Bargaining update #18

About 1,000 members of CUPE 3902 meeting in Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto, just before voting around 90% to reject their Employer's final offer

Hundreds of members of CUPE 3902 meet in Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto, just before voting 98% to reject their Employer’s final offer.

Items in this update: 

  • Bargaining news
  • Final bargaining meeting with the Employer & Conciliator

Bargaining news

On February 20, the Employer issued a bulletin about its ongoing negotiations with CUPE 3903. It is the opinion of the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) that, while the Employer avoids saying anything that is outright factually wrong, it does not offer a full and accurate picture of its latest set of proposals.

This update goes through the Employer’s 12 bullet points item by item, adding the necessary contextual information, then follows with an overview of the key items missing from the Employer’s offer.

  1. The Employer has given a counter-offer to the Union’s proposal for a Continuing Sessional Standing (CSS) Program, but the details of the Employer’s counter leave much to be desired. Where the Union proposed that members would be given compensation if the number of courses they were offered fell below their historic average teaching load, the Employer wants to offer compensation only if it drops by 50% or more. Further, the Union argued for compensation of 70% of the regular rates for those not offered a sufficient number of courses, while the Employer is offering a payout of only 1/8 the Course Director (CD) rate. The Employer also set the eligibility requirements quite high, only offering compensation to members who have taught at least two Full Course Equivalents (FCEs) for the past eight consecutive years – the Union has proposed a lower requirement of 1.5 FCEs over the past three years. Finally, the Employer has suggested that the appointments in the CSS program would be outside the “traditional posting and appointment process,” a model the Union has refused.
  2. The Employer has offered an increase of up to $630 for the Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA) for international students by the end of the collective agreement – an upward revision from their earlier offer of $315. What the Employer neglects to mention is that as of 2014 it implemented increases to tuition fees for international graduate students in the range of $7,000, and is continuing to hike fees each year. In this context, the GFA increase appears much less substantial.
  3. The Employer has so far offered an across-the-board increase to wages and other compensation items of just 1% per year, with the raise in the first year to only be effective from the date of ratification, not the date of expiration of the last collective agreement. This amounts to a six-month wage freeze, and means wages and other compensation items will fall well below inflation over the life of the contract.
  4. The Employer points out that it has offered improved “offset” language to ensure increases in the GFA are passed along to students. What it fails to mention is that annual increases to the GFA for domestic students are only around $55-70 over the life of the collective agreement in its latest offer.
  5. The proposed new clause to ensure Unit 1s who teach “ticketed” course directorships get to keep the difference in compensation between a CD and a TA (just under $2,000) is a small step forward. What the Employer does not mention is that it wants to double the number of tickets from 35 to 70, threatening to erode the job security of Unit 2 members – a much larger step backward.
  6. The Employer’s offer to maintain fund indexation is merely an extension of the status quo. In a context where graduate enrolments are no longer increasing, it will not likely cost the Employer any money. The BT and Employer have agreed to modest increases in the Ways & Means and Extended Health Benefits Funds – $30,000 per year by the end of the collective agreement in both cases.
  7. On research leaves, the Employer is proposing two additional leaves over the last contract ten instead of eight. The outstanding issue on this matter is equity language the Union is seeking.
  8. The BT is pleased that the Employer has been willing to negotiate on postings and hiring processes for Graduate Assistants and “ticketed” course directorships. However, the Employer continues to inexplicably dig in its heels over the Union’s request that at least one third of “tickets” go to members of equity-seeking groups – a relatively modest requirement.
  9. The parties are close to agreement on course design language, though the Union continues to push for stronger incumbency protections.
  10. The BT and Employer are close to agreement on intellectual property language. This does not mean that contract faculty will gain greatly increased rights, but does clarify some ambiguities in the current language.
  11. Some progress has been made on post-retirement benefits, with some outstanding issues around the size of the fund and the individual benefit cap. The Union has won language that allows members to draw their pension but wait to start post-retirement benefits, should they choose to do so.
  12. On incumbency language, the Union and Employer are close to agreement on improvements.

The Employer also left some key issues out of its update where it has not responded to Union proposals. The Union is proposing strengthening tuition indexation language for Units 1 and 3, which is important to reversing the hikes the University recently enacted for international students, and ensuring there are no future hikes for domestic students. The Employer also continues to resist implementing a minimum funding guarantee for Unit 3 members.

