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York U classes suspended due to strike


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***Status Update***[/span]

Toronto, November 6, 2008 --

York University announced today (Nov 6) that consistent with the guiding principles ofacademic integrity and in fairness to students, the deans of allfaculties have, together with the chair of senate, agreed that academicactivities (with some exceptions**) are suspended for the duration ofthe strike by CUPE, Local 3903.

The university has been in negotiations for some weeks with Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants. Although  disappointed that a settlement could not be reached prior to the strike deadline, the university says it will continue to negotiate with CUPE Local 3903 during the labour disruption in an effort to reach a fair and reasonable settlement.

There are some exceptions to the suspensions: degree credit activities provided by Osgoode Hall Law School at its downtown campus;  graduate degree credit activity in the Schulich School of Business;  and the Masters of Human Resources Management program.

All academic offices are open during their regular business hours. This includes academic departments, libraries, and administrative departments.

For updates on negotiations, please visit the Negotiation Updates webpage.

In issuing the class suspension, the university’s press release noted: “This is a difficult time for everyone, but particularly for our students.  Students seeking additional information about the strike should visit the Division of Students Frequently Asked Questions webpage.”

Earlier this week, the university announced that it had increased its wage offer to 9.25 per cent over three years as part of a contract package to avert a strike by the university’s contract faculty, graduate students and teaching assistants.

The wage offer to the CUPE Local 3903 is the same wage offer contained in a new, three-year contract recently ratified by the York University Staff Association.

“We are treating all employees fairly and evenly at York University,” said Dean Robert Drummond, spokesperson for the university’s negotiating team, in a recent press release. “This offer should form the basis of contract settlement with CUPE Local 3903.”

The university also offered contract improvements relating to:

•     tuition protection for graduate students for term of the new collective agreement

•     improvements in dental and vision care benefits

•     improvements in paid leaves

•     increases in various supplementary funds.

The university also raised the possibility of long-service teaching agreements for contract faculty, which it believes would address Unit 2 job security concerns.

The university also renewed its offer to the union to agree to binding arbitration on outstanding contract items in order to avoid disrupting students' education. So far, the union has rejected this offer.

The deans of all faculties have, in conjunction with the Chair of Senate, agreed that academic activities (with certain specified exceptions) will be suspended in their faculties in the event of a strike by CUPE Local 3903. The university’s academic leadership is of the view that most academic activities cannot continue without contract faculty and TAs.

For more information and negotiation updates, visit

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