Solidarity on display as York University Academic workers strike

After six months of fruitless bargaining, 3,000 academic workers at York University, members of CUPE 3903, are on strike for less.

Less precarious employment and less of a university system that is far too reliant on short-term, precarious work with little to no stability or predictability.

As strike action commenced on Monday morning, CUPE 3903 Chair and CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn urged the Provincial Government to ask why York University seems more interested in more.

More instability, more precarious work, and more uncertainty.

“Instead of sitting down with the bargaining committee … and trying to negotiate an agreement both sides could live with, York University took the weekend off,” CUPE 3903 Chair Devin Lefebvre told reporters at Queen’s Park Monday, as Units 1, 2 and 3 of Local 3903 began strike action.

Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, urged York to return to the bargaining table, and negotiate a fair agreement “with the people who deliver 60 per cent of the instruction at York University.”

Later that day, thousands of CUPE 3903 members, students, labour and community allies converged on York University’s main entrance for a mass rally that included solidarity greetings from their counterparts from OPSEU, as well as CUPE Ontario First Vice-President Michael Hurley, student and faculty groups from as far away as London, England.

As picket lines went up around the York U campus, Lefebvre reiterated his call for York to come back to the table.

“We can’t do it without a willing partner across the table,” he said.