Bargaining update #7

Banner and flags silhouette

Demonstrators Silhouette (Image)

Items in this update: 

  • Bargaining news
  • ‘What’s our vision? Free tuition!’
  • Upcoming meetings, including fall bargaining meetings with the Employer
  • Communications update

Bargaining news

The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) met once again with the Employer on Tuesday, October 14. The BT presented the remainder of the Union’s Equity and Transparency bargaining proposals, highlighting in particular those stipulating that the Employer collect equity-group data on graduate school applicants as well as applicants for contract teaching positions at the university. The BT also signed off on one of the Employer’s non-monetary proposals.

Although the Employer refused to move on these proposals, its bargaining team did table ‘counters’ to a handful of the Union’s Equity and Transparency proposals. These ‘counters’ came in response to last week’s meeting, during which BT members expressed frustration with the Employer’s overall lack of movement at the table. For instance, although the BT long ago tabled the majority of the Union’s proposals, the Employer has continuously refused to come back with a package of its own. And until this past week, the Employer failed to respond to any of the Union’s proposals with written counter-proposals.

One of the Employer’s ‘counters’ relates to the Union’s proposal to have the university implement consistent and transparent hiring processes for Teaching Assistant, Graduate Assistant and Unit 1 ‘ticketed’ Course Director positions. Currently, the application process differs across the university – and in certain departments remains entirely unadvertised! One of the Union’s proposals is therefore to make the application process transparent and consistent across the university. Although the Employer expressed some willingness to agree to this particular proposal, its bargaining team also indicated that it considers the implementation of a more transparent hiring process to be conditional upon the Union’s acceptance of a substantial increase in the overall number of ‘tickets,’ which allow Unit 1 members to take on temporary Course Directorships. The Union has long held that such an increase would constitute a concession, since an increase in the number of ‘tickets’ would entail a shifting of work out of the Unit 2 bargaining unit, away from both current and future contract faculty members at York. In an era where there are fewer opportunities for tenure-stream positions, contract teaching in Unit 2 is one of the few areas where graduates of York can find academic employment upon completion of their 6-year minimum guarantee. Hence, it is important that this work be preserved in Unit 2 since, in the long run, it will serve all of us better.

The Employer claims that offering Unit 1 members Course Directorships amounts to professional development. Lecturing is indeed a rewarding experience that can help one hone one’s skills. However, being made to do so without mentorship, with little or no formal teaching training, and little in the way of actual skills-building support can make this kind of work hugely taxing on students completing their coursework, comprehensive exams, and dissertations. Supporting professional development means more than simply throwing students into a Course Directorship. It means offering training and proper monetary support to all aspects of a graduate education. CUPE 3903 has proposals that it will soon be presenting that seek to achieve just that.

The BT continues to wait for a formal response from the Employer on the majority of the Equity and Transparency proposals that have been presented over the past few weeks of negotiations – as well as on the Union’s other proposals. In an effort to expedite the process, the BT ended today’s meeting by requesting that the Employer come back with written responses to the Equity and Transparency bargaining proposals that have already been tabled.

‘What’s our vision? Free tuition!’

From the people who brought you the flash mob…

CUPE 3903 ‘Vision Parade’
Tuesday, October 21
1:00 p.m.
Meet beside the Scott Library
(in the ‘bear pit’)

Everyone out! As many of you know, York University has a contest in which students can offer their vision of a better York for a chance to win free tuition. We thought York should hear from us. What’s our vision? Free tuition! Job security! Free speech! But we need your help!

Join us for our ‘Vision Parade!’ Bring costumes! Bring musical instruments! Most importantly, bring co-workers! We will be meeting in the ‘bear pit’ beside the Scott Library on Tuesday, October 21 at 1:00 p.m. At 1:20 p.m. SHARP, we will march to Vari Hall and through York Lanes, encouraging students to join us as we deliver our vision directly to York University. Then, we will march to the open bargaining meeting with the Employer at 3:30 p.m.

Tired of boring union meetings? Then let’s have some fun and raise some hell!

What’s our vision? Free tuition!
What’s our vision? Free tuition!
What’s our vision? Free tuition!
Job security now!

Organized by the Bargaining Mobilization Committee

Upcoming meetings

The next bargaining meeting with the Employer will take place on Tuesday, October 21 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in S752 Ross Building. A pre-meeting on open bargaining will take place beforehand at 3:00 p.m. in the CUPE 3903 office, 143 Atkinson Building.

All bargaining meetings with the Employer for the rest of the fall semester have now been posted in the Events sections of the website:

If necessary, additional bargaining meetings with the Employer may take place on the Fridays following each of these meetings. If another meeting is scheduled, an announcement will be circulated to the members and posted online.

All bargaining meetings with the Employer are open to CUPE 3903 members, and details of the meetings are posted regularly on the website. Visit Events for more information.

All Bargaining Team meetings are also open to CUPE 3903 members. Visit Events for more information.

The next General Membership Meeting (GMM) will take place on Wednesday, October 22 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in 205 Accolade West Building (ACW)Join and share on Facebook. GMMs are held once a month, and are the highest decision-making bodies of CUPE 3903. All CUPE 3903 members are encouraged to attend and participate in GMMs.

The next Bargaining Mobilization Committee Meeting (BMC) will take place on Wednesday, October 22 at 2:30 p.m. (location TBA). Please note: the Wednesday BMC meeting replaces the BMC meeting that had been scheduled for Thursday, October 23. The BMC is a space where you can help organize actions, departmental consultations, and other events that engage and mobilize CUPE 3903 members. At this stage in bargaining, BMC meetings take place once a week. Visit Events for more information.

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.

Communications update

All bargaining-related news continues to be added to the bargaining section on the CUPE 3903 website, and emailed to members in the weekly CUPE 3903 Newsletter. Bargaining updates will also now be emailed to members as stand-alone updates as soon as they are produced. To subscribe to the CUPE 3903 Newsletter, please follow these links.

For more information about bargaining, please email

To get involved in the Bargaining Mobilization Committee, please email