If Cupe 3903 and York University don't work a deal out today by midnight, 50 000 York students will have no classes until the two sides work out a deal.
Cupe 3903 represents 950 contract faculty, 1850 teaching assistants, and 550 graduate assistants. They're demanding a 40% wage increase over the next two years (which will cost the university $70 million), as well as improved health benefits, improved paid leaves and increases in an array of supplementary funds.
The deans of faculties and the university's chair of senate decided to cancel all classes (if the strike materializes), saying that classes wouldn't be able to properly be conducted without the presence of the striking staff.
York U's been overwhelmed with strikes recently, as the school's students who depend on YRT/Viva buses dealt with a 16-day strike earlier in the semester.
Today is also the Student Day of Action. A heated day when the York Federation of Students, along with other Ontario university student groups, protest at Queen's Park urging for lower tuition fees. Something has got to give. Ironically, the same students who are pleading for tuition cuts are also supporting the Union that wants higher pay and better benefits.
The picketer's demands are reasonable demands, but York employees do get paid some of the highest wages out of any university staffers-albeit the wages are basically poverty-line level. York defends the wages by saying that teaching and graduate assistants are full-time students, not full-time employees, thus they don't qualify the wages as "poverty level".
Moreover, the looming strike will cause more problems than just stagnated learning. What about the striking employees who depend on steady paychecks from the university?
UPDATE: 3,350 teachers walk out, classes canceled.