With a strike by 3,000 York University academic workers entering its third week, members of Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3903) today joined their voices with campus, labour and community allies to counter their employer’s “deafening, shameful silence.”
Earlier this afternoon, striking CUPE 3903 members, along with supporters from the York University Students’ Association (YUSA), York University Faculty Association, (YUSA), Toronto and York Region Labour Council and other campus, labour and community supporters held a solidarity rally in front of York University’s main entrance.
“For two weeks, York’s bargaining team has been missing in action,” said CUPE 3903 Chairperson Devin Lefebvre.
“Over the past two weeks we have repeatedly called on York to return to the bargaining table, most recently yesterday. The only response we have received is deafening, shameful silence,” he added.
Units 1, 2 and 3 of CUPE 3903, representing teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants began legal strike action March 5, to secure a fair collective agreement that, among other things protects quality education and creates a less precarious working environment in Ontario’s university sector.
The University has refused repeated requests by CUPE 3903 to return to the bargaining table. The union sent its most recent request for a resumption of negotiations on Thursday afternoon. York has not yet responded.
Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada’s New Democrats, was among the hundreds of supporters who joined today’s solidarity rally.
“I stand today in support of your efforts to secure a fair contract, and call on York University to do the right thing, sit down at the bargaining table and finish the job of negotiating a fair contract with the people who deliver 60 per cent of the instruction on campus,” Singh said.
Lefebvre once again reiterated CUPE 3903’s availability to resume negotiations quickly.
“Our bargaining team remains ready and available to bargain on short notice. The only thing missing is a willing partner across the table,” he said.