Letter to President Lenton: Come Back to the Table

The following letter was sent to York University President Rhonda Lenton following a call from the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. The Minister expressed to our Executive Committee and Bargaining Team the desire for bargaining to resume — a desire we have shared from day one.

Rhonda L. Lenton
President and Vice-Chancellor
York University
1050 Kaneff Tower
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON
M3J 1P3

Dear President Lenton:

I am writing today to discuss recent events related to the strike between York University and Units 1, 2 and 3 of CUPE 3903.

Eight days ago, on March 5, our bargaining team provided York University with an amended package of proposals in response to the employer’s last offer, which had been rejected days earlier by members of all three units.

We did so at your request, as you had indicated you required a counter to your last offer to entertain a resumption of bargaining.

Our March 5 counteroffer was our second response to York in four days that attempted to provide a basis for the parties to resume negotiations.

In both instances, CUPE 3903’s efforts were for naught.

We cannot, and will not, continue to bargain with ourselves. For negotiations to be productive, two parties need to be engaged in the process. We can only speculate as to why York has chosen to needlessly prolong this dispute by refusing to finish the job of negotiating a collective agreement that all parties can live with.

Earlier today, members of our executive and bargaining team spoke with the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, who expressed her belief that both sides need to resume bargaining for the good of the parties and for students. Based on that conversation, it is our understanding Minister Hunter has conveyed the same sentiments to you.

Since the strike began one week ago, we have repeatedly and publicly stated that our bargaining team remains ready, willing and available to meet on short notice to continue negotiations. The sole impediment to a resumption of bargaining has been York University’s refusal to do so.

Every day the strike continues is a day in which York University students are being short-changed by this administration. Given Minister Hunter’s express desire that the parties return to the bargaining table, I am therefore reiterating our bargaining team’s availability to resume bargaining on short notice and ask that you indicate your own bargaining team’s availability to do the same.

We await your reply.

Devin Lefebvre
CUPE 3903