York University is officially on strike after six months at the bargaining table

Published On March 5, 2018 | By HN Staff | News

Kasie DaSilva

York University is officially in the midst of  a strike for the second time since 2015.

York’s contract faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants unanimously rejected their employer’s final contract offer before midnight Monday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3903) that represents the three teaching groups have been without a contract since Aug. 31, 2017.

“After six months of bargaining, CUPE 3903 formally rejected York’s best offer Friday,” the university said in a statement on its website.

A post on the CUPE 3903’s Twitter account said workers would officially be on strike as of 12:01 a.m. on March 5.


A rally took place at York’s Keele campus’ main gates Monday morning hundreds of contract faculty, teaching assistants and other staff held signs and chanted slogan to protest what they say are unfair working conditions.


Devin Lefebvre, chair of CUPE 3903 said in a news release that their members have given the administration the same message they have been telling for months—namely that the positions they were advancing at the bargaining table were unacceptable.

Sadie Hamilton is in her third year psychology at York University and said that York has been sending out emails for students not to support CUPE 3903.

“York has been sending out really strange emails that almost seem like propaganda,” she said. “They are trying to pin students against CUPE members who want some pretty fair stuff,”

Some of the main points of negotiation include wages, more money for childcare subsidies, guaranteed employment for graduate assistants, and the number faculty positions available for graduate students.

After being at York for three years Hamilton said that the professors have been very vocal about the past strikes.

“I’ve learned from professors, who have been through the strike three to four times, that York cares very much about their public image and how the public views York will decide the outcome of the strike,” she said.

The university has said that campus will remain open during the strike and that all classes that can continue, will continue.

Libraries, restaurants and other food outlets, as well as administrative offices and other university facilities will remain open as well.

Even though the University is saying that some classes will continue on, professors have other ideas in mind.

“None of my professors are running class because they’re part of CUPE,” said Hamilton “Trying to run classes with 40 per cent of staff is not going to work.”

CUPE 3903 said on its website that picket lines would be set up around York beginning Tuesday at 7:30 a.m,.

There are still no indications of when negotiations will resume.

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