An open letter from the Provost regarding labour negotiations

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Feb 26, 2018

Dear Student,

York University’s highest priority is supporting the academic success of each and every one of our students.

We have made and continue to make every reasonable effort to reach a collective agreement with CUPE 3903 and avoid a strike. We remain fully committed to continuing negotiations with the assistance of the provincially appointed mediator to reach a new collective agreement.

However, if our teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty decide to strike as of Monday, March 5, the legal strike deadline, the University will take every possible step to limit the impact of the labour disruption on York students.

York University to remain open
Acting in the interests of our students, all classes that can continue will continue. Libraries, cafeterias, student services, administrative offices and other university facilities will remain open. Some classes, labs and tutorials may have to be temporarily suspended. We will work to accommodate and support any students whose studies are interrupted.

Course information
In the event of a strike, students will be able to get specific, regularly updated information about their classes, labs and tutorials by visiting the courses section of

Courses to be completed quickly following a strike
We know that students have plans for the summer. If there is a strike, we will ensure that courses are completed as quickly as possible when it ends.

Our latest offer keeps CUPE 3903 ahead of all other universities
We respect the work of union members and believe they deserve fair and equitable contracts.

York has the best total compensation packages in Ontario for teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty. Our offer would make that even better. CUPE 3903 members would continue to lead all other Ontario universities in compensation and job security provisions.

Offer of arbitration to avoid a strike still stands
York’s offer to go to arbitration to settle any issue on which we cannot agree, to avoid a strike, was rejected by the CUPE 3903 bargaining team last week. York’s offer, first proposed when bargaining began last fall, has been repeated at every bargaining session. If CUPE 3903 agreed, an independent third party would decide what’s fair, a strike would be avoided, and the academic year would not be disrupted.

Despite the union’s rejection, our offer to go to arbitration still stands.

Respect York values
If there is a strike, the entire York community will be affected, with different viewpoints expressed on all sides. We call on every member of our community to live up to York’s values of civility, open and constructive dialogue, and respect for others.

Lisa Philipps
Interim Vice-President Academic & Provost