Sent: January 5, 2001 8:11 PM
Subject: CUPE 3903 Media Release
YORK TEACHING/GRADUATE ASSISTANTS REJECT YORK'S OFFER
WE WANT TO RETURN TO THE BARGAINING TABLE
For immediate release... January 5, 2001
(Toronto) - The executive of CUPE 3903 is pleased that our teaching
assistants and graduate assistant's have voted against the administration's
offer during this forced ratification vote. We are pleased that this strike
has drawn public attention to the crisis in post-secondary education and the
move towards inaccessible and unaffordable education at York University. We
are angry that the administration chose to pursue a forced vote on December
19, 2000, rather than committing to reach a settlement through collective
If negotiations had continued over the recent holiday period, as we
requested, an agreement could have been reached so classes could resume
January 8, 2001. Management's decision to walk away from the table has
endangered the school year and prolonged this strike. We now call upon the
employer to meet with our bargaining team tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. to
resume negotiations and come to an agreement that our members will accept.
As Clarice Kuhling, CUPE 3903 bargaining team member, insists: "A refusal to
bargain will only illustrate to the community that York does not have the
best interests of students at heart."
• For teaching assistants, the only issue left to be resolved is tuition
protection. For the last two contracts, CUPE 3903 has negotiated protection
against the erosion of our wages by tuition increases. The administration's
offer was rejected because it only offers us protection against tuition
increases up to 2% a year. We are asking for language in our collective
agreement that guarantees a tuition rebate in the event that tuition
• For graduate assistants, the lowest paid workers at York, we are committed
to negotiating a fair first agreement. The issues remaining on the table
include a compensation and health benefits package. The value of these
proposals represents a minuscule .05% of the university's total budget, but
would make a huge difference for workers whose wages barely cover tuition
Contract faculty in CUPE 3903 have agreed to the current offer, and we look
forward to winning similar progress for the teaching assistants and graduate
The administration's current offer includes gains in some areas and
rollbacks in other areas. We feel that despite the outcome of this vote,
that our contract faculty have gained a victory in their new collective
agreements. The administration should however, be ashamed at how they have
treated our members during this long and bitter strike.
The amazing solidarity seen in this strike will remain until this dispute is
resolved. All members of CUPE 3903 remain committed to winning a fair
settlement for our teaching assistants and graduate assistants.
Contact: Michelle Lowry: 877-2109
Mike Ma: 831-2984
Joel Harden: 887-7270
Joe Kispal-Kovacs: 877-2103
CUPE 3903 represents over 2100 contract faculty, graduate assistants and
teaching assistants at York University.
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