May 31 deadline for Sexual Assault Survivor Fund

This is a fund of $10,000 administered throughout the year.

The Sexual Assault Survivor Fund Committee understands that sexual assault can impact many areas of your life. The fund supports survivors offset costs such as counselling, legal support and lost wages. Members can draw on this fund to an annual maximum of $1000 and a lifetime maximum of $3,000. The Committee recognizes that legal support can be very expensive and will consider adjusting the yearly maximum based on need.

DEADLINES: September 30, January 31, May 31. Additional deadline for 2016: March 15.

The Sexual Assault Survivor Fund is administered three times per year except in emergency situations where members can apply to the committee on an ongoing basis. If you are applying on an emergency basis, make sure that you email the Committee to let them know you have dropped off an emergency application for their consideration.

The Committee will do its best to review each claim within two weeks of its submission and recognizes that some claims may be time sensitive.

Priority and Previous Claims: Only current members of CUPE 3903 are eligible to apply for funding. Priority will be given to first time applicants. Provided applicants were members at the time expenses were incurred, applications for past expenses will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Members whose previous claims were adjudicated by Ways and Means will also be reconsidered. If the total expense of a member’s claim has not been met, they can reapply in subsequent years.

How to Apply: Download the claim form: PDF or Word doc. All information given on the application form is strictly confidential. You will be notified of the Committee’s decision by email or telephone. Applications are to be submitted in a sealed envelope marked “personal and confidential” and addressed to:

143 Atkinson College Building
York University
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, Ontario
M3J 1P3

April 28 GMM: Tentative Agenda

General Membership Meeting
Thursday, April 28
12:30pm – 3:30 pm
Harry Crowe Room
Atkinson building 109

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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): December, January, and February GMM Minutes
  6. Notices (5 mins)
    1. Donation request from “York Graduate Conference in Philosophy: Memory & Social Cognition” ($200)
    2. Donation request from “Verging: New Technologies/Practices/Aesthetics Symposium in Cinema and Media Studies” ($300)
    3. Donation Request from “International Campaign Against the War on the People of India (Toronto)” ($500)
    4. Donation request from the Graduate Student Association in the Biological Sciences ($3000)
    5. Donation request for Vision(s) of Politics: The Thought of Sheldon Wolin Conference ($240)
    6. Donation for the Grassy Narrows River Run 2016
    7. Donation for the 2nd Tamil Studies Symposium at York ($1500)
    8. Donation request from the South Asia Research group (SARG) at York Centre for Asian Research for the event “Caste in the Diaspora: Oral Histories of South Asians in Canada” ($1000)
  7. Secretary-Treasurer’s Report (20 mins)
  8. Committee Elections for vacant committee positions (15 mins)
  9. Unfinished Business (100 mins)
    1. Motion to establish a special investigative grievance review committee
    2. Proposed by-law amendment: Communications Committee
    3. Proposed by-law amendment: Bilingualism Committee
    4. Proposed by-law amendment: Weekly strike pay
    5. Proposed by-law amendment: Accessible strike headquarters
    6. Proposed by-law amendment: Elections officers elections
    7. Proposed by-law amendment: TFAC elections
    8. Discussion on reviewing the donations policy
    9. Donation to Lift’s Conscious Minds Day camp ($1000)
    10. Donation to Colombia Action Solidarity
    11. Donation to SAIA ($500)
    12. Donation to CERLAC Graduate Student Conference ($1000)
    13. Donation request for Raul Burgos Normal in Ayotzinapa Guerrerro Mexico ($1500)
    14. Donation to TTC Riders ($1000)
    15. Donation to Humanities Graduate Student Association Conference ($500)
    16. Donation to ASAY ($2000)
    17. Donation to the People’s Assembly on Climate Justice ($300)
    18. Donation to Ali Mustafa Memorial Collective ($200)
    19. Donation to Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario ($500)
    20. Donation to “Confronting Racism: From Microaggressions to Structural Violence” Symposium by The Toronto Research and Community Exchange (OPIRG Toronto) ($200)
  10. New business (25 mins)
    1. Endorsement request from The 15 years of Imperialist War in Afghanistan Campaign
    2. Endorsement request from Fossil Free York
    3. Endorsement request from Regenesis Toronto Ecovillage Project
  11. Discussion on the new funding (fellowship) model (45 mins)
  12. Reports of committees and delegates (15 mins)
    1. Stewards’ Council
    2. TFAC
    3. Childcare Committee
  13. Exec Reports (15 mins)
  14. Adjournment

Please contact Sheila Wilmot at 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 re: blocked international student accounts

FGS has advised that they will be lifting the block for all of the affected international graduate students April 26, and will be sending a communication to them letting them know.  The total number whose block will be lifted April 26 is 52. This is in addition to 6 international graduate students whose block has already been lifted.

