York students betrayed by Shurman's political posturing - Macleans.ca

York students betrayed by Shurman’s political posturing

Back-to-work bill contains two poison pills the provincial government won’t swallow

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The full-text of the Progressive Conservative “Back to Work Act (York University), 2008,” as moved by MPP Peter Shurman is now available online.

The bill is short and designed to make the Liberal government pass back-to-work legislation prior to the Ontario legislature’s scheduled two-month winter recess, which begins Dec. 11, in order to return York students to the classroom as soon as possible.

On top of trying to force back-to-work legislation, the bill includes two poison pills that the Liberals are unlikely to accept.

It requires that the government give a back-to-work order that “shall specify the terms of a new contract between York University and Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3903” and that “the length of this new contract shall be for a term of three years.”

It is entirely inappropriate for the government to dictate the terms of a collective agreement. Nevermind that, if passed, the Bill would require this contract to be written up immediately without the necessary time for proper review of the positions of the two parties. The government cannot do this and Shurman should have known better than to place this poison pill into the bill.

The requirement that the government make the contract for a three-year term is not as much of a poison pill, but still has a bitter flavour.

Shurman should have kept it simple and pushed for binding arbitration.

By placing two highly political poison pills into his bill, Shurman has done a great disservice to the very students he claims to represent and placed the government in an awkward position that makes it politically more difficult to introduce a proper back-to-work bill.

Again, York students are caught in the middle as another party advances its own political agenda.