Forced' ratification vote could prolong York U strike, says faculty union

TORONTO, April 5, 2018 /CNW/ – The decision by the York University administration to request a supervised ratification vote in the month-long strike by CUPE 3903 could end up prolonging the dispute, says the Executive Committee of the York University Faculty Association (YUFA). CUPE 3903 represents contract faculty and teaching assistants, who are currently on strike, while YUFA represents full-time faculty.

Now in its fifth week, the strike has affected 75% of courses at the University. Faculty are worried that the academic year might be at risk, and that the decision to force a vote will backfire on the University.

“The admin is engaging in risky brinksmanship by choosing a forced vote over good-faith negotiations,” says Richard Wellen, YUFA president. “There is a risk that CUPE members will reject the vote, which could prolong the strike by several more weeks. York should be trying to end the strike quickly, not causing further delays to the bargaining process.”

Ontario labour law allows employers to make one request to the Ministry of Labour for a supervised or “forced” ratification vote during a labour dispute. York made its request on March 27, but the voting period will not be completed until April 9.

“That means the University has squandered 12 days that could have been devoted to bargaining,” says Wellen. “Our members would like both sides to return to the table to negotiate a settlement that could end the strike. We need students back in the classroom so we can preserve the academic integrity of their courses.”

Earlier this week, over 200 York community members attended a town hall meeting where they expressed concerns that the delay imposed by the ratification vote poses a serious threat to the April exam period, and that the administration’s mismanagement of the strike has negatively affected the University’s reputation.

The York University Faculty Association is the professional association and certified bargaining agent for approximately 1,500 faculty, librarians and archivists, and post-doctoral visitors at York University.

This post originally appeared as a media release on Canada News Wire.