TORONTO, March 3, 2018 –  Nothing is more important to York University than our students and their success. Yesterday, after six months of negotiations, CUPE 3903 representing graduate assistants, teaching assistants and contract faculty, announced that it has formally rejected the University’s final offer of March 1 and determined they will go on strike as of 12:01 am on Monday, March 5.

CUPE 3903 also announced yesterday that their members passed a motion to allow for bargaining over the weekend, however, the University has not received a counter-offer to our offer of March 1.


At CUPE’s request, on March 1 the University provided CUPE 3903 with our best offer which maintains our sector leading position. Here are just some of highlights:

  • IMPROVED BENEFITS: Increased health benefit, vacation pay, professional development funds, and childcare funds;
  • STRONGER EQUITY LANGUAGE: Implemented LGBTQ as an equity group, and improved equity language;
  • PAY INCREASES: Wage increases in each of the three years of the collective agreement of 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 per cent respectively;
  • MORE TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES: A minimum of eight (8) full-time faculty positions in each of the next three years, with two of those as conversions to tenure stream faculty and six of those as Special Renewable Contracts (SRC); and
  • IMPROVED JOB SECURITY: An increase in the total number of Long Service Teaching Appointments in the CUPE 3903 Unit 2 collective agreement, from 60 to 75.
  • ARBITRATION FOR THE TOUGHEST ISSUES: To avoid a strike, the University’s offer to go to a neutral third party for binding arbitration on the toughest issues still stands.


When bargaining began six months ago, CUPE presented the University with a list of 110 demands representing a 57 per cent increase in cost over the current contract. At this time, the University has not received a counter-offer to our March 1 offer.

Following careful review of CUPE 3903’s lengthy and largely unchanged list of demands shared through the mediator, CUPE 3903’s positions remain too far apart from our best offer to return to bargaining at this time.


Our priority now is to minimize the impact of the strike on our students. To that end:

  • The University will remain open and classes that can continue will continue;
  • Remedies will be provided for students to complete their year if their classes are cancelled or they cannot or do not want to cross a picket line;
  • Libraries, student services, athletic facilities, restaurants and other food services, and administration offices will continue to be available to students.

The University is committed to taking all possible steps to enable students to complete their program requirements in a timely fashion and is aware of the needs and concerns of students intending to graduate this spring. Academic accommodations will be made as needed.

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York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media contact: Barbara Joy,, 416-333-3374