Ontario acts to save academic year
Legislation requires York University to resume operations
TORONTO - The Ontario government has introduced legislation that would require an end to the deadlocked labour dispute and require York University to resume its normal operations. The proposed legislation governs labour disputes between York University and three bargaining units from the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903 (CUPE 3903).
The legislation, if passed, would require any strike or lock-out at York
University to be terminated. Striking York University workers would be
required to return to their jobs.
All outstanding issues would be referred to binding arbitration. York
University and CUPE 3903 would have five days to agree on an arbitrator, or
one would be appointed by the Minister of Labour.
"Our government respects and believes in the collective bargaining
process," said Labour Minister Peter Fonseca. "Unfortunately, in this case,
the parties became deadlocked after a 12-week strike. We must act now to get
45,000 students back in class."
- Collective agreements between York University and CUPE 3903 union
expired on August 31, 2008
- The strike by approximately 3,400 workers began on November 6, 2008
- More than 45,000 students have been unable to attend classes for 80
days at Canada's third largest university.
Back-to-work law is wrong way to settle York strike, says Sid Ryan
TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty should be telling
the York University administration to go back to the bargaining table instead
of introducing back-to-work legislation to end the strike by members of CUPE
3903, says CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan.
"We are firmly opposed to legislation that ends the collective bargaining
process," said Ryan. "There is no reason to bring that process to a close when
the union has tabled a much altered position."
Ryan welcomed the decision by the Ontario NDP to refuse unanimous consent
for introducing legislation today (Jan.25).
"The NDP is standing up for the rights of workers," he said. "And, they
are creating additional time that could be used by the parties to negotiate a
settlement before the bill is passed. McGuinty should be telling York's
administration to get back to the table immediately instead of relying on the
provincial government to do their work for them."
If McGuinty truly wants to help resolve the key issues in the strike,
said Janice Folk-Dawson, chair of the CUPE Ontario university workers
coordinating committee, he should put adequate funding into the province's
"With adequate funding, York wouldn't have to deny job security and
decent incomes to contract faculty who do more than 50% of the teaching. The
same applies at all other universities in Ontario," she said. "It's time to
address the issue of contract work in a serious way."
Sid Ryan will address a rally by CUPE 3903 members and supporters
at 12 noon at Queen's Park.