Parents Page

I have had several requests from parents of undergraduate students to create a section of this blog for them to share their concerns, comments and ideas about the strike. So here it is! You may have discussions simply by making a comment to this original post. Refer to the main page for all updates concerning the strike.

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Thank you



162 responses to “Parents Page

  1. TA’s should all be fired…lets get on with the school year. Another thing that should be enforced is banning of unions for TA’s. Prof’s should be the only unionized group along with the janitorial staff.

  2. yorkstrike2008


    A LOT of professors are in the CUPE 3903 union. The only professors that are not are those with tenure and that is a rare title to have.

    Tell me how a man of 65 years of age, 25 years of teaching at York University, PhD. and 4 books written makes $38,000/year and has no job security?

    Now tell me how a man standing at a production line in an auto plant who dropped out of highschool, screws the same bolt over and over again all day and has been working there for 25 years makes $65,000 grand a year + fantastic benefits?

    The later is my uncle.

  3. Nathan

    “A LOT of professors are in the CUPE 3903 union. The only professors that are not are those with tenure and that is a rare title to have. ”

    Incorrect. Only sessional lecturers are in CUPE 3903. Professors, tenured or not, are in YUFA. There are 1400 YUFA members. There are 700 Unit 2 CUPE 3903 members. If what you say is true, tenure is not as rare as you make it out to be.

  4. Jim


    Agreed. TA’ing is a privilege. Fire all the TA’s, give the contract faculty what they want, and let me finish school!

  5. ff

    annyon and Jim,

    couple practical questions with your “nuke them” mentality:
    1) Who is going to teach you, if not the TAs and Contract faculty?
    2) Do you honestly think YUFA members would work with these new hires (presuming you could find them?

    What are they teaching you guys anyway? It certainly isn’t critical thinking.

  6. egg

    Lets buy some eggs and throw them at the CUPE 3903 members that stand in front of York all day, holding up traffic and walking in circles

  7. yorkstrike2008


    You are now speaking officially and not substantively. A Professor is the person at the front of the lecture hall who has defended their thesis and gets Dr. on the front of their name.

    Many Professors who have taught for many years do not get converted to YUFA and remain “Sessional” officially but certainly not substantively. I have had several profs who have taught at York annually for the last 15-25 years and are still Unit 2 members. They are not “sessional” in any substantive construction of the word.

    There are some Professors who get converted to YUFA for signing “package contracts” where their contracts are to teach a package of courses are do not have contracts for independent courses.

    The whole situation is a disaster.

    Nevertheless, the wording is misrepresenting in the least.

  8. Nathan


    Nonetheless, when you say “only tenured professors” are in YUFA, that is incorrect by a long stretch. There are not 1400 tenured professors at York.

    You’re absolutely correct when stating there are a lot of professors in Unit 2. However, your wording seems to imply that the vast majority of professors are in Unit 2, which is not the case.

  9. Jim

    “What are they teaching you guys anyway? It certainly isn’t critical thinking.”

    “What are they teaching you guys anyway? It certainly isn’t critical thinking.”

    re: “Critical thinking”

    You must be an Arts TA. This is the only imaginary skill you possess. Oh, that and the ability to paraphrase and call it research. lol

    Re-read my post. I said keep the contract faculty and fire the USELESS TA’s.

  10. MF

    Wow, I really thought the parent’s page wouldn’t be full of irrational fools.

  11. ff


    They are part of the same union; what part of the word/concept ‘union’ is confusing to you?

    Here is an equally sensible and well thought out proposition: I propose we keep the Dean’s eyes and fire his legs.

  12. Nope


    “TA’s should all be fired…lets get on with the school year.”

    How do you propose getting by this glaring non-sequitur? If TAs are responsible for directing tutorials and course work, by your inane sense of logic there’d be a resulting void.


  13. NY

    @ Nope

    There are many people who would glady fill in those positions…i dont think firing the TA’s will solve anything…but it is a good idea…

    Being a TA is a PRIVILEGE…if they don’t like what they are getting…get another job that does…and PLUS being a TA is not a full time job..therefore they are not technically under the minimum wage that they keep saying they are…they are the most paid TA’s compared to U of T and other schools…they shouldn’t be complaining…they have much to be greatful for…

  14. Buttercup

    I am not a TA because I want to be, I am a TA because I have to be!
    You say it’s a priveledge, sure because I enjoy getting the experience of teaching, but being a TA is part of being accepted into a graduate program. I am forced to do this. Upon being accepted into graduate school, I accepted that I would have to be a TA, and that I would not be able to have an outside job. Which I would not have time to do anyways, on top of teaching, marking, office hours and a full time course load, with research and practical work . Sure I could get another job if I decide to give up sleep.

    I don’t want to be on strike as much as the rest of you, I am still paying tuition, and now I am not getting any funding either. I hope this comes to a resolution asap. I am getting 14, 000 for the year. Which isnt much in toronto. After 5000+ in tuition, rent, food, books, etc. I am in a deep hole, the extra money to put me at the poverty line will be welcome.

    But seriously, before you give TA’s a hard time, get your facts straight and get informed on what CUPE is actually fighting for.

  15. Jim

    $14,000 a year to get a grad degree and you’re complaining!

    So, you’re telling me that as a grad student you would have time for an off-campus job even if you weren’t a TA? Sure.

    And do you think you would get a job in the private sector and make that much for part-time work? Ha, not even close.

  16. i work full time and go to school. couple that with a part time job on the side which i do for experience.

  17. frustrated

    FYI – I went back to school for a graduate degree and took an hourly pay-cut to be a TA. TAing is not a privilege, it is a job and a service to the university community. It alleviates the marking, classroom time and office hours required of tenured professors, so that they can produce the knowledge that is the primary function of the university. Disseminating that knowledge to undergrad students is secondary – if tenured, contracted, and emerging (graduate student) scholars were not primarily working on new information, undergrads could just buy 20 year old textbooks and study from home.

    Regarding “Arts” TAs. Do you know how Barack Obama, and consequently the rest of the political class, is preparing to create a better American government? By reading *history*, written by *history* professors, with the support of scholars, trained or in training, in “arts” departments.

    Finally, to the real parents on this site, I would ask you to please remember that undergrad tuition is heavily subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer, and that the hard-earned dollars you and your kids fork over to get them an education is not the entire cost of doing so. It’s a slippery slope to argue that “students” should suck it up and just pay for their education themselves…given that so many undergrads are expressing the opinion that their teachers are worthless and easily replaced, perhaps the Canadian taxpayer should start questioning why we subsidize this below par undergrad education at the rate we do.


  18. CL

    I support the strike 100%. It has meant that I have had to change plans and learn to be flexible but I believe it is worth going through because everyone should have the right to demand fair working conditions. I’m in my final year of my undergrad degree and I hope that by the time I make it to grad school the conditions will have improved so that I can benefit from this struggle.

    All those who are so eager to get back to school, so eager to see CUPE members fired, and so angry at the situation should try to take a step back to see the big picture. If we stand together as a united front against the administration we have a better chance of getting back to class sooner. Take this opportunity to do something fun or inspiring and learn to be flexible!

  19. To me its simple! I have paid for a service (education) well in advance, therefore like any other contract for a product or service agreed upon is the delivery of that service , end of story! I thoroughly understand unions and the bargaining process as well as the position of management and administration of York. However, any increase in wages and other benefits will only result in increased tuition fees again next year when again, I (and students) will have to “pay for those services in advance”. So its not just the students being held hostage but also the parents. Lets also be aware of the current and future economic situation and the need to be reasonable in negotiations and not expect “job security or higher wages” as its just not going to happen. These union members need to wake up and be realistic, there is no such thing as job security and being a TA is a priviliedge.
    No sympathy for TA’s here!

  20. yorkstrike2008

    The problem I have with that argument Brian is that Ontario Public Teachers are capped at $87,000 + wild benefits + excellent job security. A teacher practically has to abuse a child to get fired.

    Most CUPE members have much more education than teachers do and they have nowhere near the amount of compensation and job security that teachers do.

    Do you not think that there is an inconsistency with the value lent to higher education?

    We have all been fed from a young age that university is the only way you will have a decent job and these CUPE members have done that to the extreme and now they cannot even get decent job security?

    Quite a hypocrisy if you ask me…

  21. BP

    Inconsistency.. definately!

    Theres no question that I have issue with Ontario Public/Catholic Teachers also in reference to wages and benefits. However, in this particular instance, back to my comment of “delivery for a voluntary paid service”. Appreciate your comments though!

  22. yorkstrike2008


    I agree with your comment about paying in advance for a service that is not being delivered. However, your contract does not state anywhere that your credits will be given between this date and that date. It guarantees a certain minimum amount of class time etc. within a certain time period but not between two dates.

    IF our contracts stated that then there would be a large suit right now against the university for not fulfilling its agreement. Such is not the case, however.

    Being a TA in most cases is not a privilege. Many programmes require you to be a TA or some form of assistant. Indeed it is quite a privilege to have such a job. However, this is especially true with liberal arts TAs, they get paid for the amount of time they are in tutorials, lectures etc but the massive amounts of marking is not accounted for. I am an undergrad and to keep an A average is nearly impossible, especially in the arts where many professors say “A’s are for the people who wrote the books”. In graduate programmes it must be even more difficult to maintain the average to keep the A to keep your funding and then to balance TAing and the amount of work to do. These people are chained to a desk 24/7.

    I can sympathise with them. Many of these people are well into their thirties and are living below the poverty line. They could have all been plumbers and electricians and be making 60-70 grand a year right now…but then what would society look like?

  23. mm


    “To me its simple! I have paid for a service (education) well in advance, therefore like any other contract for a product or service agreed upon is the delivery of that service , end of story!”

    It may be even simpler: you don’t have a contract with CUPE or TAs. Your contract with York U is independent of the relations between York and its employees. IF those relations affect you in any way (as in this case), THEN talk to the entity you agreed with: York administration. End of story!

    “However, any increase in wages and other benefits will only result in increased tuition fees”

    Not necessarily, the money that York uses is not coming only from tuition fees.

    “These union members need to wake up and be realistic, there is no such thing as job security and being a TA is a priviliedge.”

    Nobody is asking to have absolute job security. Unit 2 members just need to *improve* their job security. Having to renew their contracts every semester is insane. That change is possible, so “improved in job security” DOES exist.

    Being TA a privilege? In what sense? It’s a job, nothing more, nothing less. Being alive is a privilege too, then. Would that cancel all rights to protest, disagree, complain, etc?

  24. Nellyli

    Can someone tell me whether there is any hope that we may be back to school after this Thursday? or it is very much unlikely. Thank you

  25. nikgs

    Hey parents:

    If you have not already done so, please send along an email to the premiere. Whatever your stance on the issue may be, if we all contact him, he’ll have to do something. He’s the elected leader, time for him to lead now before the strike goes too long.

  26. mm


    If you mean *immediately* (or even soon) after Thursday, I think is very unlikely.

    I don’t know anything about back-to-work legislation, or any external rule that may end the strike soon. But if we talk about the negotiation process, my opinion is that the most optimistic scenario would be: (1) tomorrow union members vote in favour of a motion to lower CUPE’s demands (someone has to pass the motion, though). (2) Cupe and Admin meet and agree on certain deal and ending the strike. (3) A new GMM ratifies the agreement.

    How fast could that be (if it happens)? Not soon-after-Thursday I bet.

  27. Lynda

    If you are a parent, please take the time to contact your local MPPs – here is a list:

    I was a CUPE supporter at the beginning of this strike but I am becoming more sceptical of their intention to bargain in good faith. Act now!

