(TORONTO, ON) – The Ontario government decision to pass back-to-work legislation for striking workers at York University undermines the rights of all Ontarians. The right to strike is protected under the Charter.
“These educators were forced onto the picket lines because York University would not fulfill its responsibility to its workers,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “Using back-to-work legislation is the government siding with the employer in a situation where the employer should be required to bargain.”
The CUPE 3903 strike is the longest post-secondary strike in Canadian history, with York University meeting with the strikers rarely and briefly, then refusing to bargain when they did meet. Over the almost-21 weeks of the strike, the University bargained for less than an hour in total.
“Strikes are a last resort for workers who are being mistreated by their employers,” said Buckley. “These strikers are both workers and students at York. This government had the chance to support their right to bargaining and fair working conditions that lead to quality education. Instead, this government has shown that they won’t support workers in a time of need. Despite their campaign promises, this action makes it very clear that this government is not for the people.”
The Ontario Federation of Labour supports faculty and the hundreds of thousands of precarious workers across this province in their demand for decent work, and will continue its work to protect the rights workers have now, and to push for improvements.
On May 4th, the OFL held a Day of Action in support of CUPE 3903 at York, blocking entrances and exits to the University. On May 11th, the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) also condemned York University’s refusal to bargain with its employees.
For further information contact:
Meagan Perry, Director of Communications
Phone: 416-894-3456 (cell)