Open Letter to the York Administration: No More Broken Promises

Dear President Shoukri and President-Designate Lenton,

The administration you lead, and are about to lead, is exacting a toll through intransigence and dishonesty toward CUPE 3903 members of the York University community. We appeal to you to act to end the pattern of broken promises. You must ensure that those who work under your leadership honour the promises made on your behalf. You have often stated that you hold progressive values; surely these include honesty and respect for labour rights.

This open letter comes on the heels of the failure of the Department of Faculty Relations to furnish, as agreed upon, the Conversion Appointment list for our University’s Contract Faculty. The administration agreed to supply this list on April 7. On that day the Chair of CUPE 3903 requested the list from the Director of Faculty Relations, Barry “Three Strikes” Miller, and was promised the list would be delivered soon. Ten days later, we were again notified that it would be provided imminently. Still, our members have yet to be provided with this list. This has been a source of significant undue stress for many of the Contract Faculty members of York University, and represents the latest in an ever-growing list of broken promises. As we quickly approach bargaining for the first time since the last strike provoked by your administration, we question how we are supposed to trust that the Department of Faculty Relations will bargain in good faith.

Today we are calling your attention to the following information which has been withheld from Contract Faculty following hollow promises made on your behalf:

  • A detailed list of CCSP Guarantee payments to Contract Faculty – i.e., the “payout” for those members who received significantly less work in 2015-16 than previously. This information has been available to the Department of Faculty Relations for over eight months, and yet they continue to refuse to supply this list to us as they had promised;
  • A departmental breakdown of CSSP appointments for the current academic year, even though the appointment deadline passed three months ago;
  • The Volume and Distribution Report that was due on January 31, 2017, as per our Contract Faculty Collective Agreement. Refusing to furnish this agreed-upon report obfuscates our ability as a union to monitor key provisions of our Collective Agreements;
  • The Class Size Report. We have been asking for this since June 2016, and it also is a requirement of the Collective Agreement your administration agreed to;
  • Information on the monetary figures in Contract Faculty members’ Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) accounts, which we have been asking for since June 2015, so that members can plan for the expenses they need to deliver quality education to York University’s students.

Furthermore, the above are only the broken promises made to Contract Faculty. Members of all units of our Local have received similar treatment by the Administration you lead. Our newest members, York University’s part-time Librarians and Archivists, ratified their first Collective Agreement in good faith this past January. Since then we have been experiencing tremendous difficultly holding the Department of Faculty Relations to the collective agreement the University signed, including a long overdue printed copy of the final agreement. This is in addition to the serious and inexcusable delay our newest members experienced in being able to claim their agreed upon health benefits. The arduous path from union certification in November 2014 to ratification in January 2017 was only the beginning of the pattern of disrespect towards these members of the York University community on behalf of your administration.

Our whole membership is affected by the university’s intransigence and refusal to provide information. This is also exemplified by the administration’s utter refusal to accurately disclose how the new funding model will impact the livelihoods of our roughly 2,000 graduate student members. Like you, we are members of the York University community. The institutional violence and dishonesty that has been enacted by your administration towards the membership of CUPE 3903 is distasteful and disturbing. These are our livelihoods. You have often claimed that York is a progressive university. Considering everything above, we must come to the conclusion that this statement is as empty as the administration’s promises. We expect better, and we demand you deliver better.

CUPE 3903 Executive Committee