Shoukri welcomes end of strike; 50,000 students back Monday

York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri yesterday welcomed the return of students to class on Monday after the Ontario legislature passed back-to-work legislation to end the 12-week strike by Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903.

The Executive Committee of York’s Senate has formally declared an end to the labour disruption. The University has published a timetable for the start of classes. All public transit buses will resume their on-campus routes today. Post-strike information sessions for students are already getting underway.

Shoukri said: “I am delighted that our 50,000 students will be back in class on Monday. Now is the time to look to the future. Now is the time to return to our academic mission. We have a lot of work to do in repairing some of the relationships in the York community. We will begin now to rebuild bridges. We are committed to working with the community to resolve these problems. There are no winners in this situation.

“Our first priority is to welcome our students back to class and to make their return as smooth as possible,” Shoukri continued. “Everything we have done has been directed towards this outcome.

“The question has arisen as to whether the University should have returned to the bargaining table this week while the legislature was in session,” Shoukri said. “At that point, we were actually within 48 hours of ending the strike and of bringing our 50,000 students back to class – something we had been working towards for 11 weeks. Two independent mediators had concluded that the parties had reached deadlock and that a negotiated settlement was not in sight. 

“We were concerned that agreeing to more negotiations could have jeopardized the speedy passage of the bill – and hence delay the return of our students to class. Our summer term was in jeopardy and we had run out of time,” Shoukri said.

Shoukri also issued special messages to faculty and staff (see From the President) and to students. In the student message, he outlined a series of post-strike initiatives for students, including information sessions, extended library hours, expanded counselling services, time management workshops and more. Among these measures is First Days Back (see More News), in which a cadre of student services professionals will offer students information in Vari Hall Rotunda from Monday through Thursday.

Classes will resume for all students on Monday, Feb. 2. Students should check the Division of Students’ Labour Disruption page for updated information on the return as it becomes available..

New sessional dates for fall/winter, including add/drop dates, have been posted on the Registrar’s Important Dates site and more details will be added soon.

Senate policies on remediation are available here, including an updated bulletin on post-strike remediation covering due dates for assignments and other key points. Senate Executive noted in its statement:

"The principles of the Disruptions policy – academic integrity, fairness to students and timely information — will continue to apply during the remediation period.  

"Faculty members are urged to prepare for a reorientation period at their first meeting with students. During the first five days of instruction students are not required to submit assignments that were due during the disruption or to take tests. 

"Students and faculty members may also wish to review FAQs and guidelines issued by the Registrar’s Office, Centre for the Support of Teaching and Faculties."

The Atkinson Centre for Mature & Part-Time Students will host a series of information sessions for all students starting today. These are designed to help students:

  • understand the adjustments to the academic year as announced by Senate Executive and the Registrar’s Office.
  • find answers to specific questions arising from these announcements.
  • share some strategies for getting back into the rhythm of classes and homework.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is exploring options to assist OSAP recipients at York. As soon as information is made available it will be posted on York’s OSAP site.
Students who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the labour disruption can apply for financial assistance through the York University Hardship Bursary and the York University Undergraduate Bursary Program.  Information and application details can be found here.