NEWS

York University Cancels Classes Amid Teaching Assistant Strike

03/03/2015 09:39 EST | Updated 03/03/2015 09:59 EST
York University suspended classes Tuesday after its teaching assistants and other non-tenured staff voted against a new contract, leaving students wondering when they'll get back in the lecture halls.

CUPE Local 3903, which represents nearly 3,700 teaching assistants, contract faculty, graduate assistants and research assistants rejected the university's latest deal. Even though more than 71 per cent of the workers voted against the new deal, negotiators said they're close to an agreement with the university.

Faiz Ahmed, the chair of CUPE Local 3903, told CBC News that the union is sending its bargaining team back to the table on Tuesday.

"We believe we're not that far apart and we think we can come to an agreement sooner (rather) than later," he said.

University officials, meanwhile, echoed that sentiment in news releases calling the strike "unfortunate."

"It impacts the entire York community, particularly our students. I know that students and their parents are very concerned — I share their concerns," said York's president Mamdouh Shoukri in a statement posted on the university's website.

"We value our relationship with CUPE 3903. I am confident that, when we return to the bargaining table, we will reach a fair and competitive settlement."

Other facilities, including the libraries, residences and athletic facilities remain open.

Meanwhile, some 6,000 University of Toronto teaching assistants and other contract workers remain on strike. Yesterday, striking workers picketed outside the U of T's three campuses in the downtown core, Scarborough and Mississauga.