“We had hoped that York University was serious about finishing the job and kept negotiating, but it became clear that our hopes were misplaced,” said CUPE 3903 Chairperson Devin Lefebvre.
“In spite of the fact that our bargaining team had made significant moves to resolve the outstanding issues between the parties, and in spite of the fact that we had withdrawn several proposals and agreed to several others, York chose to deliver an ultimatum and walk away from the bargaining table. It’s incredibly disappointing,” he added.
Units 1, 2 and 3 of CUPE 3903, representing York University teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants, walked off the job March 5 after members rejected an offer from the University that failed to meaningfully address precarious employment, which is rampant in Ontario’s post-secondary institutions.
The University finally agreed to a resumption of bargaining today, after refusing repeated requests by the Union over the last two weeks.
Picket lines will remain up at all York University entrances, and more than half the classroom instruction on campus will continue to be disrupted.
“Before York walked away from the table, the parties had made progress on a number of issues. We are now closer than ever before to an agreement, but any such agreement is impossible if both parties aren’t at the table, where they need to be,” said Lefebvre, who urged students and their families, faculty and staff to make their voices heard to York University President Rhonda Lenton, as well as their Members of Provincial Parliament.
“York has taken great pains to frame the gap between the parties as unbridgeable. In fact, there was significant movement today. We resolved several issues and our Bargaining Team withdrew several others. We have demonstrated that a path forward exists, and that path lies through negotiation. York University needs to do the right thing and come back to the table. Our bargaining team is ready and waiting for them to call.”