Man gets blocked from crossing York U picket line after receiving emergency call to pick up girlfriend
Between blaring horns and union chants, many people affected by the current contract faculty strike at York University say they are sick of waiting in line to get to school.
“I don’t care about the strike … you have no right to stop the general public here,” one man yelled at a picketer on Monday morning.
For the second week, contract faculty at York University are walking the picket lines and blocking all entrances to the school.
“This is a general public road — you can’t stop me here,” another man yelled from his car on Monday.
It is the third strike in less than 10 years at the university, and students, parents and other patrons appear at their wits’ end.
And in some cases, the tensions have created dangerous situations, such as on Monday, when a car came flying up past the line of waiting vehicles towards the barricades, forcing one picketer to scream, “Watch out!”
WATCH: York University strike leads to some tense situations. Jamie Mauarcher reports.
The driver, Riley Mccaie, was visibly upset as he got out of the vehicle.
“My girlfriend could be dying right now,” he said.
“Just please let me in,” he pleaded with strike staff.
Mccaie told Global News he received an emergency call from the university on Monday to come get his girlfriend. But even after telling that to picketing staff, they still would not allow him to get through.
“I understand what they are doing, but when I am called to the school for an emergency, I expect to get through right away,” Mccaie said, as a woman with a megaphone yelled, “Keep on picketing, keep circulating.”
Finally, after a few minutes, Mccaie was allowed through.
But not all situations have ended so peacefully.
A video posted to Reddit showed a physical altercation on campus near the Steeles and Northwest Gate entrance of the university from last Friday morning.
A young man can be seen slamming the barricade gates before he is restrained by a CUPE member. Kicks and punches are then thrown.
The union representing the 3,000 teaching assistants and contract faculty striking, told Global News that a student, worried about missing a midterm pushed over the gates, and then, a union member became physical with them.
Police were called but no charges have been laid.
The union’s vice-president, Julian Arend, said they are “hoping we can avoid any more incidents but we don’t control that 100 per cent, unfortunately.”
Global News reached out to York University several times for comment on the alleged fight, but have not heard back at time of publication.
The union, meanwhile, said classes should be cancelled.
“It makes absolutely no sense to continue classes other than it’s just an ego trip for the university’s administration,” Arend said.
“They want to put us in our place and we refuse to accept that.”
This is not the first time a fight has broken out at the barricades during a York University strike.
WATCH: Accepting York’s concessions would be ‘irresponsible,’ says reps for contract faculty
During a strike at the university in 2015, almost two years ago Monday, another video of an altercation was posted to YouTube.
One student who spoke to Global News anonymously said he’s not surprised, having attended the school through two strikes now.
“I have seen this strike and that one … it’s always the same thing.”
And while many people support the teaching staff’s right to strike, one driver told Global News, they’d like to see the delays shortened.
But with no end in sight, patrons will be asked for their patience.
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