Graduate Financial Assistance (‘tuition rebate’) – late payments resolved.

Every semester 3903ers in Units 1 and 3 see money added to their student accounts to help offset the various costs associated with studying at York and living in Toronto. This is called “Graduate Financial Assistance”, or GFA, and ranges from $590-$865, depending on your student status and year of study. This money was won by 3903 over several rounds of bargaining and through several labour actions, and is guaranteed in our Collective Agreements.

This semester almost 100 3903ers did not receive this payment on their student accounts. When 3903 learned that this was the case, the Faculty of Graduate Studies was immediately contacted, and the problem resolved.

Payments were made to student accounts on Thursday, Nov 20. For 3903ers who do not owe funds to the University, cheques will be cut and sent out during the week of November 24.

If you do not receive your GFA monies in the next week or so, please let 3903 know and we will help you.

This problem was resolved as quickly as it was because Members alerted the Union, which was then able to push to ensure the mistake was remedied.

Every problem that you face is probably also a problem for dozens of other 3903ers. This means that bringing even seemingly small problems to our attention will improve things not only for you, but also for your colleagues.

3903 – a better York is possible!

 

Bargaining update #12

Free education graffiti 1

Items in this update: 

  • Bargaining news
  • Upcoming meetings

Bargaining news

The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) met on Tuesday, November 18 with representatives from the Employer to continue collective bargaining negotiations. Rank-and-file members from several departments attended this bargaining session, with the Department of History mustering a particularly strong contingent of approximately a dozen members.

The BT’s first main focus for the day was continuing to present on Job Security items contained in the Union’s package of proposals. The BT began by explaining the rationale behind proposals relating to Unit 2 (contract faculty) qualifications language.

When Course Directorships (CDs) are posted, they contain “required,” “preferred,” and “desired” qualifications. There is a concern among Unit 2 members that the Employer is ratcheting up qualifications requirements. This means that members who have been teaching courses for many years may have difficulty maintaining incumbency in those courses. It also places unnecessarily high barriers in front of junior Unit 2 members who are trying to gain a stronger foothold within the bargaining unit and increase their teaching load.

The BT also pointed out how the Employer’s shift towards requiring completed PhDs, rather than the past practice of recognizing All But Dissertation (ABD) status as as a qualification sufficient for Unit 2 teaching positions, was intensifying barriers to obtaining work for junior and senior Unit 2 members alike.

The Union’s proposals respond to these concerns in a number of ways. One proposal strengthens incumbency language to ensure members – especially those from equity-seeking groups – who are already teaching courses can continue to do so. Several others aim to entrench the language of “bona fide occupational requirement” (BFOR) in the collective agreement. This phrase has a specific legal meaning that will ensure the Employer is held to a high standard in proving that qualification requirements listed in postings are actually necessary for posted teaching positions. Another proposal recognizes the value of teaching experience by asserting that qualifications for Unit 2 work will not exceed ABD status, or, in the case of Fine Arts, an MA degree (or equivalent) when candidates have a demonstrated university teaching record and/or performance record in their discipline(s).

The BT presented several other proposals in the Job Security and Workload category that are designed to limit arbitrary management decisions on things like course start dates. Members have reported that the Employer is frequently using various clauses allowing for “exceptional” circumstances more often than they feel is warranted. The Union’s proposals aim to increase procedural fairness.

Finally, the BT presented the entirety of its Pedagogy package. Key items in this section include proposals to put limits on class sizes, entrench improved copyright protections to match the sector-leading language contained in the York University Faculty Association’s (YUFA) collective agreement, and add equity considerations to Teaching Development and Research Grant competitions.

The Employer responded by acknowledging that it shared some of the Union’s concerns around certain administrative issues, and that it took seriously the intellectual property rights of contract faculty, but that it was not yet ready to agree to any of the Union’s proposed language. On a couple issues, the Employer indicated a wish to have discussions outside the collective bargaining process, where consultations could take place, but provisions could not be made legally binding.

On the question of class sizes, the Employer claimed that recent pedagogy research demonstrates that in many cases class sizes are “not a critical factor” in determining learning outcomes – an assertion many instructors and students would contest. The BT pointed out that ballooning class sizes happen to save the Employer quite a lot of money. For instance, if 100 students wish to enroll in a fourth-year course and there is a class size cap of 25, the Employer will have to hire four course directors at a cost of around $64,000, whereas, if it chooses to have one class with one course director assisted by members holding marker/grader positions, the cost would be just over $20,000. The BT also argued that undergraduate and graduate students alike prefer smaller classes, so increasing class sizes will only hinder student recruitment and retention.

