On Campus

York University union threatens suit

CUPE president says back-to-work bill would violate legal rights of workers

According to The Globe and Mail, the union representing striking workers at York University is set to launch a legal challenge against the Ontario government’s proposed back-to-work legislation if Premier Dalton McGuinty does not get the two sides back to the bargaining table.

Sid Ryan, Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says the back-to-work bill introduced by the government at an emergency sitting of the legislature last weekend will likely pass into law on Thursday.

Once that happens, he said, the union’s lawyers will be instructed to take “any and all legal action.” According to Ryan, CUPE’s lawyers believe the legislation would violate the union’s rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

He says their suit would have a “strong possibility” of success.

Regardless, the provincial government has said it will move ahead with the bill. Last weekend, McGuinty said he is confident the legislation would survive a legal challenge because mediator Reg Pearson had declared negotiations to be deadlocked.

“I’m convinced now, based on the advice that we received from Mr. Pearson, that clearly the parties are in deadlock,” he said. “That’s one of the conditions that has to be met and we have confirmed that on our own.”