February 23 Bargaining Report: One Week Left

On Friday, February 23, the bargaining team (BT) for CUPE 3903 Units 1, 2, and 3 met with the employer and the conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour, Greg Long. With a week to go until the final offer deadline, we finally received the employer’s packages for Units 2 and 3. However, York’s proposals remain severely inadequate for all three units.

Most of the proposal documents which have been tabled so far are available on the Reports page. The employer’s packages for all three units will be posted there once we receive digital copies.

All Units

The employer amended their wage offer from a 1.55% increase to a 1.7% increase. This is still well below inflation. The BT insisted that York should be looking at the rate of inflation for Toronto, which is the least affordable place to live in the province — and one of the least affordable in the country.

The BT will respond next week on the proposed increases to the Extended Health Benefits Fund and the Childcare Fund.

Unit 1

As discussed in a previous report, the Unit 1 BT had expressed willingness to combine the Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA) and Grant-in-Aid (GIA) into one payment paid out three times a year. However, this represents a sizeable compromise, as it means that monthly paycheques will be noticeably smaller. Combined with the employer’s continued intransigence on summer funding, this would mean that members would go four months without pay, coming back to a smaller paycheque. Based on current GFA schedules, members could expect to wait until October to get the combined GFA and GIA. If York wants its combined GIA and GFA, we need summer funding.

An increase of 30 “tickets” (course directorships held by Unit 1 members) remains on the table. At the ‘Red Lines’ GMM, Unit 1 had clearly expressed that they would not accept an increase in tickets, as these jobs are exploitative and take work away from Unit 2.

The employer continues to ignore the union’s proposal which would enshrine the fellowship amounts into the collective agreement, preventing them from changing their funding model unilaterally once again.

Unit 2

The package for Unit 2 maintains one Conversion to tenure-track (down from eight) per year. To add insult to injury, rather than providing Conversions, York is proposing a “Career Advancement Program” to help Unit 2 members market themselves better in the job market. The combination of these two proposals is ridiculous: what use would a Career Advancement Program be to anyone when York keeps reducing the opportunities for stable employment?

York has dropped their proposed “Conversions” to Contractually Limited Appointments (CLAs). Instead, they have proposed a highly modified Special Renewable Contract (SRC) program. SRCs are full-time appointments within the York University Faculty Association (YUFA). However, this SRC program is much weaker and much less attractive than the previous SRC program that we are trying to revive.

York’s proposed SRCs would be for any member of the Conversion Pool, while we have proposed SRCs targeted at high seniority members (those in the Conversion Pool for 15 or more years). York is proposing SRCs that would be 5 years long and only renewable once for either 3 or 5 years. York is also trying to make the renewal process much more difficult and conditional. We have proposed 5 years SRCs that would be renewed twice, first for 5 years and then for 3 years. Finally, York is only proposing 5 SRCs per year, while we are seeking 20 per year for the next two years and then SRCs for every remaining eligible member in the third year.

To summarize, we are proposing SRCs as a job security program for long-standing, high-seniority members. York is proposing a small number of more tenuous SRCs to be doled out to a few lucky members that the employer chooses.

Unit 3

The package the employer tabled for Unit 3 contains no changes. The fact that the employer waited until Friday afternoon to present this package while obviously doing no work on it speaks volumes about York’s desire to give Unit 3 absolutely nothing. This continues the years-long pattern of targeting Unit 3, of which cutting 800 jobs was only the most grievous offence.

‘Final Offer’ Meeting: Friday March 2

The ‘Final Offer’ meeting, at which the membership will accept or reject a deal, will take place on Friday March 2, starting at 11:30 am, in the main gym of the Tait McKenzie Centre.