For Unit 2, the Employer did not reveal that it is looking to reduce the number of conversions over the life of the collective agreement from seven to six. The Union’s current proposal is for five professorial stream and ten alternate stream conversions in each contract year, as well as one conversion for every ten hires in YUFA. The Employer also did not mention that it has failed to respond to the Union’s proposals around strengthened qualifications language, which is important to curtailing the Employer’s increasingly arbitrary use of qualifications to shape Unit 2 hiring. It has agreed to increase the annual number of new Long Service Teaching Appointment (LSTA) positions from five to six, while the Union is pushing for nine per year.

While progress continues to be made at the table on a range of issues, recent sign-offs have largely been on relatively minor proposals. The BT continues to urge the Employer to respond more seriously to the Union’s core demands if it wishes to avoid strike action by CUPE 3903 members.

Final bargaining meeting with the Employer & Conciliator

The final bargaining meeting with the Employer and Conciliator will take place on Sunday, March 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in 280N York Lanes.

This is the final bargaining meeting with the Employer and Conciliator. Members are strongly encouraged to attend the final meeting to show their support for the Bargaining Team and the bargaining process.

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.

‘Final offer’ SGMM: Agenda & location

A photograph of hands raised in the air, to indicate voting

A photograph of hands raised in the air, to indicate voting

‘Final offer’ Special General Membership Meeting
Monday, March 2
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (or later)
Rexall Centre | Map
York University

Join and share on Facebook.

A free shuttle bus will take members from in front of Vari Hall to the TTC bus stop next to the Rexall Centre (The Pond Road at Arboretum Lane) every 20 minutes, starting at 4:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The shuttle will depart the TTC bus stop next to the Rexall Centre every 20 minutes, starting at 4:10 p.m. until 10:10 p.m.

Members travelling from Downsview TTC station may take bus 106, which stops regularly at the TTC bus stop next to the Rexall Centre (The Pond Road at Arboretum Lane).

At this meeting, the Bargaining Team will present the final offer from the Employer. After a period of discussion, members will vote by secret ballot on a recommendation to our Executive Committee about whether to accept or reject the offer.

Documents with details of the recommendation of the Executive Committee will be available online before the meeting begins.

Food and refreshments will be provided. For a childcare / elder care subsidy, please email


4:00 p.m. Doors open

4:30 p.m. Dinner (free catered buffet, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options)

5:30 p.m. Presentation by the Bargaining Team of the Employer’s final offer

6:30 p.m. Discussion and questions for the Bargaining Team / voting begins

8:00 p.m. Discussion ends / Call for scrutineers (12)

8:10 p.m. 20-minute break

8:30 p.m. Voting ends *

* This is the three-hour mark of the meeting. The agenda may not exceed three hours, according to the bylaws, and so no further items may be scheduled at this point. However, the Executive Committee will move a motion by 8:30 p.m. to extend the meeting by one hour in order to finish counting ballots, to announce the Executive Committee’s decision, and to discuss next steps.

Voting by secret ballot will begin at 6:30 p.m. and continue until 8:30 p.m. The ballots will be counted immediately after voting ends and the results will be announced in the meeting. The Executive Committee will then caucus briefly and announce its decision in the meeting.

Members are not obliged to attend the entire meeting in order to vote on the Employer’s final offer, but we strongly encourage members to attend and listen to the bargaining report before voting, if possible. Members may vote anytime between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Please bring a piece of ID.

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.

Strike FAQ for CUPE 3903 members

The CUPE 3903 red star logo

The CUPE 3903 red star logo

Prepared by the Strike Committee. This is a work in progress. If you have questions you need answered, please contact us at

What does ‘being on strike’ actually mean in the context of a university?

“Being on strike” means we withdraw our labour power. That means that we don’t perform our employment-related duties. It also means fulfilling our strike duties (see below).

What happens if we go on strike on Tuesday March 3? What do I do? Where do I go?

For the first day of the strike (if it happens), we are asking all CUPE 3903 members and our allies to attend a rally and mass picket on York Boulevard (the main entrance to Keele campus from Keele Street) from 11:30 to 3:30.

