Talks aimed at ending the York University teaching assistants strike are set to resume this week.
In separate statements released on Sunday, both sides sounded cautiously optimistic that the other was serious about getting a deal done.
The university said getting back to the table was “in the best interest of our students and the York community” but added there continues to be no evidence of movement by the union on its 41 demands including wage increments, expansion of benefits and other increases.
“Nevertheless, CUPE 3903 has communicated that it believes a negotiated settlement can be reached if the parties return to the table,” said the university statement. “In the interest of our students, we believe that it is important for us to return to the table to hear CUPE 3903’s proposals for a resolution.”
The union says a return to bargaining cannot be “a simple matter of optics” and called on the university to stop bargaining through the media and come to the table in good faith.
“We are willing to be flexible, but this commitment must be returned,” said the statement from CUPE 3903. “We are concerned that York’s recent communication fails to acknowledge the key issues members have indicated on numerous occasions.”
The strike is entering its third week after 3,700 faculty members, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, research assistants, part-time librarians and archivists walked off the job back on March 5 after rejecting what the university termed its final offer.
On March 13th, the university says it put forth three options including a request for a “realistic counter proposal” from the union, binding arbitration on the most contentious issues and non-biding mediation.
The university says the union rejected all three options on March 15th and has provided no further response.
The last strike at the university back in 2015 lasted for 28 days.