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York Strike

York University contract faculty set to strike

CUPE 3903 is set to head into a strike on Monday morning as there will be no bargaining with York University over the weekend.

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Eli Ridder | The Post

The union representing contract faculty, teaching assistants and others at York University is set to strike on Monday as the employer will not attempt to reach a deal over the weekend, according to a union statement on Saturday. 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903 has been engaged in negotiations with the university since August of last year, and passed a deadline on Mar. 1 to finalize a new contract.

Its members voted on Friday to reject York’s final offer, following the advice of CUPE 3903’s bargaining representatives and its administration, and in favour of striking if no deal was reached by the next workday, Monday.

Union spokesperson Leena Nasr said members “directed negotiators to make themselves available to York University over the weekend” on Friday.

However, CUPE announced on Saturday morning that “the news from the bargaining team is that there will be no bargaining this weekend.”

“Shame on [York University] for not even taking the opportunity to try to reach a resolution,” the union tweeted.

“Class schedules will be available Sunday and communicated. Visit yorku.ca/labour for latest information and updates,” posted York on Saturday.


More details to follow. Image of York University from previous files.  ■

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York Strike

Live: York Senate re-claimers hold Town Hall

Students occupying the Senate Chamber at York University are holding a Town Hall on Thursday night to open up a discussion over how the group should move forward with holding the university accountable for its actions. 

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Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

Students reclaiming the Senate Chamber at York University are holding a Town Hall on Thursday night to open up a discussion over how the group should move forward with holding the university accountable for its actions. 

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CCLA release human rights report

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From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Students For 3903 are holding the meeting at the re-branded “Student Chamber” on the ninth floor of the Ross Building to hear out suggestions on what moves it should take.

The occupation told The Avro Post that it will be live streamed, and it will be carried on the Post’s website.

The event comes just before Good Friday, a civic holiday, and a week after the occupation started following the last Senate meeting.

The university on Monday requested the Ontario Ministry of Labour hold a forced vote, a one-time request that has all members of the CUPE local union fill out ballots on whether to accept the latest offer from York and end the strike or continue.

A forced vote was rejected by the public college faculty union last fall when the College Employers Council submitted a request for it to be carried out.


Who are the occupiers?

The occupying student group is acting in support of the local 3903 Canadian Union of Public Employees that make up some 60 per cent of the faculty at York and went on strike on Mar. 5, but is also advocating on behalf of students.

Primarily, they want to have all classes cancelled until the strike is over, a move the university told the occupiers on Sunday would not happen.

Secondly, the student group demands York return to the negotiating table with CUPE 3903 without offering concessions.

The group also demands a tuition refund to all students for the Winter term, a request made by Humber College students last fall which was denied.

A final listed demand is for more information on why York’s president, Rhonda Lenton, allegedly spent at least $20,000 on “personal expenses”, numbers that have not been verified at this point.

York University and the occupiers have exchanged several statements on social media but students at the Senate say that only one member of the administration has visited, but not in an official capacity.

University staffer Debbie Hanson was sent on Saturday to the chamber and dropped off care packages, but beyond that, official contact has been through press releases by both sides.

Security was tightened on Monday morning amid reports the Students For CUPE 3903 would be evicted from the chamber they’ve occupied since the last Senate meeting on Mar. 22, a week ago.

The university had temporarily blocked ninth floor elevator access to the public and press on Monday, but was restored Tuesday morning.

The university maintains that students enrolled at York may leave and return from the chamber as they wish as part of the occupation.

Occupiers told The Avro Post on Monday they do not intend to leave until the demands are met.

“We are still here, we have reclaimed this space, and we are building community,” the occupiers tweeted on Tuesday.

“Come join us!” ■


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York Strike

CCLA releases report, criticizes York security measures

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association on Monday released a detailed report on the status of human rights conditions for the ongoing contract faculty strike at York University and called on the university to halt new security measures.

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Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association on Monday released a detailed report on the status of human rights conditions for the ongoing contract faculty strike at York University and called on the university to halt new security measures.


