The membership has voted to ratify the offers for the 2020–21 bargaining round.
1375 members (44.2%) of CUPE 3903 participated in the ratification vote held between July 19–23, 2021.
Units 1, 2, and 3 have voted 79.4%, 83.8% and 55.6% respectively, to accept the latest offers.
As part of the agreements, CUPE 3903 will continue to work towards greater equity and job security in the upcoming months by actively engaging in further committee work to improve the working conditions of precariously employed academic workers. Moreover, in the immediate weeks ahead, the executive and rank and file members will continue to work towards a safe return campaign, of paramount concern to our membership and the 60,000 people who make up the York community.
The inter-university coalition made up of the four Toronto-area universities have put out a press release to call for greater details and transparency in the fall 2021 return to campus directives issued by the provincial government and university administrations. At York, the administration is pushing ahead with an ill-prepared fall return despite the union’s objections (see chart), refusing to sign a Letter of Understanding that would keep everyone safe. The consequences of York’s irresponsible approach towards health and safety will be many, including jeopardising the lives of the people who serve and work in this community, most notably, persons with disabilities, the immunocompromised, and racialized people, who have been affected the most. The York community is comprised of nearly 60,000 people, whose lives will be put at risk because of the Administration’s “bottom line.” York must withdraw its hasty plans for a fall reopening, given proper measures have not been adequately considered or put in place.
Read the Press Release
July 12, 2021 02:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time
TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Education workers at York University have voted in favour of a strike mandate in response to the institution’s unwillingness to address racism and safety at the bargaining table.
The education workers comprising contract faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903.
CUPE 3903 is fighting for better employment equity, job stability, and a safe return to campus in the context of the pandemic, says Gizem Çakmak, CUPE 3903 bargaining team member.
The union wants the university to address the lack of representation from equity-seeking groups among contract faculty, and prioritize hiring Black and Indigenous teachers, women of colour and people with disabilities.
On Friday, July 16th, the Executive Committee and Bargaining Team for CUPE 3903 units 1, 2, and 3 voted to send renewal collective agreements to ratification. This is not a wholehearted recommendation; rather, we are turning to the membership for direction. The Bargaining Team was in negotiations for over 50 hours in the four days since July 12th and believes this is the best deal that can be reached without job action. After much discussion and deliberation, the BT and Executive Committee have decided to hold an SGMM to present this final offer to the membership. If you believe this deal is sufficient, vote yes; if you are willing to go further, vote no.
The progress made this week was the result of the strike mandate granted last week. The BT and Executive would like to thank every member who voted to support the BT’s efforts to bargain fair contracts for all three units.
On Friday, July 16th, the Executive Committee and Bargaining Team (BT) for CUPE 3903 units 1, 2, and 3 voted to send renewal collective agreements to ratification. This is not a wholehearted recommendation; rather, we are turning to the membership for direction. The BT bargained for over 50 hours between July 12th and 15th, and believes this is the best deal that can be reached without job action. If you believe this deal is sufficient, vote yes; if you are willing to go further, vote no.
The progress made this week was the result of the strike mandate granted last week. The BT and Executive Committee would like to thank every member who voted to support the Bargaining Team’s efforts to bargain fair contracts for all three units.
The ratification vote will take place via SimplyVoting between July 19th and 23rd. There will be an emergency Special General Membership Meeting to discuss the offer on Monday July 19th from 12-3pm. Register here in advance of the meeting.
You can read the full offers here: Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3. Below is a summary of what is and is not included in each offer.
Members of CUPE 3903 Units 1, 2, and 3 have voted strongly in favour of a strike mandate. A record number of members turned out in all three units to pass a strong majority backing a strike mandate. The electronic vote was held between July 5th and July 9th and you can see the full results by unit below.
Vote for a strong strike mandate! Why should you vote “yes” in the strike mandate vote? It’s because contract faculty need reliable and stable work, just as everyone else. However, the Employer has not engaged in meaningful discussion on job security programs in mediated bargaining with Chris Albertyn. While we have made significant movement on our part regarding committees, we want the Employer to retain the current 21 Long Service Teaching Appointments, many of which they are proposing to cut; we need a mandatory minimum guarantee for work for our Continuing Sessional Standing Program, and we want to see six conversions to full-time faculty.
CUPE 3903’s principles of job security state that we want security at all levels for the majority of our members. We need provisions that make work accessible for equity-seeking groups, and provisions for members to retire with dignity. We need steady, predictable and reliable work, a livable income and a manageable teaching intensity. Contract faculty are not a minority, and neither are we a second class of workers. CUPE 3903 does over 60% of the teaching: York works because we do!
See our progress on issues here.
Why vote “yes” in the strike mandate vote? It’s because we want to see bold movement on our equity proposals, which provide pathways for hiring a diverse teaching staff. With 3903’s equity proposals, York now has the opportunity to rectify the historical marginalization of underrepresented groups. Underrepresentation doesn’t just happen by accident, it arises from systemic discrimination, from anti-Black racism and colonization. When we talk about equity measures, we’re talking about taking active measures against racism and colonization.
By the Employer’s repeated public denouncements of anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism, by their public commitments to be on the side of change, to eliminate “discriminatory practices and systemic barriers to equal opportunity,” they have said that they will act. That time to act is now! Here is an opportunity. Do not look away from it. Do not say now that you cannot do it, that it is too much. To do so is to admit that those public statements were just empty PR.
More information on our equity proposals can be found here
Information on how to vote.
On July 6, 2021, CUPE 3903 filed an Unfair Labour Practices (ULP) complaint in response to York University’s refusal to bargain and insistence that the union promise to send an offer that the bargaining team has not seen to ratification. The union’s opposition to this ultimatum has been expressed previously.
A ULP is a legal complaint that can be filed by either a union or an employer to allege breaches of the Labour Relations Act. In this case, the union alleges that “York has failed to bargain in good faith and make every reasonable effort to make a collective agreement” by withholding bargaining dates and presenting the union with a ‘poison pill’ proposal that is impossible to agree to, i.e. agreeing to send proposals to ratification without seeing them first. Read the ULP filing here.
CUPE 3903 calls on the York University administration to cease with these bad faith tactics and come back to the bargaining table ready to talk. A negotiated settlement is both possible and likely if the employer returns to the table in good faith.
On July 3rd, the Employer declared that they refuse to continue bargaining after July 4th, unless the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team agrees to send a deal we have not seen to ratification before July 16th. On July 4th, the Employer sent the BT a letter, stating that if the Union does not agree to their ultimatum, they would only be willing to meet after the Strike Mandate Vote is concluded, despite the fact that we indicated that we are available and willing to continue bargaining without any interruptions, as early as July 6th.
This move further reinforces why every member needs to vote YES in the Strike Mandate Vote starting from July 5th to 9th. The Employer is clearly awaiting the results of the Strike Mandate Vote before presenting their best offer.