On Tuesday, March 28, members of CUPE 3903 met for a Special General Membership Meeting on Summer Funding and Mobilization. This report provides a short summary of the discussion, as well as ways to get involved.
The SGMM was centered on the current problems with summer funding. PhD students who are Unit 1 members will not be receiving their minimum guarantee over the summer as a direct result of York’s implementation of their union-busting fellowship funding model. In order to give PhD students this funding without actually increasing how much they pay, York has taken the minimum guarantee normally paid in the summer and rolled it into the fellowship funding, i.e. equally in the Fall, Winter, and Summer terms. This means that, besides the fellowship amount that will be automatically applied to tuition, Unit 1 members who don’t have scholarships or summer TAships will not receive any income over the summer.
The background materials provided at the SGMM — a FAQ on summer funding and a timeline of events concerning the fellowship funding model — are available as a PDF: Materials from the SGMM on Summer Funding and Mobilization.
Needless to say, this change to Unit 1 funding is bound to have a dire impact on many members’ finances. York’s response has always been a callous “budget better” (let’s not forget the time they offered our members “financial literacy lessons“). This violates the Unit 1 collective agreement, and a grievance was filed to that effect, which York ignored for months.
This SGMM was requested so that we could discuss, as a membership, how to address this issue outside of the legal paths that are already being pursued. Some suggestions include:
- Rhonda Lenton will be giving her first speech at Keele Campus as incoming President on Monday, April 3, 3pm. CUPE 3903 members and allies who are planning to attend are meeting in Vari Hall at 2:45. Bring noisemakers!
- Other actions are being organized on the short- and long-term
- Reaching out to other organizations on and off campus to build solidarity
- Media messaging and digital solutions
- Angrily knitting during bargaining.
We cannot post the details of plans or actions at this time for strategic reasons. If you would like more information, or to get involved in any capacity, email Graeme Reniers, Chairperson (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please indicate what kind(s) of organizing you’re interested in (i.e. actions, building solidarity, media, knitting, other ideas).