After the first day of the strike, where is my department’s picket line?

Check out our list of Departmental Picket Locations. And remember, the longer the picket line, the shorter the strike! If we do go on strike, we need to show the admin that we’re serious and mobilized. That’s the only way we will get a fair contract.

How long are picket line shifts?

A normal picket line shift is four hours long. We will start with two shifts per day, a morning shift (7:30-11:30) and an afternoon shift (11:30-3:30). Please arrive before your scheduled start time and dress appropriately for the weather conditions.

Who is eligible to receive strike pay?

Members who are on York’s payroll as of the start of the strike are eligible to receive strike pay. In other words, members who have contracts that started in September and end in April would be eligible for strike pay as would members who have contracts that started in January and end in April.

Our Strike Committee has recommended that members without a current contract but who had a contract from September to December should also qualify. This policy has not yet been endorsed by our membership.

How much is strike pay? How many hours of strike duties are required in order to receive strike pay?

Strike pay is $300 per week ($1200 per month). Members must engage in strike duties for 20 hours per week (normally a four-hour shift, five days a week) in order to receive strike pay. The Strike Committee is investigating whether it will be possible to pro-rate strike pay for members that cannot do 20 hours of strike duty in a given week.

What strike duties can I perform to receive strike pay?

Members must perform strike duties in order to receive strike pay. In order to maintain picket lines, for most members their strike duty will be joining the picket lines. If this is not possible due to mobility or other documented issues, Alternate Duties will be arranged (see below). According to CUPE National policy, members cannot receive strike pay (from CUPE National) for attending meetings.

What if I need to perform strike duties other than picketing?

Generally speaking there are three reasons that you could have the need for Alternate Duties. You could have a mobility issue, reasons pertaining to physical or mental health, or you are a caregiver/parent unable to afford or secure adequate and predictable childcare or eldercare. Alternate Duties tasks, from both Strike Headquarters or from your home, are being determined as per need. These duties will be crucial to the success of the strike and we need your help. Please contact detailing your reasoning and you will be sent a questionnaire to determine what kind of strike duty will enable you to contribute in an important sense to a victorious job action.

What about our health benefits?

The union is working to ensure that members will maintain their health benefits coverage during a strike.

Can I communicate with my students during a strike?

CUPE 3903 members should not be teaching during a strike, but members can provide strike information and updates to students. It may be quite useful to keep those lines of communication open. As a union, we will try to keep students informed via our website, social media and our Strike Headquarters.

Can I come on campus to do my lab research?

Yes. If you have ongoing lab work that needs to be taken care of daily you should most certainly attend to this work. Keep in mind, however, that some of your lab work might be employment related work and should be withdrawn in the context of a strike. If, for instance, you do work for your supervisor that doesn’t contribute to the completion of your own thesis work, it’s covered by the Collective Agreement and you should make arrangements with your supervisor to hold off on this work until any labour action is resolved. If not doing this work will jeopardize the project as a whole, then the Local recommends doing the minimum required to maintain the project’s integrity.

What about my placement or practicum?

If you have a placement or practicum associated with your program (such as Social Work) that is not related to your employment at York, you can continue with this work. If your placement makes it difficult for you to complete 20 hours of strike duty per week, then (with the approval of the CUPE National rep) you may qualify for prorated strike pay for the strike duty you can complete.

Can I use the library?

In the event of a strike, the Local would encourage members to use University facilities as little as possible. If members absolutely must access the library, however, they should feel free to do so, as refusing to use the library has no impact on York’s finances.

Ongoing provincial neglect to blame for labour woes at Ontario’s largest universities

The CUPE 3903 red-star logo

The CUPE 3903 red-star logo

The following text is from a CUPE Ontario media release issued on February 24 at 10:00 a.m. Read the original release here.

Ongoing provincial neglect to blame for labour woes at Ontario’s largest universities

CUPE and OCUFA leaders urge Wynne government to ‘recommit’ to universities

TORONTO, ONTARIO (Marketwired – Feb. 24, 2015) – Unless the provincial government starts to ‘re-engage’ with the university sector, students at Ontario’s two largest universities could see their school years jeopardized in the coming weeks, labour leaders, representing academic staff at York University (York U) and the University of Toronto (U of T), warned today.

