February 26 Bargaining Report: Union Makes Major Movements

On Monday, February 26, 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 is the last week of bargaining before our Final Offer deadline. The union’s bargaining team showed significant movement, to which the employer replied by unilaterally announcing that classes will be open in the event of a strike, raising serious doubts about their willingness to bargain.

Most of the proposal documents which have been tabled so far are available on the Reports page.

Union Makes Major Movements

Very aware of the looming strike deadline, the CUPE 3903 bargaining team has heeded the employer’s request for significant movement and dropped 14 proposals, listed below by proposal number:

  • 19: Public transit costs
  • 22: Partial refund for campus residence cost
  • 25: Accessible Course Content Fund
  • 30: Payment for graduate student committee work done by contract faculty
  • 31: Payment for undergraduate directed reading course and senior theses supervised by contract faculty
  • 36: Increase to Graduate Financial Assistance for Unit 1
  • 37: Increase to Graduate Financial Assistance for Unit 3
  • 40: Protection for Unit 1 members who lose full-time student status
  • 43: Protection for Unit 3 members who lose full-time student status
  • 44: Tuition rebate
  • 46: Strengthen provisions protecting graduate funding extensions
  • 52: Elimination of the “hotshot clause”
  • 54: Requirement to email Unit 2 Notices of Recommended Appointments (NRAs)
  • 55: Contract deemed issued upon NRA expiry for Unit 2

We have also suggested a number of counters:

  • 103: Lowering the requested increase per member for Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) for Unit 2
  • 104: The union is willing to accept the employer’s amount for the Research Costs Fund if it includes printing costs, and there is an increase to the individual cap
  • 107: Increase the Professional Development Fund (PDF) to 185,000 per contract year (requested amount lowered by $45,000)
  • 110a: Increase of paid time for participation in Joint Heath and Safety to 60 Tutor 1 hours (union’s original position: 1 Course Directorship, employer’s position: 30 Tutor 1 hours)

Importantly, the bargaining team verbally confirmed to the employer that Units 1 and 2 will not leave Unit 3 behind, as had been affirmed by the membership at the Red Lines General Membership Meeting. If York wants a deal, they need to stop ignoring Unit 3 issues.

Employer Intransigence Continues At and Outside Bargaining

The refusal to even talk about Unit 3 issues is symptomatic of the employer’s strategy. This is the crux of the problem as we approach a strike deadline: no progress is being made on the key issues that have been identified as priorities by the membership.

However, actions by the York administration outside of bargaining also raise doubts about their willingness to negotiate a deal in good faith. In one example, the administration has ordered that maintenance staff remove our union’s posters — only ours, not any others, including commercial posters that were in clear violation of York’s postering guidelines.

Most alarmingly, with three days of bargaining left, Interim Provost Lisa Philipps sent an email in which she announces, without going through the appropriate collegial decision-making bodies, that classes will continue in the event of a strike. Holding classes during a strike is bad for students and unsafe for our members. This decision, should it stand, will result in widespread chaos and confusion as students try to understand which of their classes are on and how they will be accommodated. During the last strike, violence towards picketers saw a noticeable increase when York attempted to resume classes.

Students should know that they are protected from academic reprisals by the York Senate policy on academic implications of strikes, should they refuse to cross picket lines. We encourage all students to utilize this right, as stronger lines mean a stronger, and thus shorter, strike.

“It’s Time for a Fair Deal!” Bargaining Rally: Tuesday February 27

On Tuesday, February 27, at 12:30 pm in Vari Hall we will be holding a bargaining rally to show York that we’re following bargaining, we’re angry at York’s proposals, and that we won’t accept concessions! Come on out, and share the Facebook event. A strong showing at this rally can help achieve a fair deal!

‘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 11:30am, in the main gym of the Tait McKenzie Centre. Should the offer be rejected, discussion on what comes next will follow. Any decision to call a strike will come from the membership.