Forced vote called by university

Tap into all York strike coverage


The civil rights monitor published a preliminary report on rights violations based on a survey taken by 194 people along questioning to do with security and freedom of speech, with 7.2 per cent saying they have been detained.

Just below 16 per cent of respondents said they felt the university “was on your side”, with 68.2 per cent saying they felt “evidence was being gathered” about them.

When asked whether they felt “intimidated or harassed by York [University] security [officials] or by a private security officer”, 55.4 per cent of respondents said that they had.

Several more results were:

  • 27.7 said they have been asked for identificatoin
  • 16.2 per cent said they had video or audio of “something disturbing”
  • 68 per cent were filmed without consent
  • 40 per cent said their answers discouraged them from participating in the strike or protest

‘Campus under siege’

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association published a press release calling on York University to “remove the private security, stop the surveillance and end intimidating tactics that chill constitutions rights to protest and strike.”

CCLA’s Michael Bryant went to say “we’ve got your back”, and thanked all those that took their survey on the status of human rights violations during the Canadian Union of Public Employees loacl 3903 strike.

Mr. Bryant also noted in the press release that York President Rhonda Lenton responded to the charges laid out by the CCLA via phone and in writing.

In response, Ms. Lenton said that York “does not condone any form of violence” and are using the increased security measures to monitor the “risk to the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors, during the current strike and we comply with applicable laws.”

Outside the Senate Chamber where Students For CUPE 3903 are continuing their occupation, security setup cameras and temporarily blocked access on Monday, a move the university quickly backtracked on.


More details to follow. Image of the strike from the Toronto Star. 

 

 

 

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York Strike

Forced vote in York strike criticized by union

Since York University requested a forced vote supervised by the Ontario government on Monday, the striking contract faculty union has criticized the move as a waste of time. 

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Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

Since York University requested a forced vote supervised by the Ontario government on Monday, the striking contract faculty union has criticized the move as a waste of time. 

The local 3903 Canadian Union of Public Employees, which makes up for 60 per cent of teaching faculty at the university, has been on strike since Mar. 5 after the two sides failed to secure a collective bargaining agreement.

In labour disputes, the Ministry of Labour can be brought in once for a forced vote by the employer in an attempt to end the strike.

It takes some 10 to 12 days for the ministry to carry out a “supervised vote”, where every member of CUPE 3903 will have the opportunity to vote on accepting York’s latest offer via secret ballot.

“By doing so, the York administration continues to reject the process of bargaining constructively with CUPE 3903,” the union said in a statement.

CUPE has called on its members to vote against the offer that they say is “largely the same disapointing and unacceptable offer that York proposed before the strike.”

Union leaders said they are “confident that once our membership again rejects this offer, a better settlement can be reached through collective bargaining.”

Three units of the union are engaged in the bargaining for a new agreement: One is made up of those with teaching contracts, the second contains teaching contract or assistants that are not full-time graduate students, and number three withholds graduate or research assistants that are full-time graduate students.

Each unit operates somewhat independently within the union and each vote to strike and to ratify tentative agreements.


Other union concerned

The York University Faculty Union said on Tuesday that they are concerned about the university’s approach to contract negotiations as they enter bargaining to renegotiate their own collective agreement.

YUFA, and the York University Staff Association, are the other two faculty unions on the campuses of York.

YUFA said “the tactics used against CUPE 3903, including delayed bargaining, intense public relations, a focred ratification vote and heightened, possibly illegal security measures, may well be employed against other campus unions”.

The faculty union said “the constant dissemination of aggressive administration messaging” combined with “chaos” during the academic term “has become extremely stressful and divisive” for those at York,  particularly students.

YUFA on Wednesday noted that the forced vote includes a settlement offer that would reinstate an old program that saw “long -serving CUPE 3903 members transferred to renewable term YUFA appointments.”

Essentially, 3903 members would be voting on an issue that would bring major changes to the current YUFA Collective Agreement, which the union said it would not accept.

YUFA made this clear to York on Tuesday.


More details to follow. Image of the picketers from BlogTO.   ■

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