On Wednesday, March 2, 2016 our bargaining team again met with York University representatives.
We are near agreement on all non-monetary issues. Two-thirds of the Collective Agreement have been completed. Also, the employer has signaled agreement in principle that the benefit package for Part-time Librarian and Archivists will correspond to existing CUPE agreements. The remaining items to negotiate will involve roles and responsibilities, professionalism and compensation.
Please note, we have built this agreement from the ground up. For the most part, the Collective Agreement for CUPE Unit 2 has served as our model. However, each article and sub-article must be fully discussed and investigated to ensure it’s relevance and fairness for our unit.
We have also continued to address hiring practices and hourly allocation issues, citing directly the inherent weakness of our present contracts and the actual impact of past practices on members of our unit. With the assistance of our membership, we have stressed the principle of fairness at every opportunity.
Even as it stands to date, our contract will greatly enhance Unit 4 members’ professional status as Part-time Librarians and Archivists at York University. The coming meetings will be crucial not just for us, but for those who will look to our contract as a model for Part-time Librarians and Archivists in Ontario and Canada. It is important that we view the items soon to be addressed not just as individuals with very real, and very important day-to-day financial and employment concerns, but as professionals contributing to the future of academic librarianship. Contract ‘part-time’ employment is the reality of the academic workplace. It is not a ‘new’ reality. Just as tenure-track professorships have declined and are no longer the norm, there will be fewer and fewer full-time positions in the library as an institution. To face this, strong contracts providing reasonable benefits and fair compensation linked to qualifications and experience are essential. Furthermore, enhancement of the status of Part-time Librarians and Archivists will ensure training opportunities for both new librarians joining the community and long-serving part-time employees wishing to develop their skill set on an ongoing basis.