  28. I suspect that most of the comments here have not been written by parents. That being said, I would like to ask any parents who are here to explain why they feel so obligated to gift their children with a University education. My daughter who is a TA, has totally funded her own education and graduated with distinction from U of T and did so while working full time often 60 hours per week. Being from a small city she had to completely fund living in Toronto and paying her full shot. Of course scholarships helped.
    Now she has saved up some money to enter grad. school but part of her entry is to be a TA.
    I am astounded that parents here would want her to be fired and replaced by much less capable teachers. You get what you pay for.
    And by the way, I don’t support the idea that a university degree is a necessity for most to have. That attitude has diluted standards and fostered a feeling of entitlement that has resulted in a bloated university system and a loss of skilled tradesmen in this society. There are few qualified academics that fill the bill of TA, GA, or Contract lecturer. The best are actively recruited and you want to dismiss them because they want to be proud of their working relationship with the university and their students. It figures, the whiners and complainers are the first to come out. The calm and empathetic that allow time for disputes to be resolved naturally, know the time is far too early for thoughtless rushes to judgment.

  29. The arguments, publications, statements, demands, and generally this entire strike scenario is enough to make my g*d*m* head spin.

    York employees who are members of CUPE 3903 are among the highest paid employees in Ontario. And you’re striking why, might I ask? TAs work 10 hours a week and make $14,000 over 8 months? Heaven forbid.

    As for the contract faculty. Yes, it saddens me to hear that people who have devoted so much of their working lives to a career lack a corresponding salary… However, you need to shake the cobwebs out of your head. You have NO TENURE. Yes, you might have an equal amount of publications, do they enrich your field to the same extent as your tenured colleagues? I highly doubt it. Yes you design courses and oversee their execution each and every year, day after day, over and over (not much change in there is there?..), but what differentiates you from the likes of say someone employed in the public education system? The 4 months off per year instead of 2? The missing education degree? Or perhaps the absence of hormonally imbalanced teenage students?

    Who is here to represent the students other than the parents? I’m surprised this message board isn’t full of death threats and derogatory comments. For the most part, they are the ones footing the bill for most of the students to survive while their well laid out financial plans go down the toilet. What union to the students belong to other than the Students Union? Can that union go on strike for better wages? From what I gather, they would need to work in excess of 60 hours week at minimum wage to pull in the same salary as a TA.

    Unions were originated to protect working class from essentially being owned by their employers. People were being worked to death, chewed up by machines, starving, and diseased. Basically imagine the worst possible scenario sweatshop, and you had working class life in Canada. Yes, I understand things have changed, and unions take on a different context in today’s society. I also understand that people have a right to unionize and a right to strike. That doesn’t mean that a strike is justified. CUPE 3903 has gone on strike before and achieved their mandate…Power to the people… Why not do it again? Refuse arbitration, why? Because you know you’re in a position to have the cookie jar you’ve been snatching out of since 2001 taken away from you.

    As for increasing the ranks of the 3903 by 30%? That’s your own stupid fault for letting people in. Increase the union dues, stop taking in members. You can’t blame that on anyone other than your own.

    The administration’s 112% pay increase? Yes it’s a slap in the face. But it’s a slap in the face to everyone at the university, not just the 3903. That should be considered an outrage and be dealt with harshly. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU DESERVE A SLICE OF THE PIE THEY’VE TAKEN.

    This strike is about a union who has a history of holding out for something better, even though it’s not that bad, and others have it worse. Like a single obese, spoiled child crying in a restaurant when there’s no dessert. While a multitude of other lean, lesser off, mild mannered children observe as they genuinely enjoy what little they can afford.

  30. McYork U.
    1. Hire as many part time young beginners as possible and pay them poorly. Force them to do as much non paid work as possible without breaks. ( we all know this is true in the fast food industry)
    These will be our T. A.s

    2. Now we have many of our best paid employees that cant be fired or replaced, so as they grow old and retire or leave, replace them with trained beginners who we can pay poorly and give no benefits to. As we grow we can expand our work force by hiring as many of this type of employee as possible. Don’t ever give these workers permanent jobs, make them reapply every year or two just to keep them on their toes.
    These we will call Contract workers.

    3. Now we still want to look great and get as much gov’t money and private money as possible so we need to have super high profile skilled workers. We will give them lots of space and little direction as long as making us look good is job one. They can follow any path they want privately and we won’t fire them as long as they perform for us. These are the Tenured

    4. To ensure these stars can perform well, we will give them assistants to do all the behind the scenes ugly work that teaching classes entails.
    These we can call G.A.’s

    This is a fair picture of most universities today.

    Yes, 3 of these groups are essentially being overworked and poorly paid. Their conditions are among the worst that any educator has to endure. Actually, apprenticeships at 40% the wage of a journeyman but with labour law protection, are vastly superior jobs.
    Even the fourth group has unrealistic expectation placed on them as they are forced to compete in an arena where star value often is more important than classroom performance.
    Your analogy is unclear to me. I can’t understand which is the obese child and who is the lean mean working machine. From my perspective the graduate students are clearing the way for a healthier learning environment for all these undergraduates .
    Why have so many people allowed themselves to be directed by the corporate university delivery structure. Examine how the university could do a much better job in this situation.

    P.S It isn’t 3903 that promotes its growth. Its the university’s strategy to hire as many part time non tenured workers as possible. Obviously they have been successful if your 30% stat is correct.

  31. Olive

    “York employees who are members of CUPE 3903 are among the highest paid employees in Ontario. And you’re striking why, might I ask? TAs work 10 hours a week and make $14,000 over 8 months? Heaven forbid.”

    Sure, you are not aware that a graduate student year is a FULL CALANDER YEAR, so it’s 12 months! TAs do not make $14, 000 from a course, the average is a TOTAL of $8,000 having min of 2 courses per semester (min of 6 per year). Having to prepare for a lab, perform that lab and mark all lab assignments for that week (average 30 students) is a simple math exercise … the hours add up more than 10 only for ONE course!

  32. I feel so sorry for you York undergrad students.

    Strikes bring no good to the society, I don’t care if TA’s are being mistreated in whoever’s perspective, just because you are being mistreated does not mean you should push it onto other’s agendas.

    These are students, students are here to learn. Many of which are on student loans too, yes some work 60hrs+ to pay for it but not everyone is capable doing that and passing undergrad too and you have to respect that. So now you go to Grad, and you get paid to get an education, and you’re “under the poverty line”. That’s if your degree was a job…your grad degree is NOT a job…you’re doing it because the present value of the cost you need to do this is going to reap you the benefits of a better job with better pay at a later date…or else if it’s such bad conditions, don’t do you grad degree for god’s sake. Don’t waste a whole year for thousands of students who now have no idea what is going to happen to their education. And if school goes back, and the prof’s are more lenient on marking, great, you just made the York undergraduate degree a less credible education.

    and job security? Just don’t fk up and you won’t lose your job. So what if Canadian teachers can’t get fired unless they literally molest a child, that just means job security leads to lack of production…

    Unions and strikes…it’s a poison to society. Want higher pays? Don’t have a union so you don’t have to pay their stupid union fees. Ever calculate how much they leech from you? A strike is just for them to justify that it was worth paying them the premiums. It’s a sick cycle and you’re the suckers convinced they are helping you out.

    I am so glad I made it to another university.

  33. frustrated

    After the tuition they are required to pay all year long has been subtracted (approx. $400 a month) York graduate students without provinical or federal scholarships, or private industry grants, are expected to live on between $700 and $900 a month. Every month, for 2-7 years. Those are years when their peers are getting married, buying houses, buying cars, starting businesses, having children, and otherwise contributing to the Canadian economy. Most of them already have debts incurred as undergrads. The majority of them already have one additional graduate degree and several years graduate training on a second graduate degree. Canadian society has agreed, at least for the last few generations before ours, that these people who choose to train at this level and to therefore defer some of the opportunities of their peers, should be subsidized at a level of a modest annual income. If you look back to how graduate students were supported twenty or thirty years ago, relative to cost of living and tuition costs, you will find this to be true. Obviously, $900/month is not enough to live on, particularly when one must subsidize one’s own business travel to conferences, professional equipment such as computers, office space and books. Moreover, it is considered unprofessional or at least undesirable by future employers (the university) to interupt this long period of training with withdrawls from full-time study – to take a year off to earn more money, for example. Thus, we are asking people who train in these professions to live off a deficit budget for the first 10 years of their employable lives, and then spend considerable portions of the next 10 years paying it back with interest. However, systemic underfunding means that more of them will be contracted by universities to work as part-time instructors rather than tenured professors with relatively professional salaries.
    This doesn’t seem fiscally sound, and it seems likely to only attract people who are either not fiscally sound, or who have unusual access to large quanities of disposable income. Canadian society decided to support grad students at a living annual income all those years ago because it determined that it doesn’t actually want only those two groups of people ending up holding all the PhDs and running the universities. We don’t want to create a two-tier educational system. It seems like a lot of people dissatisfied with the strike and the union’s demands disagree with this logic. They seem to think the benefits of graduate training are mostly personal, not social, and so its costs should be borne by the individuals who pursue it. Fair enough – perhaps we can have that debate in public. But I’m pretty sure that the value of a Canadian university degree would quickly start to diminish if increasingly, the people who delivered it were only either the fiscally irresponsible or the uninspired rich.

  34. It still doesn’t address my point of pushing your problems onto other people’s agendas. Don’t come back with “how else??” because I don’t really care how else. That’s because a strike is (going back to your point on social benefit) very poisonous to society as a whole.

    Take the whole picket line at York. You block up traffic so that the general society wastes time being stuck in traffic. You it difficult for those who are employed by the university (cleaners, students!, etc.) travel to and from work.

    If your peers are “getting married, buying houses, buying cars, starting businesses, having children, and otherwise contributing to the Canadian economy.” There is NOTHING stopping you from doing the same. The fact that you just mentioned your “peers” are doing things that you are envying means you probably chose a wrong path? Wake up! You don’t have to spend 2-7 years (7? wtf?!) doing a grad degree just so you can contribute to society. Hell I always thought it was retarded for people to stay in school for so long. The only good part is for those who are financially supported by their family and they just want to have a good time and not have to fact the ‘working life’ yet.

    So you plan to “contribute” to society after you’re 30+? That’s after you spent the first 30 years of your life “supported” by the society you’re contributing to and be so unsatisfied by the fact that they don’t support you enough?

    Yes, I agree, education is expensive…but if you’re so unsatisfied with it and think there’s something wrong or unjust, either DON’T do the grad, or find some way to not affect thousands of others just because of your self interests.

    Don’t throw me the whole society thing, you don’t even consider those who are part of your union (not by choice) who actually don’t want to go on strike and they’re quite happy the way they are.

  35. frustrated

    Well you’ve convinced me. My profession is worthless and I’ve made very bad choices. I quit. I hope everyone at York without contracts will too when they’ve followed your logic.. I’m sure York can find 3000 people hanging around to replace us. Hopefully, none of us were just about to cure cancer, solve the energy crisis, or publish the unknown works of William Shakespeare. But whatevs, society can probably do without. Thanks for helping. Your argument is a real testament to the quality of education this society offers its citizens. Peace.

  36. You know what, in this world, nothing is perfect and even if it was…people will still keep complaining. I complain a lot too about my life, but the thing is, strikes is just a way to force your problems into other people’s arms so that they will finally listen to you.

    Yes, sometimes this is the only way. But my arguement is simply…god damn it sucks for the York undergrad students.

    A union just makes the complains magnified so that they force someone to do something about it because when you come together, you have power by numbers. Otherwise it’s too difficult to conduct any effort with reasonable outcomes.

    I’m sorry to hear it’s tough for you TA’s and honestly yes, $900/month is difficult to live by I agree. But you’re doing this because it will better your lives in the future. I chose not to do Grad because on a personal note I figured work experience was more important, but that’s only because I’m in the commerce/financial field. For academics and research oriented paths, yes there is a need for this prolonged education system but you should’ve known it when you enrolled.

