TORONTO, March 8, 2018 /CNW/ -
ATTN: President Lenton and the York Administration,
On behalf of the York Federation of Students (YFS) representing 49,000 undergraduate students at York University, we are writing this letter to urge President Rhonda Lenton and the York Administration to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair deal in good faith with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903.
York University's reputation as a progressive institution is being seriously damaged by this administration's lack of willingness to bargain fairly with its employees. Furthermore, the complete disregard the York administration has shown to the plight of undergraduate students is troubling, as many of our members continue to be bullied and threatened with course failure if they do not cross picket lines to attend classes and complete course work. This intimidation is the direct result of the Senate Executive decision to continue courses, despite the fact that 60 per cent of the teaching staff are on strike.
YFS is respectful of the collective bargaining process. We recognize the members of CUPE 3903 as our partners in education, and we recognize that their working conditions are our learning conditions. Therefore, we respect their right to strike for a fair and equitable workplace and contract. Until such is achieved, business cannot continue as usual, despite the University's attempts to do so.
Across Canada, a national conversation has been taking place about creating stable jobs with livable wages, and moving away from a system of precarious jobs with low wages. In a time where every level of government, as well as both public and private institutions, are heeding to this movement and making changes, it is dumbfounding that York University's senior administrators' thinking has not been impacted. Perhaps, then, "Impact" is not a very accurate PR campaign for the University.
We are disappointed in the University's decision not to continue bargaining thus far, declining CUPE 3903's offer to reach an agreement this past weekend and avoid a strike, and summarily dismissing an updated offer put forth by CUPE 3903 on Tuesday, March 6. Our principal concern has been for our members: the undergraduate student body and the impact this strike is having on them.
Therefore, we strongly urge the York University Administration to return to the bargaining table with urgency. We believe that if the University bargains in good faith and offers a fair deal and affordable package, instead of forcing students to cross picket lines, this strike can end. We hope a solution to this dispute is reached as soon as possible so that students, and teachers, can return to classes to teach and learn.
YFS has been a leading advocate for affordable and accessible education for generations. We maintain the stance that education is a right, not a privilege, and we continue the fight for free and accessible education for all.
York Federation of Students Executive
Rawan Habib, President
Mary Asekome, Vice-President Operations
Induja Mathipalan, Vice-President Campaigns and Advocacy
Roshni Raveenthiran, Vice-President Equity
Matthew Comishen, Vice-President Campus Life
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students