While the Employer has indicated that it is leaving the door open to negotiation on a number of matters, it has so far advanced relatively few written counter-proposals, whereas the Union has had a robust proposal package on the table since September 26. The BT remains strongly committed to good faith negotiations with the Employer on all issues, but requires concrete counters from the Employer in order to advance the bargaining process.

Upcoming meetings

On Tuesday, November 25 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. the BT and the Employer will meet to discuss the Union’s Job Security and Workload proposals.

On Tuesday, December 2 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. the BT and the Employer will meet to discuss the Union’s Wages and Benefits proposals.

The BT encourages all members to attend bargaining sessions with Employer.

For meeting dates, times and locations, please see 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.

Students show support for 3903

Undergraduate students show their support for CUPE 3903 and our demands at the bargaining table.

Undergraduate students show their support for CUPE 3903 and our demands at the bargaining table.

For the second week in a row, “A message from CUPE 3903″ ran on the back cover of The Excalibur, the most widely distributed newspaper on campus. Addressed to undergraduates, the message identifies many of the key issues that affect York students:

“Like you, we are concerned about rising tuition fees and student debt; funding cuts to education; racism and discrimination in the university; and threats to safety on campus,” the message begins.

It then introduces students to CUPE 3903 and the process of collective bargaining:

“On August 31, our contract expired. At the moment, we are negotiating a new contract, and we want a fair deal for everyone.

“When we negotiate to improve our working conditions, we are also negotiating to improve your learning conditions – and the quality of your education at York.”

CUPE members have been distributing the newspapers to their students, who have responded positively to the message. Some students have sent pictures of their own solidarity messages to the union, sharing them online and re-posting “A message from CUPE 3903.” Our web post about the union’s message to undergraduates has been one of our most popular all week.

The current issue of The Excalibur will remain on newsstands until next Wednesday. We encourage members to continue sharing copies with their students, as a means to engage them about the bargaining process – and how bargaining helps improve the quality of education of all students at York.

The last few issues also profiles CUPE 3903 in its regular news coverage, including the union’s solidarity with partial-load faculty at Seneca, our response to the pace of bargaining, and why job security matters for contract faculty at York.

To share pictures of students showing support for CUPE 3903, email them to CUPE3903Comms@gmail.com or tweet them using #betterYork or @CUPE3903Comms.

Students 3903-2

Students 3903-3

Students 3903-4

Students 3903-5

Students 3903-6

 

CUPE 3903 supports contract faculty at Seneca College

CUPE 3903 members and staff at the info picket in support of contract faculty at Seneca College on November 12

CUPE 3903 members and staff at the info picket in support of contract faculty at Seneca College on November 12

CUPE 3903 members responded to a call for solidarity from contract faculty at Seneca College, and joined an information picket on November 12 to protest senior management’s attack on “partial-load” teachers. Organized by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), Local 560, the picket attracted support from students, faculty and staff from both Seneca College and York University. Many passers-by asked for extra leaflets and buttons to distribute to their classmates and colleagues.

Seneca students helped distribute leaflets to their classmates as they waited for the bus.

Seneca students helped distribute leaflets to their classmates as they waited for the bus.

Management tried to ban the Union’s leaflet, telling OPSEU members that they were prohibited from distributing it to students on campus. Shortly after the picket began, security guards showed up to try to keep the picket off Seneca property, while someone recorded picketers from inside an SUV that was parked across the street.

Big Brother at Seneca is watching you! Check out the video camera on the dashboard.

Big Brother at Seneca is watching you! Check out the video camera on the dashboard.

Despite management’s intimidation tactics, the picket distributed hundreds of leaflets and buttons to Seneca students, who were surprised and angry to learn about the attacks on their teachers’ work conditions – and that the changes would come into effect in January with no warning for students.

Picketers emphasized the point that any attack on teaching conditions at Seneca is an attack on learning conditions, too. If the attacks go unchallenged, students who rely on support from faculty inside and outside of the classroom will see a rapid decline in the quality of their education, as teaching resources and assistance disappear. In other words, the fight to defend contract faculty at Seneca is a fight to defend the quality of education for all Seneca students.

Read more about the fight to save unionized teaching jobs at Seneca:

Show your support for contract faculty at Seneca! Sign the petition here.