    I have my undergrad, and I work alongside others who only have highschool degrees who got into the job because of connections. Yes, life is full of regrets and complaints but…we just gotta find a way to get by.

    I hope you get what you want and I’m sorry if I made you feel like crap but…I just hate the whole idea of unions…maybe because I grew up in Asia and I watch millions of people work hours and hours of OT unpaid and I just compare it to the overvalued need of “human rights” here that leads to severe unproductivity.

    I hope you get what you want soon, and honestly, hang in there. I didn’t post here to piss people off…again..I just hate unions. Peace.

  37. Pingback: Great Comment. « kavisolo.


    Just to let all the parents know I have started a law suit against the school and the union. I will want compensation for every hour of lecture time that they do not make up at the very least. I have two daughters at York and I hold everyone accountable for the mess we are in. The kids in first year will not recover from this and their grades will suffer. I did not pay so that my kids who do attend every lecture could miss lectures through no fault of their own. I have a strong case and as some students are receiving classes now our case is stronger. Please do what you can for your children

  39. RE: frustrated

    Obviously you’ve been spared the distress of living off less than $700-$900/mo. Addition of the $400/mo for tuition gives you $1100-$1300/mo. That equates about an approximation of a minimum wage salary. Whilst obtaining your required work hours and research to obtain a Ph.D/what have you. And I use Ph.D as an umbrella term.

    Riddle me this: What would become of the roll of TA if the university no longer viewed the position as an occupation, but as curriculum? Could it become a co-op, or a practicum? I don’t think that is a very far stretch of the imagination. As far as I see it, TAs are in a win/win situation. Obtaining REQUIRED work to advance their education, as well as obtaining an income.

    As far as support in years past is concerned, I think the entire student population across Canada will agree with me when I say that EVERYONE had it better back then. Yes minimum wage was less, but the inflation in tuition does not reflect the working wages of today’s students across Canada. Is that blame to be placed on any university administration? No. Undergrad courses with the finality of undergraduate gouge just as much as undergrad courses with the finality of Ph.D. Except those in the latter go on to obtain far greater levels of employability and disposable income than those in the former. That being said, would that not result in greater ease in paying back a larger student debt?

    As for the fiscal irresponsibility and “unusual access to large quantities of disposable income”. You make it seem as though anyone willing to voluntarily put themselves into a position of deficit by obtaining a student loan is a lesser person and unfit to receive a higher education. So by this logic:

    if anyone obtaining a student loan is financially irresponsible,

    and anyone financially irresponsible is unfit to receive a university education,

    than anyone receiving a student loan is unfit to receive a university education?

    Does someone who goes into debt to get something come out tarnished compared to someone who doesn’t? On the other side of the spectrum you put the “uninspired rich”. Given all that I’ve said, wouldn’t that be the children of the Ph.D obtainers? They would have unusual access to disposable income. Would that make them unfit as well, even with their parent’s occupation? I don’t think social class has anything to do with a person’s potential.

    Your agrument tries to carve out a niche for TAs (I assume yourself) between two social classes by stigmatising the two as undesireable. Hoping to have an opinion of what TAs should be fall somewhere in the middle. However, the fact that TAs are paid to do what is REQUIRED IN A CURRICULUM still stands.

  40. frustrated

    Gavin, while we don’t need to get too personal here, I have indeed worked full-time for minimum wage, and I put myself through undergrad in part by working every weekend and then cleaning people’s houses once a week. Regarding practicums, etc, you’re suggesting that in fact, TA work is actually part of the educational training of grad students and so they should probably be paying the university to let them do it. Even though everyone agrees that it benefits the university and keeps costs down to offload the work from tenured faculty onto these “trainees,” you fall into the camp who think such training is a privilege.
    As I recall, at every job I worked before, I never had to pay my employer to be trained to work for them!

    I do not think it is fiscally irresponsible to take out a loan to subsidize one’s education – I’ve done it myself, obviously. But I do think if any other group of people walked into a bank and said, hey, I plan to spend more than I can earn for the next 10 years, so that in all likelihood I can become highly qualified to be a contract worker for the next 30, they would laugh me out the door. It is not just TAs and GAs on strike, but the contract faculty as well. The number of tenured positions created by the universities relative to student growth has been shrinking for years, and contract faculty are used to make up the gaps, at a much lower cost to the institution (with no reduction in tuition for students, obviously). So there’s a decreasing likelihood that the people who train all these years will actually earn the professional salaries that would justify ten years in the red. Where is the incentive? As many posters above have noted, why would anyone sign on for this deal? And yet, we need people to get this training and do this work, whatever and however we end up paying them for it.

    I think the more unattractive we make graduate studies, the more the best and brightest will choose to pursue other paths. And that loss will be to the society at large and the institution of the university, because it will be drawing from a much smaller pool. Like you, I don’t think social position defines potential, which is why I think the largest pool should be drawn from, and to do that, a minimum level of funding should be provided to every graduate student, rich, poor, good with money, bad with money, whatever. As long as they’re the best in their field.

    If the impression or logical extension of my argument suggests the opposite, then I apologize, and thanks for pointing it out.

  41. yorkstrike2008


    I hate to break it to you, but I highly doubt a judge will pass such a lawsuit through his hands and set such precedence.

  42. Curious Yorkie

    lol i agree with Yorkstrike2008. There’s pretty much nothing that a judge can do about this issue.

  43. I believe I read somewhere above in this post about throwing eggs at the picket line.

    If I was stuck in this situation as a student, I think that would be my one and only solution to de-stress and let others know how I feel lol…lucky I’m not. =)

  44. Frustrated Parent

    Since I become aware of the impending strike, I thought as a parent, I’ll just sit, watch and see what happens. I’ve been convincing myself on a daily basis, that it won’t last long. Now I see we are not getting anywhere, and how can we – neither party is even talking!

    I’ve read every single comment to date and see a lot of valid points. I’m just wondering if the “powers that be”/decision-makers actually know how much we are stressed by all this. Most likely, they do not care. As all they do care about is saving the almighty $!

    As a parent of a student in 1st year, I am outraged to say the least. Is it true that the contract they will negotiate will only last 2 years? Does this mean my son could possibly endure 2 strikes until he finally graduates?! Then there’s my daughter who had also planned to attend York in the future. Is this what she has to look forward to? York is quickly tarnishing their reputation. I have read the demands of the union, which would result in a 41% increase in costs to York Administration. How unreasonable is that? Get real! Ontario Civil Servants only received approx. 6% pay increase last contract. Yeah, they’ve got money to erect buildings all over the place, I’ve been there. They are expanding for future enrollment, making things more comfortable and convenient for everyone. From what I’ve seen, York University is one of the most beautiful and technically up to date campus in Ontario.

    During this economic crisis that Ontario and the rest of the world is experiencing a this time, to the TA’s, and the union, please re-think your expectations. People are seriously loosing their jobs right now. Please be grateful for what you have. You will not be a TA forever! To York Administration. Can we be civilized about this? The students are hurting every day that goes by and precious time is a wastin. I have sent e-mails to mpp’s and plan on sending them every morning until the students are back at school. This is a small contribution I can make as a parent, perhaps even getting a petition going. I urge other parents to do the same. If we sit and do nothing, they will think we don’t care. Well damn it I care!!!!

    Frustrated Parent

  45. Undergrad@York

    I have read all of the articles and comments that have been posted on this website, and I still have not chosen a side on the matter of the strike. Basically, I would like to express my opinion on the strike as a whole, and not be biased towards any one party involved. I would like to point out, however, that the worst part of this entire thing is the complete lack of communication to us undergrads. We have been on strike for almost three weeks, and yet we still have been given no direction from anyone as to what we should be doing, or what is going on. I completely scanned the York website, for something that would be in the least sympathetic, or caring for the students, and not one piece of information is to be found. Same goes for the Union website. I feel like the strike will end one of these days and no one is even going to bother to let us know. Honestly, if it were not for websites like this, no one would actually understand what was going on. It saddens me to think that York cares so little for its students, that it doesn’t bother to communicate to us about what is going on, other than their completely biased junk they post every once in a while, so that the students join their “team” in this fight. Personally, I would like the university to email me, or mail me, and tell me what they are honestly doing and what services are offered for us, especially those like me who are away from home and living in residence. We were not told what will happen to our grades, to assignments and to exams! Being a first-year, many of us are just learning how this works even with no strike! If there is something due during the strike, we were not told what to do, and then no assistance is provided to students who possibly need help completing something! I just think that the worst part of this entire thing is that we are all sitting in the “gray area” with no correct information coming from people who are supposed to care about us. Thank you to yorkstrike2008 though! Most people look to you for information, because it seems like you are the only one who does give a crap about York Students!

  46. Some of the comments made here are biased and misleading. Both sides are manipulating information and are behaving disgracefully (and by this I mean the union and York administration).
    I personally feel that the union is asking for too much. TAing is both a privilege and a job but is not meant to maintain a family or even fill every financial obligation. TAs do not work enough hours to constitute the amount of money they are asking for.
    I must also say that many of my TAs did very little outside marking which was often done poorly, since when is a political science major qualified to grade work done for an education course they never took and knows as much about as those taking the class.
    As i see it the real point of the strike is to put the union in a place where it can strike again with many other universities in 2010. Thats just disgusting, its not enough that twice this union has disrupted the educational (and other) goals of york student but it is holding out so that it may do so again. Have you people no shame, is there no end to your selfishness?
    I would fire the TAs there are many educated, qualified, hard working people in this city who are forced to take on minimum wage jobs, often several to sustain themselves and their families because their diplomas and degrees are not recognized by Canadian institutions.
    As for comparing what teachers get to what TAs do, that is a joke. Clearly that person had no clue how much work a teacher does, how many extra hours are put in without pay and the stress that comes with teaching. TAs do not often deal with rowdy classrooms as university students know better, they do not do as much planning, and do not put in anywhere close to as many hours. There are other differences and i could go on forever but the point is a TA has no business comparing themselves to a teacher with a decade of experience and a masters degree and a BEd (those are the requirements a teacher must meet to receive 87 grand a year). As for the absurd idea that a teacher practically ha to abuse a child to get fired, you are clearly misinformed. You obviously have no idea how easily a black mark can be put on a teacher`s record making it very hard to keep their current job or get a new one. Legislation is so tough, as it should be, towards teachers that allegations could have a teacher removed. I have seen a few slips lead to the destruction of a teacher`s career. As for job security, that comes with seniority, at the beginning of their careers teachers are often moved from one school to another until a principal fights for them and keeps them for enough years to become a more senior member of the faculty, this is the case in major GTA school boards anyways.
    I think the union should ditch the 2 year must have in their bargaining package and shoot for some more money and benefits. Lets get this year going, you`ve done enough damage.

  47. expandthediscussion

    For those parents who have been reading this blog section faithfully, I recommend you take a look at the book Ivory Tower Blues, by Cote and Allahar. Written by two tenured Ontario professors, it offers a critique of the state of post-secondary education in the province, with links to the rest of the country. These guys are coming from a completely different perspective than the union striking at York, though there is overlap in what they identify as problems. I recommend it to parents because it includes several candid and kind-of hard-to-read chapters on the demands and expectations of parents and undergrad students. Personally, I find them too hard on undergrads and their arguments that “difficult” undergrads are dragging down the system, but have to agree with some of their critiques of the customer-service model of education invoked by parents and students. What I think is wonderful about this blog is that, despite the stress and rancour the actual strike is causing, the blog provides a forum for people with different points of view to start talking to each other about the realities of provincial post-secondary education, and our expectations of it. Canadians have these conversations more regularly about health care, because we have experiences with the system at various points throughout our lives, but university is something that we usually confront temporarily, as either students or parents, if at all. And yet, like health care, we want the university to be there, running smoothly in good financial times and bad, because you look around and see how education, usually relatively cheap and accessible education, has benefited so many no longer attached to it. I hate that the strikers block the entrances to the campus. I wish they would invite all of us who have done well by it to come on to campus – it is a public institution, after all.