Workshop on Grassy Narrows (FNSWG)

MAY 12 @ 6:00 PM9:00 PM

CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group will be hosting a workshop for folks to learn more about Grassy Narrows and how you can get involved in this year’s River Run happening June 2, 2016.

Location: TBD.

For more information email

See the event on Facebook for updates:

The workshop is open to CUPE 3903 members interested in learning more about Grassy Narrows and how to get involved. Organizers are hoping to make this year’s River Run the largest yet, and we would like to bring a large CUPE 3903 contingent on June 2.

On the week of May 30-June 3 members of the Grassy Narrows community will come to Toronto for River Run 2016. They will lead a week of events to raise public awareness about their struggle for justice and water protection. The week will culminate in a large march to Queen’s Park. Through these events, the Grassy Narrows community will show their strength, present their demands, and garner public support for their struggle for clean water and control over their lives and their lands.

Grassy Narrows community members will be demanding:

  • justice concerning the toxic levels of mercury that are in their fish,
  • an end to clear-cutting in their territory, and
  • sovereignty over their territory in order to prevent such environmental disasters in the future

About Grassy Narrows and the River Run:

Fifty years ago, a paper mill in Dryden, Ontario began contaminating the Wabigoon River upstream of the Grassy Narrows community. The community continues to be drastically affected by this contamination. New evidence indicates that mercury levels in some lakes continue to rise, while the long term exposure has resulted in increasing symptoms of mercury poisoning in the community, including signs of congenital mercury poisoning in young children. Grassy Narrows community members are calling on the Wynne government to clean up the river system and address the ongoing effects of mercury poisoning.

In April 2014, the ten-year Forestry Management Plan for the Whiskey Jack Forest began, which plans for logging within Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory. This Plan does not have the consent of the people of Grassy Narrows and is a breach of their treaty and Aboriginal rights. Clear-cut logging has already destroyed large swaths of forest, impacted traditional hunting and trapping practices in the community, and is associated with increased release of toxic mercury.

The week of the River Run will be filled with events that will pressure the government of Kathleen Wynne to act on these deplorable situations.

Calling all misclassified GAs and RAs

The Union recently got from the Employer the ‘complete list’ of all members with GA contracts from Sept. 2015 to April 2016. That is, members that the Employer has categorized correctly as being in the Union and therefore entitled to all Unit 3 rights and benefits.

Do you think you are in the Union but aren’t sure? Do you have something called a RA but are not sure whether it’s a union or non-union RA?

If you have questions like this, let us know at the Union office right away and we can see if you are on the list.

Unit 3: Responses required for important GA/RA survey

In response to York’s new union busting fellowship model, CUPE 3903 is collecting detailed information about the GA/RA positions York is cutting. The projected loss of around 800 jobs for our unit 3 members is devastating, and we want as much data as we can to arm ourselves in the fight against York’s attempts at union-busting. If you hold, or have ever held a Graduate Assistant (GA) or Research Assistant (RA) position at York, please fill out this brief survey so we can better understand the scope of Unit 3’s work and illustrate its essential role to the University.

International student accounts remain blocked as registration deadline looms

With the deadline for Summer registration just a few days away (April 26, 2016), some international students continue to see their accounts blocked by York. This is in spite of the fact that many such students are owed money for tuition offset amounts won in arbitration April 4.

“Members who are owed over $10,000 by the university continue to be blocked and are scrambling to find money in the complete absence of information from the university,” says 3903 Grievance officer Sonja Killoran-McKibbin.

The employer maintains that  affected individuals who are anticipated to receive tuition offset payments such that any remaining outstanding fees are at or below $1000 will have the block lifted. Students whose anticipated settlement amount will leave outstanding fees of up to $3500 will be invited to speak with FGS about repayment of fees in order to lift the registration block.  There are a handful of students whose anticipated settlement amount will leave higher outstanding fees.  This group will also be sent a communication indicating that they will need to discuss with FGS their plans for payment of the fees in order for the registration block to be lifted.

