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Faculty urge CUPE strikers to accept York offer

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

A group of 282 current and retired York University faculty members called on striking contract staff and teaching assistants yesterday to accept York's latest offer, saying the continuing walkout "will damage the academic reputation of the university."

The open letter calls the offer "fair and reasonable, and consistent with the most recent agreements of other unionized employees at York."

The 3,300 striking CUPE Local 3903 members will vote Monday and Tuesday.

The union has many demands, including higher wages and increased job security for long-time contract instructors. York's offer includes a 10.5-per-cent increase in wages and benefits over three years.

"It doesn't address all their demands, but gosh, the demands are so unreasonable," said humanities professor Bernard Lightman, one of two professors who spearheaded the gathering of signatures.

"[The open letter] does generate a lot of bad feelings, it can be divisive ... but everyone's starting to feel very sympathetic to the students, and I think that now has to be our first priority."

The union shrugged off the letter, and is "wholeheartedly" recommending its members reject the deal.

"Everybody's going to have their opinion, and far be it from me to tell [York faculty] what to think," union spokesman Tyler Shipley said.

The strike began on Nov. 6.

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