  48. Heather

    There seems to be a lot of pro and anti-TA comments going on. We need TA’s, the university needs TA’s, but TA’s also need the university and the opportunity that it provides them. That being said, I’m not a fan of unions at all. While I understand that they have the right to strike, the manner in which they have behaved in regards to the University and their commentary on their website often seems childish and immature. I understand that they want job security, doesn’t everybody? Wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure that you will have a job next year? I’m sure most Canadians feel the same way, unfortunately that’s just not how employment works. Yes, you only get paid 10-14 thousand a year, however I’m assuming that TA is not going to be your lifelong career, it’s a stepping stone and valuable experience. I’m just not sure I understand the mentality here, I can understand not wanting to reapply to the same job year after year, but I fail to understand why those of you that chose to be a TA could even think to complain. For those of you that are “forced” to become a TA, were you not aware of the salary and the potential pitfalls of being a TA? If it’s beggaring you to do this, why are you? I feel like a lot of the stories coming out of CUPE 3093’s members are meant to evoke some sympathy for their poor overworked and underpaid employees. I was under the impression that all Canadians, unionized or not, were free to pick their own profession or course of study, or leave it if they so choose. I also see a lot of pictures of picketers carrying signs that have a slogan that implies that this is for the students benefit. I find that hard to believe. TA’s complain about tuition fees, and yet by prolonging this strike they are costing the students and the university more money than they will ever gain from this. Do you think that the university will just absorb these costs? I think it’s more likely that our tuition fees will go up, and whatever pay raise you get at best will cover that increase.

  49. frustrated

    Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 12:31:15 -0500
    From: Janice Newson
    Subject: An open letter about Presidential leadership

    Please feel free to circulate this letter widely.

    Dear President Shoukri:

    I am a faculty member in the Arts sociology department and I will be retired in 3 days. I have been at York since 1971 and from 1975 through until 1997 when the 8 week YUFA strike took place, I have been close to and often deeply involved in the negotiating process at York.

    Based on all of my experience and insider knowledge of how this process works, I have to say that it is time for a RADICAL change in the way the York Administration manages its side of the process. Please understand that I am not putting all of the trouble at the feet of the York Administration side. I know about two sides and how either side and both sides can get stuck in their principles and positions. I want you to know that when I have thought it necessary in the past, I have confronted the union side, including my own union YUFA, about its responsibility for working toward, through the give and take of negotiations, the settlement of disputes.

    However, during one of my deep involvements in the process in the mid 1980s, a senior administrator who shared responsibility for negotiating collective agreements boldly told my side that the only way to bring about a resolution to our dispute at the time was for us, the union, to see if we could pull off a strike and that only with the pressure of the strike would there be any movement in the positions of his side. This approach to bargaining has become deeply ingrained in the Administration culture at York. It predates your Presidency and although it has been shaped from time to time by characteristics of particular Presidents, every President at York since the early 1990s has had their term of office negatively marked by the way York handles labour negotiations . Whatever may be the internal reasons for the long life of this approach, York University and especially its educational mission and its students have been harmed by it.

    I was present during the last long CUPE strike and now my formal career is ending in the midst of this one. I can tell you as a front line teacher that no one benefits from this. I worked hard on organising the two courses i began to teach in September because I knew that they would be my last as a full-time faculty member. Their pedagogical integrity is now seriously threatened and if the strike continues into January as it will surely do if an agreement is not reached now, they will lie in ruins – along with the courses of my colleagues. We can’t calculate the negative effects on students from experiencing one of their precious years in university this way. Imposing these effects on them is a profoundly serious matter and for my part, nothing in these negotiations is worth it.

    Some body has to take leadership in bringing this to an end. I know that you, as President, cannot in good conscience authorise the giving away of York’s financial stability to settle a strike (shakey as financial stability can be at this time). But in reality, it cannot be argued with any credibility that CUPE 3903 is going to persist with demands that contain such a potential. I am appealing here to your Administration’s moral responsibility to take the kind of leadership that will lead to productive discussion and resolution of the outstanding issues. Among other things, that means being willing to show one’s hand first, so to speak, rather than waiting for the other side to weaken its resolve. This is what I was referring to earlier about the York Administration needing to radically change its deep rooted habits of negotiating collective agreements.

    As a new President at York, you have a chance to make this shift in approach and we – by which I mean not only the faculty and staff but also our students – are calling on you to do it. In the past, Presidents have tried to stand back from the negotiating process. Having been involved, I understand how that can be a necessary thing to do – to not interfere with or undermine your own negotiators. But your negotiators are acting in a context. I am talking about the need to change that context and to take the lead in breaking away from negotiating through defensive lenses.


    Janice Newson, Department of Sociology/Arts

  50. Hazey

    Parents are clueless as are the kids on this site… your tuition is cheap (try going to school in the US), you are underworked…and end up ill prepared for the real world…. Students need to learn to work hard despite the hurdles life throws them… the cost of school is one part of the hurdle (albeit a minor one). This strike is a drop in the bucket for lifelong experiences. Once you hit Uni your are an adult…. not some spoonfed idiot… reminds me of when granny and mom and dad came to the office to discuss lil Joquim’s grade deficiency…. Get a grip peeps. and parents… let your kids grow up… and stay out of my office!!!!

  51. Shine

    this entire strike is offensive:
    tens of thousands of undergrads who are registered in good faith to get an education mainly through my tax dollars I might add, are being screwed here.
    being screwed out of time, money and their future.
    Although I understand some of the issues regarding the unions desires to address them punitively on tens of thousands of undergrads who entered this post secondary institution in good faith may now have find extra money to stay in residence, sacrifice summer employment forgo travel plans many already paid for simply over the selfish wants of the union memebers.
    Strikes by unions are supposed to punish the employer not the public and certainly not the students here.
    Lets get theses students back to class and get on with things. Their money is being wasted: my taxes are being wasted and the kids are getting screwed.

  52. Shine

    addendum to the above:
    I am not blaming this solely on the union: the adminstration at York must take a leadership role in getting the university back to work and with some fiscal responsibility
    This is an issue that has no single right side.
    The right side is getting these kids back to school.
    Both sides must take responsibilty here

  53. A Concerned Studen

    PARENTS: what you need to do is write your MPP, and Dalton McGuinty demanding that they enact back to work legislation. What is happening to our kids is unfair and not why we work so hard. If the government doesn’t step in soon, the students will suffer. This is sad, because the undergraduate students have nothing to gain. Write/call/email your MPP and Dalton McGuinty, and demand that they put a stop to this abuse of our children.

  54. yorkstrike2008

    @ As if

    Oh I know. I look at the rubrics my little sister gets for her work in gr. 8 and ‘neatness’ and ‘punctuation’ is weighted heavier than ‘development of ideas’ and ‘figurative language’.

    95% of the people who are in University now get through high school because they make nice bristol boards. It is getting a little ridiculous.

    I am in international relations at glendon and the amount of first years who say “i’m taking international relations cause i like to travel…and stuff…” amazes me. When they are asked to comprehend some political philosophy they soil themselves and go to college.

    These are people who received at least a 79% (I think the entrance minimum was for glendon for this year) in high school.

    Complete lack of anything resembling cognitive substance. But they make pretty bristol boards…

  55. TA's opinion

    @ as if and ys2008

    Yup. There are some problems at the high school level. Occasionally, I have TA’d for high school teachers trying to upgrade. And have been screamed at for not providing the marks they wanted on neat, well-organized, generic papers…that got basic factual elements of the assigned text wrong! Indeed, screaming and/or crying students, dissatisfied with their marks and/or the money they’ve “wasted” on a course that didn’t get them high marks, are a group that disproportionately add hours to my work week as a TA. Another group are students who need what I would call remedial help on the mechanics of communication. I also spend a lot of unpaid time talking to students in crisis – who are trying to manage school with family illness, crazy roomate problems, onset of depression, eating disorders, etc. Issues I’m not qualified to deal with, really, but issues that come up when you’re an undergrad with problems and your TAs are the only people that know your name. And the last thing that really adds hours is the investigation of plagiarism. Proving and then dealing with a plagiarized paper can add six hours to its marking. Several years ago, I had 6 plagiarized papers, for just one assignment!

    The majority of undergrads at York are bright, responsible, healthy, and extremely hard-working. They seem to work more at part-time jobs than undergrads at some other schools, and many also seem to manage many more familial or community commitments than other undergrads. I am terribly sorry the strike is screwing them over.

    But they’re not the ones who get most of my time when I am working. It’s the troubled minority who get the most attention, and unfortunately, they are often also the ones who think that I’m “just a TA” who doesn’t merit the same respect they’d show a prof. You know, who could be fired and easily replaced.

    There are so many anecdotes out there now describing how crappy and useless TAs are, I thought I’d just remind everyone that not every undergrad inconvenienced by this strike is a perfect angel either. York undergrads amaze, impress, and reward me everyday and remind me why I signed up to do this work in the first place, but like unions and administrators, as a group, they aren’t always perfect.

  56. Marj

    I worked 3 jobs to get my son into York. What message are you giving him? And I EXPECT to be reimbursed for food plan, rez, unused books, etc.etc. I don’t care what your title is, just get to work….$63.00 per hour and you are complaining? You have no work ethic and obviously have never suffered to pay your way…Nice example folks…

  57. TA's Opinion

    @ Marj
    Nobody striking makes $63/hr. That’s simply a lie (or a misprint?) that the administration put out there, and which noone in the media has sought to question, even though we all have government forms and paystubs that clearly indicate $63/hr is practically double our hourly wage. If the administration is plays so fast and loose with this misinformation, do you think they’re telling you the truth about everything else?

  58. prodigy

    hey…all of you parents….pssstpssstt…pssttt.
    quietly organize yours swaza selves and make a god damn class action lawsuit on behalf of your sons and daughters..this is going to cost them time and money in the long run.

  59. prodigy

    man you parents are freakin’ slow…I go to harvard extension school…and from what I know if this would EVER happen there… parents would quickly bring a class action law suit….

    you guys think that paying 9000 to 10 k a year is a lot… man… I know some kids through facebook whos parent pay 33k just for tuition…

    now: I say you guys rock the legal system and give those law students something to do…




  60. F-Ed Up

    I was just checking out this page out of curiosity and I only read a couple posts but I find it hilarious that some of you can justify teacher-bashing while TA bashing.

    I’m an Ed student AND a former TA at another institution so I have an understanding of both jobs… they have much more in common than one might think. I also had many colleagues who, despite education, could be faulted with many of the negative attributes you assign to teachers.

    I think if anything, this helps to prove that educators, in whatever career, are not taken very seriously by the public (and, perhaps more disturbingly, by the parents of their students whom the good, hardworking educators sacrifice very much for).

  61. F-Ed Up

    Sorry, correction:

    can justify teacher-bashing while DEFENDING TAs

  62. prodigy

    hey man I was just joking about that post…


    “post of the year”.???

    wow… I am humbled …but seriously… the relations between york u. and its workers are too fickle… even by canadian standards… they should just get it sort it man. Too many strikes!.. you never see that happen at other institution…even within Canada… York should really do something about that. This is why I say the parents should get together and bring legal action against the university…there must be kids that have lawyers as father or mother… afteral….york is not THAT shitty of a university and I am sure kids from affluent background do attend afterall….so why is it that kids just stand at the side and do nothing??…. it speaks volumes as to how York makes them feel:
    1) inferior and powerless
    2) second class students …not just because they are powerless but because the university knows that most of the kids that go there do not necessarily come from affluent background and it is a blu collar university for the most part
    This is a fact.
    But law students or someone should really bring action even if it is just to put the university to sweat for once in a while….