At a press conference held at Queen’s Park today, the Chairs of Local 3902 and 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) were joined by the Presidents of CUPE Ontario and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA).

“The work of CUPE members at both U of T and York U are critical to student success at those institutions. Our members, who are here with me today, are doing everything they can to avoid a work stoppage. The Wynne government has a real role in preventing these potential strikes. They must recommit to funding of post-secondary education,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario.

CUPE 3902 and 3903 represent non-tenured academic staff at the University of Toronto and York University, respectively. Both locals have been attempting to bargain fair collective agreements for months, and the deadlines for a labour stoppage are fast approaching. U of T will be in a legal strike or lockout position on February 26, while York will be in a legal strike or lockout position on March 3.

“While our members deliver about 60 per cent of instruction to U of T students, we account for a mere three-and-a-half per cent of U of T’s operating budget…Most of our members earn poverty-level wages. They have minimal job security. And those poor working conditions translate into poor learning conditions for students,” said Erin Black, Chair of CUPE 3902.

Her comments were echoed by Faiz Ahmed, Chair of CUPE 3903.

“The province can no longer sit idly while our universities devalue our members’ work. This government must recommit to both adequately funding universities and to providing the appropriate level of oversight to these institutions,” said Ahmed.

Kate Lawson, President of OCUFA, noted that Ontario has the lowest per-student funding for universities in Canada. “This underfunding has had a direct impact on the rise of contracts, precarious employment and increased fees for students. We urge the Government of Ontario to re-invest in higher education, ensuring good working conditions for all faculty and great learning environments for our students,” she said.


Fred Hahn
Ontario President

Craig Saunders
CUPE Communications

Get involved in Strike Preparation Week!

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers assemble placards at their union local headquarters in advance of a strike.

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers assemble placards at their union office during a strike.

Members and allies of CUPE 3903 are invited to join Strike Preparation Week, a full seven days of organizing and activism in advance of a possible strike on March 3. The purpose of Strike Preparation Week is to make sure that, in the event that the Employer fails to achieve a negotiated settlement with the union, our members are prepared to conduct an effective and well organized strike.

Our goal is to avoid a strike, but we still must prepare for one. Please join us for one or all of the events below, and help the union win a fair deal for our members.

Calendar of events

Stop by the CUPE 3903 office, 143 Atkinson Building, and pick up some posters to distribute in your department for Strike Preparation Week and for the “final offer” Special General Membership Meeting.

More posters and leaflets will be printed each day of the week. If you don’t have time to poster on Monday, drop by any other day of the week.

Join and share on Facebook.

This is the third in a series of strike training meetings for members of CUPE 3903. More meetings will be scheduled as needed.

Members are strongly encouraged to attend at least one strike training meeting. Each meeting will cover the basics of conducting a strike, including strategy and tactics, logistics, mapping the workplace, picket duty, alternative picket duty, and other ways that members can support and participate in the strike.

If you plan on attending, please RSVP by email to

Food and light refreshments will be provided.

Join and share on Facebook.

Join members and allies of CUPE 3903 as the union presents a donation of $1,000 to the York Federation of Students’ Food Bank. As part of its challenge, CUPE 3903 will invite each of the top five earners in the York administration to meet or beat the union’s donation.

For more information, please email

  • Thursday, February 26
    Get on the solidarity bus!
    Support education workers at York and U of T
    Send-off rally in front of Vari Hall: 1:30 p.m.
    Bus departs Vari Hall: 2:00 p.m.
    Bus arrives at U of T: 3:00 p.m.

Join and share on Facebook.

CUPE 3903 is organizing a solidarity bus to transport members and allies to a solidarity rally for education workers organized by CUPE 3902, our sister local at the University of Toronto. CUPE 3902 will be in a legal strike position on February 27, just days before our local’s strike deadline.

Please help us bring a large contingent of members and allies from York to the U of T rally, and build unity among education workers throughout the sector.

To book a free seat on the bus, please email All York students, including undergraduates, are welcome to join us.

Bus transportation to the U of T rally is one-way and will not return passengers to York.

