Unit 4 Bargaining Update #2 – Exchange of Proposals

On Wednesday, November 25, 2015 the Unit 4 (part-time librarians) bargaining team met with York University representatives for the second time.  Paper copies of the respective Collective Agreement proposals were exchanged.

Both sides have agreed to sign off on points of agreement at the next meeting, i.e. after examining the documents in detail.  Nothing firm regarding contract appointments or wages has been discussed.  CUPE 3903, however, has provided language laying the groundwork for negotiation on specific issues in the upcoming round.

Copies of the agreements will be made available to Unit 4 members through yorku-ptlibs@googlegroups.com.

The bargaining teams will meet again on Friday, December 11, 2015 at 10:00 am in Ross S841.   Please note, these are open negotiations and members are encouraged to attend.

Information on the negotiations will be available on the U4 Bargaining page as bargaining develops.

CUPE 3903 Is Hiring – Web Developer


Project Overview

The Government of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005, with the goal of making Ontario accessible for people with disabilities by 2025.  The Information and Communications Standard under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation requires large organizations in Ontario to make their web content accessible. As such, CUPE 3903 is looking to hire a web developer to assist with the implementation of the accessible website requirements mandated under the AODA (2005). More specifically, to make adjustments to our existing website http://3903.cupe.ca/ to comply with Section 14: Accessible websites and web content of the Integration Accessibility Standards Regulations – Ontario Regulation 191/11.

Proponent Qualifications

The successful proponent will demonstrate the following qualifications:

  1. Familiarity with Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act website standards
  2. Experience with WordPress and developing web content

Proposal Requirements

The successful proponent will prepare a brief project plan outlining the above qualifications and proposed strategy for the updating of CUPE 3903’s website to achieve compliance with WCAG 2.0 – Level AA.

Request for Proposal Timeline

All proposals in response to this RFP should be submitted electronically to cupe3903accessibility@gmail.com, and are due no later than December 22, 2015.

Evaluation of proposals will be conducted from December 23, 2015 to January 10, 2016.

The selection decision for the successful proponent will be made no later than January 11, 2016.

Project Timeline

The successful proponent is expected to work cooperatively with CUPE 3903’s accessibility committee and CUPE 3903’s communication committee to develop a project schedule that is efficient and realistic for all three parties.

CUPE 3903 encourages applications from Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, members of LGBTQ communities, and women.

This is a non-unionized contract in a workplace unionized by CUPE 1281.

Unit 2 Conversion List

The 2015-16 Unit 2 Conversion list is available here.

The Conversion List is prepared and maintained by the Employer. If you think that you should be eligible for a conversion but you’re not on the list, please contact one of your Union representatives to have this corrected. An explanation of the eligibility criteria is below.

Affirmative Action (Conversion) Pool Eligibility
Please see the Unit 2 Collective Agreement 2014-17, Art. 23.02:

Do you identify as belonging to one of the Employment Equity categories? If you do, then you need to meet all three of the criteria below to be eligible to apply for a conversion:

  1. Have 5 years of service to the University
  2. In any four years, have taught at least 3 Type 1 positions
    – That is, the member must have taught a cumulative total of at least 3 Type 1s over four given years.
  3. 3) In any four years, have taught at least 9 Type 1 positions (or equivalent)
    – That is, in any four years, the member must have taught a cumulative total of at least 9 Type 1s or equivalent

If you do not belong to one of the Employment Equity groups, then you need to meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  1. Have 5 years of service to the University
  2. Have taught at least 1 Type 1 in each of four years, with a total of at least 12 Type 1 positions or equivalent over those four years

Useful definitions:

Employment Equity groups – Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and women*
Year of Service – a year in which you have done at least 1 Type 1 position
Type 1 position – a Course Director, Clinical Course Director, or Writing Instructor position
Type 1 equivalent – for example, 3 Tutorial Leader assignments is equivalent to 1 Type 1

* As per our gains in the last round of bargaining, the employer has agreed to “discuss” the inclusion of LGBTQ and this will be an on-going “slow” process in the Employment Equity Committee. Real progress is made at the collective bargaining committee and we need members of the various Equity-seeking groups to be members of our Bargaining Team so that we fight for substantive gains in these areas. This will help us prepare for the next round NOW.

Pancake Brunch and Post-Strike Debrief Report-Back

On Thursday November 12, TFAC and the 3903 exec hosted a pancake brunch in the 3903 office. We served over 100 vegan and vegan+gluten-free pancakes to our members! In attendance were a number of members, including brand new 3903 members and those who have been at York for over 30 years. Amid the laughing, talking, and eating, members told us their strike stories. Some members interviewed other members about their strike experiences and others shared their thoughts and suggestions for how to improve future strikes at York. Many thanks to all who came out!

We are starting to collate the stories and to put the suggestions made into a CUPE 3903 Strike Handbook. The pancake brunch was just the first step – we would also like to hear from committees that were formed during the strike and to keep hearing from members as we build the Strike Handbook and come up with suggestions for future bylaw changes.

