CUPE 3903 Wins Labour Media Award

3903's delegate accepts the best website design award at the annual Calm Awards.

3903’s delegate accepts the best website design award at the annual Calm Awards.

On Friday, June 19, the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM) held its yearly awards ceremony as part of its three-day annual CALM Conference. The CALM Awards recognize excellence in union publications and productions in a variety of categories and classes.

CUPE 3903’s bargaining website won the award for best website design, staff produced.

The credit for this award must be given to Chad Mohr, who designed the Better York campaign. Check out his work here.


Voting for Grievance Officer Starts Today!

A hand places a ballot in a ballot box.

Voting for the Grievance Officer by-election opens at today’s GMM and will run for two hours after the meeting at the union office (143 Atkinson).

Voting will continue until June  30. There will two polling stations:

  • Keele Campus – Vari Link, 9-5
  • Glendon Campus – Outside the cafeteria, 11-3

There are three candidates running in this election:

  • Jeremiah Gaster
  • Maria Wallis
  • Jeffrey Zavala

Read the candidate statements here.

Congratulations to Convocating Members

A graduating member holds a #shameonshoukri sign at convocation.


Are you convocating this week? Congratulations!

Finishing a degree is always a momentous achievement – this is even more true when you have to undertake your studies while fighting an administration that doesn’t recognize collective bargaining rights.

Some members made their displeasure clear
A graduating member holds a #shameonshoukri sign at convocation.A graduating member holds a #shameonshoukri sign at convocation.A graduating member holds a #shameonshoukri sign at convocation.A graduating member wearing gear from the strike days.Two graduating members holding a #shameonshoukri sign at convocation.

If you’d like to help leaflet Friday, email

June 23 GMM: Tentative Agenda

3903 picketers passing a snowy car window, upon which is drawn the 5 fingered fist of international solidarity

3903 picketers passing a snowy car window, upon which is drawn the 5 fingered fist of international solidarity

General Membership Meeting

Tuesday June 23
2:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Harry Crowe Room
109 Atkinson building

Join and share on Facebook.

Please note: In respect of our colleagues observing Ramadan, there will be no food provided at this GMM. However, TTC tokens will be distributed to all attendees.

Tentative Agenda*:

1. Roll call of officers and Oath of Office (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)

a. GMM February 13, May 26
b. SGMMs: March 2, March 9, Mar 18, Mar 26, Mar 30, Apr 14
c. AGM April 22

6. Matters arising (5 mins)

a. Notice of Motion for Donation to Regenesis
b. Notice of Motion for Donation to American Holocaust

7. Secretary-Treasurer’s Report (20 mins)

8. Nominations, elections, or installations (20 mins)

a. Opening elections for Grievance Officer
b. Elections of delegates to CUPE National Convention

9. Unfinished business (60 mins)

a. Trial Panel Selection
b. Donation request to No More Silence ($400)
c. Donation request to Federation of Metro Tenant’s Associations ($1500)
d. Donation request to Ronnie Morris Recovery Fund ($1000)
e. Donation to Youth Summer programs at Harriet Tubman Institute and Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean

10. New business (5 mins)

11. Communications (10 mins)

a. Silence is Violence letter

12. Reports of Committees and delegates (15 mins)

a. Stewards Council
c. Others

13. Executive Reports (10 mins)
14. Good of the Union
15. Adjournment

* Please note that this is only a tentative agenda. It may be slightly amended/updated by the Executive Committee in the days before the GMM.

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.

CUPE National Convention Delegates Needed


CUPE National logo

This year’s CUPE National Convention will take place November 2 – November 6 2015 in Vancouver BC. 

We will be sending delegates to represent CUPE 3903 at the convention. These delegates will be responsible for liaising with other unions and advocating for resolutions at the National level, including the implementation of a sexual violence policy, eighth line amendments, and strike pay amendments.

Delegates will be elected at the GMM on Tuesday June 23. You can either nominate yourself at the GMM, or email with your nomination.

Meet the Candidates for Grievance Officer

The nominations for the Grievance Officer position have closed. Elections will open during the June 23 GMM, and will continue until June 30.

The candidates for Grievance Officer are the following:

Hazel Gashoka has been pro-temmed to the position of Interim Elections Officer.

Jeremiah Gaster, Unit 1

My name is Jeremiah Gaster, I’m almost a year 6 PhD Student, I’ve been at York for all three of my degrees, and have thus been a member of CUPE 3903 since September 2009. It was the year that we were put under administration, and I have been more or less actively involved in the Stewards’ Council since. I have outside labour connections with the World Federation of Trade Unions, with whom I underwent a union activist training session in November 2007. I was a member of Basics Community Newspaper for many years, and participated in the May First Movement throughout the past 8 years. I have also participated in several social movements in Colombia from 2007 through 2009. I was part of the Strike Committee during the most recent strike.

