Negotiations prospects makes profs wanna York
By Donna MacMullin
For more than a year, professors at North York's York University have been cooking up a storm in negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement and this week professors may decide to get out of the kitchen.
Talks are heating up over the possibility of a faculty strike at York. "Negotiations have continued through the weekend and if an agreement is not met by the deadline of 1 p.m. [tomorrow], the teachers are set to strike Thursday morning," Niel Naimen, negotiator for the York University Faculty Association, said.
"Our hope is that an agreement will be reached, but we are under no illusions that there will be an agreement that is why we have been preparing," he added.
However, the flavour of such negotiations have left a bitter taste in the mouths of students at the school. "A lot [of students] are disillusioned with the administration because more serious talks have not taken place over the last 13 months," Wayne Poirier, president of York's Federation of Students, said. "There are a lot of questions out there."
Among the demands of faculty members are an end to the increasing class sizes and a support system for control over the implementation of technology in the classroom. Poirier said these demands are in line with student concerns. "The administration expects professors to teach by bringing more technology into the classroom but they must provide training to use this technology."
Sine MacKinnon, senior advisor for media relations at York, said the administration is in support of providing opportunities for training in new technologies and intends to make recommendations for faculty support services. "The administration is committed to reaching an agreement they would even be happy to extend the hours of negotiations," she said.
MacKinnon added the current focus of talks between the university administration and YUFA is to reach a settlement. "We are fully aware of the possibility of a strike," she said. "And in the event of a strike, the university will do everything to minimize the impact on students."
If the professors do strike Thursday, it is expected there will be a full withdrawal of services by YUFA members and most classes will not take place, Naimen said.
Students are being informed that according to Senate policy, they will not be penalized for missing classes in the event of a strike. "But it is hard to know what the precise impacts would be," MacKinnon said.