in 2010.”
After six months of negotiations and eleven weeks on strike, CUPE 3903, representing contract faculty, graduate assistants, and teaching assistants, continues to seek increases totalling 15.8% over two years (7.9% per year). This is more than double the University’s total offer of 10.7% over three years (3.6% per year).
The Union is also demanding that the University convert contract faculty to full-time academic positions based only on seniority, without review and without evaluation of their academic and research capabilities.
To date the University has not received any comprehensive offer from the Union to settle the strike. When negotiations ended January 9, the Union still had more than 75 separate demands on the table.
“The clock has run out on CUPE,” Shoukri said. “I will be working with the deans and Senate Executive to prepare plans to further extend the academic calendar to ensure that students complete their fall and winter terms. This will mean reducing or, if need be, cancelling the summer term.”
The University will issue a communication to all students and their families explaining the University’s contingency plans for the academic year and the detrimental implications of conceding to CUPE 3903’s contract demands.
Students should monitor www.registrar.yorku.ca/disruption/ for class scheduling information updates.