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After three days of intense negotiations, CUPE Local 3903 and York University reached a tentative agreement January 9. A deal was reached after considerable movement on the part of the university around tuition protection for teaching assistants and a wage and benefit increase for graduate assistants.

A ratification vote on the tentative agreement is expected this week.

This is a victory for every university student planning to attend graduate school in the future. And its also a victory for accessible, public post-secondary education for everyone, said spokesperson Joel Harden.

The local, which represents 2,100 teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty, has been on strike since October 26. Contract faculty had earlier ratified a contract in a forced vote January 4 and 5. The deal gives newly organized graduate assistants their first collective agreement.

The truth is this strike didnt need to happen, said Mike Ma, another spokesperson for the local. All we wanted was what we had in previous collective agreements. The York administration, however, would not settle this dispute until we stood up for eleven weeks, Ma added.

In achieving their objective, CUPE Local 3903 members have shown that fighting back has made a difference, and that other university workers can achieve the same results.