Executive Committee Elections: Candidate Statements


Nominations for the 2021-22 Executive Committee closed on February 28, with three contested positions: Treasurer, Vice President Unit 1 and Vice President Unit 2. The candidate statements for the contested positions are below. Voting for the contested positions (via Simply Voting) will start on March 16 at 5pm, and continue until March 21 at 5pm.

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Report Back: February 23 BT and February 26 Bargaining Meetings


Bargaining Team Meeting – February 23

The Bargaining Team met on February 23rd to review the Employer’s most recent proposals from February 16 and 18, implications of Bill 124 on our monetary proposals, and the benefits proposals recommended for inclusion in our package. We also prepared for the bargaining meeting with the Employer on Friday, February 26th. The Bargaining Team decided to focus on proposals relating to Nursing and Unit 3 at this meeting, as they are priorities for the Union in this round of bargaining. We also continued to prepare for the weekend bargaining sessions facilitated by mediator Chris Albertyn, which took place on February 27th and 28th. During these sessions, we continued to discuss job security measures. Members can see the Union’s job security proposals, as well as the counters exchanged by parties during the weekend session here

Bargaining Meeting with the Employer – February 26

The Bargaining Team met with the Employer on Friday February 26th. We would like to thank members in the room for attending as observers, as per our open bargaining practice.

The Employer presented one counter proposal for Unit 3, which is a proposed letter to CUPE on Graduate Assistants vs. Research Assistants. However, the Employer’s proposed letter does not address the ongoing misclassification of Graduate Assistants as Research Assistants. These misclassifications are a blatant violation of our collective agreement, and we continue to see new job postings advertising bargaining unit work as non-unionized RA positions despite an ongoing policy grievance. One of the Unit 3 core proposals for this bargaining round articulates the need for the Employer to adopt a review process to ensure that there are no longer misclassifications between RAs or GAs.

In addition to not having counters for the remaining Unit 3 proposals, the Employer also was not prepared to discuss our Nursing proposals. We reiterated that Unit 3 and Nursing proposals are some of the key priorities for the CUPE 3903 membership during this round of bargaining and requested that the Employer come prepared to discuss these proposals during our next bargaining meeting on March 8, 2021.

Next Meetings

Members are encouraged to join us for our upcoming bargaining meetings with the Employer. Dates and exact times of all meetings can be found on our calendar here. Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the meeting.

Members can also get in touch with the Bargaining Team for questions and comments.


Documents from February 26th, 27th, and 28th Bargaining and Mediation


The Bargaining Team met with the Employer for a bargaining meeting on Friday February 26th. The Union also continued engaging with mediator Chris Albertyn on Unit 2 job security proposals on Saturday February 27th and Sunday February 28th. A detailed report will be available shortly; below you can find the documents exchanged over these three days, as well as comparison charts prepared by the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team.

February 26th Bargaining Session

February 27th Mediation Session

February 28th Mediation Session

Comparison Charts – Union and Employer Proposals

General Elections Nominations


Nominations for the 2021-22 Executive Committee elections closed at 5pm on February 28. For contested positions, the campaigning period is open as of March 1st, and will continue until voting (via Simply Voting) opens at 5pm on March 16th. Members will receive a link and their voting credentials via email from Simply Voting. The election will conclude at 5pm on March 21st.

The list of nominees for the Executive Committee positions are below. Candidate statements for the contested positions will be posted on the evening of March 3.


Vanessa Lehan – acclaimed


Michael Laurentius
Sylvia Peacock

Recording Secretary: 

Jacob McLean – acclaimed

Communications Officer: 

Firoza Elavia – acclaimed

Grievance Officer: 

Parbattie Ramsarran – acclaimed

Vice President Unit 1:

Ali Gholami
Chris Little

Vice President Unit 2:

Julie Allen
Lina Nasr El Hag Ali

Vice President Unit 3: 

Rawan Abdelbaki – acclaimed

Chief Steward Unit 1: 

Alie Hermanutz – acclaimed

Chief Steward Unit 2: 

Christopher Bailey – acclaimed

Chief Steward Unit 3

No nominees.

Chief Steward Unit 4: 

Stephanie Power – acclaimed

TFAC Elections – Consider Nominating Yourself for TFAC Co-Chair!


