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Union leaders stage day of action for striking workers at York University

York University striking staff stage Day of Action
Striking York University staff are getting support from other unions in the province as they stage a day of action. Caryn Lieberman is there with more.

The Ontario Federation of Labour has organized a day of action on Friday to support striking workers at York University.

More than 3,000 graduate teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate research assistants walked off the job March 5 in a dispute over wages and job security.

“This has been nine weeks and in nine weeks the employers come to the bargaining table just one day and only met with our members face to face for an hour,” OFL President Fred Hahn said on the picket line Friday morning.

“This is unacceptable. The only way this strike is going to be resolved is if York University gets it in its head, it’s got to come back to the bargaining table and resolve this dispute.”

READ MORE: York University offers tuition credits to students affected by strike

All three bargaining units of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3903 rejected the university’s latest offer in what the union called a “forced ratification vote” last month.

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“Teaching assistants deserve to have stable and predictable funding that will not be unilaterally changed without consultation or clawed back when they win scholarships,” the union said in a media release.

READ MORE: Striking York U contract faculty reject university’s latest offer

“Graduate students deserve the opportunity to work as graduate assistants in unionized positions with health benefits and other protections – and over 800 fewer of these opportunities have been offered in the past two years.”

The Ontario government has launched a commission to examine the remaining issues in the dispute and report on any steps that can be taken to address them.

-With a file from The Canadian Press