Friday, November 14, 2008
Unbeknownst to me until today, there has been a strike on-going at York University in Canada where friend of the blog, David Doorey, teaches. He writes on his blog:
The CUPE 3093 strike began on November 6th at York, and picket lines are up (see my entry on the rules of picketing). All classes are cancelled, including mine. We’ll have to watch carefully what happens in the coming days. It sounds like the parties are still quite far apart. The employer has offered to go to interest arbitration, which would end the strike, but the Union has so far shown no interest in that option to date. But that might change as the strike lingers on.
Remember that the striking workers are not being paid any wages during the strike (although they will receive some amount of strike pay from the union, usually on condition that they show up for picketing duty), and many of them depend on that income to pay their rent, travel home over the holidays, and feed themselves and their families. So pressure may build on them to resolve this dispute quickly. The University too will be under pressure from students to save the term some how. So both parties are now feeling pressure to settle the dispute. And that is how a strike is supposed to work.
Some more information from David:
The strikers are part-time sessional instructors and teaching assistants, who are mostly graduate students. The university deciced to cancel all classes, since earlier strikes by the same union and by the faculty union created chaos when classes were permitted to be continued throughout the strike.
The last time I remember a labor strike impacting a university in North America was at the University of Miami in 2006. It will be interesting to see how this turns out and who eventually "wins."