The nomination period for the executive position of the Trans Feminist Action Caucus (TFAC) co-chair will open March 5, 2021 and will remain open until 5pm March 15, 2021. TFAC members of any unit are eligible for this position. All women, trans, gender queer and gender variant members of the local are automatically members of the TFAC whether or not you have ever attended a meeting. Please see below for a full description of the position’s responsibilities.

We welcome and strongly encourage involvement of persons with one or more disabilities, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirited, queer and trans persons, persons from racialized groups, and Indigenous persons.

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Campus Employee and Student Groups Issue Open Letter to York Board of Governors


Dear Board members,

We are writing to you in response to the year-end statements by Paul Tsaparis, Chair of the York University Board of Governors, and by Rhonda Lenton, President of York University. Mr. Tsaparis’s statement was emailed to faculty members on November 30, 2020. President Lenton’s statement was emailed to community members on December 17, 2020 and appears online here.

While we appreciate the positive and hopeful tone of these messages, especially in these challenging times, we believe they fall short of recognizing the difficult and trying circumstances our students, staff, and faculty have faced in the last year and, more importantly, continue to face in the year ahead. In particular, this failure to acknowledge the lived experience of most community members deepens our concern that York’s administration lacks a meaningful plan to turn things around.

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Nominations Open for Committee Positions – Deadline March 15th


Nominations are now open for the new annual terms of the following committee positions.  Interested members can email VP Unit 1 Stacey at cupe3903vpu1@gmail.com for more information or to nominate themselves. The deadline for nominations is noon, March 15th.
Nominees are welcome to send a short written candidate statement for inclusion in the AGM package if they wish, by no later than 5pm, March 12th. There will also be time at the AGM for candidates to make verbal statements.
  • Accessibility Committee (4 vacancies)
  • Advisory Committee on Race/Ethnic Relations, Discrimination and/or Harassment (2 vacancies)
  • All-University Pensions Committee (1 vacancy)
  • Archive Committee (2 vacancies)
  • Bargaining Research and Preparation Committee (3 vacancies)
  • Bilingualism Committee (2 vacancies)
  • Bursaries Committee (2 vacancies)
  • Communications Committee (4 vacancies)
  • CSEU Committee (2 vacancies)
  • CUPE Toronto District Council (6 vacancies)
  • Distribution Committee (6 vacancies)
  • Employment Equity Committee (3 vacancies)
  • Extended Health Benefits Committee (4 vacancies)
  • Forum moderators (2 vacancies)
  • Health & Safety Committee (14 vacancies)
  • International Graduate Students’ Committee (2 vacancies)
  • Labour-Management Committee (3 vanancies; one each unit 1, unit 2, unit 3)
  • Unit 4 Labour Management Committee (3 vacancies, unit 4 only)
  • Postings Officers (2 general vacancies; 1 nursing specific vacancy)
  • Unit 1 Research Costs Funds Committee (unit 1 only, 2 vacancies)
  • Research Leave Adjudicating Committee (Unit 2 only, 1 vacancy)
  • Senate Representative (1 representative, 1 alternate)
  • Teaching Development Fund Committee (Unit 2 only, 2 vacancies)
  • Toronto & York Region Labour Council (6 vacancies)
  • Union Trustees’ Committee (1 vacancy, 3 year term)
  • York University Pension Board of Trustees Representative (1 vacancy, 3 year yern)

Report Back: Mediated Weekend Bargaining Sessions with Chris Albertyn (February 20th and 21st)


February 14: Preliminary meeting with Chris Albertyn

At the bargaining meeting on January 22, the Employer and the Bargaining Team agreed that the parties could discuss Unit 2 job security provisions during intensive weekend bargaining sessions, facilitated by mediator Chris Albertyn. CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team met with Mr. Albertyn on February 14 for a preliminary meeting. Read the report back here.

February 20: First day of mediated bargaining

Chris Albertyn met with the Employer early in the day, and then with the Union in the afternoon. When the Employer joined us, they presented four proposals

  1. Their first proposal committed that half of the conversion recommendations outlined in Article 23 go to BIPOC members. 
  2. Their second proposal, the Continuing Appointment Program (CAP), was introduced as a job security program, and would allow eligible members of Unit 2 to apply for three-year contracts. 
  3. Their third proposal was a Letter of Understanding on the so-called Transitional Continuing Appointment (TCA), which would allow eligible members to apply for a three-year path to retirement and severance package during the life of the Collective Agreement. However, the Employer indicated that they were not yet ready to provide us with a severance proposal for the longest-serving members of 3903. 
  4. Their final proposal, which they marked “for discussion,” was on equity provisions around appointments, and would amend Article 12.04 to give BIPOC applicants priority among the pool of candidates with preferred and required qualifications.

