Oh my York!

International students in dilemma as York University Canada workers go on strike

Thousands of academic workers at York University, including contract instructors, teaching assistants, and graduate assistants, began a strike today after negotiations with the university administration reached an impasse.

International students and student immigration applicants to Canada are likely to be severely affected if the strike action is prolonged.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903, which represents the striking workers, claims the university’s current offer fails to address the significant increase in the cost of living, particularly housing and food.

“We’re struggling to make ends meet,” said Erin McIntosh, a PhD student and CUPE 3903 spokesperson. “The wages for people who do the majority of teaching at York have been falling further and further behind, while basic needs have skyrocketed in price. Who can afford to work at York anymore?”

This strike comes six years after York University academic workers were legislated back to work by the provincial government without a resolution to their prior demands. Additionally, the workers point to Bill 124, which restricted wage increases for public sector workers to 1% per year, as further contributing to their financial struggles. Though the law was later deemed unconstitutional, the union argues its impact on their bargaining position remains.

“For workers who are also students, this is making York unaffordable,” McIntosh continued. “It’s putting a university education out of reach of people. This is a question about equity and access.”

The strike is expected to significantly impact university operations, with many classes and labs being cancelled or postponed. The university has yet to publicly comment on the potential impact of the strike on students or ongoing negotiations.

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