Striking York U staff reject university's latest offer
Striking workers at York University have rejected the university's latest contract offer following what the union called a "forced ratification vote."
Last week, members of CUPE 3903, the union representing about 3,000 striking contract staff at York, began voting on the university’s latest offer, a contract union leadership urged them to reject.
On Monday afternoon, the union confirmed that all three bargaining units voted against the deal.
"Turnout was excellent across all units: 75% for Unit 1, 69% for Unit 2, 68% for Unit 3," the union said in a written statement issued following the release of the results.
The union said 86 per cent of members who voted in Unit 1 and Unit 2 rejected the offer, while 98 per cent in Unit 3 voted no.
"These results send a clear message: Teaching Assistants, Contract Faculty, and Graduate Assistants at York University will not accept the same concessionary deal that they had rejected on March 2. The employer has wasted not only weeks of our time, but also — and most importantly – weeks of students’ semester in order to avoid bargaining," the union's statement read.
"A deal must be reached at the bargaining table, not in the media or by underhanded tactics such as waiting five weeks for a forced vote in the hopes that the cold and loss of a paycheque weakens our resolve."
Workers have been off the job since March 5.
The union has previously said that the main sticking points are job security for part-time workers and the path to full-time tenured employment for contract faculty.
The university contends that it has put forward a good proposal, adding that it has offered each of the three bargaining units “substantial increases” in benefits and “market leading” wage increases.
In a written statement issued Monday, university officials said they are "deeply disappointed” with the results of the vote.
"We are currently reviewing next steps, which includes speaking to the government to propose options that would bring the two parties together to end the strike," the statement read.
"For the sake of our students and our community York remains willing to bargain. It is still not too late to save the winter and summer terms. We ask once again, for CUPE 3903 to come forward with realistic proposals that provide a possibility of settlement and responds to the concerns we have raised about protecting our core academic principles."
The union is holding a rally this afternoon and plans to march to Queen’s Park to call for “fair collective bargaining and quality public post-secondary education.”