Union caucus elaborated on the many concerns raised by the Employer’s proposals to Chris Albertyn. Much of the conversation focused on how limited the CAP proposal is in terms of providing actual job security to our members. Rather, it reproduces many of the limitations of the CSSP and LSTA: 

  1. The program would not be mandatory for hiring units;
  2. The eligibility criteria are excessive;
  3. There are many circumstances in which members who qualify for the program can later be dropped out of it, including “departmental inability to offer work”;
  4. Minimal payouts for falling short of the guarantee fail to disincentivize hiring units from doing so. 

The Union also identified significant issues with the Employer’s proposed equity hiring language, which would allow hiring units to override seniority, which makes it counterproductive in the context of mediated bargaining on job security. After hearing the Union’s concerns, Chris Albertyn advised us to prepare our response for presentation the following day.

February 21: Second day of mediated bargaining

The Bargaining Team met at 11am to discuss the Employer’s proposals from the previous day. We decided to reject two proposals (Continuing Appointment Program [CAP], and Transitional Continuing Appointment [TCA]) and to respond with counters on the remaining two (Affirmative Action [AA] and Equity Hiring [EE]). 

Our reasons for rejecting the CAP and TCA were multiple: 

  1. They are concessionary–meaning that, if these programs were accepted, they would represent losses from the current CA provisions. The concessions in the CAP are particularly apparent given the Employer’s stated intention for it to replace the LSTAs and the SRCs.
  2. They do not provide our members with any guarantee of work or real job security. This is again particularly the case with the CAP. The Employer indicated that while 206 members would be eligible for the program as designed, the lack of concrete commitment makes it such that there could be zero appointments made under the program.
  3. Both proposals are missing many of the crucial elements of our job security proposals, such as equity provisions. 
  4. The TCA is not continuous, there is no right to the program for eligible members, and its severance is very low. 

Further, those two proposals were inserted into the process by the Employer, rather than responding to our Albertyn Appointment job security proposal, where we have articulated several key areas that are important for providing continuous and concrete job security for our longest serving members. While the remaining two proposals are quite far from where we need them to be, they are actual counters to our proposals, and have a structure we believe we can work with.

At 12pm, we met with Chris Albertyn and expressed our positions (see points under a. above). Shortly thereafter, the Employer joined and heard from the BT their reasons for rejecting the proposals on CAI and TCA. Chris Albertyn then suggested a short caucus between members of the Employer’s BT, and the Unit 2 members of the 3903 BT and staff to lay out a plan on next steps, including the following week’s mediated bargaining sessions.

During this caucus, it was agreed that:

  1. The BT would counter the Employer’s proposal on Affirmative Action Program to make it more in line with Union’s original proposal on Affirmative Action/Conversion language. 
  2. The BT would also take back the Employer’s proposal on Equity Hiring to clarify the relationship between equity provisions and seniority.
  3. There was compatibility between the Employer’s TCA proposal and the CUPE 3903 proposals on the Albertyn appointments and post-retirement benefits. The Employer indicated their intention to rework their proposal around this compatibility. The BT indicated that we would also work on a counter proposal, and bring it to next weekend’s mediation session.
  4. The discussion on the Employer’s CAI proposal will be shelved for now to focus on the other job security measures, as suggested by Chris Albertyn.

The mediated bargaining sessions will continue the next weekend, on February 27. Members are encouraged to join us as observers, as per our open bargaining practice. The meeting calendar and the registration information can be found here. Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the meeting.

Members can also get in touch with the Bargaining Team for questions and comments.

The Bargaining Team’s Response to the Employer’s Interpretation of Bill 124


At the bargaining meeting on December 17, 2020, the Employer put forward an interpretation of Bill 124 (the bill enacting the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act) that the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team felt was concerning. Namely, the Employer argued that “compensation”, as it was defined in the Bill, included the cost of penalties within the Collective Agreement, and that any workload reduction (including caps on class sizes) were in-effect a compensation increase. The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team at the time rejected this understanding. At the December 22 bargaining meeting, we reiterated our position and asked for a written statement from the Employer, outlining their understanding of Bill 124. CUPE 3903 received this statement on January 19, 2021.

