Bargaining update #19

3903 picketers passing a snowy car window, upon which is drawn the 5 fingered fist of international solidarity

3903 picketers passing a snowy car window, upon which is drawn the 5 fingered fist of international solidarity

On Sunday night, March 1, the mediator assigned to negotiations for CUPE 3903 handed our Bargaining Team (BT) a set of proposals crafted by the Employer and called mediation to a close, citing the reason that he felt the parties were too far apart to reach a deal. Reviewing the proposals, the BT unanimously decided to refuse to accept them as a final offer, as did the Executive Committee, as the proposals did not adequately meet the Union’s demands.

The Employer’s proposals were presented to the membership on Monday, March 2 at a meeting attended by over 1,200 members of CUPE 3903. The membership, in turn, voted to reject the Employer’s proposals, demanding better language on tuition protection, better funding for members of Unit 3 (Graduate Assistants and Research Assistants), and significant moves toward job security for Unit 2 (contract faculty). As a consequence, a strike was called. As of Friday, CUPE 3903 will have been on the line for four days.

As soon as the strike was called, CUPE 3903 contacted the mediator in order to continue to bargain the deal that our members want. The mediator met with the Employer on Tuesday, March 3, and with 3903 on Thursday, March 5. By the end of Thursday, the BT had crafted a set of counter proposals that have since been communicated to the Employer, which include:

  • Maintaining our position on tuition indexation (i.e. a full refund for any tuition fees that rise above 2005 levels), but bringing our demanded increases to our Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA) closer in line with those offered by the Employer;

  • A 1-point reduction in all units’ demands for a wage hike, from 3% per year to 2% per year;

  • Emphasizing the need for Alternate Stream tenure conversions (asking for six Alt Stream and two Professorial Stream appointments per year for three years), a Continuing Sessional Status (CSS) program that operates based on seniority rather than incumbency, and a slight increase in the number of Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs) offered each year;

  • A reduction in the dollar amounts that would make up a Unit 3 ‘minimum guarantee’ of funding (from $15,000 to $12,500);

  • The creation of a substantial childcare fund that could be accessed by all three units.

The BT expects to hear a counter from the Employer on Friday morning.

The Bargaining Team will meet on Friday, March 6 at 10:00 a.m. at the Ministry of Labour, 400 University Avenue, to hear the Employer’s counter and make a response.

CUPE 3903 remains dedicated to meeting with the Employer as often as it takes to get our members the deal they deserve.