When the game is rigged, play something else

Illustration by Keith McLean

Mark Grant
Photo Editor

Illustration by Keith McLean


I wasn’t here for the last CUPE strike, but even in high school I was aware of how disrupting it was. People were even shocked when I told them I was going to York.

“But why?” they would ask. “With the strike, what’s to stop them from doing it again?”  At the time, I half-agreed with them. After all, how dare they strike? The contract faculty—whom the students were paying for—were refusing to teach them.

But at the end of the day, I ignored what they said and applied to York.

Now with negotiations between CUPE, the increasingly rigid York administration, and the possibility of a second strike looming in the distance, I asked myself: why is this happening again?

The fact is, the only reason we are looking at a strike this time is because we didn’t really have one the last time. Sure, the contract faculty picketed—they stood out in the cold, facing steep opposition from both students and administration. Campus life was disrupted, and students were left out in the cold as well, languishing at home, or in residence, watching their huge tuition fees go down the drain.

The event had all the earmarks of a strike, save one: a resolution. After months of picketing, the teachers were simply legislated back to work. No negotiations were finalized, no agreement was reached; it was as if those months had never happened, except for the damage to York’s reputation.

Now we’re looking at the very real possibility of another pointless strike. The difference is, where the last one was pointless because nothing was achieved, this one will be pointless because it shouldn’t exist in the first place.

We’ll face the wrath of the York faculty (teaching assistants, graduate assistants, contract faculty, and research assistants) once again and York’s reputation will be tarnished even more. And though I don’t want to say it, the end result will most likely be the same as the last one.

I do believe in worker’s rights and I’m proud that we’re one of the few countries that have it, but I don’t think another strike is going to help anyone.

So here’s to hoping that a different approach is successful, lest history repeat itself.

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By Excalibur Publications



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