On Monday, October 16, the CUPE 3903 and York University bargaining teams met to exchange proposals. Thank you to the several rank-and-file members who attended the meeting. Open bargaining and membership mobilization is the source of our strength. The next meeting will be on Monday, October 30.
The employer tabled a number of proposals. Most of these are concessionary in nature, and we hope that their position will come to approach the union’s position as bargaining progresses.
Unit 1 Course Directorships (Tickets)
The employer is suggesting that the number of tickets (or Unit 1 Course Directorships) be doubled. This would mean 40 fewer jobs for Unit 2 members (contract faculty)! This is a concession and therefore it’s completely unacceptable.
The employer’s proposal would remove the right of members in Units 1, 2, and 3 to choose whether to use email and technology in their work. This is a concession and therefore it’s completely unacceptable.
The employer’s proposal would allow the course evaluations of members of Unit 1 and 2 to be shared with students. This is a concession and therefore it’s completely unacceptable.
Deadlines to Respond to Offers of Employment
The employer’s proposal would give members of all three units only five days to respond to an offer of employment. It was raised by our bargaining team and staff that, as the employer routinely fails to meet deadlines in offering courses, this stipulation makes very little sense. When Notices of Recommended Appointment (NRAs) are released late, it is difficult for members to make decisions regarding which courses they can teach in a given semester. Furthermore, the fact that so many members this year were forced to prepare their classes during Labour Day weekend makes this proposal especially insulting.
Unit 1 Funding
The employer tabled a lengthy and confusing proposal regarding Unit 1 funding. The bargaining team has requested that the employer come to the next meeting with a detailed presentation which would outline how this proposal would work.
Broadly, the proposal takes a number of union funds that are guaranteed in our collective agreement and bundles them into one payment, disbursed once a term. The union is concerned that this would entail a loss of control over how amounts are disbursed and what kinds of funding can be clawed back through scholarships, RAships, fellowships, etc. One thing that seems readily apparent in this language is that it would confirm the loss of summer funding.
The CUPE 3903 bargaining team reminded the employer that we have also tabled a proposal on Unit 1 funding. We will share more information on what this proposal entails once it becomes clearer.
Decimation of the Unit 2 Conversion Program
The largest concession involves a complete gutting of the Unit 2 Conversion program, which allows long-standing Unit 2 members to be converted to full-time tenure-track faculty positions. Our recently expired collective agreement called for 24 conversions over the last 3 years (2015 – 2017). The employer is now proposing to reduce this number to three conversions over the coming three years. That is one conversion per year! This is a concession and therefore it’s completely unacceptable. Instead of conversions to tenure-track positions, the employer proposes four 3-year CLA positions per year for Unit 2 members. The employer’s bargaining team declared that York would prefer to engage in “global searches” when hiring full-time faculty rather than be required to hire experienced and senior members of Unit 2.
When asked about the employer’s plans for the LSTA program, the employer’s bargaining team was not ready to offer any comment, but promised to look into this and discuss the program in future meetings. Based on their targeting of the Conversion program, the employer’s intentions for the future of the LSTA program appeared to be up in the air. Today, Tuesday October 17, we received word from the employer that they are proposing that the LSTA program continue (in some form) in the new collective agreement.
The presentation delivered by the CUPE 3903 bargaining team and membership at the previous bargaining meeting highlighted job security for contract faculty as one of our biggest priorities. In light of this, it is deeply insulting that the employer would come back with such a concession targeting job security specifically. The employer likes to emphasize “respect” at the bargaining table, but clearly has no respect for our members’ contributions to the university and student learning.
The employer has claimed that they propose “a reasonable pay increase in keeping with sectoral provincial increases and norms”, but have declined to provide an actual number.
Virtually Nothing on Unit 3
While we weren’t expecting the employer to bring back Unit 3 jobs, or even provide further security, there was absolutely nothing substantive. Their proposal for Unit 3 was literally less than half a page and only included two proposals: (1) That an offer be accepted or declined within five days, and (2) a change in the language of technology to offer hard copies of applications to members that request it. We do not believe the employer is taking Unit 3 seriously.
The CUPE 3903 bargaining team has tabled 110 proposals as voted on by the membership in preceding membership meetings. These proposals were not discussed at this meeting, as the employer requires more time to read the proposals and prepare a response.
Use of CUPE 3903 Logo by the Employer
A final issue that came up at this bargaining meeting was that the employer has used the CUPE 3903 logo in order to advertise their very one-sided labour negotiations website. Our logo was broadcasted on several screens that are prevalent on Keele Campus. The fact that the ads were taken down is not sufficient; we demand a public apology and clarification that CUPE 3903 does not in any way endorse the contents of York’s labour website. As this is such an egregious violation, we hope that the employer will see fit to respond positively to this very reasonable request.
There will be a General Membership Meeting on October 24, at 1pm in the Harry Crowe room (109 Atkinson), where there will be discussion of the employer’s proposals and bargaining timelines. Please plan to attend and tell us what you think of the employer’s proposals. We will take your responses back to the bargaining table, and please remember that you are always welcome to attend bargaining.