For more information, please visit Partial Load Faculty Crisis.

Members of OPSEU 560 and CUPE 3903 were part of the information picket on November 12.

OPSEU and CUPE members were part of the information picket on November 12.

The following text appeared on the leaflet distributed by OPSEU members and supporters:

Cuts to Faculty Fail Students

Seneca College management prohibited the faculty Union from distributing this flyer to students on-campus. Please help us to inform students of these changes that will affect your education by leaving this flyer inside the building.

Support OPSEU Local 560 for Quality Education

STOP the ELIMINATION of Partial-Load Faculty positions at Seneca College

Seneca President David Agnew and Vice-President Academic Joy McKinnon plan to reduce the pay, hours, benefits, and working conditions of hundreds of contract faculty at Seneca, starting January. They don’t want you to know how this staffing change will hurt the education you receive.

Contract faculty are paid by the hours they teach each wee. Seneca management is preventing hundreds of these faculty from teaching more than six hours a week, starting in the Winter Semester. As a consequence of this decision, these faculty members…

  • Will not teach enough hours to live on
  • Face a pay cut in their hourly wage
  • Will lack the right to health benefits
  • Will lack the right to sick days and may be forced to work when sick
  • Will lack Union representation, to prevent exploitation

Giving contract faculty fewer hours and less pay will force them to work other jobs while teaching you. This could lead to: 

  • Contract faculty not being available after class to meet with you
  • Contract faculty not being able to respond to emails quickly
  • Contract faculty leaving Seneca for jobs that offer more hours, benefits, and pay
  • High faculty turnover, with newer, less experienced faculty
  • Faculty not being around years from now, if you need a letter of reference from them
  • Faculty being less willing to go “the extra mile” for a school that disrespects them

Please help us fight against these changes to faculty working conditions and students’ learning conditions at Seneca College. Help to ensure that Seneca faculty members can make Seneca students their priority.

Get more information at partial load.org, and please sign the online petition linked there.

OPSEU Local 560 represents Full-Time and Partial-Load Professors, Instructors, Counsellors and Librarians at Seneca College

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Senior management at Seneca College doesn't want you to read this.

Senior management at Seneca College doesn’t want you to read this.

Bargaining update #11

"What's your vision? Free tuition!" CUPE 3903 members rally in solidarity with undergraduates in the Student Centre on October 21.

“What’s your vision? Free tuition!” CUPE 3903 members rally in solidarity with undergraduates in the Student Centre on October 21.

Items in this update: 

  • Bargaining news
  • Bargaining dates and topics

Bargaining news

The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) met on Tuesday, November 11 with representatives from the Employer. The BT and the Employer first followed up on a number of items of discussion arising from the previous bargaining session, where the BT had presented its Tuition and Funding proposals. The BT tabled its own costing estimates for this part of the package in response to the Employer’s estimates. Though there were some areas of agreement, there were also several items where the BT found the Employer’s estimates to be unrealistically high.

The BT took the Employer to task with respect to comments it had made at the previous bargaining session about Unit 3 members not having a significant commitment to the University. The BT made clear the Union’s commitment to improving working and learning conditions for Unit 3 members, all of whom are engaged in graduate work and require the necessary supports to conduct independent research. The Employer has repeatedly emphasized its wish to help graduate students develop professionally. If that is the case, it should be enthusiastic about providing funding packages that free graduate students to focus on their studies, rather than how they will earn enough money to cover tuition, rent and other expenses. Moreover, the BT pointed out that many Master students go on to do PhDs, showing a long-term commitment to study, and that some current PhDs are actually Unit 3 members.

The BT highlighted its hope for movement from the Employer on the Union’s proposal to extend an extra year of funding to Master students with disabilities who hold teaching assistantships, an item on which the Employer had indicated it might be amenable to discussion. Even outside the Equity and Transparency proposals, equity is a recurring theme of the Union’s bargaining package.

The BT proceeded to discuss several proposals under the Job Security and Workload heading that relate to the protection of bargaining unit work. There are strong concerns, particularly among Unit 2 members, that various policies of the Employer are causing bargaining unit work to leak elsewhere. Keeping work within the bargaining unit is crucial to allowing precariously employed contract faculty some degree of job stability.

