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York University strike ends as union votes in favour of tentative agreement

The union representing about 3,000 striking academic workers at York University voted in favour of accepting the tentative agreement with the post-secondary institution on Friday, bringing an end to a seven-week strike.

On Friday afternoon, almost 1,600 members of CUPE 3903 participated in the ratification vote of a tentative Comprehensive Framework for Settlement.

According to the union, Unit 1 (89.9 per cent), Unit 2 (93.8 per cent), and Unit 3 (90 per cent) voted in favour of accepting the deal, which means all three units have ratified the Employer’s latest offer.

This means that the union’s contract faculty, teaching and graduate assistants, research assistants and part-time librarians at the north Toronto university will return to work on Monday, April 22, after walking off the job on Feb. 26.

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“Every striking member should feel unbelievably proud of the commitment you have shown to your fellow members, and the determination we have shown as a collective in our fight for a better workplace and more just future,” the union wrote in a statement Friday.

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The union said this ratification brings with it some “important gains,” including winning retroactive pay “despite an expired wage re-opener and ensured eligibility for everyone who held a contract during the 2020-2023 collective agreement, regardless of current status, thus setting a new higher floor for future wage gains.”

The union previously said the main issues at play in contract talks included the need to address an affordability crisis, job security and workplace equity.

Among the items agreed in the tentative deal, the union said the university agreed to increase wages that also take into account the 2018 cap the provincial government placed on salary increases for broader public sector workers at one per cent a year for three years. That law was deemed unconstitutional in February.

“The strike was an incredible feat, and because of this action and the hard work of many, we were able to secure some truly meaningful wins that will immediately improve the lives of both students and workers,” the union said.

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— With files from the Canadian Press

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