Volume 94, Issue 59

Tuesday, January 9, 2001


York strikes partial win - Contract faculty back to work

New course opens door to alternatives

Cigarettes get new warnings

Teacher's college applicants down 27 per cent

Power outage turns elevators into traps


York strikes partial win - Contract faculty back to work

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

The 10-week-old strike at York University has continued to drag on this week, with both sides now desperate to find a solution.

Friday's Ministry of Labour supervised vote by all three units of Canadian Union Public Employees local 3903 on the latest offer from the university, resulted in Unit Two – the union representing contract faculty members ratifying a collective agreement with the university. Units One and Three, those composed of graduate and teaching assistants, rejected the latest offers.

At the press conference Friday night to announce the results, CUPE expressed its resolve to keep fighting. "This strike will continue. The university will be shutdown on Monday," said CUPE president Sid Ryan. "We will be at the picket lines for 20 more weeks if that's what it takes."

Ryan explained auto and steelworkers along with other unions would be brought in to reinforce picket lines, but negotiations would continue throughout the weekend.

University president, Lorna Marsden, said the university was encouraged by the Unit Two settlement and would continue to negotiate with the remaining strikers. "We are very pleased and our undergraduates will be very grateful that faculty, Unit Two, have voted to accept our Dec. 14 offer."

Friday night Marsden maintained classes would resume Monday morning, but Sunday night the university issued a press release announcing plans for resuming regular classes had been cancelled. "I am not prepared to let students expose themselves to any unnecessary risk," Marsden said in the statement. "For the thousands of faculty and students who will be coming to campus, we urge them to exercise caution and patience, but we remind them they have a legal right to enter the university."

Joel Harden, spokesperson for CUPE 3903, said only 10 to 30 per cent of classes were being held Monday and the mood on the picket line was optimistic. "The mood is there could be a deal soon," he said. Unit Two members, who had voted in favour of a new contract, remained on the picket line in solidarity with their fellow strikers.

Spokesperson for York University, Susan Bigelow, said intensive bargaining was continuing and students and faculty were being encouraged to make contact to begin planning for the resumption of classes.

The York Federation of Students remains in support of the striking union but a group of student senators at York, including Ross McMillan the chair of the Student Centre Corporation, recently sent a letter to the union urging them to settle.

"We, the undersigned undergraduate student senators of York university, are asking all members of CUPE 3903 to act in the best interests of students and the entire university community," the letter read. "The strike has caused all undergraduate students to suffer academic and financial hardship."

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000