Students, some union members express frustration as York strike drags on

TORONTO — As York University prepares to launch its summer semester without the involvement of 3,000 striking contract staff, students whose winter-term classes were disrupted are expressing frustration at the labour dispute, which is now into its eleventh week.

The strike at the Toronto university saw contract faculty and graduate teaching and research assistants walk off the job over issues of wages and job security on March 5.

Tens of thousands of students have been affected, with some raising questions about whether they’ll be able to complete their degrees on time.

Sarah Morrison, a third-year York nursing student, says she had been two months into a semester that involved a clinical placement in a community environment when the strike began.

The labour disruption has delayed that placement, an experience only available to third-year students and one that Morrison had been excited about.

“Losing that, it’s kind of losing the one thing I was really looking forward to, losing the one thing that would have probably benefited me if I was looking to get a job in public health,” she said.

Since March, Morrison has been waiting to find out when her placement will resume.

“It’s been static from our clinical mentors,” she said. “Our teachers, they’re not allowed to email us or anything.”

Morrison said she has cut down on planned work hours over the summer, in case her classes start up again, and has cancelled plans to go back home to Norfolk County for the summer.

First-year student Samantha Zurin said three of her four classes have been suspended by the university since the strike began and the instructor of the fourth course went on to cancel all classes.

The instructor “does not respond to students (and) when contacted about this class York doesn’t do anything about it,” Zurin said.

“I feel like the two sides have used the students …read more

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