  63. F-Ed Up

    @ Ummm no

    That’s cool, I acutally thought someone did that earlier, and responded to them when they were referring to that other person and not myself.

    “However, my assertion still stands: if you are an Ed student, it’s best to recognize that the very nature of being an ed student is in concert with support of OCT and the strike. ”

    I agree 100%. And I think most other Ed students also agree. Most of us recognize that the OTF has taken the position it has taken because it does not want to disrespect the labour actions taken by another union of educators. I think “teachers’ college” is confused and believes that it was the Dean of Ed that called off our placements, when really it was the OTF.

  64. Dray


    “i work full time and go to school. couple that with a part time job on the side which i do for experience.”

    Kavisolo has said on his blog that he works on his fulltime job even when attending lectures. What kind of friggin’ full time job is that?

    Kavisolo is a highly toxic individual. Just take a look at his blog and see for yourself:

  65. prodigy

    I swear!… parents… bring a class action law suit vs the university… come on now.

  66. Dis-mayed/believing/couraged

    I am the parent of a 1st year student in residence and given that this is meant to be a parent forum, it might be useful to offer my perspective on this hostage taking exercise.

    Having twice navigated past the barrier brigade at the school’s entrance I am struck by the following:
    one would think that CUPE would conscript the best and brightest, informed, intelligent, possibly even diplomatic members at the barricades in order to present the issues, answer questions and engender sympathy on the part of parents, the public and frustrated stakeholders, but one would be wrong. I waited for 10 minutes at one of the Keele St. entrances expecting one of the dozen or so protesters to come to the car and articulate the union’s position. Instead, I watched 3 or 4 people slide two barriers back and forth, holding each vehicle up twice for a few minutes at a time, making no effort whatsoever to engage the drivers. Taking a closer look at the ‘happening’ on three chimneys, it looked more like a social gathering than a protest: no literature, no PR, no consideration of the fact that parents too are frustrated pawns in this game. Rather than attempt to bring me onside, I found this group to be passive aggressive in their haughty demeanor and downright antagonistic once they identified me as one of ‘them’.

    On the other hand, given the lack of media interest, the only people invested in the outcome of this strike are those directly affected by it anyway, so why should the union bother with public relations? In the overall scheme of things, given that they influence the outcome not one iota, other than affording strikers a place to gather, commiserate, and reinforce one another, what purpose do these barricades serve?

  67. miriam jack

    One of the main, if not THE main problems is that contract faculty, including many with Ph.D.s and years of publications are forced to be in the same union as not only TAs but also GAs and RAs, often FIRST-YEAR Master’s students just barely out of undergraduate studies. This is the most ridiculous part and many problems stem from it.

    Now, to answer someone’s obviously ignorant post:

    :…. You have NO TENURE. Yes, you might have an equal amount of publications, do they enrich your field to the same extent as your tenured colleagues? I highly doubt it.”
    Why? Who on earth are YOU to judge the work of people you don’t know? I know tenured faculty who don’t even publish, let alone enrich the field by doing so. Talk about what you know. Not what your prejudiced mind speculates.

    “Yes you design courses and oversee their execution each and every year, day after day, over and over (not much change in there is there?..),”
    More ignorance. Since contract faculty has to be re-hired every year and since many don’t find out what they’re teaching till the last minute, they are often designing NEW courses every year.
    Not only that, but, in my expeirnecee if anything it’s the tenured faculty who go on doing the same thing year after year, though that’s also a generalization. Contract faculty are no more nor less likely to repeat course structure and material than tenured.

    ” but what differentiates you from the likes of say someone employed in the public education system? The 4 months off per year instead of 2? The missing education degree? Or perhaps the absence of hormonally imbalanced teenage students?”

    Well, all these, naturally, since they also differentiate tenrued faculty from public school teachers. But also that fact that many contract faculty, as you seem incapable of understanding, are highly trained. In fact, many TENURED faculty and even a recently retired DEAN don’t have doctorates as many contract faculty do.

    I am, in fact, against the strike. But maligning people you don’t know is not helpful.

  68. AlE

    @Angry parent:

    “I have two daughters at York and I hold everyone accountable for the mess we are in. The kids in first year will not recover from this and their grades will suffer. I did not pay so that my kids who do attend every lecture could miss lectures through no fault of their own.”

    I think that’s the correct perspective to take on this situation. Although it’s CUPE who went on strike, it’s York University who has a contractual obligation to provide the service you paid for.

    It would be futile to sue York, however. Not even a teaching union with deep roots in activism can subdue York — even with a protracted strike! Imagine how you’ll fare!

  69. victim

    PARENTS – email your MPP and tell them to support back to work education. Your students are suffering and loosing valuable time. This is not what you pay for your children to get, and YOU can put a stop to this.

    Email you MPP and tell him/her how you feel too.
    Also, email Dalton McGuinty, and the Minister of Labour.

    find your MPP here:

    And then get your family and friends to do the say. The Ontario Government will be voting on Back to work legislation Before December 11.

    Parents (mothers AND fathers) make sure your MPP knows how you feel about the strike at York University.

  70. YorkU50Frustration

    Dear all frustrated families and faculty,

    I am a CUPE member who voted No to the strike. I am doing a masters degree and I, like all of the undergrads, just want to get done, get what I paid for and finish school. I am 30 years old and I owe over 40,000. Sure, I could have stopped after my undergraduate degree, but I am passionate about my studies and I hope that you would encourage your children to go on if they chose to. I also hope that you wouldn’t think their academic contribution was replaceable.

    Voting No has been to date one of the poorest decisions I have made. The people who walk those lines every day love their students. I noticed a huge difference right away in the teaching here at York. I went to a university for my undergrad that didn’t have a TA union – and I can tell you right now that most (if not all) of my TA’s didn’t even bother to learn my name. Contract faculty were better, but not as good as the ones I have here. I had few tenured professors in my 4 years of undergrad. Being part of a union is an important part of being a team player – and working as a team is essential to education.

    I am not here to tell you to take CUPE’s side, but there are some important things I would like to share with you.

    Think about the reasons why York University has only opened the law school. Could it be because that is where they recieve their highest funding dollars? They don’t care about your children, that’s why they play hardball every year there is a contract to be made.

    CUPE will take what the university is offering if they stop trying to clawback and ignore that there are more of us who have to share funding. History has shown that people go back to school during economically hard times. Bad economies are actually really good for universities. Don’t allow York to steal your children’s tuition claiming they are in an economic crisis. They should be required to pay for every hour your child misses out on.

    I hope that the strike is resolved soon. I appreciate all of the support that you give us while you wait in your cars on the picket lines, and those of you who have had to endure a strike before know that it isn’t fun and games. Thank you.

    Finally, the fastest way, like it or not, to get your children back in class is to support CUPE. It is a win/win- we all go back to class faster – and we all have a better teaching and learning environment due to a little less stress. If contract faculty know they have a little security, students can only benefit. If back to work legislation is successful, you can guarantee your children will not get their (or your) money’s worth out of their education. History has shown that strikes are good for society and especially working women within our society.

    We are all victims because the University is choosing to view your children as dollar signs and contract faculty as the easiest way to keep as much of their money as possible as profit. Let’s make this about education, not big business.

  71. tester

    YorkU50Frustration, you are a victim, but you have something to gains through this strike.

    Us undergraduates have nothing to gain and everything to loose.

    Thanks to you and your union members from ruining the last month for 50,000 people.

  72. tester

    copied from above:

    PARENTS – email your MPP and tell them to support back to work education. Your students are suffering and loosing valuable time. This is not what you pay for your children to get, and YOU can put a stop to this.

    Email you MPP and tell him/her how you feel too.
    Also, email Dalton McGuinty, and the Minister of Labour.

    find your MPP here:

    And then get your family and friends to do the say. The Ontario Government will be voting on Back to work legislation Before December 11.

    Parents (mothers AND fathers) make sure your MPP knows how you feel about the strike at York University.

  73. help_me

    thanks tester!

    I’ll start these now, and have many sent out on Monday morning.

  74. prodigy

    wow, I guess you guys are going back to school as early as the next year… back to school legislation will surely help things going.. but things will be sour for sure… man… what a crappy crappy university. Seriously.


  75. mum

    Thanks to yorkstrike for making the effort to organize York students to at least try to let both sides know that you care about what happens here. I’m not impressed by the general apathy and cynicism expressed by most of the posters. Damn it….get off your complacent asses and do something!
    My first year daughter is at home, 3500 miles away from Toronto, but if she was there, she’d have the guts to at least attend the rally. So sorry its inconvenient for you (or too cold), but as students you should realize by now that you have a lot more influence as a large and noisy group. Certainly your education is more important than your lame excuses. Grow up and get out there. Show them that you care!

  76. Stef

    Dear Mum,
    I regret to inform you that due to this strike and the subsequent wages I will be losing come May should an extension happen, I have chosen to do the “grown up” thing and work extra hours at my part time job so that I can continue to pay rent and afford my tuition next year rather than attend a rally that may be perceived by the government to support back to work legislation – something I disagree with wholeheartedly. I have been accumulating the facts and making my decisions around what little information there is.
    Would you say that’s mature enough for you?
    University students = adults.

  77. Enough Already!

    As a York student myself, let’s not get all angry at each other, but fight against the real culprits!! I am glad, Stef, that you were able to go back to work, and I don’t blame you at all. Mum, I agree that the larger the group, the more impact we could have, unfortunately, they seem to not wish to listen to us at this juncture. I believe that we may have some hope with the Provinical and Federal governments getting involved as our advocats – I could be wrong. However, the point is that we need to get back into the classroom one way or another! Enough Already!

  78. Hi ! Great page. Greetings from Poland.

  79. Marj

    Please advise to whom I address my request for reimbursement, and dare I say pain and suffering…??? What the hell am I suppose to do? I have a kid who is so eager to learn, just like the rest of them, and gave up so much to work at a job for 8.50 an hour to save for York…and here we are so many weeks later..I need to know where I send the bill for unused rez, meal plan, tuition fees, unused books, etc. etc. and the added expense to our household with him back home….more food, utilities etc..Yes he is my son but I planned to save these expenses to help pay for next year….duh..guess parents are screwed again huh? We are looking at other colleges and universities for next year…out bubble is burst about York’s fine standards……….Merry Christmas

  80. Rochelle Bowmile

    I am disgusted, disenchanted and discouraged by the lack of support and direction from the union, the university and more so from the Ontario Government. I cannot believe that 50,000 students being “held hostage” is of little importance to our government. Back to work legislation appears to be the only way our students will be able to get back to school to complete the year they have paid for. (This is not only a point about money, this is a year in the life of these students that cannot and must not be lost)
    In today’s economy, something needs to be done now. I have sent letters to my MPP, the Education Minister in charge of Colleges and Universities (who has publicly said he believes in collective bargaining and will therefore do nothing) and our Premier. I know I shall make it my mandate to remind voters in the next election how nothing has been done for OUR students, who came out of OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM to pay for and further pursue their education.

  81. Disgruntled Student

    Job security is a privilege that must be earned. I took a Political Science class at York with a prof who was (thankfully) on contract. He showed up 30 to 45 minutes late for class almost every time and would make up the missed time by continuing to lecture well after the scheduled lecture period, meaning most students were forced to miss that lecture because we had to move along to our next class. York got rid of this guy, but wouldn’t have been able to if he hadn’t been a contract faculty.

