The following is a letter to the community from Rick Waugh, chair of the Board of Governors of York University. The original letter was circulated on May 10:
This letter is to express the full support of the York University Board of Governors Executive Committee for the senior administration led by Dr. Rhonda Lenton in addressing the ongoing labour dispute with CUPE 3903.
Last fall, the Executive Committee approved bargaining parameters based on a careful analysis and recommendation by the President and senior administration, having regard to the best long-term interest of York University as a whole. We, and the full Board, have been actively monitoring negotiation efforts since they began over six months ago, and, like others in our community, we are disappointed that negotiations at the table were unsuccessful. We are also dismayed that, despite clear and compelling evidence that there are fundamentally different perspectives on the part of CUPE 3903 and the Employer that have brought the parties to an impasse, CUPE 3903 refuses to agree to interest arbitration, a step that could instantly end the strike.
On May 9, some CUPE 3903 members disrupted the workplaces of several of our external governors demanding, amongst other things, that they either agree to all of CUPE 3903’s outstanding proposals or resign from the Board. This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and inappropriate and does not reflect the true values and principles of York University. Following these unfortunate events, the Executive Committee met and unanimously reaffirmed its continued support for the President and her team and its commitment to the principles underlying the University’s position in these negotiations.
Given the impasse in negotiations, for the sake of our 50,000 students we hope that members of CUPE 3903 will seriously reflect on the merit of ending this strike through arbitration. We would also like to express our appreciation to the many staff and faculty members who are working tirelessly to address the impact this unfortunate strike is having on our undergraduate students.
Chair, Board of Govenors