When York University announced last week that it was ready to negotiate over the holidays in order to reach a settlement, the union representing striking contract faculty and teaching assistants tried to see it as more than a public relations move. But, it turns out that the announcement was PR after all.
“We have been ready and willing to return to the table any time, including over the holidays, but York is still saying no,” said CUPE 3903 spokesperson Tyler Shipley. “We have worked, as the mediator requested, to revise our proposals – twice. Unfortunately, York has not done the same. We don’t see how we can reach a settlement negotiating with ourselves.”
The union is also disappointed, Shipley said, that the York administration continues to communicate directly with CUPE 3903 members instead of the union bargaining team and is providing misleading information.
“Contrary to York’s claims, our costing shows that our most recent proposal would add an additional 11% over two years to the cost of our collective agreement,” he said. “We believe that is a reasonable starting point to resume negotiations.” The union’s current wage proposal stands at 4% in each year of a two-year contract. Job security for contract faculty, who must reapply for their jobs every four or eight months, remains a key outstanding issue, as does ensuring funds for health and other benefits catch up to the increase in local membership.
The CUPE 3903 bargaining team remains available to return to the table any time the university finally decides it is ready to talk, he said.