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Contract staff begin strike at York University

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Mar 5th, 2018

Contract staff at York University in Toronto went on strike Monday at one minute past midnight.

Kevin Wilson with CUPE Local 3903 says there will be two events on Monday, a press conference at 9:30 a.m. at Queen’s Park to provide an update on the status of contact talks, to be followed by a rally at the university’s main entrance at 11:30 a.m.

On Friday the faculty members, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, research assistants and part-time librarians and archivists rejected what the university had said was its “best” offer. However, they did give the membership the authority to resume talks over the weekend in an attempt to avoid a walk-out.

There was no indication by late Sunday when negotiations might resume, however, the union said on its website that picket lines would be set up around the campus beginning Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.

Benefits, job security and summer-funding are some of the sticking points according to the union.

The university has said it will try to minimize the impact of any work stoppage on students, saying the school will be open and any classes not affected will continue as scheduled.

The school’s libraries, restaurants, administrative offices and other services plan to remain open.

However, several departments have called on the university’s Senate Executive to cancel all classes in the event of a strike, citing in part that not all students will continue to attend classes as well as past dangerous incidents on the picket line involving previous labour disputes at the university.

The last strike at the university back in 2015 lasted for 28 days.

Back in 2008-09, a strike at the university lasted 85 days, making it the longest strike in Canadian University history.

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