    Hey contract profs, you want job security??? You want more money??? You want support from the student body??? Then do your job properly, behave like adults, show up on time for lecture, do a good job and you will earn your tenure. A secure job is not something that is handed to you on a silver platter in any field, by any means, in any country or by any standard. You gotta work for what you want, especially in this day and age.

    Some say education is a right, well tell that to the thousands of students who worked long hours at minimum wage jobs to pay for an education that is being denied.

    I have NO sympathy for contract facs and TAs on strike. You all need a reality check.

  82. @ Disgruntled Student

    That story proves that this individual was a bad prof. I can surely understand how you’ve formed such a negative view of contract faculty.

    It is unfortunate that any of us have to deal with profs like that at any point in our studies, but most of us do. What is even more unfortunate is that this exact same disregard for students can be found among tenured faculty, as well. As you acknowledged in your post, it is worse when this sort of individual has tenure, as they can not be dismissed so easily.

    I urge you to look into the details about how tenure is achieved, who is eligible to receive it, and how it is kept. There are many qualified, committed, and highly intelligent contract faculty in Ontario who meet these requirements and do not make it into tenure stream.

    I say this as a current York undergrad who has previously worked with these types of contract faculty at other institutions. Many of them were forced (in order to make a full-time wage) to take jobs in several institutions across southern Ontario and still managed to give 100% of themselves to their work and to their students. Just as many tenured faculty do for their schools and their students.

    Unfortunately there are bad everything: bad lawyers, bad teachers, bad bus drivers, bad parents, etc. This does not, however, justify prejudices against all members of an entire field, profession, or community. To put it into perspective: I’m sure there are some bad undergrads out there – but we don’t all get F’s.

    Just an opinion and a thought, you are of course free to disagree – I would only request that you do so respectfully.

  83. Rocky


    am i entitled to get a refund of my tuition for the ENTIRE school year (fall and winter term) if i choose to withdraw myself out? or does york have the power to keep my money since i missed the drop dates for the fall courses? someone please advise…


  84. Disgruntled Student

    @ F-Ed Up,

    Before people pursue careers, intelligent individuals generally research their job interests to find out whether or not the field is for them. I would have thought that CUPE members, both contract facs and TAs, would have looked into the requirements for achieving tenure or enhanced job security PRIOR to applying for their jobs and eventually holding university students hostage. We (students) have plans and goals and lives that are being put on hold. I am in the midst of applying to professional schools for a career that I am serious about and have researched thoroughly, yet was told by the schools that I am applying to this year to consider putting my application on hold until next year because as a result of this ridiculously long strike, my fall grades won’t be processed by admission deadlines. Even though York has informed professional schools of the strike situation, they are not going to wait around for the grades of York students when they have hundreds of other applications from other students right in front of them. Therefore, myself as well as countless other students have to change their life plans for a whole year because whining CUPE members don’t like the conditions of their (otherwise pretty elite) jobs. Boo hoo.

    Where is the government in all of this??? I can’t help but wonder why MPs are sitting on their behinds instead of instituting immediate back to work legislation. Obviously the two parties are incapable of reaching a solution on their own.

  85. prodigy

    well, I am not a parent but I am telling you guys…

    All of you students.. you know how I posted a message yesterday.

    You guys shoul not worry, you will be legislated back to work. You guys will probably be back in classes by the begining of January… don’t worry these politicians don’t care about anyone but themselves and their salaries. I know it sounds cliche, but it pretty much the truth based on the fact that nobody likes to be out of a job and they don’t really care about you… ultimately it is you the student that cares about your education.

    I am sorry for the time lost.. however I am not sorry for the time lost that all those racist and prejudists people are losing… york is a pretty weird school and to a certain extend it harbours a lot of hidden racials themes that are isolated and do not want to be addressed. Especially all of you cacuatians that think that white and red means that only privalaged individuals that are indeed white get to be healthy or have certain privilaged values… I am not stupid and I might lack the lexicon to express what I want to say…but in a very raw sense this university needs to address not only communication but race relations to a certain degree…. from top to bottom this university has prejudisms and hidden racims marked all over.. from certain administrators down to students…

    may you go back to school safe and soud…but don’t forget that to put obstacles in the way of individuals that have goals that have nothing to harm you is nothing but to hate and to want nothing but the worst on others….and this has happened to me. I don’t blame anyone.. I just react at what I see.
    I have made it quite clear here what my goals are and I do live very close to the university a lot of the cacuatians students have nothing but contempt , racism and prejudist values that are so ignorant that show themselves again and again and I live this… now be at peace not white pride ….for I tell you now.. you will go back to school don’t worry.
    I just want to be respected and accepted as an individual not as person that is represented vis a vi through another caucation person just because I don’t happen to be 100 caucatian.
    now, when stuff like this happens identity matters becuase I am in that picket line..somehwere in there I know I am there… but none of my requests or my voice will be met…becuase it is all white and yellow and I am not talking about relations… I am talking about contract and real ideas… in order to avoid this in the future you need to address individuality in a much more real sense at your school for things like this could have become more easy to be solved.

  86. Marj

    So I emailed Dalton and my local member of Parliament and guess what?? no reply….

    due to the ‘cut off date’ for withdrawing for the 2008-2009 year, with all things being as they are, I do hope this date is revised…we are thinking seriously of leaving York…we will demand a full know, things like rez, mandatory meal plan, books, tuition fees for the profs and TAs – $15,000. for unfulfilled dreams…Thanks set a fine example for the eager youth….

  87. Mark

    So do we blow off this year?? How do we get our money back? I am having great difficulty thinking that the university is keeping my hard earned money…forget the education…I will find a university or college that believes in teaching..not put the almighty dollar put before 50,000 lives….I thought teachers had some kind of oath or promise to teach and help develope brain power for future generations. You’re having difficulty living on your rather impressive salary??? Try paying for university with a part time job at $9.00 an hour……….life sucks………… does York

  88. Mark



  89. Marj

    What can we as parents do? I feel helpless in my fight to get my son back to York… is anyone else demanding a refund? Did anyone write to Dalton? MPP?

  90. L.L.

    I can’t believe how York is named an international university as York did not concern about the feelings of the students and the parents. York gave no support to the students at this period of strike. I felt shame on you — York University !

  91. Mark

    Ya know what???????? years ago someone told me York was a little university in north Toronto…really into the students…all about education…

    know what??? It’s a big university now, but NO ONE is giving a rat’s ass about the students and their education…

    guess I’ll go back to factory work, make a ton of money, and forget the brains I was given….brains to learn….thanks TAs….you really know how to curb the appetite of a scholar…….

  92. F-Ed Up

    Disgruntled Student:

    “I would have thought that CUPE members, both contract facs and TAs, would have looked into the requirements for achieving tenure or enhanced job security PRIOR to applying for their jobs and eventually holding university students hostage.”

    My point is that there are some out there who have met these requirements. Many of them qualify in all respects. It is undeniable that there is a growing trend in denying tenure-track positions to well-qualified contract faculty, for various reasons (financial – not enough money – to political).

    As someone who was previously considering pursuing a PhD, however, my experiences working for a small school as a TA (before attending York) and the information I’ve gathers about working for post-secondary institutions in the last couple years has made me reconsider my long-term academic and professional goals.

    Perhaps this is the type of research that needs to be done prior to pursuing a career in post-secondary education. Even if one does not agree with recent trends in university management and administration, one must acknowledge the risks of such trends. If this is your argument, then I definitely agree! Though I also find it troubling that the future researchers who might end up curing cancer or repairing our economy one day might be discouraged from pursuing a life in the academy due to such concerns.

    “herefore, myself as well as countless other students have to change their life plans for a whole year because whining CUPE members don’t like the conditions of their (otherwise pretty elite) jobs. Boo hoo.”

    I certainly feel for you there. After holding my breath for months last year hoping to get into teachers’ college, I am in the midst of preparing job applications and applications to the Ontario College of Teachers and there is much uncertainty. I am preparing to apply for work in my previous field in the event that this strike effects my ability to begin my long-anticipated career in education.

  93. F-Ed Up

    Oh, and I believe it also wise for anyone pursuing any careerpath to continue playing instant lottos! 😉

  94. BB

    I have heard, and am not sure how accurate this is, but if the strike lasts 3 months or more there is a refund on tuition. But if the strike ends any amount of time before 3 months, there is no refund whatsoever.
    Also, there has been some talk saying that York will push the strike as far as a day before the 3 months so as to not have to give any of the tuition fees back to the students.
    I was wondering if anyone else has heard of this, and if there is any information regarding this.

  95. Marj

    ok….I give up….rez fees will be waived if year goes into May/June. Meal plan will be applied in same time period. So I guess we just sit back like little sheep waiting to come ‘home’. Sure puts a damper on an undergrads’ expectations..

    Are we supposed to look up to and respect TAs and profs????? I think not.

    Should we transfer out before 2010’s supposed strike?..

  96. F-Ed Up

    “Should we transfer out before 2010’s supposed strike?..”

    I wouldn’t necessarilly consider taking any action in relation to the 2010 strike threat, just because it’s not overly certain at this point that it will happen (though, that said, if I ever do return to school again I may not choose to enrol until 2011, haha).

    But, if you do believe in the 201o business, and if York does get a two-year deal, AND you’re hoping to transfer your son out to avoid this mess in another couple years, I would say choose your school wisely. Make sure that there are no unions (an “-UFA” of some form, representing full-time faculty, or any CUPE whether they’re the educators’ union or the caretakers’) at that school whose contracts are up for renewal in 2010. Or send him out of the province. But even then, if the conspiracy theorists are right, who knows what may happen in the rest of the country?

    Now, I don’t want anyone taking this as my endorsement of the 2010 prophesies – just giving you a heads up that, if you truly believe in the 2010 thing, it will be something that will affect students at many schools, not just York.

  97. Marj

    good point, don’t jump the gun..however, 2010 is not far away and I suppose there is no guarantee in any college or university within Ontario. Correct me if I am wrong. I feel helpless and ripped off. Kinda p’d off too.

  98. Marj

    Well Merry Christmas moms and dads….we are helpless….I am no longer checking this site. I find myself getting riled up over some of the unsubstantiated comments…

    Good luck in the New Year and hopefully we’ll meet on campus soon…if not, keep the spirits going and try not to cry over the thousands of dollars that have been tossed aside so far……..

    Yep, that mandatory meal plan was worth it…

  99. prodigy

    Hey man, merry chirstmas… hope you guys get everything straigthen out…lol!

    Honestly I am giggling becuase this strike could have been avoided. At least from my prespective, but I laugh becuase I know some people out there are indeed getting what they deserve. I know some of you students are a bunch of pricks that hate… and love to hate.

  100. Kat

    prodigy, don’t be a ‘hater’.

  101. tom

    I am the parent of a freshman student from the USA that sent her to York because it was an excellent school for her major. All her classes are yearlong and thus I have paid in FULL nearly $25,000 CAD up front while my daughter and 50,000 other students sit home. I am embarrassed for the province of Ontario for not stepping in and insisting on binding arbitration. Enough already put this to an end. Deeply frustrated!

  102. angry

    Why do people take a job that they are unhappy with their salary, benefits and future contracts? It becomes easy to complain when others around you do and then “wow” did I make a stupid mistake taking that horribly paying job and terrible benefits and lack of security – I must have been an idiot and didn’t even know it!

  103. Marj

    angry – yep that’s how I feel…imagine…there are still jobs in this country with benefit packages..and salaries, not hourly at 9 or 10 dollars….

    I wish a few folks, names withheld, could leap forward 25 years and have a read of these pages…how foolish they would feel..and what chuckles and laughter over such silliness. Be thankful for what you have, job and salary and benefits, and realize you took a career choice to teach…where are those work ethics now??

    I know what your salaries are…sure wish I was that poor….I could afford meat.

