Meet the Candidates for Grievance Officer

The nomination period for the Grievance Officer by-election ended on Tuesday November 7 at 5 pm. As the position is contested, the campaigning period has begun. Voting will open at the November 21 General Membership Meeting and continue for five days.

Keele Campus Polling Station:
Vari Hall link (between Vari Hall and Central Square), from 9 am to 5 pm.

Glendon Campus Polling Station:
Outside the Cafeteria (across from York Hall, Room 170), from 11 am to 3 pm.

Candidate statements are below.

Continue reading

Nov. 21 – Tentative GMM Agenda

General Membership Meeting
Tuesday, Nov. 21
Location: Harry Crowe, 109 Atkinson

Join and share the event on Facebook here!


  1. Roll Call of Officers
  2. Reading of the Equity Statement
  3. Reading of the Mississauga Land Acknowledgement
  4. Approval of Agenda
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Opening of Grievance Officer By-Election
  7. Notices of Motion
    1. Donation to Saron Legal Professional Corporation – Nelson’s Legal Defense Fund
    2. Donation to Urban Alliance on Race Relations
  8. Matters Arising
    1. Changing the Name of the ‘Miscellaneous Working Groups’ budget line to ‘Anti-Racism Working Group’
    2. Donation to Toronto Overdose Prevention Society ($2,500)
    3. Delegation to Labour Notes Conference
  9. Committee Updates & Reports
    1. Accessibility Committee Report on 8th Line Preparations
    2. Communications Committee Report
    3. Bargaining Mobilization Committee Report
    4. Report from Bargaining Team
    5. Discussion
  10. Executive Reports
  11. Adjournment

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.


Executive Committee Vacancy: Chief Steward Unit 3

Sandra Noel will be resigning from the position of Chief Steward Unit 3 effective December 2. Thank you Sandra for your great work advocating for Unit 3!

Nominations are now open to fill this vacancy, and will close on November 29 at 5pm. This position is open to any member of Unit 3 (graduate assistants) in good standing. Candidates must fill out a nomination form, available at the CUPE 3903 office (143 Atkinson), and sign the register. The nomination form must be signed by two members of Unit 3.

Candidates are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the position duties as described in the CUPE 3903 bylaws.

Poll Clerks Needed – $15/hr

Poll clerks and poll supervisors are needed to staff polling stations during the Grievance Officer by-election on November 22-24 and 27-28. These positions are paid $15/hr. Only members of CUPE 3903 may apply. Preference will be given to members with previous poll clerk experience, though all members are encouraged to apply. Poll clerks may work multiple shifts.

Shifts at the Keele Campus polling station are usually from 8:45 am to 1:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:15 pm. Shifts at the Glendon polling station are usually from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. There will be one polling station at Keele Campus and one at Glendon campus on the following spots:

Keele Campus Polling Station:
Vari Hall link (between Vari Hall and Central Square)

Glendon Campus Polling Station:
Outside the Cafeteria (across from York Hall, Room 170)

If you are interested in working as a poll clerk, please email In your email, please indicate:

  • the exact shift(s) that you can work,
  • your cell phone number,
  • whether you have any experience,
  • whether you can bring a laptop,
  • and the Unit you belong to.

November 13 Bargaining Update: Discussion of Equity Proposals, Unit 1 Funding, LSTAs, Student Evaluations

The CUPE 3903 bargaining team met with the employer on Monday, November 13. From the outset, York’s lawyer introduced a new agenda item solely to berate the bargaining team. This lawyer, Simon Mortimer, threatened rank-and-file members of the union with discipline as an employee, or discipline for breach of the student code of conduct, for taking photos inside the negotiating room.

The CUPE 3903 bargaining team affirms and upholds the principle of open bargaining in the highest possible terms. We reject the employer’s threats made against the membership. We will not be intimidated by hollow paternalism from Bay Street lawyers. The membership is the highest decision-making body in the union and a source of strength for the bargaining team.

The bargaining team will not tolerate delay and/or intimidation tactics.
We have work to do: Let’s work.