In the long run, moving work outside of the Unit 2 sphere does not help graduate students, either, as many of them will eventually be employed as contract instructors. Given the paucity of tenure-stream hires at most universities, being able to transition into contractual teaching appointments within Unit 2 after graduating is increasingly important for freshly minted graduates, especially those paying off student loan debts. Preserving work within Unit 2 is important for us all.

Finally, the BT presented several proposals designed to reduce administrative arbitrariness by the Employer, such as a proposal to compensate Unit 2 members in cases where notices of appointment are late.

The Employer responded by opening the door to further negotiation on a number of minor items, such as providing Unit 2 members access to work histories online, while failing to show much movement on the larger and more substantial items.

The BT remains disappointed with the Employer’s responses to its proposals so far. If the Employer is serious about improving working and learning conditions for CUPE 3903 members as well as other members of the York community, it will have to demonstrate its commitment by making serious offers at the bargaining table. CUPE 3903’s message continues to be that “A Better York is Possible,” if only the University is prepared to step up to the plate.

Bargaining dates and topics

Our Employer has had our proposal package in its entirety since late September, and we’ve presented detailed rationale for a great many of the proposals contained therein. The responses we’ve gotten back, however, have been few and far between. The ones we have received have been inadequate, as they don’t address our central concerns. This is, of course, a problem!

The more 3903ers we have in the room with us, the more the Employer understands that we’re dedicated to what we’re talking about. We have three more bargaining sessions scheduled with the Employer before the end of the semester. At each one we’ll be presenting certain proposals in detail for the first time. These meetings are open to all members of 3903, and we encourage you to attend!

  • On November 18, we will be detailing our proposals on copyright, qualifications language, class size, and a few other things.
  • On November 25, we will be defending proposals on job security, which includes proposals around conversion, Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs), and what we’re calling “continuing sessional status” – a job security program for all Unit 2 members.
  • On December 2, we’ll be presenting the wages and benefits proposals.

The Bargaining Team meets in the CUPE 3903 office, 143 Atkinson Building at 1:30 p.m. before each bargaining meeting with the Employer.

For meeting dates, times and locations, please see 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.

Bargaining dates and topics

CUPE Logo - Solidarity for Jobs & Justice

CUPE logo: Solidarity for jobs and justice!

Our Employer has had our proposal package in its entirety since late September, and we’ve presented detailed rationale for a great many of the proposals contained therein. The responses we’ve gotten back, however, have been few and far between. The ones we have received have been inadequate, as they don’t address our central concerns. This is, of course, a problem!

The more 3903ers we have in the room with us, the more the Employer understands that we’re dedicated to what we’re talking about. We have three more bargaining sessions scheduled with the Employer before the end of the semester. At each one we’ll be presenting certain proposals in detail for the first time. These meetings are open to all members of 3903, and we encourage you to attend!

  • On November 18, we will be detailing our proposals on copyright, qualifications language, class size, and a few other things.
  • On November 25, we will be defending proposals on job security, which includes proposals around conversion, Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs), and what we’re calling “continuing sessional status” – a job security program for all Unit 2 members.
  • On December 2, we’ll be presenting the wages and benefits proposals.

The Bargaining Team meets in the CUPE 3903 office, 143 Atkinson Building at 1:30 p.m. before each bargaining meeting with the Employer.

For meeting dates, times and locations, please see 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.

3903 talks to undergrads about bargaining

York undergrads read "A message from CUPE 3903" in the November 12 issue of The Excalibur.

York undergrads read “A message from CUPE 3903″ in the November 12 issue of The Excalibur.

In the November 12 issue of The Excalibur, CUPE 3903 published the first in an upcoming series of messages to undergraduate students that engages them about the collective bargaining process. Under the slogan, “A better York is possible,” the message appears as a full-page ad on the back cover of the newspaper, the most widely distributed on campus.

The message introduces undergrads to CUPE 3903 and lets them know that we’re currently negotiating a new contract with York University. It also explains how our bargaining process allows the union to fight for issues that students care about, from rising tuition fees and student debt, to threats to safety on campus.

CUPE 3903 members are encouraged to distribute copies of this issue to their students, as a means to start a conversation with them about the bargaining process – and how the fight to improve our teaching conditions is a fight to improve their learning conditions.

Stay tuned for more online and print resources for engaging the wider York community about the current round of bargaining for CUPE 3903.

The November 12 issue of The Excalibur, featuring a full-page ad on the back cover that engages undergrads about bargaining

The November 12 issue of The Excalibur, featuring a full-page ad on the back cover that engages undergrads about bargaining

The full text of the ad reads:

A better York is possible
A message from CUPE 3903

Dear students, 

We are members of CUPE 3903, the union that represents contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and research assistants at York University.

