Chief Steward Unit 1 Run-Off Election

Voting for the Executive Committee elections closed at 5 pm on Wednesday, March 22. However, once the votes were counted, neither candidate for Chief Steward Unit 1 received over 50% of the vote. Article 14 III. (h) (ii) of the CUPE 3903 bylaws states:

A candidate must obtain a majority of votes cast, i.e. at least 50% plus 1, to be declared elected. When no candidate obtains a majority, the candidate receiving the fewest votes shall be dropped and a second ballot taken. The process shall continue until one candidate has obtained a majority.

While there is no candidate to drop, the bylaws appear clear that a successful candidate must always receive 50%+1 of votes cast.

Consequently, there will three days of voting for the position of Chief Steward Unit 1 only. Polls will be open from 10 am to 4 pm in the Vari Hall link on Keele campus from Tuesday March 28 to Thursday March 30.  Polls will be open from 10 am to 4 pm outside the cafeteria on Glendon campus on Tuesday March 28 only. Candidate statements are below.

Karl Gardner

A picture of Chief Steward Unit 1 candidate Karl Gardner

Hello, my name is Karl Gardner and I’m hoping you’ll elect me as Chief Steward Unit 1. I am an organizer and educator in Toronto, primary connected to migrant justice and Indigenous solidarity movements in the city. Having an MA and pursuing a PhD in Political Science at York, I have been an active member of CUPE 3903 for almost 4 years. A majority of my union-related work has been through the First Nations Solidarity Working Group, as I believe that making connections between different struggles can only make us stronger.

At it’s core, being a Chief Steward is being an organizer. It’s about bringing people together, engaging in collective education, and building community. This task is especially important as we move into a bargaining year.

As an organizer with No One Is Illegal-Toronto and a Toronto group committed to supporting Grassy Narrows First Nation, I have the skills necessary to do this job right. Beyond convening Stewards Council meetings and CUPE barbecues, I will:

  • Engage departments traditionally pushed out of union politics
  • Organize Contract and Collective Bargaining Workshops for Stewards and Unit 1 members to ensure we enter bargaining with a strong, informed membership
  • Ensure clear and accountable lines of communication between Unit 1 members and the CUPE 3903 Executive
  • Strengthen connections between CUPE 3903 and the Steward’s Council and movements in the city

Thanks for your consideration!

Harjot Singh Deol

A picture of Chief Steward Unit 1 candidate Harjot Singh Deol

Hello, my name is Harjot Singh Deol and I am running for the position of Chief Steward Unit 1. As a Masters candidate in the Faculty of Science, I hope to represent and help mobilize graduate students from my home Faculty and across the University during the upcoming round of collective bargaining. Several critical issues will be negotiated in 2017, including the implication of the new funding model, tuition fees for international students, health benefits and equity provisions. Unit 1 must form a strong monolithic force to face the employer and succeed in negotiating a substantively improved contract.

As an active member of the Childcare Committee in 2016/17 and a regular attendee of Union meetings throughout the year, I learned a great deal about how our local works and how vital its role is to graduate students’ working conditions. I very well understand the critical role chief stewards will play in engaging union members in the bargaining process this year. If elected, I will strive to educate Unit 1 members about our collective agreement rights and inform them about what’s at stake during contract negotiations. I will organize informational sessions for students in individual departments and work closely with departmental stewards and stewards’ council to mobilize and energize our members. I will particularly focus on mobilizing the departments in the Faculty of Science that in the past were poorly engaged in the Union. I believe explaining to every graduate student the critical importance of the bargaining process and getting them involved in the Union’s work is key to successful contract negotiations.

To achieve these goals, I will draw on my past activist and volunteer experience. As a student activist throughout my undergraduate years here at York I have advocated for the right to affordable and accessible education. I have mentored new students in the ScienceFirst program and was a science tutor helping struggling students succeed academically in the university environment and reach their potential. In addition, I have several years of experience in community organizing in the context of political, religious and cultural events in my community outside of York. I intend to utilize my skills and experience to bring TOGETHER Unit 1 members across departments, faculties, and campuses to form a STRONGER VOICE during the bargaining year!

Please contact me at if you have questions about my candidacy, or to share your ideas about union stewardship.