York University Administrators Refuse to Budge in Mediation with CUPE 3903


The bargaining team representing teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants at York University in Toronto on May 30 made an offer of settlement to the University central administration in an effort to end the 3-month long strike. The union and the employer agreed to mediation on Saturday, June 2. Both parties proposed Memoranda of Settlement.


The mediation session ran 13 hours and went into the early morning hours of June 3 without any movement by the University administrators. The CUPE 3903 bargaining team made several proposals in a concerted effort to reach a settlement. The union had previously offered to move significant items to arbitration, including every item that the employer had identified as barriers to a settlement. The offer made in mediation moved the union's position to its very bare bones, but central administration still refused to settle the strike.


Job security is a reality that all those involved in the post-secondary sector have to tackle as a significant issue. Central administration refuses to discuss any arrangement on this most important problem. The administrators have even doubled down on their refusal to guarantee protection for union members from reprisals for actions during their strike and other activity including political dissent. Instead, they have outlined disciplinary procedures to be taken that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has already twice warned the University are heavy-handed and aimed at quashing the rights of employees and political dissent, actions unworthy of a public institution of higher learning.


Essentially, the employer rejected mediation and a deal in the name of taking a punitive approach towards the union and its supporters. No further mediation sessions have been announced. CUPE 3903 subsequently announced that the Bargaining Committee approved a unit-specific ratification vote by one of the three bargaining groups to be held Wednesday, June 13, on the last offer made by the University.

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