Like you, we are concerned about rising tuition fees and student debt; funding cuts to education; racism and discrimination in the university; and threats to safety on campus.

All of these problems affect the quality of your education at York. And we want to do something about it.

We believe a better York is possible.

We believe in accessible, high quality education for all students, a fair and equitable workplace, and a safe and healthy campus.

As education workers, we bring these demands to the bargaining table when we negotiate a new contract with the university. On August 31, our contract expired. At the moment, we are negotiating a new contract, and we want a fair deal for everyone.

When we negotiate to improve our working conditions, we are also negotiating to improve your learning conditions – and the quality of your education at York.

In the coming weeks, we will bring more proposals like these to the bargaining table, but we need your support to ensure the university takes us seriously!

We all know that a better York is possible. If we work together, we can make it happen.

For more information, please visit 3903.cupe.ca.

In solidarity,
CUPE 3903

November GMM: Tentative agenda

General Membership Meeting

Monday, November 17
4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
103 Life Sciences Building
York University

Join and share on Facebook.

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 Acknowledgment

4) Reading and approval of minutes of previous meeting(s) (10 minutes)

  • October 22 GMM

5) Matters arising (40 minutes)

  • Motion(s) served at last meeting (30 minutes)
  • Notice(s) of donation requests (10 minutes)

6) Treasurer’s report and approving expenditures (20 minutes)

7) Correspondence (5 minutes)

8) Executive Committee report(s) (10 minutes)

9) Reports of committees and delegates (60 minutes)

  • Bargaining Team report-back (20 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.”
  • Bargaining Mobilization Committee (30 minutes)
  • Communications Committee (20 minutes)

10) Nominations, Elections, or Oath of Office (15 minutes)

  • Committee elections: two positions on the Professional Development Fund Committee

11) Unfinished business (15 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.

Bargaining update #10

CUPE 3903 members show their support for undergraduate students on October 21, during a rally before bargaining.

CUPE 3903 members show their support for undergraduate students on October 21, during a rally before bargaining.

Items in this update: 

  • Bargaining news
  • Update on Unit 1 Bargaining Team vacancy

Bargaining news

Your CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) met on November 4 with the Employer, including Barry Miller (Executive Director of Faculty Relations), Rob Lawson (Associate Director of Faculty Relations), Barbara Crowe (Dean of FGS), and Sean Brixey (Dean of Fine Arts). The Employer’s lawyer, John Brooks, was absent this time.

This week, the Employer came back with a response around Unit 1 Course Director (CD) “tickets,” Graduate Assistantships, and summer Teaching Assistantships hiring process. While the Employer presented some “revised language” and a few slight improvements, the BT made it clear that the Employer’s counter still had not solved most of the problems that the BT highlighted last week, including the fact that equity language remains completely absent in the counter. However, and even more problematically, the Employer made it clear at the table this week that its counters around hiring processes were contingent on increasing the number of CD “tickets” for Unit 1. The BT replied with a firm “no,” indicating that these are two separate issues. We again emphasized that CUPE 3903 does not bargain away some members’ jobs in order to give other members basic access to clear, standardized and transparent hiring practices. The two issues have nothing to do with each other.

The Employer’s bargaining team then turned its attention to our Tuition and Funding bargaining proposals. Barry Miller, chief negotiator for the Employer, used what he called a “particular methodology,” which he admitted was more of an art than a science, to arrive at the big numbers he used in order to stress how “costly of our proposals” are. The Employer said a “hard no” to many of the proposals, and a “soft no” to a few of our proposals under the Tuition and Funding theme. Miller argued that there were significant increases in the Graduate Funding Assistance (GFA) in the 2011/12 negotiations, so he was not inclined to make any substantial increases in this round of bargaining.

He did note, however, that it might be possible to look at some improvements around the GFA once the “total compensation envelope” for all our proposals was known, i.e. when we finish presenting all our proposals. The most troubling statement made at the table, though, was when Miller said that, since Unit 3 members do not represent a “multi-year commitment” to the University, the Employer has no interest in increasing basic financial support to Unit 3 members. Given that Toronto is a very expensive city to live in, we’re asking only the minimum for our members to live in dignity.

