The union representing striking academic workers at York University today called on its members to send a clear message to their employer and the Provincial government by voting down a contract offer they are being forced to vote on.

“We have said throughout this dispute that the path forward goes through the bargaining table, but York University has repeatedly tried to take shortcuts,” said Devin Lefebvre, Chairperson of CUPE 3903.

“Unfortunately, this forced ratification vote is yet another example of an employer that would prefer to do everything but the work necessary to resolve the issues that have led to this strike,” he added.

Units 1, 2 and 3 of CUPE 3903 walked off the job March 5 in an effort to secure a fair collective agreement that addresses rampant precarious employment in the post-secondary education sector and protects quality education, among other issues. Last week, despite repeated attempts by CUPE 3903 to resume bargaining, York University instead demanded a ratification vote, supervised by the Ministry of Labour.

“The offer members are being forced to vote on is virtually unchanged from the one members rejected in early March, contains no back-to-work protocol, and makes no substantive effort to address serious concerns regarding the integrity of the academic year for students. Our bargaining team has no alternative but to encourage our members to reject York’s shortcuts and turn this offer down.”

The forced ratification vote will be conducted online. Balloting commenced this morning and will conclude at 10 a.m. Monday. A mass rally and march from the Ministry of Labour to Queen’s Park is scheduled to take place shortly after balloting ends.

CUPE 3903 represents approximately 3,000 teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants, who collectively teach more than half of the course, work at York University.