Equity Proposals

Following a caucus, the employer responded to some of the equity proposals we presented two meetings ago. They rejected the proposal to hire an ASL interpreter. They also said they are looking into the physical space requirements for the breastfeeding facilities. The employer tabled counter proposals in response to changes to Unit 1 academic and priority pool extensions (proposals 91 and 92 of our proposals package) that uses the language “protected grounds” instead of “disability or disabilities and/or, marital-, and/or family-status obligations”. They countered our detailed accommodations procedure for all three units (proposal 94) with a commitment to consultation with CUPE 3903 regarding accommodations. Finally, the employer presented a counter “recognizing” the barriers faced by LGBTQ people, but refused to include LGBTQ as an equity-seeking group. York’s lawyer even said that they could not add a group that is not protected by the Federal Contractors Program, and suggested that doing so would pave the way for white men to be recognized as an equity seeking group. This further shows that the employer is not taking equity seriously. The CUPE 3903 bargaining team is firmly committed to the principles of equity and accessibility and will continue to push as hard as we can on these matters.
Continue reading

Threatening Our Members is Unacceptable

Rob Lawson and Barry Miller in 2015.

Until this round of bargaining, taking pictures of the employer (during and outside of bargaining) has never been a problem. Here is Barry Miller and Rob Lawson, shared on Twitter in 2015.

Threatening CUPE 3903 members for expressing themselves about union matters is completely unacceptable. Similarly unacceptable is the fact that this needs to be stated at all.

On Monday, November 13, the York University bargaining team walked into our bargaining meeting and immediately started berating the bargaining team (BT) about pictures of the employer’s team shared on Twitter.

The BT and executive committee members present had no idea what they were talking about. While our own account is often critical of York’s team, we have not shared pictures of their bargaining team following a conversation on that exact topic on October 16. The agreement that pictures of the employer’s bargaining team would not be shared was already a major concession to the employer’s restrictive definition of respect. In previous rounds, pictures were common and there were no complaints.

It was eventually clarified that they were upset that rank and file members had tweeted picture(s) of them at a previous meeting. It is ludicrous for the employer to suggest that the union can or should control what individual members are sharing on social media.

The union’s BT members take their positions seriously and do not appreciate derailing of discussions on the table (as outlined in the agenda sent in advance to the employer, as established on opening day). If the employer would like to discuss rules of engagement, they are welcome to openly communicate this in advance by adding it as an agenda item. Sidetracking bargaining in this way is designed to exhaust our BT before we even get started.

What is most disturbing about this, however, is the threat which was levelled against our members. The BT clarified once more that open bargaining was part of the protocols approved by the membership. The employer responded with a threat: if the BT was unwilling to somehow prevent individuals from using social media, the employer would take action against those members as either an employment issue (presumably an Article 8 discipline case) or a Student Code of Conduct issue.

This is outrageous. It is bad enough to threaten to discipline someone for utilizing social media in a way that is perfectly legal (there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public meeting). The idea of targeting our members, for union activities, through their student status is beyond the pale, as it would strip them of the union representation they would at least be guaranteed in an employment discipline process. Every member of a union should be entitled to protections while working for or talking about their union or their employer. Anything else would be a reprisal.

This tactic is an intimidation power play from our employer. Our bargaining team was not intimidated. The CUPE 3903 BT and Executive Committee will not be telling anyone what they can and can’t tweet or otherwise share on social media. But we do commit to defend any member who is unfairly targeted by our employer, to the fullest of our capacities.

November 6 Bargaining Update: Equity Continued and Job Security

On Monday, November 6, the CUPE 3903 and York University bargaining teams met to continue discussing CUPE 3903’s equity proposals and to present the Unit 2 job security proposals (numbered 50 through 74 in CUPE 3903’s bargaining proposal package). Overall, we are disappointed that the employer does not seem to take equity proposals seriously. We are also very far apart when it comes to job security.

Thank you to the rank-and-file members who attended the meeting. Open bargaining and membership mobilization are the source of our strength. The next meeting will be on Monday, November 13 at 10 am in the Harry Crowe room, 109 Atkinson. The employer will be presenting the details for their Unit 1 funding plan.

Outstanding Labour Management Issues

The ongoing issue of Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP) payouts has finally been addressed by Rob Lawson of Faculty Relations, who confirmed that members who are owed a payout will receive it with the November paycheck.

CUPE 3903 highlighted another example of the employer contravening the Collective Agreements and failing to provide required information to the union. Departments have been inconsistent in meeting the CA requirements to post lists of hiring unit appointments for Units 1, 2 and 3 to departmental bulletin boards as well as providing them to the union. Rob Lawson has indicated he will email departmental administrators, reminding them of this requirement.

Another labour management matter is that the employer has suddenly stopped paying for the dependents of UHIP recipients. Previously, dependents have typically been covered. This change is a violation of two parts of the Unit 1 and Unit 3 CAs (15.14/15.20 in U1 and 20/23 in U3). Mario Verrilli (FGS) says they can no longer cover these costs due to a growing international student population. However, he failed to reference the two CA funds mentioned above which are available to cover these costs. We requested the accounting of the funds and the employer has agreed to provide us with this information.