The Employer’s assumption that Unit 1 and Unit 3 members’ underfunding problems were resolved the last time around is misplaced and wrong. The CUPE 3903 BT explained that past increases (through GFA) were simply folded into and under the minimum guarantee. So members’ overall funding packages did not actually increase. The increases gained in the last round of bargaining were just rolled into the total funding package that the University offers. Hence, the BT is seeking to add language stating that any GFA increases are over and above the current minimum guarantee.

At the end of negotiations on November 4, the BT made it clear to the Employer that our Tuition and Funding bargaining proposals are rooted in the commitment of CUPE 3903 Members to values of fairness, respect and dignity for our members. Unit 1 and Unit 3 members need to have enough financial resources to support themselves and their families, not only during the summer months, but also throughout the academic year.

Hence, the main focus of our proposals under this theme remains:

  • To provide a full tuition rebate for all graduate students, and double the GFA to $1,180
  • To abolish differential tuition fees for international graduate students
  • To raise the Unit 3 minimum guarantee to $15,000
  • To expand the sixth year of minimum guarantee funding

To help achieve these goals, please join the BT at the next bargaining meeting with the Employer, which will take place on Tuesday, November 11 at 2:30 p.m. in 305 York Lanes. An open bargaining pre-meeting will take place at 2:00 p.m. in the CUPE 3903 office, 143 Atkinson Building.

For the full list of bargaining-related meetings this semester, please see the Events section of the CUPE 3903 website.

Update on Unit 1 Bargaining Team vacancy

After being open for two weeks, the nomination period to fill the vacant position for Unit 1 member of the Bargaining Team closed on Monday, November 3 at 5:00 p.m.

Due to the withdrawal of one candidate and the incomplete nomination of another candidate, the Election Officers accepted only one nomination for the Unit 1 Bargaining Team by-election.

Therefore, it is the recommendation of the Election Officers that Alex Hunsberger be acclaimed as Unit 1 Bargaining Team member. His acclamation means that there are no more vacancies on the Bargaining Team.

For more information, please contact the Election Officers:

A Brief Guide to 3903-Speak!

The CUPE 3903 red-star logo

The CUPE 3903 red-star logo

 

A Short Primer on 3903-speak and acronyms

Prepared by Gregory C. Flemming, Grievance Officer

October, 2014

A

APE – Applicable Prior Experience. This is the measure of seniority used by 3903 and the Employer. The standard of measure is one full-year course directorship, which is comprised of three lecture hours. So, if your APE is 1, it means you’ve taught 1 course directorships or it’s equivalent, which could be (for example) three one-hour tutorial sections.

AAPR – Academic and Administrative Prioritization Review. This is a systems-review process being conducted by a private firm. It has been criticized by YUFA/OCUFA’s Craig Heron as being fundamentally flawed and a potential threat to higher education in Ontarion. http://ocufa.on.ca/assets/Dickeson-Right-for-Ontario-Craig-Heron.pdf

B

Bargaining Unit – A group of workers defined by a common set of criteria. Each bargaining unit has to be certified by the Ministry of Labour, and each has its Member’s work governed by a Collective Agreement (see CA). 3903 represents three bargaining units: graduate students (typically PhD students) who teach tutorials, director courses, and more (Unit 1); contract faculty who course-direct, mark/grade, teaching assist, and more, and who are not graduate students (Unit 2); graduate students (typically MA/MSc students) who do RAships and GAships (Unit 3).

Barry Miller – see Faculty Relations

BMC – Bargaining Mobilization Committee. This is simply the Stewards Council, renamed during negotiations because its central focus is mobilizing Members in order to ensure a successful round of negotiations.

BOG (“the bog”) – York University’s Board of Governors, primarily concerned with the finances of the University. For example, it was the BOG that okayed raising tuition for international students. Primarily made up of business leaders, lawyers, and other professionals. CUPE 3903 does not have representation on this body.

BT – CUPE 3903’s Bargaining Team, which negotiates new contracts (see CAs) with the Employer. When fully constituted, the BT consists of three representatives per bargaining unit and a non-voting recording secretary.

C

CA – short for Collective Agreement. These are the legal documents that outline the working conditions bargained for, and accepted by, an Employer and a Union. AKA “the contracts.” 3903 has three contracts, one for each bargaining unit.

Cap (“the Cap”) – Part of the seniority system. No 3903er can work more than a total of 5.5 courses per year. There is an additional maximum set, however, in that one can not teach more than 4.5 courses in the Fall/Winter semester. While one may work at 5.5, on can only accrue 3.0 worth of APE.

