York University strike ends today


Johannes Zeidler, an assistant professor at McMaster University, joins a Queen’s Park rally in support of striking York University CUPE members. (Jan. 25, 2009)
Back-to-work bill set to be approved as union withdraws threat of court battle
Jan 29, 2009 04:30 AM

It’s all over but the voting.

The provincial government will force an end this morning to the three-month strike at York University and allow 45,000 students to resume classes Monday with the expected passage of legislation ordering 3,340 contract professors back to work.

Today’s vote on Bill 145 comes on the fifth day of an emergency session of the Ontario legislature to introduce back-to-work legislation. The NDP opposes the bill, but with only 10 seats it will be unable to prevent its passage.

The striking workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903, withdrew late yesterday their threat of a court challenge to the legislation, removing a potential obstacle to the resumption of classes.

“We have reached a point that the only way they can get back to class is if we simply allow this to go ahead,” said York graduate student and CUPE media spokesperson Tyler Shipley. “I’m sure the students are pretty sick of being used as a pawn of a larger game.”

The strike was the longest ever at an English-speaking university in Canada and will mark the third time in 12 years that labour strife has forced York to extend classes into the summer.

The strike shut down the campus on Nov. 6, when the 3,340 teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants walked off the job. Job security for professors on short-term contracts, full-time openings for part-time faculty, length of contracts and more funding for graduate students are key issues on which the two sides have been unable to agree.

Premier Dalton McGuinty has faced criticism for his reluctance to introduce back-to-work legislation earlier in the strike.

Mediator Reg Pearson was brought in last week to bring a quick settlement to the dispute but informed the premier Saturday that negotiation was not possible, forcing McGuinty to move ahead with legislation, despite concerns it could be challenged in court.

Union members, contract professors and teaching assistants, are concerned about their students and want the strike to end, Shipley said.

“If York’s administration won’t take responsibility, perhaps it is up to us to take the high road and ensure these students’ classes will resume,” Shipley said.

Even though the strike is ending, students should not expect a tuition refund. John Milloy, minister of training, colleges and universities, said the government is examining ways to extend student loans to those who now face a longer school year.

“Right now we are working out the details with the university of how we can extend OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program),” Milloy told reporters.

York graduate student Vanessa Lehan thinks financial compensation should flow to students. “Of course we should get a tuition rebate,” she said. “It is ridiculous.”

Extending OSAP is no answer, Lehan said.

“Oh, that is great. Fantastic. That helps them not at all,” said Lehan. Lehan does not have student loans, she added. Instead, she said she “just starves.”

McGuinty said in the Legislature yesterday he understands York students are going to have additional costs for food, transportation and rent because of an extended school year due to the prolonged strike.

“I think our responsibility is to ensure that OSAP is sufficiently flexible to meet those additional needs. I’ve made that commitment and we will find a way to make that happen,” McGuinty said.

OSAP offers loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships to pay for post-secondary education for those who qualify.

Tory MPP Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey) said he wants to see the students get financial help for the damage a labour dispute has caused to their year – and an extension to student loans is not good enough.

“That’s just a promise for more student debt under OSAP, and that’s not good enough,” he said in the Legislature.

Students don’t deserve to be financially penalized because of a strike beyond their control, Wilson said.

“These students will likely lose the month of May for summer employment, meaning the estimated loss of summer earnings for these students will be at least $1,400 if they work full time for four weeks at minimum wage,” he added.

NDP Leader Howard Hampton has also called on the government to compensate the students.

Hampton questioned McGuinty about the phone call the premier made to York president Mamdouh Shoukri early Tuesday morning.

McGuinty encouraged the York president to get back to the bargaining table while the legislation is debated.

McGuinty said he did speak with the York president and made it clear to him “that there was still the option open to him to sit down and continue to negotiate.”

There was no collective bargaining yesterday. “I think the response from the president of York University was pretty clear – it’s `Screw you,'” Hampton said.

He added this is proof York and the university’s administration never intended to engage in meaningful collective bargaining.

Shipley said there were only 11 days of negotiation during the strike.




Filed under Uncategorized

82 responses to “York University strike ends today

  1. MR Two

    first post.

