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Toronto Teaching and graduate assistants have voted to ratify York Universitys latest offer, ending its 78-day strike. The new agreement was ratified by 95%.

The members of CUPE Local 3903 went on strike to protect teaching assistants and graduate assistants from tuition hikes and to make graduate school more accessible. Teaching assistants won the tuition indexation language that they had in their past two collective agreements, protecting themselves from the rollbacks demanded by York administration.

If tuition rises, teaching assistants will continue to get that money back in a tuition rebate. Graduate assistants fought for a fair first contract in which they won summer funding, health benefits, and a decent base wage. They also won the framework for tuition indexation.

Says Local 3903 President Joe Kispal-Kovacs, This strike did not have to happen. We are angry that York forced us out on strike and continually prolonged the strike by refusing to bargain fairly.

They sacrificed undergraduate education in a bid to take away our protection from tuition increases. Students and the public need to understand that the York University administration fought against accessible education, and for that they should be ashamed, says the union president.

Kispal-Kovacs adds, We are proud that our members fought so hard for the principle of accessible and affordable education for themselves and future graduate students.

Post-secondary graduate education is in crisis. At York, graduate students pay over half of their wages back to the university in tuition.

Teaching Assistant Mike Ma says, The issues of this strike extend beyond the confines of York. We fear that soon graduate education will only be available to the rich, both at York and throughout the rest of the country.

Graduate students across Ontario are experiencing first hand the corporatization of their universities. We encourage them to fight against tuition hikes in an environment that views post-secondary education as a business rather than as a public good,” says the York TA.

For more information visit the CUPE 3903 strike site

For information:
Joe Kispal-Kovacs (416) 877-2103
Michelle Lowry (416) 877-2109
Mike Ma (416) 831-2984