All York students, staff and community members are invited to visit our strike headquarters during this grand opening and day-long open house. We will provide free food and refreshments for all guests. Music and entertainment will also be provided.

The location of the headquarters will be announced in the coming days, so stay tuned for updates.

For more information, please email

  • Saturday, February 28 & Sunday, March 1
    Membership phone-through
    10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    CUPE 3903 office
    143 Atkinson Building
    – or –
    From your home

Be part of a marathon phone-through of our entire membership, to remind members about the “final offer” Special General Membership Meeting on Monday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m., and to provide the latest bargaining updates.

To volunteer for the phone-through, please email

Join and share on Facebook.

At this meeting, the Bargaining Team will present the final offer from the Employer. After a period of discussion, members will vote by secret ballot on whether to accept the offer.

Food and refreshments will be provided. For a childcare / elder care subsidy, please email

A tentative agenda will be posted online shortly.

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.

Vacancy on the Executive Committee

The CUPE 3903 red-star logo

The CUPE 3903 red-star logo

The Chief Steward Unit 3, Mustafa Ururyar, has resigned from the Executive Committee. The position of Chief Steward Unit 3 will remain vacant until the annual election of the Executive Committee is completed on March 23.

The nomination period is now open for all executive positions and will close on Monday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m. For more information about the election process, including how to nominate yourself, please click here.

Meet the TFAC Co-Chair candidates!

The TFAC logo, a graphic image of a black cat

The TFAC logo, a graphic image of a black cat

Items in this post: 

  • Next TFAC meeting
  • Meeting agenda
  • TFAC Co-Chair candidates’ statements

Next TFAC meeting

The next meeting of the Trans Feminist Action Caucus (TFAC) will take place on Monday, February 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in 311B Student Centre. We will be electing our next TFAC Co-Chairs at this meeting. All trans, woman identified, gender queer and gender variant members of CUPE 3903 are eligible to vote. Political members are also eligible to vote. Voting will continue in 311B Student Centre until 5:00 p.m.

Meeting agenda

  1. Introductions
  2. Reading of Equality Statement & Mississauga Land Acknowledgement
  3. Approval of agenda
  4. Candidates’ statements
  5. Voting begins
  6. Sexual Assault Policy & TFAC Support Squad
  7. Free to Pee campaign
  8. TFAC’s role in strike support
  9. TFAC budget request for 2015-16

TFAC Co-Chair candidates’ statements

From the TFAC Election Officer, Sara Shamdani:

As promised, here are your candidates (in alphabetical order) for the two positions of TFAC Co-Chairs and their statements, if sent:

Cakmak, Gizem (Unit 1, Sociology)

  • My name is Gizem, I’m a third year Ph.D. in Sociology. The reasons I am running for TFAC co-chair are multiple. My research revolves around the feminist political economy of work. For 4 years, I’ve been involved in organizing feminist action groups in labour politics and social movement unionism. I’ve been attending TFAC meetings regularly for the past year and helped organize events – such as Free to Pee, Trans Day of Remembrance, and Montreal Massacre Vigil – and also have been internally serving as pro-tem TFAC co-chair. My immediate projects for TFAC focus on ensuring increased participation and encouraging greater access to union spaces for female and trans identified members of our union who feel unsafe: by actively advocating for creating definitive language in our bylaws to devise protocol around sexual harassment. As an international student and a racialized female identified member of CUPE 3903, I am proud to say that I’ve been heavily involved in mobilization, and outreach in our local. Currently I’m also a very active member around bargaining, and I have taken on tasks in several subcommittees on strike policy preparation, and organizing creative political action. I hope you vote for me. I look forward to participating together!

Erlich, Shay (Unit 3, Social Work)

  • My name is Shay Erlich and I’m running for the Trans Feminist Action Committee Co-Chair position. I am currently a Masters of Social Work student. As a genderqueer, queer, hard of hearing, disabled person I have strong views on what creating inclusive equitable spaces within our union and York as a whole should look like. I envision a community where marginalized people are heard and valued for the unique views that they bring to the table rather than being seen as a liability. I believe that as a union we should be asking ourselves where are the voices that we are not hearing, and critically examine our own actions to bring as many people as we can to the table. I come to this position with a long record of grassroots and union activism. During my undergraduate degree I was involved in the Ryerson Student Union RyeAccess group including being part of the planning committee for the Reclaiming Our Bodies and Minds Conference (A radical disability conference). I have also been a long time editor, writer and blogger for Shameless Magazine. I believe that my combination of professional and lived experience would make me a great TFAC co-chair this year.

