Volume 94, Issue 44

Thursday, November 16, 2000


Liberal TV ad lied, Alliance charges

Strike looming - Caretakers could walk out

York U behind picket lines again

"Massive" probe begins

Campus Briefs

Quirks and Smirks

New City Council prioritizes

USC remembers federal election run

Corroded Disorder

York U behind picket lines again

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

A mediator has been called in to bring an end to the nearly three-week-old strike at York University.

On Oct. 27 over 2,000 teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty at York walked off the job. Last Monday, talks between the university and striking TAs, GAs and faculty resumed.

"We asked [the mediator] to come in on Monday," said Sine MacKinnon, spokesperson for York University. "We suggested it and the union agreed. Right now he's working with both sides to try and reach an agreement."

MacKinnon said there has not be any significant progress made over the past week and a half of negotiations.

Michael Ma, media spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3903, the union representing the striking TAs, GAs and faculty, said the mediator has only slowed negotiations down. "We've had to spend a lot of time getting the mediator up to speed. It's cumbersome," he said.

Ma said negotiations have been further complicated by the university's hard-line stance. "We've made concessions, but the university has been completely unwilling to make concessions." Ma explained the university has presented the union with an offer which is less acceptable than the current contract.

Strikers are paid $10.00 per hour in strike pay, up to a maximum of $200.00 per week, he said, adding this was hard on contracted faculty who, in many cases, are used to a much higher salary and must support a family.

Still, he said, morale is high on the picket lines and strikers are just becoming more disgruntled with administration as the strike wears on. He added the university seems to have a negative opinion towards any party which goes on strike.

"[They seem to think] 'You challenge our authority, we're not just going to suppress you, but we're going to crush you," he said. "They certainly don't care about us."

Paul Baines, a graduate student at York studying communication and culture, said he and his classmates have had to find their own ways of coping with the work stoppage. He explained many of the students met to discuss whether or not to cross the picket lines to attend classes.

"We decided as a group that none of us should go to class," he said. "If some of us went, it punished those who did not, but if none of us go to class, it puts pressure on administration [to solve the problem]."

Baines added students have been meeting in small groups to discuss course material and keep up on work in lieu of lectures and classes.

He said according to one of his professors, after the strike, the course will pick up where it left off when the work stoppage began and the class will merely have to reschedule the work load.

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