CUPE 3903 reps, however, find this unacceptable. As Killoran-McKibbin put it “after waiting two weeks, it’s completely inadequate to tell us that members may or may not have their block lifted (at some point) based on unfinished calculations that neither the member nor the union have access to. We’re now a couple days before the deadline with no plan to communicate to members, no concrete figures to justify your categorizations, and no way to address errors.”

If you are an international student affected by such blocks, please contact Killoran-McKibbin or 3903 staff representatives for more information or updates on this developing issue.

GMM in Harry Crowe April 28th, 12:30 pm

The April GMM will be held in the Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson. The meeting will run from 12:30 pm – 3:30. A tentative agenda can be found in at the following link: April GMM.

Come have lunch with the union as we make crucial decisions for our local. There will be food.

Please contact Sheila Wilmot at 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.

York Walks Out of Funding Model Meeting

On April 13, 2016, CUPE 3903 attended a meeting requested by the employer to discuss the new “fellowship” funding model. Despite our considerable disagreements, we are disappointed and disturbed that the employer, led by Provost Rhonda Lenton, felt it was appropriate to walk out of the meeting after little more than 20 minutes when members got upset that she was unable to answer hard questions about this fellowship plan.

The crux of the issue is the gutting of Unit 3. Under the new model, funding requirements would be met through a fellowship, and the vast majority of Graduate Assistantships (GAs) would be eliminated. This means that hundreds of graduate students, especially Masters students, would be forcibly removed from the bargaining unit and unable to access our health benefits, funds for emergencies, conferences, and childcare, program extensions for students with disabilities, and much more. It is difficult to understand how the employer thinks that this would “enhance the graduate experience”, their stated goal.

This union-busting is cause enough to be unhappy with the employer. To add insult to injury, the employer arrived late to the meeting and were not at all prepared to discuss the details of how the plan will be implemented in just four months. It became clear very quickly that Lenton, who was leading the meeting, does not understand how the CUPE 3903 and YUGSA health care plans work, despite the fact that we have been demanding answers regarding alternate health care since January. York appears so confident that Graduate Assistants will be effectively eliminated that they did not provide a single scenario to show how their new model will fit with these positions. The Provost proceeded to insult the work that our members do for this university by calling them “make work” projects (and yet they still claim that this work is onerous enough to impede academic progress) and yell at our Chairperson to “control” rank-and-file members.

Due to the employer’s attempt to avoid answering the hard questions, we are raising some of our key questions and concerns publicly:

  1. Who will perform the work that over 800 Graduate Assistants currently provide?
  2. Will Faculty members be solely responsible for funding GAs in the future? Why are such positions being subject to an additional 80% surcharge on top of any wages?
  3. How will the fellowship model provide students with adequate healthcare coverage?
  4. Our minimum guarantee exists to ensure that U1 members in the priority pool receive income throughout the year. The fellowship model would leave members with no income in the summer months. How will York meet its collective agreement obligation to provide a minimum guaranteed income for the summer months?
  5. What provisions will be made for students with disabilities who would be entitled to a funded extension of program time limits under our collective agreements?

We impatiently wait for the employer to answer our questions and take responsibility for the consequences of their funding model without fleeing the scene once more.

Open Committee Positions

It looks like there’s still plenty of ways to get involved with CUPE 3903 this year, and maybe even earn a bit of extra funding along the way. Below are some open committee positions that we hope to fill at the April 28th General Membership Meeting. Please send along a statement of interest to either the CUPE 3903 VPs, or our recording secretary. Elections for contested positions will be held during the GMM April 28th.

* Accessibility Committee ($250/yr) – 2 positions
* Childcare Committee – 4 positions
* CUPE Toronto District Council ($250/yr) – 1 position
* Distribution Committee ($50/month) – 3 positions
* Extended Health Benefits ($1,500/yr) – 1 position
* Joint Health and Safety Committee (hourly wage at marker/grader rate) – 2 positions
* International Graduate Students Committee ($250/year) – 1 position
* PDF coordinator ($2250/yr) – 1 position
* Research Grants Fund and Travel Cost Fund Committee ($500/yr) – 1 position
* Toronto and York Region Labour Council ($250/yr) – 1 position
* Unit 2 Listserv Moderator (Unit 2) – 1 position
* Stewards Council Listserv -1 position
* Ways and Means ($1,000/yr) – 2 positions
* CUPE Ontario Convention (Toronto, May 25 – 28) – 1 delegate
For more information about the duties associated with each committee position, please see Article 10 of the CUPE 3903 bylaws.