Fallis, Melanie (Unit 1, Social Work)

  • I am running for the TFAC co-chair position as I am eager to work towards making CUPE 3903 spaces safer and more accessible. I believe it is very important that we work to ensure all members feel comfortable attending meetings and events. We do this by promoting an atmosphere of respect and full acceptance for all members. Issues of discrimination are complicated and the many different forms of oppression intersect in a way that creates complex challenges. To face these challenges, to address these complex situations, we need thoughtful and carefully considered but courageous responses. We must not be afraid to call out sexism and racism, but we must always do this work with compassion and respect. One particular issue that is of special interest to me is discrimination based on size. This affects female-identified persons more than men in our fat-phobic culture. Size is a factor in hiring practices and although it is as visible as race, colour, age, etc., it is dismissed as being simply a health issue rather than a systemic, patriarchal, fear-mongering tool of oppression. This is something that I would like to see TFAC address over the next year.

Hashi, Halimo (Unit 3, Social Work)

  • I would like to run for the TFAC co-chair position. I am excited and eager to help create a safe and inclusive CUPE 3903. Having experienced the effects of discrimination and racism first hand, I am committed to challenging oppressive attitudes and forms of interaction. I think it is important for CUPE 3903 to be a place where all are welcome, and where democracy and egalitarianism trump bullying and disrespect. As such, I would like to contribute my efforts to addressing inequalities and increasing accessibility in our CUPE local.

Hillman, Megan (Unit 2)

  • I am a Unit 2 member of 3903 and I have been TFAC Co-Chair for the past year. I would really value the opportunity to be TFAC Co-Chair for another term! In the past year, I have helped TFAC to: feed York at Tabouleh with TFAC, help organize the Trans Day of Remembrance and the December 6 event, start working on the Free to Pee Campaign, work towards an anti-oppressive Take Back the Night Event at York, begin the Radical Knitting Group and develop a support flying squad that can help support TFAC members in a variety of ways. This coming year I would like to help TFAC develop a member-to-member mediation protocol and to fight for a strong sexual assault policy at York and within our union. I would also like to help TFAC create more spaces for community. We need to connect with each other and discuss our experiences and our ideas: having regular TFAC drop in spaces that are less formal than meetings would help facilitate this. I would be honoured if you would vote for me so that I can continue the work of keeping TFAC autonomous, and awesome, and an activist space.

Rajabi Paak, Mina (Unit 1, Humanities)

  • As a long-term HIV/AIDS activist with a fair share of experience and knowledge of civil Feminist movements and organizational work, I believe I can be of help to our caucus, particularly at this critical point, when our caucus is becoming more and more isolated due to a series of unfortunate events. I believe this is the time for us to empower ourselves by reaching out to our membership and starting to re-build the broken bridges to be able to create a dialogue and become an effective part of the conversation in our union. Thus If elected, my initial courses of action would be threefold: (a) Renegotiating the relationship between TFAC and the other committees within our union; (b) Proposing a more organized structure for TFAC that enables better membership participation and a more transparent and communicative approach; (c) Forming an outreach campaign to create awareness for our caucus and get more members actively involved. I maintain that if we take these initial steps, our caucus will have all it needs to advance its objectives, make the voice of its members not only heard but honoured and regarded, and become a productive platform for activism within our campus and beyond.

Wallis, Maria (Unit 2)

  • My Ph.D. is in Sociology where I examined systemic racism in Canada. My union experience:
    • 2014-15: I have been actively involved in working with others to mobilize the different stakeholders on campus to get the “Task Force on Racism@York” off the ground. We have created a subcommittee within CUPE 3903 to focus on this mobilizing work. I am tired of this not being a priority on the Executive. If elected, this will be my priority.
    • 2014-15: I have actively tried to create programs that will be an alternative way Unit 2 members can develop professionally. I have been discussing the creation of a contract faculty mentorship program with a number of stakeholders. There is interest in some departments, and with some faculty in YUFA. I will make this another priority. I see these measures as parallel measures to increase our members’ quality of life while we battle for equity lens and equity proposals in bargaining.
    • On the Executive as Unit 2 Chief Steward (2010-11)
    • Grievance Officer (2011-12)
    • Member of the Unit 2 Research Grants Committee (2010-11)
    • Member of the Labour-Management Committee (2010-11)
    • The Race LMC (2010-2011) (We really tried to get this off the ground – says something about management’s political will.)