CD – Course Directorship. 3903ers are contracted to design and deliver courses at York, and are called ‘course directors’ (rather than, for example, professors or lecturers) in our CAs. ‘CD’ is shorthand for both the course that is taught and the person who teaches it.

CLA – Contractually Limited Appointment. This is a form of contract work that is offered under YUFA’s umbrella. It is a full time research and/or teaching position that is guaranteed for between 9 months and three years.

COLA (‘cola’) – the Cost of Living Allowance/Adjustment. Based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (something akin to the inflation rate), this is a number expressed as a percentage that represents increases in the costs associated with a pre-defined standard of living. To ask for COLA in a Collective Agreement (see CA) is to ask for increases to the worth of the contract that match increases in the cost of living.

CFS – the Canadian Federation of Students. A nationally based organization that advocates for students, represented on York’s campus by the YFS and YUGSA.

CUEW (“Cue double-u”) – acronym standing for the Canadian University Education Workers, a union to which 3903 was once affiliated. This union ceased to exist when the unions affiliated with it joined CUPE. See also Thirty-Nine Hundred Locals.

CUPE (‘q-p’) – The Canadian Union of Public Employees, a national union that represents over 500,000 public-sector workers across Canada. 3903 is a local union or branch of CUPE. See Local, Thirty-Nine Hundred Locals.

CUPE 1356 (‘q-p 13-56′) – a CUPE local on York Campus that represents janitorial, security, maintenance, and other staff in contract negotiations and grievance proceedings.

E

EHB – Extended Health Benefits Fund. This is a pool of money allotted to 3903 to allocate to Members who have medical needs above and beyond those covered by our benefits package.

“The Employer” – We are all members of the community called York University. In a labour context, “the University” doesn’t refer to the academic community, but to the representatives of the BOG. These representatives are employees of York’s Faculty Relations department. It is these reps particularly, and the University administration more generally, to which “the Employer” refers.

EO – stands for both Elections Officer and Equity Officer. The former is a 3903er elected to run elections and by-elections of the Executive Committee and the Bargaining Team. The latter is a part-time employee of the local who specializes in fighting for equity at the University.

F

Faculty Relations (FR) – essentially the HR department of York University. These are York Employees who represent the Board of Governors (see BOG) in negotiations with 3903, CUPE 1356, YUSA, YUFA, and other worker-representatives at York. They also handle grievances and disciplinary proceedings when these processes get to a late stage. The three people 3903 deals with most often from FR are Barry Miller, Rob Lawson, and their aid, Charles Bisram.

Federal Contractors Program (FCP) – A federal program, created in 1986, that requires provincially-regulated employers with 100 or more employees bidding on federal contracts of $1,000,000 (originally $200,000) or more to certify that they will implement employment equity measures.

FGS – Faculty of Graduate Studies. The University body that oversees rules and regulations having to do with graduate education at York.

FNSWG (“Fin-swig”) – The First-Nations Solidarity Working Group. This is a body within 3903 that organizes actions, does advocacy, etc., around issues of colonialism in Ontario, and is open to all members of 3903.

G

GFA – Graduate Financial Assistance. Money given to students to offset the cost of tuition, and guaranteed by clauses in the Unit 1 and Unit 3 CAs. See also Bargaining Unit.

GMM – General Membership Meeting. This is a forum in which 3903 Members make formal decisions about budgets, bargaining demands and strategy, and almost anything else that 3903 does. See also SGMM.

GA/GAship – a Graduate Assistant/ship. Typically, a masters student who aids in administrative or other work as a part of their funding package. See also RA, Bargaining Unit.

L

LMC – the Labour-Management Committee. This is a committee made up of representatives of the Union (3903) and representatives of the Employer (representing the University’s BOG). It meets monthly between bargaining rounds to discuss various issues as they arise. It also includes several sub-committees, including those on employment equity and racial discrimination. Because 3903’s four staff members are unionized as CUPE Local 1281, there is also an LMC between Local 3903 and Local 1281.

Local – short for “Local Union.” Local 3903 is affiliated with CUPE, and stands as a “Local Union” as opposed to the National Union (See CUPE). 3903 was once affiliated with the Canadian University Education Workers (CUEW), and known as Local 3.

LSTA – Long Service Teaching Appointment. This is a job security program that guarantees a certain level of work and compensation for a certain number of years. It is awarded to some, but not all, 3903ers who have worked at the University for a certain number of years and taught a certain number of courses.