  2. MR Two

    McGuinty IS a douchenozzle – extend OSAP? ROFL. Please, I WOULD rather starve than owe more $$ to our worthless gov’t.

  3. Dave

    “If York’s administration won’t take responsibility, perhaps it is up to us to take the high road and ensure these students’ classes will resume,” Shipley said.

    You passed the high road 12 weeks ago.

  4. Unfortunately

    Taking the “high road” is the only thing CUPE3903 has done all strike to > appear < on the side of the students. It comes at a good time as resentment towards T.A’s is going to be high. Cupe needs to higher themselves a new PR person.

  5. Unfortunately

    hire* >_<

  6. when is the final meeting taking place?

  7. annonymous

    Tyler Shipley is a piece of garbage. Does he think anyone buys his shit? He makes it sound like because of CUPE 3903 we students can finally go back to class……. NEWSFLASH TYLER THE MORON everyone knows that any last attempt by the union to challenge back to work legislation would be tossed in the garbage. So congradulations instead looking like complete idiots your not trying to make yourselves seem like heroes. We are in this strike because of your insane demands. Tyler Shipley doesn’t deserve anything in life.

  8. iphone


  9. iphone

    are we 100% sure that we are gonan beb ack to bacllas?

  10. iphone

    tell me pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    are we 100% back to class on monday ?

  11. AmericanStudent

    How does it feel to know that all of *this* was a complete waste of time and that you are all back to square one?

  12. AJ


    feels like crap…

  13. MR Two

    It sucks knowing that we should be prepared for a strike at the next available opportunity.

  14. Unfortunately

    @ iphone

    Yes it’s 100% sure we are going back Monday, from what I gather the only thing that could stop it would be if the NDP managed to change everyone else’s mind – not going to happen.

  15. SumbanthSingh



  16. Timothy


  17. yorkishopless

    what…mcguinty!!!!…i think you just pass this Back to Work legislation…so that you can make the students pay countless money to your gov’t??!!? We students think you’re doing something to end this strike for good but you’re real intention was really this!!! i can’t believe there is not going to be any F###### refunds!!!!

  18. ts

    Its about friggin time.
    I cannot believe the union thinks they are taking the ‘high road’. They are sore losers and cannot accept defeat. That’s what happens when you ‘demand the impossible’….

  19. Natasha

    we deserve refunds after this. Though york intends us to finish our courses we are going to be losing material in the condensation of classes. Not to mention with profs trying to do less assignments to fit into less time assignments will be worth more and due in shorter periods of time meaning we lose grades as well.
    We deserve refunds. Forget owing the gov’t more money, some students did not qualify for osap and though some may be well off they still deserve their money back for the education they have lost.
    They try to make it seem like we’re winning by finally getting to go back. But we’ve really lost in the process. If they had btwl earlier we have been ok…

  20. Int'l

    All this talk about OSAP.
    So it’s easy for us to just “throw in” an extra month or two of living in toronto. Not to mention the time we spent waiting up here for the strike to end!
    What about us?

  21. mikael

    im in ADMS and have been back since monday.
    let me tell u, ur so happy now…but wait till u get back and ur prof tells u ur final is worth 70 or 80% …u wont be happy. cuz, essentially whatever u did before does mean shit.

    good luck learning 4 wks worth of new material in 2….and a condensed exam sched.\

    f*ck york and f*ck cupe 3903

  22. motion carried

    Motion carried

  23. Dave

    A 3 credit course at York costs: $552.36

    so $552.36/12 weeks = $46.03

    If you are taking a full time course load a semester (5 classes) that’s $230.15.

    Making for a total loss of $460.30 this year. Based on a 10 courses load over F/W.

    *Based on returning students tuition tables.

