Members of CUPE executive join York U picket line as strike enters fifth day
Striking members of CUPE 3903 are shown walking a picket line at York University on Tuesday.
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, March 9, 2018 8:19AM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 9, 2018 3:46PM EST
Members of the CUPE Ontario executive board joined striking York University contract faculty, teaching assistants and other staff on the picket lines today as the first week of the work stoppage comes to an end.
About 3,000 workers, all of whom belong to CUPE 3903, have been on strike since Monday.
The union did submit a counter-offer to the university’s purported “final offer” on Monday night; however the school said that offer included demands that were “significantly outside the reach of the university.”
According to CUPE Ontario, members of its executive board will arrive at a picket line set up at Keele Street and York Boulevard at around 12:30 p.m.
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn will be among the group participating in the picket and is expected to speak with reporters.
CUPE 3903 has said that its members instruct about 60 per cent of all classes at York University.
The main issues of contention in the labour dispute revolve around job security for part-time workers and the path to full-time tenured employment for contract faculty.
While the strike directly affects students at York University, students at Seneca College, who also take classes at the campus, have also been held up at the picket line.
“I feel like they need to understand how this is affecting the student body,” one woman said from her vehicle while waiting to be allowed past the strikers. “It’s really affecting us. We can’t even get to class. I’m going to be late and I’ve been waiting here for quite a while. That’s going to affect my grades.”
While there is some frustration among the long line-up of vehicles, there is also some support.
“I realize what they’re fighting for,” another woman said from her vehicle. “I’ve been in our union for a long, long time and we’ve gone on strike and we’ve fought for things that we felt we should fight for. So I’m in full support of this.”
For the strikers walking the line on Friday morning, it’s been a long and cold week with no real end in sight.
“I’d like the two sides to be bargaining again,” said one woman on the picket line. “It’s a little bit frustrating, but we’ll keep walking.”