If you would like to get in touch to share your strike story, offer your suggestions, or to help out, please email us at 3903strikestories@gmail.com.

New Unit 4 Begins Bargaining

In January 2015, part-time librarians at York University unanimously voted to certify as members of CUPE 3903 as the new Unit 4. On Thursday, November 12, the Unit 4 Bargaining Team met with the employer for a preliminary introductory meeting. A report from this meeting, courtesy of BT member David Montgomery, is available below.

We hope that a first contract will be arrived at quickly and fairly, so that these workers can get the pay and benefits they deserve to be brought to parity with other workers in their sector. As bargaining develops, updates and all other information will be available under the U4 Bargaining page. Updates will be posted after every bargaining meeting.

Bargaining Update – First Steps

On Tuesday November 12 2015, our bargaining team met with the University. After introductions, our team expressed its intention to reach a fair and equitable Collective Bargaining Agreement, one that would bring us into parity with our colleagues and profession. We stated our position that as a new unit we make up a significant, highly-educated, and professional work force, which has not had a collective agreement in more than twenty years of employment practice by the University library. We stated, as well, that we intended to bargain in a spirit of collegiality. Members of the CUPE 3903 team noted that the situation was unusual and strongly suggested the University should not view negotiations as a matter of a small, incremental wage increase. In principle, this sentiment was agreed upon by the University representatives. In short, both sides agreed that standard negotiation norms did not apply in this instance. Both sides also expressed hope for a quick resolution and fair collective bargaining agreement.

Work releases for the bargaining team were discussed and dates for an exchange of proposals were agreed upon, as well as future bargaining dates into December. Proposals are being finalized for exchange on November 24th.

Bylaw Amendment and Election Results – November GMM

A number of bylaw amendments and elections occurred during the November 19 General Membership Meeting. The results of these votes can be found below.

Bylaw Amendments (require a 2/3 majority)

Childcare Fund Committee: 35 votes. 34 yes, 1 Abstention [PASSED]
E-voting working group: 32 votes. 25 yes, 6 No, 1 Abstention [PASSED]
Communication Committee: 38 votes. 23 yes, 15 no [FAILED]


Hiring Committee:

  • Julian Arend: 11 votes
  • James Arruda: 18 votes
  • John Bell: 23 votes
  • Parbattie Ramsarran: 25 votes
  • Karen Walker: 26 votes
  • Elected: Karen Walker, Parbattie Ramsarran, John Bell

    OCUFA Delegates:

  • Bob Hanke: 11 votes
  • Lykke de la Cour: 15 votes
  • Derek Hrynyshyn: 31 votes
  • Darren Patrick: 28 votes
  • Elected: Derek Hrynyshyn, Darren Patrick, Lykke de la Cour

    November 19 GMM: Tentative Agenda [Updated Nov 17]

    General Membership Meeting
    Thursday, November 19
    11:00am – 2:00pm
    Senate Chambers
    Ross N940

    Please note the time change

    Tentative Agenda:

    1.      Roll call of officers (5 mins)
    2.      Reading of the Equality Statement (3 mins)
    3.      Reading of the Mississauga Land Acknowledgement (2 mins)
    4.      Approval of Agenda (5 mins)
    5.      Reading and Approval of Minutes (15 mins)
    6.      Matters arising (5 mins)
    7.      Notices (5 mins)
      a. Unit 4 by-law amendments
    8.      Secretary-Treasurer’s Report (20 mins)
      a. Motions re: Salaries, Legal Charges, U4 Bargaining Team, Ways and Means Honoraria
      b. Strike reconciliation
    9.    Nominations, elections, or installations (30 mins)
      a. Election of 3 hiring committee members
      b. Election of 3 delegates to OCUFA conference “Confronting Precarious Academic Work”
    Equity Break (10 mins)
    10. Unfinished business (60 mins)
      a. Proposed by-law amendment: Communications Committee
      b. Proposed by-law amendment: E-voting Working Group
      c. Proposed by-law amendment: Free School Working group
      d. Proposed by-law amendment: Childcare Fund Committee
      e. Solidarity Request for Unite Here Local 75 Strike Fund
      f. Motion to establish a special investigative grievance review committee and election
    11. New Business
    12.  Reports of Committees and Delegates (10 mins)
      a. CUPE National Convention
      b. TFAC
    13.  Executive Reports (10 mins)
    14.  Good of the Union
      a. Long-term strategy brainstorm
    15.  Adjournment

    Due to the high number of time-sensitive agenda items, the following items have been tabled until our December GMM:

    • Proposed by-law amendment: Treasurer
    • Proposed by-law amendment: Social Space Working group
    • Proposed by-law amendment: Elections
    • Proposed by-law amendment: 2011-12 Proposed Bylaw Amendments
    • Donation to Lift’s Conscious Minds Day camp ($1000)
    • Donation request for SiV ReEducation Day ($500)
    • Donation Request to Colombia Action Solidarity
    • Donation Request from SAIA ($500)
    • Donation request to CERLAC Graduate Student Conference ($1000)
    • Donation request for Raul Burgos Normal in Ayotzinapa Guerrerro Mexico ($1500)


    Please contact Sheila Wilmot at CUPE3903.equity.officer@gmail.com` or at 416-736-5154 ext. 3 if you require any of the following: ASL interpretation, reimbursement for childcare/caregiver/attendant care, and/or transportation costs for members who are unable to secure Wheel-Trans, or other requests for accommodation.

