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A student and a CUPE member on strike give their personal accounts

Globe and Mail Update


Related story: Dates set for vote by striking staff

Bahador Adab is a third-year business marketing student at York University.

8:36 a.m.: I wake up to another attempt at making the best of it and making myself feel more useful. I wake up, grab my laptop as if it is Aladdin's magic lamp and check the news about the York University strike. The strike is alive and well and kicking, and kicking where it hurts.

I am quite confused about how nobody sees what a fiasco this is turning into by putting 50,000 young lives on hold for a pay raise, yes, a pay raise, and five years of job security [for those who have been teaching for more than about 15 years] in this economic crisis where people are praying not to get laid off. I'm confused that there is a place on this planet where people are not happy for just having their job and getting paid for it.

After all this time, I have come to realize that somebody has to do something and it's not going to be York U or CUPE [the union on strike].

I was wondering: After three months of striking, how could the strikers survive, going without pay? I did not know until today that most probably they will get paid after the strike [if the term is completed and they finish their contracts]. So I ask myself: What do they have on the line?

At the same time, I'm trying to live a normal life, even though a big part of it is on hold. One of the many bad things about this strike is that it is not like a transit strike where you can still get around, even though the strike makes it much harder. In this case, it is literally impossible to achieve your goal, which is to study and graduate.

As a student, my main priority is to study. Work, partying, sports etc. are all there to support me as a student, but when I am not active in school, doing all the other stuff seems pointless, because I am not doing the very first thing I should be doing at this point in my life to achieve my goals.

This deep rest has got me depressed

I ask you, which one makes more sense? Having no classes but having professors, students and the [teaching staff who are now on strike], or having classes with professors and students, but not other teaching staff? Well, the second one makes more sense to me as a student. Of course, it might be a little harder (though I wouldn't know; I never really attended tutorials because I preferred to study the material on my own) but I would be going to school and studying what I need to learn to eventually make progress. At least students would feel productive.

I am quiet certain a lot of the students feel that way, but how would we know, unfortunately we are not asked any questions about how we feel about the situation.

You might wonder why? I have concluded because our opinion does not matter and, believe me, it doesn't feel good.

This is the future of the people that will build the future of this country and I believe that the people of Toronto, Ontario and even Canada should have a say in this.

First we thought it would be solved in a week or two, then a month or two, but now it doesn't look like this is going to have an end anytime soon. I am worried, and so should other people be. This is 50,000 lives full of dreams, hopes and goals being treated as extras in a bad movie with no director. Sometimes I dream that in a prefect democratic move, people would vote on such issues after they went on for more than two months, involving this many young lives and their futures. How else would a country show its youth how valuable they are and how much they should value themselves? But that's just a dream. Or maybe in a prefect dictatorship-like move, somebody would just open up the school? A bittersweet dream!

Now I ask you just considering how badly this is effecting the students emotionally, mentally, financially and in many other ways not having been able to go to school for more than two months: Is this really worth it? I believe it is already late.

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