It is an unfortunate fact of life, but seeing as we are paid employees, we are in an adversarial relationship with our employer. However, the good news is that as part of a union, we have institutional possibilities for resolving some of the conflicts that arise. As your Grievance Officer, I would be committed to serve you, the members of the union, and help solve any grievances that have arisen, and it would be my job to help you through the process, making sure that you are not alone (and unfortunately, it is more than possible that you wouldn’t be alone in being mistreated by our employer) but the point is as well that the grievance process is a collective process. Moreover, I will help facilitate this collective process and hopefully problems, such as the problems we have had around pay this summer or around other aspects of our new collective agreement, will be resolved as promptly as possible.

My most important role will be ensuring that any grievances that happen will not be left unresolved, and I will work with the union staff, the chief stewards and Stewards’ Council, along with the rest of the Grievance Committee to resolve our problems. I will work tirelessly in this process for anyone who has a grievance against the employer, and I will try to foster an active rank and file presence as part of any grievances.

I am committed to working with my colleagues in the other elected positions to promote the agenda of justice for the members of 3903, who are privileged to be teachers, contract faculty, TAs and researchers at a wonderful institution. What is key is that it is our work that makes the university work, and it is by working together that we become the best teachers, educators and researchers, by working together to make sure that we maintain the good standard of collective bargaining that we have won through our union. I will also support rank and file initiatives that ensure that our union is responsive to ending any sexism, racism or ableism that has been an unfortunate part of union spaces for far too long. In that sense, I would be interested in hearing from my colleagues and fellow members of any concerns about either our employer or any issues about union spaces.


Maria Wallis, Unit 2

Hello: My name is Maria Wallis, and I am running for the position of Grievance Officer in CUPE 3903.

I have a long history in our local, first as a TA (Unit 1), and now as a contract faculty (Unit 2) teaching in Sociology and Human Rights and Equity. I have a track record of activism in 3903, and in the Toronto communities: I served as Unit 2 Chief Steward, member of the Unit 2 Research Grants Fund, Ways and Means Committee, the Race Labour-Management Committee, and in the Employment Equity committee.

As a South Asian-Canadian female, I have also actively worked to integrate an anti-racist analysis in our union work. I have been very involved in mobilizing, with many others, to establish a Task Force on Anti-Racism at York. (We have been inspired by the community at Ryerson University and their achievements in this area.) I will also work to ensure that our local creates an integrated, intersectional analysis on violence without privileging any one specific form of exclusion and violence. When one of us is excluded, we can all hear the question–Who is next?

Every year, it seems, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. I think it is because we are in the midst of a protracted transformation of the university. I have heard from Unit 1s that courses in Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, for example, are being transformed into 3 hour lectures with no tutorials. There go Unit 1 jobs, and the intensification of work for Unit 2s. Unit 2s are also dealing with the undermining of seniority, and insertion of qualification language that pushes aside long-serving unit 2 members. Issues of both access to work and security of work are fundamental challenges we all face. The work also needs to continue on developing databases for grievances, arbitration, etc.

For Unit 2s, we now have new gains, but these will only be as good as our success in implementing these negotiated provisions—to our advantage. Then there is the new campus in Markham, and the Academic and Administrative Program Review (AAPR)….Are we ready for these new challenges?

I will work with our executive, committees, and membership to establish working committees so we can increase membership participation in important initiatives. I will ensure that we prepare NOW for the next bargaining round. I will also work with other union members to tackle tough issues such as how do we grapple with both seniority and equity issues and ensure that neither one is undermined? How do we make our local accessible, and more accountable?

I am prepared to work on these issues, with you. I am asking for your support, and vote. Thank you.


Jeffrey Zavala, Unit 3

Currently I am on the Labor management committee (LMC), which is the main reason why I have decided to run for the grievance officer position due to the lack of respect dignity and integrity that our employer has shown our membership. If I am elected I plan to commit my full attention on representing the membership by taking a hands on approach with the employer to ensure that all grievances are processed and brought to the employer in timely and efficient manner. Also I am also committed to taking courses in labor law and seminars that will provide me more knowledge and skills needed to challenge the employer on there interpretation of our current collective agreement.


CUPE 3903 Responds to Continued Pay “Errors”

On May 25, many members of Units 1 and 3 did not receive the amount of pay they were owed. We obtained a promise from the employer that those funds would be deposited in members’ accounts by June 10.

