YFS Statement Regarding the CUPE 3903 Strike Reply

March 14, 2018

We have entered the second week of the CUPE 3903 strike and the York Administration has declined all offers from CUPE 3903 to continue bargaining and reach an agreement. We are incredibly disappointed in this decision, as we believe that if the University bargains in good faith, and offers a fair and affordable package, without setting up pre-conditions, this strike can end. Our paramount concern has been for our members; the undergraduate students, and the impact this strike is having on them, and therefore we strongly encourage York University Administration to continue bargaining with the urgency it requires, as opposed to forcing students to cross picket lines.

Our continued stance is that education is a right, not a privilege. Many of our members work precarious jobs with little, and in the case of un-paid internships: no pay, with zero job security. Even as they work long and hard hours, while balancing classes and completing schoolwork, they live well below the poverty line. Consequently, the YFS supports CUPE 3903 as they demand that their members don’t have to live below the poverty line, that hard work is rewarded with job security, equity and justice in the workplace, and that workers are fairly compensated and not ruthlessly exploited. Workers Rights and Student Rights are Human Rights.

In accordance with York University’s Senate Policy, section 2.2 Fairness to Students, while CUPE 3903 remains on strike, undergraduate students have the right to refuse to cross picket lines without facing any penalties. The York Administration has shown a complete disregard to the plight of undergraduate students by choosing to continue courses, despite the fact that 60 percent of the teaching staff are on strike. The YFS further condemns the ongoing divisive tactics employed by the York University Administration amongst undergraduate students and their instructors: students should not be pitted against themselves and their educators, bullied and threatened to complete course work, nor should they be forced into crossing the picket lines.

The York Federation of Students (YFS) has been a leading advocate for affordable post-secondary education: fighting for lower tuition fees, more grants and greater fairness for international students. Therefore, the York Federation of Students remains undivided in solidarity with Teachers Assistants, Contract Faculty, Graduate Assistants and Research Assistants who have been treated unfairly by the York University Administration, as they continue to fight for a fair, accessible and affordable educational environment.

The York Federation of Students represents over 50,000 undergraduate students at York University and will continue to mobilize for more affordable, accessible education not just for undergraduates, but for all students.

For more information please contact:

Rawan Habib, President, York Federation of Students president@yfs.ca or

Murtaza Ghulam, Executive Director, York Federation of Students, executivedirector@yfs.ca

The age of precarity and the new challenges to the academic profession Reply

“The question of what is to be done to fight against academic precarity, strikes into the heart of the involvement of academics with politics. …The neoliberal short-term flexible contracts, the enormous work-load of teaching and publication under the “publish or perish” imperative, and the incentive for short-term project based research-oriented fundraising all compartmentalize the experience of research. In a life of accelerated mobility and inflated demands of work and activist involvement, they create a fake dilemma between political commitment and thorough academic work. It creates a dichotomy between those in permanent position, who can afford time to research, think, and write, but who are critiqued as becoming a part of the establishment, and the precarious academics who have none of these privilege, and whose political work is often seen as a lost cause for their academic advancement. And while the new ethos of academic-activist requires a reassessment of the relation between political involvement and knowledge production, meaningful public intervention still stay beyond the scope of overworked scholars cast invisible as workers and human beings.” “The Age of Precarity and the New Challenges to the Academic Profession” by Mariya P. Ivancheva.