Strike back!


Matt DionneEditor-in-Chief

Featured Image Courtesy of Jasmine Wiradharma

With the longest strike in Canadian post-secondary history finally over, students are still experiencing the fallout that the nearly-five-month long labour disruption caused.

Students who were unfortunate enough not to receive an assessed (or entirely manufactured in some cases) grade, and unable to complete their courses during the remediation period, will now be forced to complete them while simultaneously working on their courses for the new fall semester.

Yes, the university has graciously allowed students to work on their 2017-2018 coursework, while also working on their 2018-2019 course work.

You’d think York would be better equipped to deal with these situations by now. Over the last 18 years there have been six rounds of bargaining where CUPE 3903 has had to negotiate new contracts with the administration. Four of those bargaining periods have resulted in a strike: 2001, 2008, 2015 and 2018 (2012 nearly had a strike if not for a last-minute offer which was accepted hours before picket lines were about to go up).

This means that from the last six years a strike could occur, one has occurred during four of them. If York was taking a course called ‘Avoiding Strikes’ over the last two decades, it would get a 33 per cent (it doesn’t take a math student to realize that’s not a passing grade).

When a strike occurs, we end up paying more for less, and that’s on top of the already-high tuition we pay here. According to the most recent data, the average Canadian domestic undergraduate student can expect to pay $6,571 per year. This year, York’s website estimates the average domestic student will pay $7,743, which is 18 per cent more than the national average—not only do we deserve better than this, we’re entitled to better.

Strikes are so prevalent at York that students who graduated this past year (if they were lucky enough not to have it postponed) have experienced two of them—which means 50 per cent of their university years have been interrupted by a strike. And it’s likely that last year’s first-years can expect to experience another strike in 2021.

There isn’t much we can do as students when we’re constantly being used as bargaining chips by the administration and the union, but one thing we can do this year is vote.

The YFS acted as a mouthpiece for the union during the entirety of the strike, and even went as far as to encourage students not to cross picket lines out of respect for the union, regardless of whether or not it would be beneficial to the students.

That’s not the actions of a federation with undergraduate students’ best interests in mind. The current elected undergraduate representation has been in power for years, and has shown they don’t have our best interests at heart.

This school year, when it’s time to vote for the new YFS in the spring, strike back! Make your voice heard, and vote for someone who will stand up for your rights and interests as undergrads!

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Coco Leone

^^^^^ I think not. ^^^^^^