  24. silent till now

    I don’t understand how u all are cussing out CUPE and pointing all fingers at them. I’m upset about the strike too and i’m definitely not looking forward to getting screwed once we get back with 6 classes worth of exams in like a week exam schedule…but yaaaa

    i agree with Hampton….the university never did negotiate properly…they just discounted the unions offers and said to hell with u guys. Atleast the union TRIED negotiating…although with stupid demands…they tried….do u all not recall that the university was the one that got up after just 20 mins in one of the meetings???..it’s easy to blame CUPE…but hey…if both sides were actually commited to reaching an agreement…they wouldn’t just disclaim the unions offers and walk off till a new offer was proposed. The whole purpose of a negotiating is saying okay..that offer was BS…lets work out something else…and they talk through the process. The university acted like a little kid….they were hearing something that wasnt ideal so they shrugged their shoulders and walked away until someone patted them on the back and said okay son…come back now….ridiculous

    screw york….u guys were all desperate to get back…understandably for international and graduating students….but i for one have no desire to go back and get f$&!ed by yorks compressed schedule.

    good luck everyone

  25. This Shipley guy is a piece of work. In this article, published this morning he says:

    “If York’s administration won’t take responsibility, perhaps it is up to us to take the high road and ensure these students’ classes will resume,” Shipley said.

    Then in this article, posted moments ago, he says:

    “People are feeling like their rights have been subverted, people are feeling like we’ve been through so much hardship and fought off so much adversity,” said York graduate student and CUPE media spokesperson Tyler Shipley.”


    Um, way to do a complete 180.

  26. York U strike is over as of now.

  27. Prepare for Monday, folks!

    I’d like to extend a very warm thanks to the creator of this blog for informing all of us of developments throughout this ordeal.

    Proof it’s done?



    See you all Monday!

  28. I’d like to extend a very warm thanks to the moderator of this blog for keeping us updated throughout the duration of this strike.

    See you all Monday! The bill PASSED!

  29. Thank you yorkstrike2008 for this outlet. It has been a great help for many. To all fellow students, I wish you good luck in your academic future.

  30. Nice Kid


  31. KJN27

    I’m addicted to YorkStrike2008(9), it’ll be strange not coming here every day and reading!

    Good luck everyone:)

  32. TheLegace

    I agree with the earlier poster. I don’t know why you people have been so immature, it really bugs me when people criticise to childisly beliefs of other people. I know we’re all anxious to get back to class, but you people are just pathetic. I don’t understand why everyone is so selfish and quick to blame one party. York has always known that if they wait this strike out government will get involved, it’s like politicians are in their pocket. I mean all the mediators have ever done is keep both parties away from each other. When union and York spent that week negotiating a lot of things changed. Man I can’t beleive how selfish people have really become.

    You people are bad mouthing NDP party and blaming them, but when your tuition hikes up, and you start loosing rights as students, which I am very confident we all will, then we’ll cry. I am not a big fan of socialism or NDP, but atleast NDP has been doing more for university students than any other party has, because they disagree their idiots or whatever you people called them. No one is pointing fingers at the root cause of the problem, that is that York University has had 3 strikes in the past decade, explain to me how 3 generations of TA/Contract Faculty/etc. have been having problems with their employeer. Have you seen a track record worse than this anywhere?

    But all this legislation has done is cause more problems than fix. Wait till 2010, if you even expect to finish the whole year it would be a little naive to beleive that.

    Well Whats Done is Done. I just hope people’s immaturity on this website is not a reflection of 50,000 students who in my opinion probably didn’t care that much. I mean there are usually only 100-200 online users on this website. But thanx to whoever started this website. I just hope people aren’t going to be even more divided. Because I hope the students will stick together.

    Good Luck. See you all on Monday.

  33. E

    The Union is at fault as much as York U is.
    Both sides were reluctant to properly bargain.
    And now it’s too late for anything

    Too much time has been wasted.

  34. Danny


  35. caitron

    @ mikael
    i haven’t gone back yet, but i already got an e-mail from my prof saying we’re probably gonna scrap the final exam, which was worth 35%, and put all the weight on our final paper, meaning it will be worth 70%!!!!! that’s a lot riding on one paper! but then again, for me, i prefer papers to exams usually… i know a lot of people don’t, however.

  36. ADMS student

    I’ve been back since Monday too, and so far my professors have been amazingly understanding.

    One prof isn’t testing us on anything we learnt before the strike, just the 3 classes after. Another scrapped our final test and is allowing us to put the marks on whatever other project we want, in the second term.

