Nearly 80% strike mandate for education workers at York University

TORONTO, Feb. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Education workers at York University have voted 79.17 per cent in favour of a strike mandate, after conducting a poll from January 26 to 30. Over 40 per cent of the union's 3,700 members cast ballots, the largest turnout in ten years. All three units of the union voted in favour by similar margins. Full results are available here: bit.ly/3903vote.

The workers are members of Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3903), which represents contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants and research assistants.

"We held this strike vote to show the Employer that our members are serious about improving the quality of education at York," says Faiz Ahmed, chair of CUPE 3903. "The ball is now in York's court. To avoid a strike, the university needs to show significant movement at the bargaining table."

The union's contract expired on August 31, 2014. While the union has been prepared to bargain seriously, York's administration has been largely unresponsive to the union's proposals, which include equity in the workplace, better job security for contract faculty, improved graduate student funding, and the elimination of differential fees for international students.

"Our members perform 64 per cent of all teaching at York, yet represent about eight per cent of the university's total operating budget," says Ahmed. "We need a contract that recognizes the value of our members' contribution to the learning environment at York."

The next bargaining meeting between the union and the university will take place today – the same day the union will launch a bargaining campaign on Toronto public transit. CUPE 3903 and York University have been meeting with the assistance of a Ministry of Labour-appointed conciliator since January 16.

SOURCE CUPE 3903

For further information: Faiz Ahmed, Chair, CUPE 3903, 416-879-7078 (mobile), CUPE3903chair@members.cupe.ca

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