Nominations for the 2016-17 executive committee closed on February 22, with two contested positions: Chief Steward Unit 1 and Grievance Officer. The candidate statements for the contested positions are below. Polls will open at the March 16 Annual General Meeting, and continue for five days. All candidates and members are asked to follow the campaigning guidelines.
Michael Fraschetti for Chief Steward Unit 1
My name is Michael Fraschetti and I am vying for the opportunity to represent you as Chief Steward for Unit 1. As Chief Steward for Unit 1, I will support a positive environment that includes accountability, inclusivity and transparency involving issues within our union. Not only do I intend to do my due diligence to promote membership participation from the incoming cohort of graduate students, but also collaborate with the stewards of each graduate department at York to encourage participation of existing local members in CUPE 3903 initiatives.
My understanding is that 2017 is a new bargaining year for our union local which means this upcoming year will be extremely important to meticulously craft the specific items we would like to request from our employers. While always welcoming other Unit 1 input, some major items I feel are important to pursue for upcoming contract negotiations are:
- Elucidating the blurred lines between Research Assistantships (RA) that should be paid as Graduate Assistantships (GA).
- Demanding that York does not deduct external scholarships from any funding packages offered by the university for both domestic and international students.
- Ensuring that any language used in future collective agreements is further scrutinized so that the employer cannot manipulate and claim their own interpretations.
- Challenging our employer to address systemic discrimination that continues to exist in its hiring and appointment practices.
As a current member of the Advisory Committee on Race/Ethnic Relations, I have collaborated with fellow local members to establish an Anti-Racism Task Force. The mission of this endeavour attempts to bring to light the personal experiences of individuals who have experienced multiple forms of discrimination at York University. We feel this is important so we can forward substantive evidence to York administration that intersectional forms of oppression still needs to be addressed and challenged.
Thank you for your consideration.
Stephanie Latella for Chief Steward Unit 1
As a PhD candidate in Social and Political Thought, I’ve been a particularly active member of CUPE 3903 one since the 2015 strike. Like many people, what first drew me to the union was a sense of impending calamity, but what kept me aboard was a much needed sense of solidarity.
After the strike, I began volunteering with Stewards Council, and I was elected the chief steward for my grad program last September. I am also an elected delegate to Toronto District Council, and SPT-GSA co-chair. I’ve been a part of the mobilization to defend our strike gains in my program, in my union, and in my city. I’ve developed a strong grasp of the content of our Collective Agreement, the spirit in which it was negotiated, and the ways in which it is currently threatened.
Since 2017 is a bargaining year, it is critical that we continue to raise our voices – all of our voices – against concessions. My mandate as Chief Steward Unit 1 will be to create a more robust culture of communication and participation. I will set my sights beyond just increasing attendance at meetings, to establish a stronger presence in all grad programs and hiring units. I will work closely with the Trans Feminist Action Caucus, the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour Caucus, the Accessibility Committee, and other bodies of the union to address how our local reproduces the oppressive structures it seeks to combat, and to create and defend safer spaces. I will continue this year’s trend of innovative social events – such as Stew with Stewards Council and holiday caroling at the Board of Governors meeting – that offer diverse ways of engaging.
Let’s work together toward a more equitable, inclusive, and accessible union for all of our members.
Kyle Belozerov for Grievance Officer
I know and understand our Collective Agreement. As a very low-seniority U2, and a member of two employment equity groups, I know what it’s like to fight for a paycheck every four months. I despise politics when it comes to people’s livelihoods, and won’t pull punches defending your employment rights. I am an unapologetic advocate for low-seniority U2’s, and will promote our rights and interests. Vote for me if you DON’T want another year of Cypher’s get-nothing-done-for-U2 reign.
Sonja Killoran-McKibbin for Grievance Officer
Since ratifying our new Collective Agreements, we’ve seen York test them again and again. Bargaining happens every three years but we need to fight to enforce our CAs every day and that’s the role I would play as your Grievance Officer.
I’m committed to our union. I served as Recording Secretary last year, was previously an active steward, filled-in as the bargaining team recording secretary in 2011-12, and was a picket captain during the 2015 strike.
Over the past year I’ve played a central role in winning large grievances. Last summer we fought an underpayment of $654,000 to approximately 1000 of our members. I’ve led our grievance on tuition indexation, which even before arbitration has resulted in an increase of $120,000 in payments to members and a reversal of York’s international tuition increase. I have experience dealing with the employer; I’ve participated in the Labour Management Committee, attended grievance meetings and supported bargaining. I am familiar with key issues in terms of U2 grievances and I prepared an analysis of shifts in contracts and identified troubling trends with respect to reductions in U2 work.
I’m proud of our Local’s CAs and I’m not afraid to fight for our members. Over the next year my priorities are:
- Work with staff to use our new software to track grievances, identify trends and prepare for bargaining
- Win our grievance on Tuition Indexation for U1 and U3
- Monitor the implementation of the CSS program
- Support the U4 bargaining team and ensure they have a strong first CA
- Fight intensification of work, particularly as it results in a loss of U2 contracts
- Protect the erosion of our U3 membership through non-unionized RA work
- Facilitate an active Grievance Committee with clear communication, policies and practices that respect and defend our CAs