    Some profs are being super understanding, and my workload doesn’t seem like its going to be too crazy (mind you I was one of those “nerds” who actually got a lot of work done over the break)

    So don’t freak out everyone, it won’t be as bad as you think!

  37. angrystudent

    Yes, its for sure. were back on Monday! I know a few students who have already been informed of “take home exams” which should make the transition much easier for all of us! however, I think SHIPLEY is a bastard and York owes us all some cash. It sickens me how students who took out loans get some compensation BUT us who SLAVED and paid straight out of our pockets…..well that’s another story.

    and sorry but extending classes till June doesn’t make up for the lost time.

  38. Still ?

    We are nearly guaranteed to be back monday Feb. 2nd.

    And can anyone refer a link or information about when and where the legislation will finally be passed. Even though the strike is nearly guaranteed to end today, has it yet?.. or are we still waiting for the government ?

  39. Dave


    You still have the option of keeping your original syllabus! The Senate has made that point pretty clear.

  40. Graduating

    Kudos “SIlent Till Now”
    My thoughts exactly, lets look past the biased media and realize the York admin. are the ones who played a big roll in causing the strike by not taking care of unhappy employees, and they are also the ones who made the strike last as long as it did by walking away from the table and refusing to negotiate for a majority of the three months.

    Bittersweet return… we will have to pay for the mistakes of both sides by enduring the ludicrous that is about to be thrown at us. Not to mention future students will likely have to deal with a strike sooner than later because nothing was solved in this dispute.

    Thank god I am graduating this year… Adios York.

  41. ...

    @ ADMS Student

    I’m in the same class as you! We’re so lucky we got a good professor. I just hope the rest of them are as understanding as ours.

  42. lets be realistic

    so i guess if they have the same contract they were on before striking the possibility of them striking in 2010 is probably high!!!
    see you all at school 🙂

  43. adrian

    Tyranny of the masses.

  44. Yeah i am so happy we are coming back to school …again…and i am just freaking out about the exams and all….just wanted to wish everyone gud luck with this year and see you all on Monday.

    All the best Yorkies!!!!!!!! Be glad we are all over this strike, just think of it as a BAD nitemare and now your back to reality!!!!!lmaooo!!!!! :):):)

  45. :):):):):):):):):):):)

  46. tester

    ha ha CUPE. enjoy binding arbitration.

    where is truth and CMWC now……lol

    and they still have to go into the cold and break down their stupid sheds.

  47. aRt

    @ ADMS Student

    I’ve been back since Monday too and its true… all my profs have been super understanding too…. final exams are like 70% or so for only the last three lectures tht we will be attending now!! thats really like piece of cake!! so, dont freak out at all… it wont be that tuff… everyone knows that the strike wasnt our fault and we are being compensated likely!!

  48. Mr48

    Yeah drive students already struggling to make ends meet deeper into debt, real smart Mr. Premier. At the very least they should give an interest free loan.

  49. AJ

    so while we’re in class, they will still be negotiating right? Or are negotiations finished for the time being?

  50. ALEE

    monday monday monnday..

    it had to happen sometime. we’re sentenced till June correct?

  51. ALEE

    Why is this the only site that says the strike is over.
    I’m surprised I can’t find it anywhere else
    if I didn’t have reference to this site I’d be incredibly lost.

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  52. Danny


    “we’re sentenced till June correct?”

    CORRECT. At least unitl then

  53. ...

    I want to give a big shout-out to YorkStrike2008 for keeping us informed. Dude, you’re the best!!!

  54. Dave

    June 2nd that is.

    Plus, that’s if you have exams till the absolute last day. Winter semester exam period has also had a week lopped off it.

  55. Danny

    Really? I thought june 2nd wasthe last day of classes then exams are still after that… i could be wrong though


    so are we definitely back?

  57. Dave

    Well, Fall semester + exams will conclude by February. Winter semester will begin in March. There is 55 days of instruction time for winter term putting and end date in the middle of May. Exam period is 12 days.

    We’ll all know more and certainties come once this thing gets royal assent and York kicks into PR overdrive for repairs.

