Contract staff, teaching assistants and graduate assistants at Toronto’s York University, home to Osgoode Hall Law School, have chosen to strike after their shared labour union, CUPE 3903, rejected the university’s “final offer” after six months of financial negotiation. The strike began at 12:01 a.m. today.
While those particular types of staff members at the law school will be affected, classes are scheduled to proceed as usual. But the majority of the law school’s staff members are full-time or adjunct faculty, unaffected by the strike and part of different labour unions, says Lorne Sossin, dean of Osgoode Hall.
Sossin says that the majority of courses requiring TAs at the law school are a small cohort of first-year tutorials that will be suspended and one of which is already complete and only requires grading. It is a case-by-case situation, however.
“I don’t want to say we aren’t affected at all,” he says. “There are a number of faculty members who are going through a difficult time [during this strike], and perhaps other faculty members want to express solidarity.”
All students from the university and the law school have the right to not face academic penalization if they don't want to cross the picket line during this time.
The university’s president and vice chancellor, Rhonda Lenton, posted this statement, highlighting that York’s compensation package is still the best of all Ontario universities, but the union is still within its legal means to strike.
“We come together as a community in good times, but in challenging times [like this], too,” says Sossin.