Many members did not receive the amounts they were owed on the promised date. If you are not sure whether you did or not, you can consult this post. If you have a pay discrepancy, please email with your name, unit, and as much detail as possible about what you received and what you should have received. We are collecting this information to bring to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and demand an immediate resolution.

Health Benefits Extended to the End of September

Enrolment forms for the CUPE 3903 health benefits plan are available in the union office and online.

Enrolment forms for the CUPE 3903 health benefits plan are available in the union office and online.

Some departments have been telling members that their health benefits would expire at the end of August if they do not have a contract this summer.

We have confirmed that this is inaccurate: health benefit coverage will be extended to the end of September for all members who had a contract in the winter term. Starting next year, health benefit coverage will be extended five months after the end of any contract.

Visit the Benefits Plan page for more details about health benefit coverage.

Update on Summer Funding

A silhouette of members carrying a banner and flags.

A silhouette of members carrying a banner and flags.

There has been a lot of confusion about summer funding for Units 1 and 3. It has been incredibly difficult to get clear information from the employer. As such, keeping everyone informed will have to be an ongoing task, but here is what we know so far.

Members with current TA or GA contracts in the summer will continue to receive paycheques on the 25th of each month.

On June 10, members of Unit 3 will receive the amount of the increase we negotiated in our last collective agreement, as well as any RA funding they were previously guaranteed by their department. These amounts vary due to funding arrangements, but most members who do not have a summer GA contract will receive $939.50.

There is uncertainty about the Unit 1 minimum guarantee. We understand that on June 10, Unit 1 members getting the minimum guarantee will receive $200 to compensate for some of the clawbacks. Subsequent pays will be around $1250. However, the information the employer has provided us is so inadequate that this could very well be mistaken.

By June 30, the Summer Financial Assistance (SFA) for Unit 3 and Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA) for Unit 1 will be applied to student accounts. This means that these amounts will be filtered through student accounts and applied to outstanding fees. Members will receive the remaining balance by mid-July. Unit 3 members can expect $3000 in SFA. Unit 1 GFA varies depending on student status (domestic or international) and year of study, but ranges between $610 and $1025.

Please bear with us; we’re doing as much as we can to get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, the person responsible for this state of affairs is Barry Miller, Executive Director of Faculty Relations ( The employer needs to give us clear answers; perhaps Faculty Relations would like to hear from the members whose livelihoods they are endangering.

News for All Units from the Labour Management Committee

Representatives of the LMC and members fo the executive pose with flags and fists in the air prior to the June 1st LMC meeting.

Members going to the June 1st LMC meeting pose with flags and fists in the air.

On Monday June 1, the union’s Labour Management Committee met with the employer to discuss ongoing implementation of our collective agreements. Important information for every unit came out of this meeting.

Foremost, members in the room clearly expressed their rage at the misinterpretation of the tuition offset language in the Units 1 and 3 agreements. The employer remains unmoved; they will provide us with dates and times for a grievance meeting shortly.

The issue of pay schedules has been addressed for all units. For Unit 2, the concern is that members who are teaching in the spring 2015 session are being paid over three months instead of two. They would not commit to a date at which this will be rectified, but seem confident that it would not have to wait until July. For Units 1 and 3, we clarified that, unlike what was stated at the May 28 Dean’s Cafe, members will not be getting their entire summer funding on June 10. The employer will pay the difference owing from the total increase in summer funding and minimum guarantee, as well as any amounts owing from payroll errors made on May 25. The normal pay schedule will resume on June 25, reflecting the prior summer funding arrangements. The employer has promised to deposit $25,000 to the Ways and Means Fund as a penalty for this error. They remain non-committal on the question of paying interest on members’ late pay.

On the childcare fund we recently won, it was decided that it will be administered by the union, beginning in September 2015.

Many Unit 2 implementation issues were discussed. Notably, the list of successful conversion and alternate teaching stream conversion candidates should be announced by July 1. There was also discussion of the Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER). The employer is looking into providing bi-annual letters to Unit 2 members informing them of the amounts they can claim. To speed up the process of reimbursement, there was also discussion of improving access to and providing information on the Concur system so that members can submit their PER claims online. Members who are between contracts but want to access Concur should email Charles Bisram ( in the Faculty Relations Office and ask for an one-month extension. Finally, the employer has been touring departments to educate them on the workings of the new collective agreement, including of the Continual Sessional Status (CSS) program . Eligible members are required to be informed of their status by October 1, 2015.