  58. Gurjot

    panchuda, hun cheta aya, york york hai hai!

  59. Hindi

    NAHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII yeh nahiiiiiiiiiiiiii hosaktaaaaa……mughey wapis nahii janaa……

  60. Danny

    12 days of classes starts Monday, Feb 2nd ends Wednesday, Feb 18th (Monday Febuary 16th is Family Day = No Classes) Then 13 days of Exams will finish March 9th. Then Winter term starts and ends around May 27th…ish (55 days) This is EXCLUDING Easter Holidays and other Holidays we might have. Then there is still 12 days of exams. So i think it will be later then June 2nd, unless they shorten the Winter term a bit

  61. Danny

    If York is following its schedual of days of class they said we would be totally done June 12th. (last exam day)

  62. Dale

    Anyone know if we are running on a special schedule next week, or whether it’ll be a normal school week (Monday classes on Monday, Tuesday classes on Tuesday, etc…)

  63. silent till now

    agreed with the above poster…

    if the only chance we have to seeing money is in more osap funding…atleast let it be interest free.

    we should start a petition to bring that idea to mguinty.

    great idea mr48

  64. silent till now


    Schedule will resume as normal. Whatever classes you regularly had on monday is what you go to.

  65. Dave

    Bilyk has stated the year would be extended till June 2nd.

  66. Danny

    I know that’s what he said but it doesn’t make sense with the numbers. Maybe he meant classes would be extended until then. and exams are still afetr that? I don’t really know but all i’m saying is that the numbers add up to June 12

  67. caitron

    the york website is updated (saying we’re going back on monday), but i can’t find where it says what the new sessional dates will be

  68. Pissed

    The war is over

  69. Chris F

    “Tyler Shipley. “I’m sure the students are pretty sick of being used as a pawn of a larger game.””

    I have a friend from the US who has a traditional saying that seems very appropriate in this situation. I believe it goes some thing like…. “No shit, Sherlock.”

    And yes, thank you very much to those who maintained this blog.

  70. Dave

    Senate update:

    Those of you freaking out over grades, this is a bit bitter sweet, but…

    “For the F term only, students may withdraw from courses without receiving a final grade one week after the conclusion of the Fall term examination period.”

  71. Aaron

    I want to thank intelligent posters like Andrew, cupe member with child, and especially cupedoll for helping to maintain a degree of integrity on this site. It’s finally over.

    I’ll now have trouble finding a summer job, I’ll have to study extra hard, and we’ll all finish late, but right now all I care about is the fact that it’s over. We’re going back.

    For a few days of this strike, I started to think the year was going to be lost.

    Everything is okay now. CUPE will never go on strike again…..for about four years, that is.

  72. Timothy

    Fall and Winter dates have been posted by york admin

    scroll to the bottom

  73. B.

    …and York salvages the entire of summer semester!

    Seems like a brutal schedule for those of you obligated to do summer term.

  74. AndrewB

    Yeah that will be a little insane for people doing summer school. Do basically 5 months straight of fall/winter term, then do 3months of summer, then right back into school a week or so later to restart the fall semester. I did summer school this year and it was a little to much without getting a break. But hey, got to look at the positive and at least summer school is still there.

  75. Disillusioned

    Thanks Adrian for all of your hard work with this site. Part of me is thinking “what will I do without checking this blog every hour or so?” but then I think, “oh yeah, I won’t have time to do anything because I’ll be so busy with my school work.” I really hope everyone has a smooth transmission and that in a few weeks we’ll be so back in the game this will all just be a bad memory.

  76. graduating student 2009

    hey so is the convocation still gonna be this mid-June…when school finishes on the 2nd of June?!~

  77. lawl

    when is the last day before you are able to drop a course without receiving a grade?

  78. bumblebee47

    same question for me too PLEASE!

  79. J.

    I hate CUPE. I hate York. I just can’t decide who to hate more. Looks like I have an essay to start, in any event. What an epic waste of time this whole thing has been. Thanks for keeping up updated, Yorkstrike2008. Has been helpful! =)

  80. Mike Oxbig

    when is the last date to drop classes without receiving a grade?