The last three weeks of our struggle have been an incredible source of energy: undergraduates, other unions on campus, and many social justice organizations have walked the lines with us; our Unit 2 (contract faculty) members have continued to support their Union comrades; the media has started to take seriously the problems in the University sector; our comrades at CUPE 3902 at the University of Toronto marched for four hours between our two campuses in an act of extraordinary solidarity. This afternoon, all this work has come to a head.
The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) and York University (the Employer) have reached a tentative agreement for Unit 1 (teaching assistants) and Unit 3 (graduate assistants). The Employer’s last offer addresses the three core demands of the Union, as well as our concerns regarding back-to-work protocol. In particular:
- The Employer has agreed to tuition offset language, indexed to 2012 rates. This means that if tuition fees for domestic or international students rise above 2012 rates – which are the same as the 2005 rates – the University will increase funding for all in-program and incoming students to offset the tuition fee increase. It also means that the international students will receive increased funding equal to the amount of the recent international student fee increases. In brief, this means the Employer has agreed to the substance of the Union’s tuition indexation proposal.
- The Employer has agreed to make LGBTQ an employment equity group, and agreed to the Union’s proposal to meet with the Union at the Employment Equity Committee within three months of ratification to begin the implementation process.
- For Unit 3, the Employer has agreed to increase summer minimum funding from $1,750 to $3,000, in addition to previously agreed-to Graduate Financial Assistance and wage increases. This represents a further increase of $750 over the Employer’s last offer, an increase of over 70 per cent.
- On the question of the back-to-work protocol, the Employer has agreed to pay all Unit 1 and Unit 3 members 100 per cent back pay for the time on strike.
Together, these achievements represent a significant improvement over the Employer’s last offer, and demonstrate the gains that have come as a result of the strike. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and countless hours of work of done by our rank-and-file members. Congratulations to the entire membership of CUPE 3903 for this historic achievement for all three units of our local!
The BT has agreed to send the offer to a ratification vote and will be unanimously recommending that the membership vote “yes” to the offer.
Details will follow soon on the date, time, and location of the ratification vote.
Picket lines will remain in force until the end of the vote (but we will NOT be adding an evening picket shift).
Strike to win!