Statement of Solidarity with CUPE 3903 Clinical Course Directors from the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions-CUPE

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, which represents 40,000 staff at 120 hospital workplaces in Ontario, is appalled to hear that the School of Nursing at York has decided to continue all clinical placements in flagrant disregard for their unionized colleagues who are currently on strike and who have been without a collective agreement since August 31, 2023. The Clinical Faculty Advisor assignments that are being staffed by non-union labour, and scheduled to begin April 12, are a particularly galling form of union-busting that will only serve to prolong the strike, keeping students and workers in precarious positions.

With thousands of undergraduate students already demanding a tuition refund for courses affected by the strike, and the York University Faculty Association expressing non-confidence with York University President Rhonda Lenton and senior administration, the hardship students and workers are facing must be taken seriously by the York Administration. The quickest way to reach a settlement and get all students back to class is to bargain in good faith with CUPE 3903.

Claire Mallette, the Director of The School of Nursing at York, claims that the hiring of non-unionized educators will help students get back to class quickly. We understand that this will be accomplished by compressing the rest of the term into the next 19 days. CUPE 3903 members report that from their knowledge only 50% of the Winter term has been completed to-date and many required clinical practice hours are still missing. Condensing this may not only be unrealistic, but it could also be negligent. Though we recognize the importance of addressing the nursing shortage, future front-line workers deserve the best, and most comprehensive, education possible so that they can enter the field with the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to perform their nursing duties safely while they serve communities across Ontario. The vital experience and knowledge, including in-person clinical practice, the School of Nursing provides cannot be cut short. Nurses deserve better.

Healthcare workers stand in full solidarity with the striking staff at York. York University must remain committed to academic integrity and high-quality education, especially in programs like the School of Nursing. This is why they must not delay bargaining any further and provide a comprehensive remediation plan to support students, so that students can receive the high-quality education they need to best serve our communities.