  104. Linda

    If students have to go through the summer to make up classes. My daughter will loose her summer job. Without it, we can kiss next years tuition good by. I can’t afford it on my salary.

    She was hoping to make a better future for herself and I’m very proud of her.
    Thanks guys for messing up my daughters future.
    She has worked so hard to get this far and now when its almost over this happens.
    She is at the end of her rope.

  105. Ben

    This situation (and potentially others like it)
    should have been forseen by the province of Ontario. Unfortunately, the striking group is legally allowed to do so and they feel hard done by so they will sit out for what they want. We all know they won’t get it all, they will lose more than they gain and the whole student populations year/lives remains in turmoil. Those of us who have been around have seen this time and again – patients not getting critical treatment because of strikes, garbage piles up causing health issues due to stikes – it goes on and on. It continues because it is legal to do so.
    Personnally, I will never work in an unionized environment again but because they are legal, we all suffer! My son attends York, we are actively seeking another school so he can complete his studies. I suggest those in unions who also hate this situation, seek employment in private firms. Unions have outlived their usefullness.

  106. It’s OK, York University is kicking itself in the rear with this strike, I truly believe that no one graduating this year in Ontario or possibly in Canada will ever think to put down York University on their application lists (except for those who are desperate and can’t get in anywhere else). Perhaps this will carry on for a few years and this union will suffer because of it. I guess one can only hope.

  107. Pally Wally

    This argument is pretty well discredited by the fact that York’s enrollment has gone up each year since 2000, and 1997 before that. As long as people want pieces of paper, they’re gonna go somewhere. Not everyone can (or should) go to UofT, and most people would rather go to York (which is in a city) than go to what they perceive to be a lesser school elsewhere.

  108. I guess I was too hopeful. 😛

  109. fake

    the above links are porn and viruses ignore them!!

  110. sam

    are we supposed to believe someone is overseeing this site with the disgusting comments from Lichelle Marie…??????????

  111. lea goldford

    I am a graduate of York and I am appalled by the fact that my daughter is faced with losing her year. Why is there not a petition circulating through Facebook or Student e-mails? Where is the class action lawsuit against the TA’s for lost future income and pain and suffering? How much will tuition increase as a result of this action? How will this affect the status of a York degree in the real world? What guarantees do we have that another union will not go on strike during the next several years. Why didn’t the Profs care enough aabout their students to provide online classes and/or support to keep student work current? At mcGill the Profs crossed picket lines and held classes!

    I agree. Fire the Ta’s and let’s get on with it.

    Oh and surely there is someone out there who can launch a class action nameing the union, Ta’s, Ga;s and the Ontario Government whose position has been sorely absent.

  112. sam

    lea, I am right with you…someone post info on class action….any lawyers out there who are grads and want to help….we need help to battle these bastards……

  113. ohmanlol

    I said you guys should bring a class action law suit not against the TA’s man!!!!….against the university!

    poor freakin’ ta’s and union have no deep pockets…the universy does however…

    they can raise the freakin tuition and they will…………trust!

  114. hmmm

    so I got a picture!!

    that is awesome!….I left a comment up there but I got a picture right beside it?


  115. hmmm

    It also does not have to be something so serious……….. just so that you can scare them off and put pressure… you could also do that with the union and pressure them to accept ……….

  116. I have read about how much the strikers care about the students they are teaching. Do they also care about what they are teaching? Just because they are not in the classroom does not mean they are not teaching the students. I am sure that as educational professionals they understand that their students are, for the most part, people who are highly motivated to learn. I believe that what the students are learning now is what greed looks like, what the effects of a power struggle is to the people who are not in the struggle but closely tied to it, that no matter how educated people are, they still don’t know how to create win/win outcomes in a conflict and finally that in a university setting the least important people end up being the people who create the reason for the existence of the university.

    This saddens me.

  117. Jack Stephen

    A proposal by student/public to breakup Cupe 3904 representation would deter both school and union.

    I believe that the only solution to future strikes would be to breakup union 3904 into their tier groups. Designating a separate union for contract professors would create a clearer image of the striking issues facing student/public.

    By having a mixed group of union membership (Tier 1,2,3), both York and the union can slant public opinion and prolong the end of the strike. The fact that York TA’s are the highest paid in the province leaves a platform for the school to argue while ignoring issues facing contract professors. While greater bargaining power is given to the union by grouping TA’s, GA’s and contract professors, their message is convoluted and their own representation fragmented. Neither the school nor union would want a breakup 3904 even though it would be in the best interest of students and those who are considering York or any other university in Ontario.

    How will the school and Cupe improve their image after the strike? What concessions will they make to the student body? Maybe only time is needed as all who is affected now becomes a forgotten past much like those from the strike of 2000.

    York Student

  118. 4th year student

    @Jack Stephen

    the solution is to get rid of unions completely!

  119. Living in Res

    Everyone knows that it’s the university that canceled classes, right? Not the TA’s or contract profs.

  120. Living in Res

    Maybe we should hire some law-enforcers on horses, give them revolvers and batons, and instruct them to ride through the crowds and instill some fear. Fascism works really well. Or a bunch of scabs. That never results in violence. For those who are confused, this is sarcastic. Study some history people!

  121. Tired of the strike

    @ Living in Res
    hahahahahha that just made this strike filled day a little bit jollier for me!

  122. rwf-55

    I belong to a union .I also work for a fair employer.As M C Keating reffered to the only thing that the students are learning is that greed is on the forefront. When unions start saying that what you have is not enough,especially in these times of job losses and lay offs, then we have a real problem.I wonder if they would like to compensate the students for the lost time and money? Not likely.Would they come to the University and tell the students that we have your interests in mind !.Can’t see it .Rest assured the Union officials are getting their pays , and when this is said and done they will pump up the union dues .If the union and the university can’t find a fair and reasonable settlement ,then some one needs to step in and end it once and for all. For the students AND the teachers sake, not the union!

  123. frustrated with unions

    Unions have run their course. Look at what the unions have done to the auto industry. A line worker making $63/hr ridiculous. I agree unions should only be there to protect workers and negotiate for benefits not job security and wages. Supply and demand. I have two first year boys at York and this is affecting them in a big way. Unions should only be allowed to walk off the job for say 1 month not to a point where it affects the students where they will loose a year of school and summer work. We parents need to raly with our kids to the goverment and demand an end to this ridiculous strike.

  124. CUPE member with child

    haha, let all the capitalists band together in their “chambers of commerce”. Let them unite to make policey via the Business Council of National Issues with trillions at their disposal. Let them congregate to beg governments to bail out their hefty mistakes.

    But no damn working boy I know should be joining a union. Let each be solely responsible for and suffer by himself!

  125. Sick & Tired

    Ok…I have read alot of the posts and here is my opinion! I am a student & I have always been the type to feel for others! In this case I d NOT feel ANYTHING for anyone of the people in strike except those who voted No in begining and are stuck in this mess like everyone else!
    As a student (my parents + my friends + their families) all feel that it is NOt fair for us to pay the price for unrealistic demands of unhappy TAs or the lack of undrestanding from our university! The TAs say they feel bad for us yet they are still letting us suffer! You gusy expected us to go and talk to the university on your behalf when you guys wouldn’t even consider binding arbitration! You have lost the respect of your students plus their parents! You guys had the choice of using other solutions to get what you wanted and you chose to keep 50,000 kids hostage! You keep picket lines every day creating traffic! No one in those vehicles wants to hear what you guys say!
    The way I see it, the university constantly gave new offers and honestly tried but you guys not only compromised but continued you cat and mice games! At this point I don’t acre how this mess will end! I want my time, money & education back & I don’t feel least bit sorry for anyone you! You guys took away the security of our time, education & money and you will lose your job security whether you vote yes or no today!

    These are the things that us students keep saying!
    “How do they expect us to respect them after this?”
    “If they don’t care about us why should we care about them?”
    you guys keep using examples of people getting hire pays with your level of education! Hey alot of people get paid far less when they are in intern like positions! If you think your job is bad be a high school teacher! But knowing you guys I would never want that for my kids! Because you guys have no mercy and will go on strike no matter how much you get paid! It is sad really! The TAs @ UFT and Ryerson are negotiating as well but they are not on strike! They care about the intergrity and reputation of their university and they seek better ways of getting what they want!

    As for the arguments about university, they are giving you guys what they can! If they give guys a raise there is no gurantee that they can keep up this for everyone no matter what! York like any other rich instituion is under depth and will go under budget cuts and the economic pressure during this economic crisis & your demands are unrealistic!
    It seems funny that you want 2 year raises in all your negotiations in other places like UFT and Ryerson! It almost looks like once this is over and you get your 2 years contracts you will go on strike again in 2010 or 11 in all Toronto universities to force the government to give what you want! This is my theory and by god i hope it is wrong because otherwise that would make you guys really _______!!!

  126. Angry Mom

    FLOOD THE PREMIER!! I urge all students, parents and alumni to write Premier McGuinty real, paper letters demanding that he take action. Here is the letter I sent today. Feel free to use any of the contents.

    Dalton McGuinty, Premier
    Legislative Building
    Queen’s Park
    Toronto, ON
    M7A 1A1

    To Premier McGuinty:

    January 20th was a day of contrasts. For the U.S., a day of hope; for Ontario, a day of despair.

    While our southern neighbours were celebrating a strong leader determined to face current challenges and gather his country together as a team, York University was the site of 50,00 citizens—our future business and community leaders—being abandoned by you and your government. Their education has been hijacked by a small group of irresponsible blinkered union members who are determined to wring their demands out of the administration regardless of the consequences to the students, the university or the economy of the province.

    I demand that you shoulder your responsibility to all Ontarians and take immediate action to get our students back in class.

    Yours sincerely,

    Joanne Mitchell, Parent of First-Year York Student
    Arnprior, Ontario
    K7S 3G9

    cc : John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
    Rm. 343, Main Legislature
    Queen’s Park
    Toronto, ON
    M7A 1A4

  127. MC Keating

    I read Tyler Shipley’s comment that the university wasted 10 days of his time. What colossal arrogance!!!What about the weeks and months of the students’ time that this strike has wasted? It is time to factor this into his desire for respect.

    I wonder if Mr. Shipley ever attended university. If he had I wonder what he would have thought if this had happened to him.

    CUPE’s stubborn insistence on having its own way at the expense of the students will ultimately weaken its position. Support for the union in the larger community has ebbed away. Any “victory” the union obtains now will be shallow and at the price of a lasting lack of respect for CUPE and for unions in general.

    WELL DONE, Mr. Shipley and CUPE.

  128. Ben

    To: CUPE member with child from Capitalist with Children
    If you really knew what you were talking about, you wouldn’t sound so idiotic. Unions hide so many losers in this country it’s alarming. Non-union work is no picnic either and there are the useless there too, but they will be weeded out or smarten up. Too many in unions hide behind them because they can’t do a full days work without getting .78 hrs for breaks every 3 hrs and time out for good behaviour!
    You’ve lost more in manys ways than you will EVER recover!

  129. Griff Tanner

    In light of the “worsening economic crisis”, we demand a 5 year freeze on the president and deans’ salaries.

  130. yorkresident

    hey anyone want to hang out with me?

    I am a HES student…..and I live in the village.

    I have no friends, literally.

    I lost my job and I am looking for someone cool.

    I am latino…..dark brown latino….male not caucatian.

  131. Ann

    Some students are now going back to school as of Monday, but they are being told almost 3 months worth of education will be crammed into 2 weeks. This is RIDICULOUS!!!!

