Source: CUPE 3903/X

I am a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, as well as a grad student at York University and one of 3,000 striking members of CUPE 3903.  My union, CUPE 3903, represents teaching assistants, contract faculty, and certain research assistants at York University. 

While York’s administrators gave themselves a 40 per cent pay increase over the past five years, our “wage increases” have been capped at one per cent annually for years—lagging miserably behind inflation. And, during this round of talks, the university has further tried to claw back our job security provisions in favour of more short-term contracts.

Already, the administration’s attacks have forced members of our union to turn to food banks to survive, despite working at one of the wealthiest universities in Canada. We cannot take it any more. 

As a result of the administration’s total intransigence on these matters, we have been on strike since Feb. 23. We are setting up picket lines at all entrances. This is a militant tactic, and I am thrilled to see the boldness the rank and file are displaying.

Yesterday, one of our members was arrested by Toronto police for the crime of picketing. While they were eventually released, after hours of protest, we can see here that the administration and the state are not on our side.

York University president Rhonda Lenton was appointed to smash our union, but these unelected administrators contribute nothing. And without workers, nothing happens. It’s a reminder that while management likes to bully us, we fundamentally have the power to bring our workplace to a halt if we’re united and determined. 

We also need to connect our struggle to the struggles undergraduate students face and fight together.

The same administration that has attacked our union has attacked York students again and again. They’ve raised tuition, threatened pro-union student activists and have spent the recent months working to smash pro-Palestine protests on campus. They even attempted to dissolve the York Federation of Students for putting out statements of solidarity with Palestine against Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

This strike, like all strikes, challenges management’s right to rule.  But we need to broaden this struggle.

Across the country we see that attacks in the private sector are being matched by austerity measures in the public sector as bosses everywhere fight to claw back all past compromises. Our bosses are united, we must be too.

This means mobilizing all students and workers on campus to bolster our picket lines. It means refusing any and all efforts by the administration to continue classes “as usual.” Picket lines  mean do not cross!

We need to shut down this campus and bring down York’s union-busting, anti-Palestinian bosses. They, like the capitalist classes as a whole, have no right to rule. 

Down with the pro-genocide, union-busting administration!
Picket lines mean do not cross!