Sent: January 5, 2001 8:11 PM

Subject: CUPE 3903 Media Release






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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