The following is a response by York University Interim Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps to the Industrial Inquiry Commission recommendation to proceed to interest arbitration:
York University has worked diligently over more than six months to reach a negotiated agreement with CUPE 3903. We value the contribution that CUPE 3903 members make to the University and we aimed to demonstrate that by offering the best contract of its kind in the university system in Ontario.
On April 13, the minister of labour appointed William Kaplan to conduct an Industrial Inquiry Commission and draft a report based on his efforts. On Friday, the University received Mr. Kaplan’s report and after reviewing his findings, we fully endorse the conclusion and recommended approach to resolve the strike. The parties remain at an impasse based on fundamental differences of opinion and we accept that arbitration is the only path to an immediate end to the strike. We must now agree to terms for arbitration to take place.
York University further welcomes the recommendation that there is a need to have a forward-looking discussion about broader societal issues related to job security, with a focus on the post-secondary education sector. York University would be eager to collaborate in discussions and contribute to new research and dialogue that supports policy change for the greater public good.
We have reached out to CUPE 3903 to indicate we would like to begin work immediately, to implement Mr. Kaplan’s recommendation of arbitration.
Our students have been affected the most, and it is our students’ academic experience that continues to be our greatest concern. The goal now is to activate make-up classes and exams to complete the winter term, as well as alternative learning options for those who are no longer able to resume normal classes, preserve what remains of the originally scheduled summer session and ensure that spring convocation stays on schedule. The University will make every effort to move toward arbitration so that the strike can end as quickly as possible.