On a cold Wednesday morning, students marched along Sentinel Road, just a few blocks from York University’s Keele campus, which as of today remains on strike.
After Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3093 Unit 2 agreed on a new contract, York University announced Tuesday night some classes would resume, including human resource management, administrative studies, nursing and engineering.
Units 1 and 3 remain on strike after voting against the deal. They represent graduate assistants, research assistants and teaching assistants.
“Part of the goal today is to educate some of the undergrad students that might be crossing our picket lines,” said Jennifer Mussell, one of the dozens of student picketers on Wednesday morning. “We just want them to know what some of the issues are because a lot of students have been away from campus since it’s been closed for the past week.”
Grad student Chris Bailey also wasn’t happy with the offer made on Monday.
“It was a slap in the face for two units and then a fairly good deal for many of the members I suppose in Unit 2,” Bailey said. “Even in that unit that voted to ratify — it doesn’t secure a lot of the lower level seniority Unit 2’s. It’s kind of complicated but they’re not as protected by the new deal as people might think. It’s not this glowing new deal that they got. So it affects that unit in different ways depending on how long you’ve been there and how many courses you’re able to teach and how many contracts you can get.”
One of the goals Mussell is fighting for is LGBT rights.
“Right now they’re excluded from our equity language in terms of hiring, but this is something we’re standing up for and it hasn’t been offered and it’s kind of baffling why it hasn’t been offered,” Mussell said. “I think it really speaks volumes about the university’s supposed commitment to equity.”
Mussell and Bailey both say they will continue to stand outside and fight for what they think is right.
“We’ll be here until we get a fair deal,” Mussell said. “We’ll be picketing until our union ratifies whatever offer we get from York but at this point, the two offers that we had and that our union has voted on have been very unfair for members of our union.”