After the strike vote, what happens next?

A large stack of ballot boxes for the CUPE 3903 strike mandate vote

A large stack of ballot boxes for the CUPE 3903 strike mandate vote

Members of CUPE 3903 have voted 79.17 per cent in favour of a strike mandate, after conducting a poll from January 26 to 30. Over 40 per cent of the union’s 3,700 members cast ballots, the largest turnout in ten years. The full results are available here.

So what happens next?

First, we need to keep bargaining.

CUPE 3903 held this strike vote to show the Employer that we’re serious about our proposals, and to kick-start the bargaining process. With a nearly 80-per cent strike mandate, our members have sent a loud and clear message to the administration: to avoid a strike, the university must now make significant movement at the bargaining table.

The next bargaining meeting with the Employer and the provincially appointed conciliator will take place on Monday, February 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in 280N York Lanes. We encourage as many members as possible to attend this meeting, to show your support for the Bargaining Team and for the union’s demands.

The next day, please attend the Special General Membership Meeting on bargaining priorities, which will take place on Tuesday, February 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Stedman Lecture Hall D. This is your chance to determine bargaining priorities. Food and light refreshments will be provided.

Second, we need to prepare for a possible strike.

CUPE 3903 has been prepared to bargain seriously for months, but the Employer has been dragging its feet. We remain committed to reaching a negotiated settlement, but only if the university begins to make significant movement at the bargaining table.

We simply can’t wait for this to happen. We need to prepare now for a possible strike – in the event the Employer fails to respond to the union’s proposals.

In the next week, the Executive Committee will announce the date, time and location of the first meeting of a union-wide Strike Committee, which includes members of the Bargaining Mobilization Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Bargaining Team, and any interested rank-and-file members of the union. The Strike Committee is responsible for all strike logistics, from securing an off-campus strike headquarters to organizing picket training. See Article 21 (b) of the bylaws.

If a strike becomes necessary, members of CUPE 3903 will make the final decision at a Special General Membership Meeting (SGMM), likely in the last week of February.

Third, we need to continue our outreach to undergraduate students.

In the weeks leading up to the strike mandate vote, CUPE 3903 members helped distribute over 12,000 information postcards to undergraduate students, which explained, “Why are we having a strike vote?” We also promoted the campus-wide bargaining campaign, A better York is possible, which generated hundreds of emails of support for CUPE 3903 from undergraduate students to York University President Mamdouh Shoukri, and hundreds of responses to our online survey. Our two campaign videos – “We are CUPE 3903” and “Vote YES for a strong strike mandate” – have now attracted almost 10,000 views in just a few weeks.

Now that we have won a large strike mandate from all three units, we need to expand our engagement with undergraduate students, their parents, and the wider York community.

In the days after the strike vote, please talk to your students about the union’s bargaining proposals, and how they could improve the quality of education at York. Students and their parents have many questions about what will happen next, now that we have a large strike mandate. Direct them to for more information, and stay tuned for further updates about the next stage of mobilization.

Finally, we need to thank our members who made the strike vote a success.

A huge thanks goes to all the members of CUPE 3903 – from the Bargaining Mobilization Committee to rank-and-file members on both campuses – who voted in the strike mandate vote, who organized and staffed the polling stations, who counted the ballots and tallied the results, and who led an unprecedented weeks-long mobilization that engaged both the union and the wider York community. Thank you for your commitment to the union and to our shared vision for a #betterYork!

A better York is possible. We are already starting to make it happen.