Beginning Sunday and continuing today, York University has engaged in a mediation process led by William Kaplan who was appointed last week by the provincial government as the sole member of an Industrial Inquiry Commission to look into the strike. At the conclusion of the second day of mediation, the two sides remain far apart. We are scheduled to return for a final day of mediation on Friday, April 20.
While agreement was reached on two issues – lactation and breast-feeding space and professional expense reimbursement – CUPE 3903’s other proposals continue to be well outside the range of anything the University can ever agree to.
If not arbitration now, when?
Including the last two days, York University has now held bargaining sessions with the Union on 28 separate days since the parties first exchanged proposals. Given the inability to reach a negotiated agreement, York University believes there is nothing to be gained and much to be lost by CUPE 3903’s continued refusal to agree to allow an independent third party to decide what’s fair and impose a settlement that binds both sides.
The Union’s agreement to go to arbitration would quickly end the strike. All students could finish the winter term, and the University could run all summer sessions.
Academics support University’s position on conversions
From the outset of negotiations York University has been clear that “conversions” to tenure stream positions was neither the solution to job security concerns for contract faculty nor a sound large scale academic model. The University’s position on this fundamental issue in the strike – the number of conversions of contract faculty into tenure stream positions – has the public support of many full-time faculty in the York University Faculty Association.
York University has offered two conversions per year as a compromise, as well as other multi-year job security programs for contract faculty who are part of CUPE 3903 Unit 2.
York University disappointed over union refusal to consider return to work, or back-to-work protocol
York University expressed its disappointment that CUPE 3903 quickly rejected a proposal to allow members to return to work at least temporarily while the Industrial Inquiry Commission is underway.
CUPE 3903’s agreement would help save students’ winter and summer terms without compromising either side’s position.
York University is also disappointed that CUPE 3903 rejected an invitation to provide a back-to-work protocol, which is a necessary part of any renewed settlement.
Contingency plans for students to be announced soon
York University continues to finalize student remediation and contingency plans for the winter term, and changes to the summer session, which will be announced very shortly.