UPDATE: York University contract faculty set to walk at midnight

It certainly appears that York University contract faculty and teaching assistants will be heading to the picket lines as of midnight

No progress was made  this weekend in the labour dispute that affects 3,700 employees.

The members asked the union to continue negotiating over the weekend, but according to CUPE rep Kevin Wilson speaking to CP24 Sunday, with little success. 

"Unfortunately the employer declined our offer and at this stage it appears that strike action will begin tomorrow. We made a good faith offer to resume negotiations over the weekend and unfortunately the employer did not see fit to sit down with us."

In a statement, the university says they have not received a counter offer from the union, and the administration believes the two sides are too far apart on what they call their "best offer" to return to bargaining at this time.

A union rep tells NEWSTALK 1010 that the university's characterization of their offer is "misleading at best."

The union released a statement to NEWSTALK 1010 Saturday afternoon"

In the interests of reaching a fair negotiated settlement and avoiding a strike on Monday, the union reached out to the employer through the Conciliator last night. 

We informed them that we were ready to meet over the weekend to discuss the union's identified priority issues that were ignored or inadequately addressed in the offer the membership resoundingly rejected on Friday. We also signaled that engaging in *any* real discussion on these priority items would lead to further movent on the union's part to modify or drop other outstanding proposals. 

The employer's response, delivered through their lawyer, was to dismiss the possibility of further  negotiations on the existing offer, despite our willingness to make significant moves on various issues. They continue to insist on interest arbitration, as they have done for months, since from the start they have tried to use that as a substitute for actual negotiations rather than a last resort.

They are refusing to meet and have essentially walked away from the table. 

At this point the employer appears to be the only group at York that is NOT interested in avoiding a strike.  

Our bargaining team remains ready to meet with the employer in person, or through the Conciliator, at any time either this weekend or Monday (and beyond) so that we can work towards reaching a settlement, and get back to working with our students. 

The administration says its priority now is to minimize the impact of the strike.

York University has released this information in the event of job action:

  • The University will remain open and classes that can continue will continue;
  • Remedies will be provided for students to complete their year if their classes are cancelled or they cannot or do not want to cross a picket line;
  • Libraries, student services, athletic facilities, restaurants and other food services, and administration offices will continue to be available to students.

Wilson adds his memebership will not actually begin to picket until Tuesday, but will stage a major rally outside the main gate of the York Campus Monday at 11:30 a.m.


with files from Justine Lewkowicz