>From: Jamie Paquin [mailto:email@example.com]
>Sent: December 8, 2000 5:35 PM
>To: CULTSTUD-L: A listserv devoted to Cultural Studies
>Subject: [cultstud-l] York University (Toronto) Strike
>Hello list members,
>On behalf of striking TAs, GAs, and contract faculty at York, I am
>a brief on our now 6 week long strike. I hope you can show us
>PhD I, Sociology
>(4th December, 2000)
>SIX WEEK STRIKE AT YORK UNIVERSITY, TORONTO, CANADA - WE ARE STRIKING TO
>2000 Teaching Assistants, Contract Faculty and Graduate/Research
>have shut down York University, an institution that serves 40 000
>for SIX weeks now!!!
>We, members of CUPE local 3903 (Canadian Union of Public Employees), have
>been on strike at York University for tuition indexation, job
>security and a
>fair first contract for the newly unionized Graduate/Research Assistants.
>The employer - at this seemingly public institution with an increasing
>corporate attitude (their bargaining team is run by an outside
>lawyer from a
>notorious union-busting firm) - refuses to consider our proposals.
>We have amended our demands twice in bargaining, and yet, this past week,
>talks broke down when the employer told us they would only bargain if we
>‘move significantly on the outstanding issues’. This means bargaining with
>conditions. Our only condition is that the employer explore a broader
>vocabulary that expands significantly beyond their intransigent ‘no’.
>More activity has certainly taken place outside of bargaining -
>has been aggressively using every tactic in the book to bust our strike.
>They have threatened us with eviction off their private property,
>with a trespassing notice, faxed criminal allegations to the police and
>media that have yet to be substantiated, turned off campus lights at a
>university entrance during a night picket shift, and confiscated our fire
>barrels and safety equipment. We have called their bluff on each occasion.
>Our union will not be divided, our union will not be broken and
>cannot be demoralized.
>Why are our demands important? Why will we not give up? Although
>it comes at
>a huge personal cost for our members, we believe we are engaged in a
>political strike. We believe our struggle could serve to mobilize graduate
>student workers and contract faculty elsewhere in Canada, and
>beyond. We are
>opposed to the corporatization of public education. We are struggling for
>accessible and quality public education. We have already struggled hard in
>the past and have the best contracts in the country in this sector. Last
>year other graduate student workers went out on strike and
>with York’. We now risk losing what makes our contract unique, but WE WILL
>NOT BACK DOWN.
>What do we want? Some of our members have taught on contracts at York
>University for many years. They have been, and continue to be, the
>of what makes York University a popular university (in social sciences -
>which admittedly is not a prestigious scholarly pursuit in the upcoming
>corporatized academic world of information technology). And yet
>they have to
>apply for their job every single year. They accept incredible workloads,
>just to be able to carve out a living. They are frustrated and overworked.
>They want a measure of JOB SECURITY, so that they can focus on
>their work -
>Our teaching assistants and graduate/research assistants want tuition
>indexation. Some of our current members already have it, and yet
>- as our union demands that tuition indexation be guaranteed to those
>student workers coming into the university in future years. Our newest
>members are demanding it for the first time. What we are doing is opposing
>the deregulation of tuition, by demanding that it be re-regulated in our
>contract. We are the only graduate student workers in Canada that have
>regulated tuition through our contract. AND WE WILL NOT GIVE UP THE FIGHT
>For a more detailed summary of our issues, facts and figures, please visit
>our website at http://3903.cupe.ca
>You can help us in our struggle by e-mailing, faxing or phoning the
>President of York University, Lorna Marsden, and demand that our employer,
>York University, SETTLE NOW, with a just contract for CUPE 3903. Lorna
>Marsden can be contacted at:
>e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (please cc. email@example.com)
>fax: 416 - 736 5641
>phone: 416 - 736 5200
>Please forward to others who demand and struggle for the quality and
>accessibility of public education.
>OPPOSE THE CORPORATIZATION AND PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION!!!
>In solidarity, CUPE 3903