Unit 2 Town Hall: What went wrong with our NRAs and contracts this term?

Town Hall microphone

Tuesday, September 30
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Senate Chamber
N940 Ross Building
Keele campus

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Dozens of Unit 2 members have reported problems with the Notices of Recommended Appointments (NRAs) this semester, as well as the cancellation of courses in the summer followed by a slew of last-minute appointments. Many offers were extremely late, making it difficult or impossible for members to plan the semester, order books and be on payroll in time for September’s pay. These problems were not isolated, but affected members across several faculties.

In response, CUPE 3903 is organizing a Town Hall meeting for Unit 2 members to share information about late NRAs this semester, to identify any other problems or challenges members are experiencing, and to make sure these issues are addressed in bargaining.

This meeting has been called on short notice in order to collect and share information among Unit 2 members as quickly as possible, but subsequent Town Hall meetings are a possibility, if members would like to discuss this further. This meeting is just a start.

In addition, these issues are also being addressed by the Grievance Committee, which will provide an update at the Town Hall.

For more information, please email CUPE3903vpu2@gmail.com or CUPE3903csu2@gmail.com.

Bargaining Team Meeting with the Employer – Friday September 26, 3pm-5:30pm

3903′s Bargaining Team (BT) will be meeting with the Employer’s bargaining team this Friday at 3pm. Members interested in attending should meet in the Union office at 2:00pm.

At this meeting the Bargaining Team intends to hand the Employer our proposals package and begin discussing our proposals having to do with equity. We also expect that the Employer will be providing us with their bargaining proposals.

Also at this meeting the BT will discuss the information that we still expect the Employer to provide us, the continuing provision of Collective Agreement-guaranteed funds during negotiations, the Employer’s request to make use of a mediator in negotiations, and the dates and times of future meetings.

All Members can attend any meeting of the BT/Employer, the BT, or the Executive.

The BT asks forgiveness for the late notice – times were only firmed-up yesterday. At this meeting the dates and times of future meetings should be solidified, making early-notice to the Membership possible

September GMM: Tentative agenda

General Membership Meeting

Tuesday, September 23
4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
106 Life Sciences Building
York University

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Agenda *

1) Roll call of the officers and the Bargaining Team (5 minutes)

2) Reading of the Equality Statement

3) Reading of the Mississauga Land Acknowledgement

4) Reading and approval of minutes of previous meeting(s) (10 minutes)
- August 18 GMM

5) Matters arising (120 minutes)
- Discussion of and voting on bargaining proposals (by theme) (60 minutes): Pedagogy; Equity and transparency; Wages and benefits
- Options for bargaining our proposals (20 minutes): Whole package, some proposals, other options?
- Bargaining mobilization update (20 minutes): Bargaining timeline; Mobilization update
- Bargaining Team report-back (10 minutes)
Please see Bylaws Article 17 (4) (b): “The Bargaining Team, with the support of the Executive, shall have ongoing and wide consultation processes with the membership to support its work. To that end, the Bargaining Team shall give report-backs to the membership at all General Membership meetings.”
- Notice of donation requests (10 minutes)

6) Treasurer’s report and approving expenditures (10 minutes)

7) Correspondence (5 minutes)

8) Executive Committee report(s) (15 minutes)
- Anti-racism committee report

9) Reports of committees and delegates (20 minutes)
- Election bylaw committee report

10) Nominations, Elections, or Oath of Office (20 minutes)
- Committee elections: one position on the Communications Committee; three positions (one co-coordinator and two representatives) on the Professional Development Fund Committee; three positions on the Ways and Means Committee

11) Unfinished business (30 minutes)

12) New business

13) Good of the union

14) 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 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.

CUPE 3903 welcome back BBQ

BBQ poster

Tuesday, September 16
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
In front of the Life Sciences Building – look for the 3903 flags! *
Keele campus

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Come to the BBQ and help us welcome new and returning members (back) to campus! Hosted by the Bargaining Mobilization Committee, the BBQ is free for all members of CUPE 3903. The BBQ includes:

  • Choice of 4 oz hamburger, veggie burger, hot dog or sausage
  • Assorted condiments, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions
  • Ketchup, mustard, relish, mayo and hot sauce
  • Green salad with balsamic dressing
  • Fresh sliced watermelon
  • Iced tea and lemonade

Stop by for some delicious (free) food, catch up with returning members, welcome new ones to the local, and get an update on bargaining.

For more information, please email CUPE3903csu1@gmail.com.

* In the event of rain, the BBQ will take place in the Stong College Dining Room, lower level of Stong College.

Update on GSA health plan opt-out

Unit 1 and Unit 3 members of CUPE 3903 are also full-time graduate students, which means they are also members of the York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA). As a result, they have the option of being covered by either CUPE’s health insurance plan or the health insurance plan provided by YUGSA. Because CUPE’s plan is fully paid for by the employer, most members choose the CUPE plan. YUGSA has its own plan because not all YUGSA members are members of CUPE 3903, and therefore need their own coverage.

