We, the executive of CUPE 3903, are pleased that 1466 of our teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty have voted against the employers' latest offer in a forced ratification vote. This number represents 799 in Unit 1, 363 in Unit 2, and 304 in Unit 3, for a total of 63% voting NO to this offer. The membership of this union has stood strong against an employer who has done the bare minimum in terms of bargaining and who has refused to recognize our key demands during a strike that has so far lasted 77 days.
This deal has been recognized as one that is not adequate in terms of addressing the priorities as outlined by our members, and we are disappointed that York University's administration felt the need to waste 11 days of bargaining on an offer that they knew our members would reject.
The defeat of forced ratification is a victory, but our work as a local is not done. Our challenges are real and many. They will not be met easily, but they will be met. We need to get back to the table so that we can all go back to work with a deal that is fair and equitable. Our members have outlined key priorities again and again: We will not give them up for the sake of expedience.
There are some who have questioned the scope of our demands and the scale of our ambitions. They think we are asking too much. But these criticisms fail to take into account all that this union has already accomplished through years of collective bargaining.
But there is much yet to be gained
For contract faculty we want to see the integrity of our conversions program maintained, and also have job security for these members.
For teaching assistants and graduate assistants in our local we need to see the issue of graduate funding addressed in a way that takes into account the needs of our members.
For all our members we need to see an Extended Health Benefits Fund that takes into account the real and serious health issues that our members face each day. We need to have a fund that is ample enough in terms of assisting our members with childcare needs.
All this we can do, and all this we will do.
Over the course of this strike we have been amazed at the level of commitment our members have shown to this local and to our key priorities. We have been awed by all the hard work and countless hours people have put in day after day. We are confident the solidarity that has been shown over the past few months will remain through to the end and beyond the strike.
This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that we as members will stand strong in solidarity and win a fair settlement through the democratic process of collective bargaining.
The CUPE 3903 Executive Committee