Bargaining update #16

A silhouette of people carrying a banner and placards

A silhouette of people carrying a banner and placards

Items in this update: 

  • Bargaining news
  • Upcoming meetings

Bargaining news

The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) and the Employer met Tuesday, January 13, 2015, for an afternoon bargaining session. The Employer had requested a meeting prior to the scheduled meetings with the Conciliator on January 16 and 19. The BT agreed in order to maximize opportunities for negotiation.

At this meeting, the Employer indicated it would revise its position on a number of issues. Its bargaining team completely withdrew its concessions on technology language for Units 1 and 2, but did not withdraw its request to increase the number of “ticketed” course directorships in Unit 1. However, the Employer indicated that it would table revised language designed to ensure that the increase in tickets corresponds to the increase in the population of PhD students since the number of tickets was last expanded in 1993. The Employer maintained its request to allow the results of student evaluations to be made available to students, and asked the Union to reconsider its position. The BT indicated we would consult with the membership on these matters.

The Employer clarified that increases to Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA) provisions achieved in the last round of bargaining did not result in offsets in student funding packages. The BT is further investigating this matter to ensure any increases to the GFA not result in reduced funds elsewhere. The BT also pointed out that the Employer had offered a 1% GFA increase over the life of the Collective Agreement, rather than per annum, as it had with wages, where the Employer claimed it was moving all compensation items in sync. The Employer responded that it had intended its language to indicate a per annum increase and that it would revise its proposals accordingly. The BT made clear that we were asking for this correction without prejudice to our position on the amount of the increase, which in our opinion remains too low.

The Employer responded to the BT’s earlier request for concrete action on relief for international students, who have recently been hit by massive tuition fee hikes, by indicating that it is willing to provide some additional compensation in the context of a broader monetary settlement. The Employer did not table a written counter-proposal, however. The BT repeated its request that the Employer make a financially substantial written offer in response to the Union’s proposal to equalize international and domestic tuition fees for CUPE 3903 members.

On the topic of job security, the Employer revised its counter-proposal to the Union’s proposal for Continuing Sessional Status, which the Employer calls Advanced Appointment Standing (or AAS, though the Employer is renaming the program to avoid a potentially awkward acronym). In particular, the Employer removed the requirement for Unit 2 members to have eight years of service before being eligible for the program, leaving the sole eligibility requirement that the applicant must have taught at a teaching intensity of at least 2.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) for the previous three years. The BT is carefully considering its response in consultation with the membership as the Employer’s and Union’s proposals on this matter remain quite different, particularly with respect to the Employer’s emphasis on incumbency in its proposal.

With respect to the Union’s proposals to treat contract faculty as internal candidates for Contractually Limited Appointments (CLAs) and tenure-track positions (including the Alternate Stream), the Employer reiterated its wish to limit the number of internal candidates in favour of hiring externally. The Employer further indicated that the rate of tenure-stream hiring is very low, anticipating only nine hires in both streams over the coming year. The Employer did not indicate that it would rescind its demand to reduce annual conversions from two to one.

The BT is pleased that the Employer is beginning to show movement on several items important to the Union, and believes this is the result of the Union’s mobilization so far. However, there remains much work to be done before the BT will have an agreement it can recommend to the membership.

Upcoming meetings

The BT encourages members to show their support and offer their input by attending upcoming bargaining sessions. This Friday, January 16, the BT and Employer will meet all day with the Conciliator – an official appointed by the Ministry of Labour – to continue negotiations. The parties will also meet all day on Monday, January 19.

For more information about upcoming meetings, please visit the Events section of the website.

From January 26 to 30, members will have the opportunity to vote for a strike mandate. The BT encourages a strong “yes” vote in order to help fight concessions and win improvements in our Collective Agreement. As part of the mobilization for a strike mandate vote, the Union will host two Special General Membership Meetings (SGMMs) that will deal exclusively with strike vote issues. The SGMMs will take place on Friday, January 23 and Tuesday, January 27.

For more information about bargaining, please visit the Bargaining section of the website.

To get involved in the mobilization, please email or

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.