(Note from the Election Officer, Sara Shamdani: The rest of this candidate’s statement was omitted due to word length restrictions for each statement.)

Please note that all your candidates will be present (either physically or via other communication devices) on Monday, February 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in 311B Student Centre to address your questions and concerns.

Come out, meet these wonderful people and VOTE!

Sara Shamdani
Election Officer
Trans Feminist Action Caucus

Two Election Officers needed

Voting with a pencil

An image of a pencil marking an “x” on a ballot, indicating the act of voting

The two Election Officers have recently resigned, which means that both positions on the Election Committee are now vacant. Two Election Officers are required to organize, oversee and conduct the annual election of the Executive Committee, scheduled from March 16 to 23.

In order to fill the vacancies, the Executive Committee will temporarily appoint (“pro-tem”) two members in good standing as Election Officers at its meeting this week. For details of the meeting, please click here. All members of CUPE 3903 may attend and speak at meetings of the Executive Committee. Only Executive Committee members may vote.

Once the vacancies have been filled, a two-week nomination period will begin and notice will be given that a by-election will be held to elect the Election Officers at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 16.

The members elected in the by-election at the AGM will oversee the current election. The annual election of Election Officers will also take place at the AGM, but the members elected in this election will begin their term once the current election is completed.

The process by which committee vacancies may be filled is governed by Article 10 (f) of the bylaws. Only three days’ notice had been given for the by-election of an Election Officer at the General Membership Meeting on February 13, which is why it was ruled out of order by the Chair.

For more information, or to nominate yourself, please email the Vice President Unit 1 at

CUPE 3903 sets strike deadline for March 3

The CUPE 3903 red-star logo

The CUPE 3903 red-star logo

CUPE 3903 has set a strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 3.

On Friday, February 6, the Bargaining Team requested a “no board” report from the Ministry of Labour, in response to the Employer’s failure to show significant movement at the bargaining table. The “no board” report was officially issued on Tuesday, February 10, which puts the union in a legal strike position as early as Friday, February 27.

The union, however, has scheduled five more bargaining meetings with the Employer, which will be attended by a provincially-appointed Conciliator. Our hope is to avoid a strike by creating more opportunities to bargain. The last bargaining meeting with the Employer has been scheduled for Sunday, March 1, which is when the union expects the Employer to present its final offer.

The Employer’s offer will be presented to members of CUPE 3903 at a “final offer” Special General Membership Meeting on Monday, March 2. If the members reject the offer, they will likely move to strike on Tuesday, March 3.

The union will announce this week the location of its strike headquarters and continue to conduct strike training, as part of its preparations for a possible strike.

For more information about strike training, or to register for an upcoming meeting, please email

CUPE 3903 releases campaign video for contract faculty

CUPE 3903 is pleased to announce the release of “This is Contract Faculty time: York faculty in support of contract faculty,” the latest in a series of campaign videos produced by our local to support the bargaining process.

Produced by videographer Alex Lisman, in conjunction with the Communications Committee, this new 16-minute video features eight tenured York University faculty members speaking about the obligation to engage the issue of contract faculty, the problem of precarious academic labour, the contribution that contract faculty make to teaching and research, and what the administration can do to exercise higher educational leadership and address this growing problem in the current round of collective bargaining.

“This is Contract Faculty time” is also part of the campus-wide bargaining campaign, A better York is possible, led by CUPE 3903, that has engaged thousands of students, parents and community members, and that continues to generate support for our local’s proposals at the bargaining table.

Please share this video widely, not only among our members and students, but also among contract faculty in other locals, to help raise the profile of their experience and to generate support for better working conditions – and learning conditions – for everyone.

A better York is possible. Together, we can make it happen.