April 9, 2018 3:08 pm
Updated: April 12, 2018 10:02 am

Striking York U contract faculty reject university’s latest offer

WATCH ABOVE: Eighty-six per cent of York University workers who participated in the “forced vote” rejected the deal as dozens rallied outside Queen's Park on Monday. Kamil Karamali has more.

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After over a month on the picket line, York University contract employees represented by CUPE announced they have rejected a new offer from the institution.

CUPE 3903 said on Monday that all three units involved in the strike — contract faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants — voted against the latest proposal by wide margins.

Out of 2,320 votes cast, 85 per cent voted “no,” though the union said those results were preliminary and about two dozen ballots are in dispute.

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READ MORE: Striking York University contract staff begin voting Friday on latest offer

The union and its supporters are staging a rally outside Queen’s Park and the Ministry of Labour on Monday.

More than 3,000 members of CUPE Local 3903 walked off the job on March 5 over issues such as wages and job security.

Polls opened on Friday after the university successfully sought a vote through the Ontario Labour Relations Board late last month.

The union called the university’s latest offer a “forced ratification vote” and urged its members to reject it, saying it was very much the same as previous one.

The union said Monday’s results send a message that workers “will not accept the same concessionary deal that they had rejected on March 2.”

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READ MORE: York University says it’s ready to go back to bargaining table

In its own statement, York University administration said it was “deeply disappointed” with the result.

York spokeswoman Barbara Joy said the offer would have let union members retain their level of total compensation, which she says includes the best wages, pay increases, pensions and benefits of any university contract faculty in Ontario.

READ MORE: Contract staff represented by CUPE begin strike at York University

She says York has suggested bringing in third-party mediators or arbitrators to resolve the strike, but that the union has rejected the idea.

The university said it’s now reviewing next steps, which include consultations with the government about “options that would bring the two parties together to end the strike.”

In the fall, Ontario’s Liberal government stepped in to put a halt to a five-week strike of faculty at the province’s public colleges.

With files from the Canadian Press and David Shum, Global News

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