  132. Wowed by ignorance

    Wow! Bad unions! Bad! Bad! A wage for fair pay? What are you thinking!? (Please note the sarcasm in the above comments.) On a serious note…so, we teach our children to be independent thinkers, to use metacognition (thinking about thinking), etc., but as soon as they take the reigns (so to speak), we spend all our time telling them how wrong and ignorant they are? Why don’t we blame this whole thing on the grade school system? (Oop, that was sarcasm again.) On another serious note, perhaps the helicopter parents should let their near grown up children make up their own minds. If you don’t know what a helicopter parent is, look it up.

  133. RJ

    A very frustrating event that has compromised an already compromised education system. Parents need to think why our children are being taught by a growing army of MA and PhD students instead of the senior tenured profs we benefited from. While university enrollment has been expanding, funding has not. York, and every other Canadian school, has responded by hiring all the folks who are now out on strike. They make a quarter of what a prof makes and they are the ones who TEACH OUR CHILDREN.

    We as a society chose this when we support tax cuts instead of funding for post secondary education. In a sense, we have all got what we paid for. No Canadian school can claim quality at the undergraduate level. Contract faculty and mushrooming class sizes are what you get. If your kids have the grade, then send them packing to the best private American schools. Otherwise, think about what our “victory” means when the TAs and contract faculty are sent back to work. Think about the education your kids are being sent back for.

  134. Pally Wally

    no offense, but you have to be pretty fucking stupid to be emailing the fucking CCF/NDP asking them to push through this legislation.
    While you’re at it, I think the new President should hear about your plans for reimplementing segregated schools in the South.

  135. Dd

    The TDSB is pretty much already doing that. Only instead of segregated they are calling it Africentric.

  136. Angry Mom

    The point of a democracy is to have the participation of the citizens. Make your opinions known however you deem suitable. However, the list of NDP members above is almost only federal MPs, not provincial MPPs (except for Michael Prue, and, which is the Beaches – East York Riding Association). The provincial MPPs are the ones voting TODAY!

    Names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses for all MPPs are listed here:

    Here are the NDP MPPs according to their website (, the ones planning on stalling the passage of the legislation:
    Howard Hampton (leader)
    Gilles Bisson
    Cheri DiNovo
    France Gelinas
    Andrea Horwath
    Peter Kormos
    Rosario Marchese
    Paul Miller
    Michael Prue
    Peter Tabuns

    CUPE 3903 will be demonstrating at the legislation this afternoon according to their website. Make your voices heard!

  137. Pally Wally

    I think there is a huge difference between forced segregation and Africentric curriculum – which isn’t to say the latter is not problematic in some ways.

    I actually had this example in mind when I wrote that, I considered being more rhetorically flighty with slavery, but I liked the tensions created with the plausibility (via Africentric stuff) of what I ended up with.

  138. Thevillageresident

    I just finished my last HES exam.
    I was taking 2 courses and I felt kind of lonely for a while being the only taking course and actually in school while you guys were all on strike. At a point, I was just going to school with the Law students. That was interesting…but that is not my point I am here to ask if of you dudes or dudetes want to hang out?

    I am a latino male- I look like crap now but I am going to be gettin’ in shape.
    It is pretty danr quiet here in the village with no one hanging around. Anyways- if anyone wants to hang out go to the gym, play basketball, soccer or heck you want help on an essay (if harvard has tough me something- is essay, I have do so many) anyways.. you can e-mail me

    basically I am just looking to see if I can meet new people…. and in exchange I guess the best thing I can offer is proofreading for essays?

  139. Charlie


    What is needed is for the parents to launch a class action lawsuit against York University for tuition paid PLUS interest!!!
    Tuition was paid in full last summer for the Fall semester and services paid for were not delivered. In any other contract if the services were not delivered we as customers would have the right to sue for our money.

  140. Charlie

    TO ALL T.A.’s

    When you say that it is not your choice to be a T.A. but it is required as a graduate student are we all supposed to get out the violins? It is part of your program so therefore it is equivalent to an internship requirement. Most interns in hospitals (as part of medical school programs) DO NOT get paid like yourselves and most likely work a hell of a lot harder! Stop the complaining because we are all sick of it!!!

  141. Thevillageresident

    I just finished my last HES exam.
    I was taking 2 courses and I felt kind of lonely for a while being the only taking course and actually in school while you guys were all on strike. At a point, I was just going to school with the Law students. That was interesting…but that is not my point I am here to ask if of you dudes or dudetes want to hang out?

    I am a latino male- I look like crap now but I am going to be gettin’ in shape.
    It is pretty danr quiet here in the village with no one hanging around. Anyways- if anyone wants to hang out go to the gym, play basketball, soccer or heck you want help on an essay (if harvard has tough me something- is essay, I have do so many) anyways.. you can e-mail me

    basically I am just looking to see if I can meet new people…. and in exchange I guess the best thing I can offer is proofreading for essays?

  142. Thevillageresident

    Let me know if you guys are interested in either hanging out with to go to the gym or anything else….

    I am sick of being like in a cage here in my little room.
    I am not a York student and I don’t pretend to be one. Thus I hope that I have no problems with other York students pretending to be me, I am not crazy this stuff does happen. There is a reason why I took these type of classes at HES. To find out more about myself, my role in society, whether or not I truly belong and if so in which groups I do belong to in society and within the Liberal framework model.
    Thus I ask you guys, there is a reason for all of this there is a reason why you guys are in strike ok?
    So I expect some sort of respect from York students. There is a reason why you guys went on strike while I was the only 1 to be taking classes in the whole damn campus. With the exception of law students; I respect everyone on campus but now that you guys will be forced to go back to school (as per my early suggestion) I expect that this is somewhat of an eye opening event to all of you. How identity itself amongs a mirage of what it appears to portray itself as a multicultural diasporas is an illusion. We must look to forge relations as people and as students through values, true values that people may share amongs each other. If it so happens that you are into hard work or other things that may be of interest to you then this should be the prevalent dominant force of forging relations and ultimately communication. Thus I ask that my identity as a person of Latino race be respected and not bamboozled or represented through another set of values other than my own, which I cannot inherently respond to.

    I am going to leave with something that I have lived through, but I did not know that existed in a systematic form until I took this classes:

    5 categories of oppression that validate any groups claims to special rights:

    1) benifiting of labour goes to others
    2) marginalized and find yourself outside society
    3) live or work under the authority of others
    4) cultural of imperialism
    5) behaviour of your expections are based on stereotypes

    Here is hoping that there is a better future, for all of the people in the world or individuals that are living under oppresion of any type, shape or form.
    This is the e-mail.

  143. Thevillageresident

    sorry I meant to write, identy through a culture reflection between two groups. This is indeed more often than not an illusion, values true values is what counts.

    I am selling the video of the lectures from my classe is like 28 of them, plus the book in an e-type format. PDF file
    Let me know… I can offer it a good price.

  144. Thevillageresident

    It is all about respect.

    STOP the hidden racism by student on other students at York!

  145. Another Angry Mom

    Thanks for the addresses Angry Mom. I have sent an email of disgust to each. This has been so frustrating to watch my child who should be enbracing her future, struggle with such uncertainty in her educational future, let alone the financial hardship this is causing and going to cause her.

  146. P MacDonald

    My kids have been affected by strikes in all levels of their education – elementary, secondary & university.
    When will education become a priority of life?

    They don’t shut down the petro chemical industry or even our jails when there are strikes – so why can’t the law’s change to protect “innocent people”.
    I believe unions do have the right to strike, but when 3rd parties are affected – then the 3rd parties should be protected. (includes, fire, police, medical, law & TEACHERS) Teachers you are an essential service to people’s lives.

    York/Cupe/Governement – put the professors or non union personnel to work while the TA’s are striking. (like they do in the petrol chemicals and even our jails where Management are shut in to work while the staff strikes.)

    TA’s & contract people who are on strike – fight as long as you want – but rest asured there will be pressure from both sides (students and faculty) to get you back to work.

  147. TRUTH

    “When will education become a priority of life?”

    The strikes will end when politicians take education funding seriously.

  148. P MacDonald

    When will “people” stop being greedy?

    (doesn’t the teacher’s union own or part own the Toronto Maple Leafs? – go leafs go!
    now that has a lot to do with teaching)

    sorry in my life – it’s the rich get’s richer and the poor get poorer…. my children all of gone on to “higher education” because today’s society says they “have to have it” to get a job (that’s if they can find one) …but back in my day (yes I’m old) life skills and work experiences was the ticket.

  149. to angry mom

    @ both the angry moms

    you guys are mad because NDP is standing up for human rights? dont get me wrong i want to get back into school (im a 3rd year psyc/poli sci major). You guys are the same people that would cry and cry when you’re union wherever you work, goes on strike and are legislated back to work…do you honestly think that the union cupe 3903 or the NDP are to blame? if so you need to get your facts straight…you’re shooting without looking. York admin was the one who refused to negotiate. It was almost as if they were waiting for the government to step in and “back them up”. ..this is ridiculous. If anything the government should force York u back to the table to properly negotiate instead of spending all their time on media pressure and trying to win over the public. In the end, it is us, the students who are being held hostage, who are biting the raw end of the stick. I’m moving schools next year and it’s a real shame because I scholarshipped my way from college to university and i have been scholarshipping my way since…i’m pretty sure that i’m not the only good student they will lose…and to be i have no sympathy whatsoever for them.

    – Good day

  150. to angry mom

    *and to be honest

  151. Thevillageresident

    I recommend peeps take a look at this site.

  152. Stef

    Does anyone know when the strike will be over?
    What happens to the prospective students?

  153. Thevillageresident

    apparenlty many of you are going back on monday.

    heck it was about time…..

  154. Thevillageresident

    I also want to make a warning and a complaint to everyone else that is being stupid that read this:

    I am not about to take lightly the fact that I have gone through very life shaping experiences to forgoe my identity. I am writing this to actually state a very real warning, especially to older women that actually love to play with my life. You do not know the idiotic consequences that a lot of older caucatian women’s decisions have had over me. I want to make it very clear, and you should really pay attention to this. I have a very short fuse, a pretty bad temper and not a whole lot going for me. Thus you do not want to put me in a corner where the choices that I have to make are coerced. I do accept the fact that there is coercion in society and a lot of things that we do, but there is a certain degree of positivity that should exist in terms of the expectations that are set towards minorities and for the most part, even within branches of academia participate in this type of channeling of ideas and expectations based on stereotypes. I am not asking to be a member of a perfect society, but the relevance of my argument is with regards to the community that I want to be a member of. I know there are families within the proximity of this neightborhood that only seek to live in peace, make money and raise their offspring to go to better universities than York. (no offence)
    So thus, given the fact that we are all here becuase of the strike and how this has affected the community; what I want to say that my goals are simple and I write here becuase I know parents read and so do some students.
    All I want is to be respected
    Not fear certain oppression just becuase I am would like to express myself as an individual.
    And ultimately gain financial independance.

    Now I am not threatening anyone here, but I do have a short temper, I am strong and clever individual. Don’t make me use my cleverness for true evil.

  155. article

    THE VILLAGE RESIDENT please someone, get this person some help, give them some love and respect, and lead them down the right path…this sounds like a cry for help, attention that never came, a sincere upset.

  156. thevillageresident

    basically all I am saying is that I am not gonna f ck with none if none messes with me?


    I am sick of being harrased by people who think they are smarter and more ballsy than I am.

  157. Thevillageresident

    250 million lawsuit!!!


    I hope the fvcking university goes bankrupt..fvckin racist f ckers and their unfair and unbalanced policies…

    I am all alone and fighting for a spot in this world…. and i already fought my legal battles…I am also seeking to get a job but this fvcks are punks! – I hope their endowment goes towards making residential buildings instead of treating people like numbers and sh*t….

    this school was build on pure jewish values….there is no need for that type of secularism.


    I am the LAST PERSON TO POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  159. Почему подписка еще бесплатная? :))

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