On Thursday, February 1, the bargaining team for CUPE 3903 Units 1, 2, and 3 met with the employer and the conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour, Greg Long. This was the second bargaining meeting after the union secured an 85% Strike Mandate Vote.
Most of the proposal documents which have been tabled so far are available on the Reports page.
Unit 1 Bargaining Team Proposes Compromise for Funding
The employer met with our bargaining team face-to-face in the late afternoon to discuss issues of funding for Teaching Assistants. The bargaining team has indicated that they would be willing to discuss combining the Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA) with the Grant-in-Aid (GIA), as long as the fellowship funding model is included in the collective agreement and that the minimum guarantee can be paid out over the summer, as it had been previously.
None of this is new information — the bargaining team has been explaining these same points for months. However, the conversation felt more productive this time. Whether this is the case will be seen in future meetings.
Employer Acknowledges Decimation of Unit 3
In 2016, York cut more than 700 jobs from Unit 3 (Graduate Assistants). These cuts have robbed graduate students from access to funds, benefits, union protections, and work experience. In discussing Unit 1 funding, the employer appears to have acknowledged that these cuts have taken place, which constitutes lukewarm progress, since they had previously been refusing to discuss Unit 3 issues altogether. Hopefully this means that in future meetings we can discuss finding an adequate resolution to the problems of union-busting and accessible education these cuts have created.
Job Security on the Table for Monday
On Monday February 5, the union and the employer will meet face-to-face once again, and job security for Unit 2 will be on the table. This meeting will take place in 109 Atkinson (the Harry Crowe room), and as always, members are welcome to attend bargaining meetings to observe, pass notes to the bargaining team, and participate in caucuses.
‘Red Lines’ General Membership Meeting: February 6
Following the 85% strike mandate vote, the bargaining team is asking CUPE 3903’s membership to give them more direction in the form of “red lines”, i.e. what we won’t settle without. This meeting will take place at 5:00 pm on February 6 in Vari Lecture Hall A.