York University says it won't return to bargaining table at this time, strike set for Monday
Published Saturday, March 3, 2018 12:48PM EST Last Updated Saturday, March 3, 2018 12:50PM EST
Contract faculty, teaching assistants and other staff at York University are set to walk off the job on Monday after the school indicated that both sides remain “too far apart” to merit a return to the bargaining table this weekend.
Members of CUPE Local 3903 voted to reject what was billed as a ‘final offer’ from the school on Friday and proceed with strike action on Monday.
The union did say that it was opening to returning the bargaining table this weekend but in a statement released on Saturday York University said that it does not believe that a resumption of negotiations would be productive at this time.
“When bargaining began six months ago, CUPE presented the university with a list of 110 demands representing a 57 per cent increase in cost over the current contract. At this time, the university has not received a counter-offer to our March 1 offer,” the statement says. “Following careful review of CUPE 3903’s lengthy and largely unchanged list of demands shared through the mediator, CUPE 3903’s positions remain too far apart from our best offer to return to bargaining at this time.”
CUPE 3903 has accused York University of attempting to force the union to agree to concessions that would hurt the job security of its members
Union spokesperson Leena Nasr told CP24 on Friday that one such concessions would see the number of contract faculty that are promoted into full-time tenure track positions reduced from eight to two per year.
The university, however, has maintained that it has put forward an offer “that leads among all other universities.”
York University has also said that it remains willing to send the “toughest” unresolved issues to binding arbitration.
Nonetheless, the university said that its priority is now on “minimizing the impact of the strike” on students.
In its statement Saturday, it said that the campus 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,” the statement said.
About 60 per cent of all classes at York University are taught by CUPE 3903 members, according to the union.
The union has been without a contract since August 31, 2017.