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York Universitys 2,100 contract faculty and teaching and research assistants begin a strike today for smaller classes, higher wages, and job security for contract faculty.

Full-time professors plan to join picket lines in the morning at the Keele Campus and undergraduate students are holding a rally in support of the strikers at 11 a.m.

“Were trying to shut the university down, make it difficult for them to operate,” said Joe Kispal-Kovacs, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3903.

The two sides last met on Tuesday and no new talks are scheduled.

The local is bargaining for smaller class sizes. CUPE has made some gains in the past.

The union is asking for a 3.75 per cent wage increase. The last ten years have seen members real wages decline 12 per cent. Meanwhile, graduate tuition has have risen 350 per cent and rent controls have disappeared

Yorks administration is looking to roll back language that protects teaching assistants from tuition increases. The administration wants to deny new teaching assistants the tuition rebate.

A graduate student who pays $5,185 in tuition would receive a $1,300 rebate.

The local wants to improve contract provisions that gives contract faculty with 15 or more years experience limited job security. Now, contract faculty do not know how many courses they will teach each year, nor do they have a steady income.

The union is also bargaining a first contract for some 380 graduate assistants.

CUPE 3903 members do more than 40 per cent of the teaching at York University.

The York University Faculty Association, has pledged $10,000 to the assistants as well as a $50,000 line of credit to help cover costs.

In addition, professors have been urged to let students know they wont be penalized if they choose not to cross picket lines.

The local has a web site. Or you can call Joe Kispal-Kovacs at (416) 877-2103, and Media Representative Michelle Lowry at (416) 877-2109.

Send support letters to:

Lorna Marsden, President
S949 Ross
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Fax : 736-5641 Phone: 736-5200

email: presidnt@yorku.ca

Marshall Cohen
BOG Chair
Office of the University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Fax: 736-5796 Phone: 736-5012

Please cc cupe3903@yorku.ca