Continuing our discussion on Article 22 and the employer’s failure to produce phone numbers and emails for the majority of members, Rob Lawson now claims the data can in fact be pulled, and will request that this information be pulled for the union. The bargaining team and staff have spent multiple sessions prior to and in bargaining, asking for this information.

Equity Proposals Continued

Continuing last week’s negotiations on equity proposals, the union provided revisions to proposals 82, 82 and 90 to provide greater clarity on our benchmark for equity hires based on the GTA census data.

The employer continued to rehash matters the union thought were settled in the previous meeting. These included questions about the current availability of breastfeeding facilities on campus. The employer pointed to inadequate facilities such as two daycare centres on campus. Our members need more accessible facilities (one example being a site at Glendon). The same attitude was taken when addressing our proposal for ASL interpreters, with the employer suggestion a computer program fitted to convey ASL online. Our proposals exist because the current institutional resources are not meeting people’s needs. York needs to take this seriously if they are to tout their commitment to equity.

After the lunch break, the union expressed its disappointment with the employer and negotiations thus far. The union expected sign-offs for equity proposals presented the week before for which the employer raised no questions or concerns. The lack of movement on proposals that would simply bring our Collective Agreements in line with existing legislation and human rights rulings is disappointing.

Job Security

Unit 2 members of the bargaining team delivered a presentation on job security, proposals 50 through 74. The presentation was framed in the context of Bill 148; the “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act”, and York University’s Academic Plan 2015-2020, which details York’s stated commitment to increasing the number of full-time jobs. U2 BT members addressed the reality of precarious work for contract faculty, along with the lack of respect and representation U2 members are afforded within the broader university. U2 BT members brought data on the gender and sessional wage gaps, pointed to York’s stated commitment to “seven Inclusive Excellence Principles to advance equity, diversity and inclusion on campus and in society” – brought forward by the Universities Canada’s Board of Directors and Education Committee – and touched on the continuing success of the Conversion program.

The employer is standing firm on Contractually Limited Appointments (CLAs) as an alternative to the Conversion program. The employer’s attempt at trading off conversions for CLAs, which are temporary positions, is a major concession.

Setting the Stage for Unit 1 Funding

Finally, the employer provided the union with some documents on the proposed new funding language for Unit 1 along with their position on teaching evaluations as the session came to a close. We expect to pick up these two issues next session.

Committee Vacancies

There are currently two committees with vacancies: the Accessibility Committee and the International Graduate Students Committee. A description of each committee can be found below. If you would like to get involved, sitting on a committee (or two!) is a great way to contribute to your local. Every committee position includes an honorarium.

The nomination period is open until November 20, 5 pm. To nominate yourself, email Hossein at Contested positions will be elected at the November 21 General Membership Meeting.

Continue reading

Call Out for Membership Bargaining Commentators

Are you interested in CUPE 3903’s bargaining, but not sure where to start? Do you love writing, tweeting, making memes, or expressing yourself in any way? Or do you have something you’re just itching to say? The CUPE 3903 Communications Committee would love to hear from you!

The CUPE 3903 Communications Committee is looking to start a new initiative to get more different voices from our local heard and keep everyone informed.

We are looking for members of CUPE 3903 who do not hold an official position (including committee members and departmental stewards) and are willing to attend bargaining or mobilization events and produce communications materials (e.g. report backs, memes, rants, tweets, e-mails, social media posts). We want to hear from members from all departments, units, social positions, and therefore we would only review for truly unacceptable language or personal attacks. Anything else goes!

We are currently trying to gauge interest in this initiative. If there is interest, we would attach an small honorarium in recognition of the time commitment involved in keeping up with bargaining. If you would like to participate, please leave your name and email address in the form below.

**Please be advised that this initiative is not connected with the Rank and File Network. If you would like to get involved with the Rank and File Network, please contact them directly.**

Rank and file bargaining commentators

Sondage sur le bilinguisme au sein du SCFP 3903

[English follows]

Créé en 2016, le Comité du bilinguisme du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique section locale 3903 (SCFP 3903) a le mandat d’identifier et de combler les besoins de notre syndicat en ce qui concerne l’inclusion des membres francophones, y compris la traduction.

Cette année, le comité entreprend la création d’une politique de bilinguisme pour le SCFP 3903. Pour ce faire, nous vous demandons de nous aider en identifiant vos besoins. Veuillez s’il-vous-plait prendre quelques instants pour répondre à notre bref sondage.

Sondage sur le bilinguisme au sein du SCFP 3903

Continue reading