2024 STRIKE – CUPE 3903

Bargaining has stopped

Picketer at Seneca@York

by Meaghan Franchi

As the strike enters into its 6th week York University is awaiting guidance from the provincially-appointed mediator as to when they are going to be returning to the bargaining table.

CUPE 3093 representing Units 1 (teaching assistants) 2 (contract faculty and 3 (graduate assistants) voted to strike on Feb. 26, 2024.

“I’m not happy about being on strike again”, said Leanne, a Unit 1 picketer.

This is the second strike Leanne has been involved with since she started with York University. She was involved in the strike of 2018 and she’s not happy about being on the picket lines again.

CUPE 3903 Units 1, 2 and 3 have been without contracts with York University since August 31, 2023, and CUPE 3093 has been trying to negotiate with the University since June of last year for smaller class sizes, reduced workloads, guaranteed grading times and job stability.

“What the university is offering is so far from what we’re asking for” that “there’s not a lot of movement to come towards something reasonable in the middle” stated Leanne.

Keele & York Entrance – Seneca@York

Right now, York University is awaiting guidance from the mediator as to when they are going to return the bargaining table. But here is the breakdown of the events so far.

Timeline of the strike:

Feb 7 and 21, 2024 – The University provided a comprehensive proposal on Feb 7th to CUPE 3903 and then an enhanced comprehensive proposal on Feb 21st which addressed key factors such as pay rates. The proposals were unanswered.

Feb 26, 2024 – CUPE 3903 Units 1,2 and 3 votes to strikes

March 7, 2024 – In an attempt to end the strike, the University writes the union and proposes mediation arbitration

March 9, 2024 – CUPE 3903 rejects mediation-arbitration

March 12, 2024 – CUPE contacts the University to propose going back to the bargaining table

March 13, 2024 – The University responds and will go back to the table on the guidance of a provincially appointed mediator

March 14, 2024 – The University stated they are willing to go back to the table, but the mediator confirmed that they will not be reconvening at this time. Until CUPE 3903 responds to the salary proposals from Feb. 7th and 21st a meeting wouldn’t be productive. As the mediator stated “It will be necessary to address wages and benefits to reach a settlement” and “there is no likelihood of a settlement based on what is on the table”.

March 24 & 25, 2024 – Bargaining resumed with the assistance of a provincially appointed mediator, however an agreement has not yet been reached.

Picketers at Seneca@York


Most York University students are in support of the strikers. They are understanding of the requests and they would like York University and CUPE 3903 to come to a mutually satisfying agreement as soon as possible.

A York University student who didn’t want to be identified said that the strike has affected his learning “it kind of sucks that classes are happening online because I prefer them in person, its easier for me to concentrate in person.”

Another York University who is in his first year of studying computer sciences is in total support of CUPE 3903 and thinks that the “professors and TAs should get what they deserve.” He currently has 2 suspended classes and even though the strike wont affect his graduation his schooling has been disrupted.

So even though there seems to be no end in sight right now, both the strikers and students alike are hoping for a mutually agreeable outcome in the near future. For the benefit of everyone.

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