CUPE 3903 Statement on Back-to-Work Legislation

Back-to-work legislation passed on July 25, 2018, forcibly ending the CUPE 3903 strike which began on March 5.

Information on the return to work will be compiled on the Remediation Information page as it is received. More information on the process of securing new collective agreements will also be forthcoming.

CUPE 3903 Statement on Back-to-Work Legislation

July 25, 2018

To our members, labour movement comrades and community allies,

Earlier today, the Ford government passed “back-to-work” legislation that interferes in our collective bargaining and forces an end to our legal strike. At no point did the Ford government consult our union or make any attempt to encourage the employer to show up to the bargaining table.

Our members went on strike to protect the quality of education at York University. High quality public post-secondary education looks like job security and health benefits for education workers, adequate funding to support graduate student research, protections for people with disabilities and financial support for survivors of sexual and gender based violence. This is what our members have fought for.

We have made important gains for our members, including the best job-protected leave for survivors of gender-based and sexual violence in the university sector and lactation accommodations. These, and the few remaining outstanding proposals, follow the principles of equity, accessible graduate education and protection of good jobs.

From the beginning of the strike, York has wanted a pass on their duty to bargain in good faith, and the Ford government has officially handed it to them. Rather than meeting with our union to reach a deal, York chose to prolong the strike for 21 weeks as they waited for the government to bail them out.

CUPE 3903 is frustrated by this legislation, but also deeply concerned for what it means for all workers in Ontario. “Back-to-work” legislation eliminates any incentive for employers to negotiate with unions. Premier Doug Ford’s eagerness to bail out bad employers who refuse to bargain can have a chilling effect on collective bargaining across the province. We must continue to resist employers’ attempts to push unilateral changes that will negatively impact our working conditions and damage our public services.

We are extremely grateful to our members who have been dedicated to the picket lines day in and day out, and have endured immense personal sacrifices over the past 21 weeks. You have shown incredible strength and resolve in the face of an employer who has used intimidation tactics, communicated a disrespect for the work we do, and shown a callous disregard for the well-being of undergraduate and graduate students.

Our union is always active and engaged, not just during a bargaining year. We will continue to use our collective power to fight for improvements to the working and learning conditions at York University.

In solidarity,

CUPE 3903 Executive Committee