York profs may walk
By Kevin Gale
Faculty at York University are trying to nudge the administration forward in negotiations for a collective agreement with a three-day strike vote that ended yesterday.
Seventy-one per cent of the 620 voting faculty members were in favour of giving the York University Faculty Association executive the power to execute a faculty strike. The association itself has close to 900 members.
"I'm very pleased with both the results and the turnout," said association chair David Clipsham.
He said in order for the executive to feel it had backing for a strike, a Yes vote of 60 per cent was necessary. He added in 1985, York faculty went on strike with only 53 per cent in favour of a strike vote.
The association has been negotiating with the school since February 1996 to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. However, Clipsham said negotiations have slowed recently, prompting the membership vote to give the executive a mandate to strike.
An information meeting was held Monday afternoon as part of a YUFA constitutional requirement, at which time members were presented with options.
"It doesn't automatically mean we'll go on strike," Clipsham said.
However, he said a positive vote gives the executive the support to strike if association executives feel it is necessary. "We'll likely negotiate for a little while," Clipsham said, adding time is running out due to classes ending.
He explained the faculty want an end to increasing class sizes and some control over the implementation of technology in the classroom, specifically classes taught via the Internet.
In August, the school's administration unilaterally granted the faculty a 2.6 per cent increase in salary, said Sine Mackinnon, senior media relations advisor at York.
Mackinnon added the administration is committed to resolving the issues at the table and avoiding any strike. She added a negotiation meeting between YUFA and the administration is tentatively scheduled for tomorrow. The university does have contingency plans in the event of a strike to protect the interests of students, she said.