N

NRA – Not only does the employer have to ensure that all work is publicly posted for a certain amount of time and at certain times of year. They also have to publicly name the person they’ve selected to take on a contract. This statement is known as a “Notice of Recommended Appointment.” This is to ensure that people who may have a rightful claim to that work have time to assert that claim.

O

OCAP (‘O-Cap’) – the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. This is an activist organization that has, over the years, enjoyed much support from 3903 and its Members. 3903 currently donates funds to OCAP that are used to cover the cost of renting their office space.

OCUFA (‘o-coo-fa’) – The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is an organization that represents 17,000 university faculty and academic librarians across Ontario. YUFA, at York, is a member.

OUWCC – Ontario University Workers Co-ordinating Committee. This is a committee attached to CUPE Ontario and made up of members from CUPE locals across the university sector, including 3903 and CUPE 1356. It is a forum in which co-ordinated bargaining proposals are discussed, research conducted and shared, etc.

P

PER – Professional Expense Reimbursement. An Employer-administered fund used to reimburse 3903ers for materials necessary for teaching. For example, it can be accessed by Members of Unit 2 (see bargaining unit) for electronics, and Members of Unit 1 for books required for TAships when books are not provided.

PDF – Professional Development Fund. This is a pool of money allotted to the Union to allocate to Union Members who undergo various forms of professional development, including presenting at/attending conferences, and taking classes.

“Point of Order” – said at a meeting of the Local by a Member when they feel that process is not being properly followed. Once said, the chair of the meeting must decide if process has in fact been contravened.

R

RA/RAship – refers to a Research Assistant, typically a Masters Student who is asked to do various forms of research for pay as part of their funding package. See GA, Bargaining Unit.

Rob Lawson – See Faculty Relations.

S

Seniority – A means of ensuring that people who have given the most service to the University are first in line to receive work. 3903’s seniority system is made up of at least 3 parts: APE, Incumbency, and years of service. “Incumbency” means that if you’ve taught a course once, you’re deemed qualified to teach it again for three years. Years of service are simply the number of years a 3903er has worked at the University at a certain teaching intensity, and can make one eligible for certain job security provisions of the CA.

SC – Refers to both Stewards Council and Strike Committee.

SGMM – Special General Membership Meeting. A GMM, but called for a specific topic of discussion. SGMMs can be called by the Executive Committee, or demanded by petition by the General Membership.

SRC – Special Renewable Contract. This was a job security program that gave 3903ers with many years of service at the University some measure of job security by guaranteeing them work. This program no longer exists.

Stewards Council – a Union body made up of Members interested in spreading information to other Members, organizing actions, helping Members through the grievance process, etc. During contract negotiations it is renamed the BMC. During a strike it is renamed the Strike Committee.

Strike Committee – if a strike is called, the Bargaining Mobilization Committee is renamed the Strike Committee to reflect its new focus: organizing the daily activities associated with a strike.

T

TFAC (“Tee-fac”) – the Trans-Feminist Action Caucus. All Trans, Woman Identified, Gender Queer and Gender Variant CUPE 3903 Members are automatically considered members of TFAC, and can attend meetings. The Caucus is used to plan actions, generate bargaining proposals, do advocacy, etc.

“3900 (thirty-nine hundred) Locals” – All the CUPE Locals in Ontario that represent academic workers at Ontario universities. CUPE 3902 represents workers at U of T, 3906 workers at McMaster, etc. See also CUPE, Local, CUEW.

‘Tickets’ – Also called ‘teaching tickets’ and ‘ticketed CDs’. This refers to Course Directorships done by 3903ers in Unit 1 (i.e. grad students). The Unit 1 CA allows for 35 of these positions across the University each academic year, with some addition positions in certain departments.

U

Unit – see Bargaining Unit.

Y

YFS – York Federation of Students. An organization that advocates for undergraduate students at York, affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Students. See also CFS.

YUFA (“You-fa”) – York University Faculty Association. The professional association that represents some classifications of librarians, York’s tenured faculty, and certain contract faculty, in contract negotiations with the Employer.

YUGSA (“Youg-sa”, “The GSA”) – the York University Graduate Students’ Association. An advocacy body that represents graduate students on campus. The YUGSA is affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Students.

YUSA (“You-sa”) – York University Staff Association. The professional association that represents York’s administrative assistants in contract negotiations.