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Union files unfair labour practices complaint in York U strike

The sign for York University's Keele Campus is seen in Toronto on March 2, 2018. CITYNEWS

The union representing striking York University teaching assistants has filed an unfair labour practices complaint against the school following the latest breakdown in contract talks.

CUPE Local 3903 says York is not acting in good faith by “misrepresenting and impersonating the union in the current negotiations.”

In the complaint, the union says York is guilty of three separate infractions:

  • that the administration publicly and deliberately mischaracterized its position with respect to specific bargaining proposals;
  • the university maliciously and falsely characterized several union proposals as improper or “illegal” in an effort to unfairly damage the union’s public reputation;
  • and the university administration appropriated the domain “cupe3903.com” and fraudulently redirected traffic to their own site to deceive members of the public and union interested in following the progress of talks.

 

The university says the union’s complaint is “without merit” and welcomes a quick response from the Labour Relations Board.

The latest effort to end the strike by faculty members, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, research assistants and part-time librarians and archivists fell apart on Tuesday.

The union said the university’s bargaining team “issued an ultimatum” and refused requests to continue negotiations while the university issued its own statement stating the union “had nothing new to offer” and there is “no path forward to a settlement.”

Local 3903 chairman Devin Lefebvre says York chose to leave the table even though his bargaining team made “significant moves to resolve the outstanding issues” and had withdrawn several proposals.

The university said that while a number of issues were settled, they remain far apart on wages and on the number of conversions of contract faculty to full-time positions and funding for graduate students.

York said it has told the union through the mediator that it is prepared to continue bargaining as soon as the union is “prepared to work within a framework for an achievable settlement.”

CUPE says picket lines will remain up at all York University entrances and more than half the classroom instruction on campus will continue to be disrupted due to the strike.