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GLU Solidarity with York University Academic Workers

On Monday, February 26th, 2024, 3000 academic workers with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3903 at York University, Toronto, commenced strike action. We, the University of Calgary’s Graduate Labour Union, stand in solidarity with academic workers at York University and support job actions taken by CUPE 3903.

We support CUPE 3903’s right to strike and commend their fortitude throughout the collective bargaining process. Academic workers at York University have sent a clear mandate in favour of job action and have backed up that resolve with strong turnouts on the picket lines.

Students and academic workers across Canada face an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. After years of tuition hikes, rising inflation and exorbitant increases in the cost of food and housing, academic workers are facing an untenable economic reality without immediate commensurate increases in wages and benefits. This crisis severely and adversely affects all academic workers, but most especially international graduate students, who face greater economic and social pressures with less supports and protections. We stand with all graduate students and academic workers in Canada, and we call for immediate governmental and institutional action to alleviate this crisis.

CUPE 3903 represents contract instructors, teaching assistants and graduate assistants, who teach more than 50 per cent of all classes at York University. Members of CUPE 3903 list many of the same issues facing our membership, including stagnating wages and increased food insecurity, resulting in greater reliance on food assistance programs and local foodbanks. Whether you live in Toronto or Calgary, the numbers just do not add up. Academic workers deserve fare compensation for their labour and a wage that allows them to live with respect and dignity. We fully support CUPE 3903’s call for a living wage for all academically employed graduate students and sessional instructors in Canada.

Graduate students shoulder a disproportionate amount of the labour crucial to the survival of academic institutions through our teaching and research. We must recognize our value and collective strength, and we must stand together. We deserve living wages, now!

We, the University of Calgary’s Graduate Labour Union, stand in solidarity with CUPE 3903 today, as you fight for a better future for the academic workers in Canada!

In Solidarity,

The University of Calgary’s Graduate Labour Union