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[url=http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20081105/york_classes_081... usual, the news article focuses on the wages[/url] while the CUPE 3903 [url=http://cupe.ca/bargaining/3903-strike-york-university]press release[/url] makes it clear that the sticking point is job security, and working conditions.
But, of course that's what the press release would say... it's all about gaining the high road, right? The union was getting massively bad PR re their initial demand for a 30% wage increase over 3 years. They tried to float the position that this would bring them to poverty level wages but that went over like a lead balloon. Now they're asking for less than half that amount, but it's still high; and cutting the demand in half just served to underscore how unreasonable, not to say whimsical, the initial position really was -- not a good thing when there are 50,000 students out on the street pending a solution here.
Having said that, the non-money issues and in particular, job security is a significant issue for these folks. A friend of mine in this bargaining unit has been teaching there for 10 years and she's still on contract, term to term.
And to give credit where it's due, this is an active, militant CUPE unit that has gone out twice in the past ten years, for 3 and 6 weeks, and they see themselves as having the ability and responsibility to raise the bar on behalf of the whole contingent university workforce in Canada.
I agree. PR wise, the local dropped the ball badly. But the university's current offer is a big concession in terms of cost-of-living increases and indexation of funds to grad student growth. The pie-in-the-sky demands overshadow that the current offer is concessionary. Hopefully the local will better communicate that.