In years past, when Unit 1 and Unit 3 members of CUPE 3903 enrolled in CUPE’s health plan, they were automatically opted out of the YUGSA plan. In other words, they just had to enroll in one and wouldn’t have to worry about accidentally contributing to two different plans. They would simply be opted out of the YUGSA plan, just by enrolling in CUPE’s.

While this system generally worked well, there were many occasions that YUGSA members – who were not members of CUPE 3903, and who had no access to CUPE’s health plan – would accidentally be opted out of the YUGSA health plan, leaving them with no coverage whatsoever. In many cases, these members would only discover they had no coverage during a medical emergency.

These members were accidentally opted out because the Faculty of Graduate Studies had provided YUGSA with an inaccurate list of YUGSA members covered by CUPE’s health plan. The recent change to the system that asked Unit 1 and Unit 3 members to opt out themselves, rather than having it done for them automatically, was an attempt to prevent YUGSA members from being excluded from both plans.

This change, however, proved too cumbersome to implement.

In response to concerns raised by members of both CUPE 3903 and YUGSA, staff and members from the Executive Committees of both organizations have developed a plan to restore the automatic opt-out for Unit 1 and Unit 3 members of CUPE 3903.

Moving forward, Unit 1 and Unit 3 members of CUPE 3903 who enroll in CUPE’s health insurance plan will be automatically opted out of the YUGSA plan, as they have been in years past.

For more information, please email CUPE3903chairperson@gmail.com.

Join CUPE 3903 on Labour Day


Monday, September 1
Assemble at 9:00 a.m. | Parade begins at 9:30 a.m.
Assemble in Section 2
West side of University Avenue, south of Dundas Street West

TTC: St. Patrick | Map

CUPE 3903 will join the Labour Day contingent organized by the CUPE Toronto District Council, which will assemble with all CUPE Ontario members at 9:00 a.m. on the west side of University Avenue, south of Dundas Street West. The parade will finish near the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE).

CUPE Toronto District Council will provide free wristbands for participants to access the CNE.

For more information, please click here.

Bargaining update #2

Bargaining Team members and supporters on their way to the second bargaining meeting with the employer (photo credit: Mohan Mishra)

August 20, 2014 – Bargaining Team members and supporters on their way to the second bargaining meeting with the employer (photo credit: Mohan Mishra)

Items in this update: 

  • Bargaining news
  • Mobilization news
  • Upcoming meetings
  • Communications update

Bargaining news

This week’s meeting was our second with the employer, but the first substantial negotiation session. While we did not present any of our proposals, we provided a broad overview of the proposal package, its key themes, and the related issues we intend to address in bargaining.

After introducing the rank-and-file members present, the Bargaining Team set the agenda of the meeting and effectively dictated the pace of the discussion. We began by reading our equality statement, and then outlined the bargaining parameters that the membership approved at the Special General Membership Meeting on July 11. We reminded the employer that these parameters reflect our local’s commitment to a democratic, open bargaining process, in which all members are welcome to attend negotiating sessions.

In the overview of our bargaining proposals, we emphasized that these proposals are driven by our members’ demands for fairness, equity and a better working environment – all of which are essential ingredients for improving learning conditions for undergraduate students at York University. These themes, which emerged through a thorough analysis of bargaining surveys and widespread membership consultation, include: tuition and funding (for Units 1 and 3); job security and the stabilization of working conditions for contract faculty (Unit 2); pedagogy and learning conditions at York; employment equity and transparency; and wages and benefits. We explained to the employer’s negotiating team, led by Barry Miller, Executive Director of Faculty Relations, that our members are dismayed by the culture at York that seems impervious to equity concerns, and by the difficult working conditions that our members face.

We also continued to press the employer about the information that we requested at our June 13 meeting, but have yet to receive. Employers are required by law to provide this information, and our Bargaining Team needs it to move the process forward. While they agreed to follow up on some of these outstanding items, the employer’s negotiator expressed reluctance to give us a financial costing of our collective agreements. We will continue to press them on this matter.

One issue that the employer did flag is that the findings of the Academic and Administrative Review Process (AAPR) that York is currently conducting will affect their consideration of our proposals. What this means is that the university has plans for restructuring departments, programs and graduate studies – a major concern for us. The good news is that the AAPR reports will not be tabled until November, so this gives us time to consider the issue and get out in front of it. We hope to devote some time at an upcoming GMM or SGMM to explain this review to members and strategically consider how we will respond to it.

Also of note is that the employer suggested we retain a “neutral” third-party mediator in order to help both parties negotiate over particularly thorny issues, when either side deems the mediator potentially useful. While they made a similar request in the 2011/12 round of bargaining, we have never agreed to such an arrangement because it is generally viewed as being more of a hindrance than a help in allowing the union to secure a fair settlement with the employer. We also view it as a waste of members’ money, as the union will have to foot half the bill for a mediator. The consensus amongst the Bargaining Team and all the members present was to reject this suggestion.

