Mediator suspends York talks

The provincial mediator in the York University strike has suspended talks after days of negotiation proved fruitless.

The two sides have been meeting since Thursday in the hopes of reaching an agreement.

“It’s so disappointing and frustrating for our 50,000 students,” said university spokesperson Alex Bilyk.

“The university entered the negotiations to reach a settlement and get our students back to class. But with the union’s monetary demands still at the 28 per cent mark over two years, the union is clearly not ready to settle.”

CUPE 3903 is planning a rally Wednesday near Queen’s Park to demand the government take action to “the widespread casualization of teaching jobs at York and across colleges and universities in Ontario.”

Regarding the rally, Bilyk said he is worried York students are “being held hostage by a union more interested in planning rallies and promoting confrontation with the province than reaching a settlement here at York University.”

The school’s administration is calling on the union to accept its offer of binding arbitration, saying it is the best way to get students quickly back to class.

Calls placed to the union were not returned.

“I’m not surprised,” said Catherine Divaris of the grassroots student group “Both sides continue to show they are unable to reach a negotiated settlement.”

Divaris says the longer the strike continues, the more undergraduate students will suffer because of it. YorkNotHostage is planning their own rally at Queen’s Park for Tuesday.

They say they want the provincial government to end the strike by introducing back to work legislation and sending the dispute to an independent arbitrator.

“December 11th is our deadline, we need back to work legislation before that date,” she says. “This cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely.”

The mediator stated that a settlement in the dispute is not close and no further talks are scheduled at the present time.

The strike by teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and contract faculty who are members of CUPE 3903 began Nov. 7.


York University news release.

CUPE 3903 website

York grad Sarah Millar’s coverage for the National Post