Parties playing politics over York U strike

A strike affecting some 40,000 students at York University is at the centre of the latest round of political gamesmanship at Queen's Park.

It was about 2 months ago that roughly 3,000 graduate teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate research assistants walked off the job and left the academic years of many York students in the lurch.

At the Legislature on Monday, Ontario's Labour Minister unexpectedly introduced legislation that, if passed, would have ended the labour stalemate by sending any unresolved issues to binding mediation-arbitration.

On each of Kevin Flynn's two attempts to get the bill passed with unanimous consent, the New Democrats shot the effort down by objecting. The scenario could allow the Liberals to blame the NDP for letting the strike drag on, but New Democrat Labour Critic Cindy Forster says the responsibility lies with Premier Kathleen Wynne.

"Apparently, she just wanted to use her final hours in the legislature to make an anti-worker statement," says Forster.

"This is really a final insult to anyone who fights for students, and anyone who has ever organized for better working conditions."

This comes after the government ordered a commission to look into what it might take to solve the dispute. Veteran labour lawyer William Kaplan found the CUPE Local 3903 and the employer had reached a deadlock.

York University has offered credits for tuition for students put out by the labour disruption.