Overwhelming Strike Mandate Puts Pressure on York University

    TORONTO, Oct. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - After a four-day vote that saw hundreds
of teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty cast their
ballots, CUPE 3903 has received an overwhelming 86% strike mandate, the
highest the local has seen in years.
    Key issues in negotiations include job security for contract faculty,
employment and workplace equity, tuition fees and compensation for graduate
students, who often live below the poverty level.
    Of particular concern to contract faculty is the question of job
security. One member, Mary-Anne Coffey, asked, "I have been teaching for over
20 years on a temporary basis and yet I am not considered a permanent employee
- is that fair?" Many contract faculty at York teach at twice and three times
the workloads of tenured faculty and often do not know what they are teaching
until one month before courses begin, which affects not only the lives of
faculty themselves, but also the quality of the education undergraduate
students can expect.
    Teaching assistants, who make up the largest percentage of the
membership, are equally insistent about the need for a better agreement.
"Folks are being asked to live, in an expensive city like Toronto, on $10,000
per year - that's less than half of the poverty line wage in Ontario," said
Baolinh Dang. "We can't sustain ourselves like this and the whole university
is suffering as a result."

For further information:

For further information: Graham Potts, CUPE 3903, Chief Negotiator,
(416) 570-5187; Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, (416) 616-6142

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