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Fundraiser for Chantelle Krupka and Michael Headley


The Malton People’s Movement (MPM) is asking individuals and CUPE 3903’s help in fundraising for Chantelle Krupka and Michael Headley. Chantelle and Michael survived a violent police attack at the hands of Peel Regional Police and have been on the front lines fighting against police brutality ever since.

On May 10, 2020, Mother’s Day, Chantelle and Michael — who were both unarmed and several feet away — were tasered outside of their home by Officer Tyler Bell-Morena. Chantelle was then shot in the stomach by ex-Officer Valerie Briffa and underwent two major surgeries. In the days following this violent attack by Peel police, healthcare professionals supposedly responsible for Chantelle neglected her care and chose to instead follow the narrative and assumptions about her from Peel police. She continues to experience chronic medical issues as a result of the police attack.
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Report Back: Bargaining Team Meeting on February 10th (11–12:30pm)


The Bargaining Team met on February 10th and discussed strategies to make report-backs at general membership meetings more efficient, and strategized for the upcoming weekend bargaining sessions on February 14th, 20th and 21st. These sessions will be dedicated to discussing job security programs for Unit 2, facilitated by mediator Chris Albertyn. Members can see the Union’s latest proposal package here. During these weekend sessions, we will focus on the job security measures articulated in proposals 9, 30, 35, 36, 40, 41, and 42.

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Nominations Open – 13 Delegates for the 57th Annual CUPE Ontario Convention – Deadline Friday, March 5th


CUPE 3903 is sending 13 delegates to the 57th Annual CUPE Ontario Convention. The virtual convention will commence on May 26th, and will conclude on Friday May 28th. Any members who wish to nominate themselves can email Stacey Berquist, Vice President Unit 1. Nominations will close on Friday March 5th.

COVID-19 Emergency Isolation Fund for Precarious Migrants


The FCJ Refugee Centre, with the support of the City of Toronto, has funding which can support individuals or families that do not have access to either Ontario Works or federal support. This fund is available to any migrant worker, people without status, or international students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and need to be in isolation. This is a one-time fund.
For more information, please view the FCJ Refugee Centre Flyer

Notice – Meetings with the Employer in February and March


All members are encouraged to come and observe.
All Zoom registration links have been posted on the Calendar.

In order to register, you will need to provide your employee number, which will be kept confidential. Your employee number is on your monthly pay stub. If you don’t know your employee number, please click here for instructions.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the meeting.

February 16: 12-3pm
February 18: 12-3pm
February 19: 12-3pm
February 26: 12-2pm

March 8:   12-3pm
March 19: 12-3pm
March 23 – 1:30-5pm
March 29: 12-3pm

Self-Identification Survey – Please Complete and Return


In this round of bargaining, one of the key issues that the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team is focusing on is employment equity. To gauge who we are as a collective, and what direction our needs and priorities should take, an accurate understanding of the composition of our membership is necessary. For this reason, it is imperative that 3903 members complete the self-identification survey sent by Annette Boodram, York’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer. The information received will be sent to the HR protected area, anonymized, compiled into data, and then sent to our CUPE 3903 Equity Officer. Please note that according to the Ontario Human Rights Code, all information provided, is by law, kept confidential.

This data will help craft and develop policies, and thereafter, could be inscribed into our Collective Agreements. With this crucial information, it will be possible to make our local an equitable place of employment, a highly desirable objective.

Please read Annette Boodram’s letter here.
Link to Self-Identification Survey.

Please note that you will need your employee number (not your student number).
If you do not have quick access to your pay stub, contact Annette Boodram, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer or Rob Lawson, Associate Director, Faculty Relations, to obtain your employee number.

February 2021 York U Pension Fund Newsletter

Members might be interested in the below link that contains information about the York University Pension Fund, sent on behalf of the Pension Investment office:

The February 2021 Pension Newsletter is posted on the Pension Fund website. No YU Link access is required for viewing the newsletter. Please click here to view the Pension Newsletter for February 2021.