    Update on Tuition Indexation Grievance

    A pink sign in the snow reads "Education is a right! Keep tuition indexation".

    A pink sign in the snow reads “Education is a right! Keep tuition indexation”.

    On Wednesday May 27, CUPE 3903 filed a grievance in relation to the employer’s interpretation of our tuition offset language (Letters of Intent 1 and 6). This provision is often referred to as tuition indexation. Our position is that any member who is affected by tuition increases must be compensated with an equivalent increase in funding.

    Originally York stated that according to their interpretation, only 18 members (roughly 12%) affected by the increases would receive any additional funding. Amounts of additional funding for those lucky 18 varied between $6135.56 (only two members) and $135, for a total of $32,597.29 in additional funding paid out by the employer. Following union pressure over the summer, York increased the number of members receiving some form of offset to 30, for a total of $120,000. 

    With over 100 members still waiting for their offsets, and with York insisting on a narrow misinterpretation of the language, the matter has been brought to arbitration, a process which involves a long waiting period. In the meantime, however, there have been two developments.

    First, ongoing pressure from the union resulted in more offset payments for 18 international student members, which totals just over $27,000. This is a fraction of the over $600,000 owed from last year alone, but it is a step in the right direction. The fact that York itself keeps changing the number of members who are owed an offset reveals to what extent their own interpretation of the offset language is arbitrary.

    Second, in late September CUPE local 4600, which represents teaching assistants and contract faculty at Carleton University in Ottawa, won a similar arbitration case. They grieved their employer because a tuition increase violated their provision called the Tuition Increase Assistance (similar to our tuition indexation), and won after a lengthy process.

    While this is good news for the post-secondary sector as a whole, we need to keep mobilizing if we want to build on this precedent in our own arbitration case. The International Offset Sub-Committee has a number of plans up its sleeve, in which all members are invited to participate. Let’s help York realize that the writing is on the wall: it’s time to pay international students what they’re owed! If you would like to get involved in planning actions and communications in support of our tuition indexation arbitration case, email cupe3903csu1@gmail.com.


    New Employment Equity Self-Identification Survey

    In the last round of bargaining, we won LGBT equity language, which was one of the main provisions for which we went on strike. As a result, we now have a new employment equity self-identification survey to reflect this additional equity category.

    Whether or not you are part of an equity-seeking group or desire to share that information with the union and the employer, even filling out the form by checking “I choose not to complete the Self-Identification Survey at this time” is helpful. This is the main tool we have to address systemic barriers to equity, which is incredibly difficult to do without adequate data. All information provided is confidential and will be used on an aggregated basis.

    For more information, visit the Employment Equity Survey FAQ.

    CUPE 3903 Supports Striking Hotel Workers

    A red banner from the UNITE HERE Local 75 picket line reads "Hotel Workers Rising".

    A red banner from the UNITE HERE Local 75 picket line reads “Hotel Workers Rising”.

    Since Monday, October 5, the workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 75 have been on strike at the Holiday Inn Express North York Hotel, located in the Jane and Finch community. As the press release explains, there are very few jobs in the Jane and Finch community that provide the kind of benefits and protections for which they are currently striking. These include fair wages, health benefits, pensions, and workload protections, which would simply be on par with the over 30 other hotels in the GTA which have signed similar agreements.

    To Vrancor Group, which owns the hotel, we say: it’s time to come to the table in good faith. The workers of your hotel deserve good jobs and benefits.

    The importance of this struggle is two-fold: hotel workers in all communities must have their labour recognized and protected, but it is also essential to recognize that good jobs are needed in the Jane and Finch community specifically. CUPE 3903 must continue to stand in solidarity with this community, our neighbours, and fight back against the idea that those who are already disadvantaged – women, racialized people, immigrants – are worth less than workers in other hotels across the GTA.

    CUPE 3903 has been providing minimal strike support, but we need to do more. There will be a Halloween Rally on Thursday, October 29, 6pm.  Keep an eye out for future 3903 outings, and departmental Stewards and any other interested members are strongly encouraged to put together their own strike support groups. If you need any help with the logistics, email cupe3903comms@gmail.com.

    You can like UNITE HERE Local 75 on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter, for the latest news on their ongoing strike.