Items in this update:
- Bargaining news
- Upcoming meetings
- Pictures from the bargaining meeting
CUPE 3903 contract faculty do over half the teaching that occurs at York, but enjoy almost no job security whatsoever. Contract faculty at York University must apply for their jobs every 12 months, regardless of how long they’ve been members of the York community. Some members have been providing quality teaching at this university for over 20 years, but still cannot be sure what their working life will look like from one year to the next. This is not just a problem for each individual instructor, but also for university education as a whole: instability in our working lives means instability in the learning conditions of our students.
At the bargaining table on November 25, the Bargaining Team presented a new vision of how contract workers will be hired by the University, a system in which work will be made more predictable at both the top and the bottom of the seniority scale. In place of the separate job security programs now in effect – Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs) and “conversion” into tenure-stream positions, for example – 3903 proposed an interlocking, integrated job security program:
- Members who now teach, or come to teach, at least one Course Directorship (CD) (or equivalent) per year for three years would be guaranteed their average amount of work from year to year. When work isn’t available, Members would be paid a portion of their lost salary. CUPE 3903 is calling this “Continuing Sessional Status.” This will give CUPE 3903 members at least a modicum of secure work and income, and thereby also help low-seniority Members accrue more seniority, while stabilizing long-service Members who teach only one or two courses a year.
- After five years of Continuing Sessional Status, Members who have taught an average of 2.5 CDs (or equivalent) would be granted Long Service Teaching Appointments, which guarantee at least 3.5 CDs of work at an increased rate of compensation (an additional 0.5 CD’s worth of pay per course). These contracts would last for five years, and be renewable upon request at the end of each five-year term.
- Building one’s course load and years of service with the above two programs, Members with PhDs would become eligible to enter the Conversion/Affirmative Action Pool and automatically be offered a tenure-track job within the York University Faculty Association (YUFA). Members would be given the option of taking an alternate-stream (also called a teaching-stream) or an academic-stream position. Members who decide not to opt for Conversion would simply maintain their LSTA or Continuing Sessional Status within Unit 2.
- York would also be obligated to post all tenure-track positions (both alternate- and academic-streams) and all Contractually Limited Appointments (CLAs) internally before launching an external search. This means all positions would be advertised to CUPE 3903 members before any external candidates are entertained. We pointed out that Harvard currently does this, as well as Seneca, so why not York?
This is an ambitious yet realistic set of proposals – and one that will benefit all involved: CUPE 3903 contract faculty, students, and York as a whole. (Read the full set of proposals and see the presentation here.) Implementing these new programs will give us a stable basis from which to plan our lessons and conduct our research. Because precarity is a major obstacle to quality higher education, York students will also benefit from this new language on job security.
The response given to the Bargaining Team by the twenty or so Members present was enthusiastic and overwhelming: cheers and raucous applause. For many, many years, contract faculty at York have been forced to work precarious jobs at the bottom tier of a two-tiered faculty employment system. It’s time for change.
The Employer has not yet responded to these proposal but will likely reply at our next meeting.
Now is our chance to show everyone that a better York is possible.
Join us at the next bargaining meeting, and show the Employer that precarious employment at York has to come to an end!
On Tuesday, December 2 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. the BT and the Employer will meet to continue discussing the Union’s Job Security and Workload proposals and to introduce its 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.firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Pictures from the bargaining meeting