The workers said neoliberal policies had made their jobs more precarious. Ontario’s new right-wing government didn’t care.
Classes are starting at Toronto’s York University after Canada’s longest-ever post-secondary strike came to an abrupt end this summer without a new agreement in place for 2,000 contract teaching and research staff who walked off the job five months ago.
The newly-elected right-wing government in the province of Ontario passed back-to-work legislation at the end July that forced the employees whose collective agreement expired last August to pack up the picket lines and return to work.
While many undergraduate students are relieved to get their academic schedules back on track, union members are left in a lurch as the concerns that prompted the strike remain unaddressed.
Demands for better graduate funding, job security and workplace accessibility in the workplace were central to the strike. The union also raised alarm over increasingly precarious employment for contract teachers and researchers, one symptom of universities doubling down on a neoliberal business model.