As a strike by York University’s academic workers enters its third day, more questions are being raised about the University’s refusal to negotiate with its employees.

“For five days, York University has been missing in action,” Devin Lefebvre, Chairperson of Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3903) said today.

“York’s continuing refusal to resume negotiations raises serious questions about their stated commitment to resolve this dispute,” he added.

Units 1, 2 and 3 of CUPE 3903, representing teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants at York, walked off the job Monday after six months of negotiations. After members rejected York’s last offer late last week, the Union’s bargaining team offered to work through the weekend in an effort to resolve the outstanding issues between the parties. York refused, insisting that CUPE 3903 needed to provide a counter-offer.

However, when the union provided a counter‑offer yesterday, York again refused to resume negotiations.

“It’s unconscionable that York has chosen to needlessly prolong this dispute by not coming and sitting down and actually doing the work necessary to resolve our outstanding issues. We cannot and will not continue to bargain with ourselves,” said Lefebvre.

“Our bargaining team continues to be ready and available to resume negotiations as soon as there is a willing partner across the table,” he added.

Earlier today, CUPE National President Mark Hancock joined the CUPE 3903 picket lines with a message of support and solidarity from CUPE members across the country.

“York University needs to understand that the only place to resolve this dispute is at the bargaining table, and I’m committed to ensuring that CUPE 3903 has the resources and support of 650,000 CUPE members from coast to coast,” said Hancock.