On March 5, members of Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at York University, began strike action after overwhelmingly rejecting York University's final offer. CUPE 3903 represents nearly 3,000 part-time contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants and research assistants at York within three separate units: Unit 1 (Graduate Students with Teaching Contracts, mostly Teaching Assistants), Unit 2 (Contract Faculty) and Unit 3 (Graduate Assistants). All three groups have been attempting to negotiate a collective agreement with York for many months.
Devin Lefebvre, chair of CUPE 3903, says that there were three outstanding issues the union wanted to see addressed: job security for contract faculty, accessibility and equity in the workplace, and stable and predictable graduate studies funding.
CUPE 3911 continues to extend its full support to the striking workers at York, including financial support, and calls on everyone to back their just demands. One aspect we are keeping a close eye on concerns what effect the change in the Ontario government will have on the strike situation. As is well-known, Conservative governments have a long history of being unfriendly toward workers and their organizations.