Finally, there was agreement between the union and the employer that we will begin more regular negotiation sessions in mid-September. As always, we encourage members to attend Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions with the employer. We will actively recruit members to participate in all bargaining sessions, with an emphasis on the specific issues to be discussed, so please watch for regular updates on our local’s website.

Mobilization news

“Rank-and-file members of CUPE 3903, along with members of the Bargaining Mobilization Committee, the Executive Committee and staff, mobilized in a show of support for the Bargaining Team at this week’s bargaining meeting with the employer. Members from all three units, representing a range of departments, from History to Biology to Equity Studies and others, carried 3903 flags and banners to the meeting, and were present throughout the discussion….”

Read the full report here.

Upcoming meetings

Save the date! A Special General Membership Meeting on bargaining has been scheduled for Friday, September 12 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Join and share on Facebook. As soon as the location is confirmed, it will be posted on the CUPE 3903 website and forwarded to the members.

All Bargaining Team meetings, including bargaining meetings with the employer, will be promoted widely among the membership and will be held in fully accessible locations. For dates, times and locations of Bargaining Team meetings, please see upcoming events.

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.

Communications update

A new bargaining section has been added to the CUPE 3903 website, with the following sub-pages: FAQBargaining Team, Parameters, Updates, Meetings, Mobilization and Contact us. All bargaining updates, along with any bargaining-specific information, will be posted online.

These updates will also be emailed to members in the weekly CUPE 3903 Newsletter. To subscribe to the CUPE 3903 Newsletter, please follow these links.

For more information about bargaining, please email 3903bargaining@gmail.com.

To get involved in the Bargaining Mobilization Committee, please email CUPE3903csu1@gmail.com.

Members mobilize for open bargaining

Bargaining Team supporters

Bargaining Team members, supporters and staff before this week’s bargaining meeting with the employer (photo credit: Mohan Mishra)

Rank-and-file members of CUPE 3903, along with members of the Bargaining Mobilization Committee, the Executive Committee and staff, mobilized in a show of support for the Bargaining Team at this week’s bargaining meeting with the employer. Members from all three units, representing a range of departments, from History to Biology to Equity Studies and others, carried 3903 flags and banners to the meeting, and were present throughout the discussion.

Earlier in the day, the Bargaining Team and supporters met at the CUPE 3903 office to share updates and review strategy. Afterwards, they went as a group to the bargaining meeting, where they were joined by even more supporters from the local.

Bargaining Team members are preparing a full report from this week’s bargaining meeting, which will be posted online and sent to members shortly.

In the meantime, please mark your calendars! The next important event in the local’s bargaining calendar is the Special General Membership Meeting on bargaining, which will take place on Friday, September 12 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Keele campus. The location will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.

If you would like to be part of the next mobilization of support for upcoming bargaining meetings with the employer, please email CUPE3903csu1@gmail.com.

3903 solidarity with locked-out IKEA workers

Locked-out IKEA workers in Richmond, BC (photo credit: Teamsters Local 213)

Locked-out IKEA workers in Richmond, BC (photo credit: Teamsters Local 213)

The following letter was sent by the Executive Committee to Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, in solidarity with locked-out IKEA workers:

Dear Hassan Yussuff,

As the Executive Committee of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3903 (CUPE 3903), we are writing you to express our concern over the lockout by IKEA of Teamsters Local 213 members in Richmond, BC.

These workers have been locked out by this major multinational corporation for over 14 months. The Richmond, BC store is the only IKEA location in Canada, outside Quebec, that is unionized. The corporation is trying to impose a two-tier wage system and is attacking workers’ benefits.

Recently, over 140 IKEA Richmond workers signed a petition addressed to the Canadian Labour Congress and individual trade unionists urging the labour movement to carry out weekly info pickets of IKEA stores.

On July 3, we, the CUPE 3903 executive, passed the following motion:

Be it resolved that CUPE 3903 endorse the boycott call and actively organize its members and allies to participate in regular info pickets of IKEA until IKEA Richmond workers have won their fight.

Be it further resolved that CUPE 3903 contact the Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff and encourage him to launch a country-wide boycott campaign against IKEA, formally backed by the Canadian Labour Congress.

On June 21 and July 12, CUPE 3903 members joined the info pickets at the IKEA Etobicoke and North York locations, respectively. These info pickets, with participation from a variety of unions, were coordinated with similar info pickets in Burlington and Ottawa. We will actively encourage our members to build and participate in the next round of info pickets.

We recognize and appreciate that you visited the picket line in Richmond on June 2. However, we call on you and the CLC to take a leadership role in building a solidarity campaign of info pickets and officially endorsing a country-wide boycott of IKEA.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

In solidarity,
Executive Committee of CUPE 3903

* * * * *

For more information, please visit IKEA Hurts Families.