February 28 Bargaining Report: Union Presents Comprehensive Package

On Wednesday, February 28, the bargaining team for CUPE 3903 Units 1, 2, and 3 presented a comprehensive proposal package to the employer. The bargaining team waited more than 8 hours to receive unacceptable counters for all three units.

Most of the proposal documents which have been tabled so far are available on the Reports page. The evening counters will be posted as soon as we get digital copies.

The union’s most recent full package can be found in full here: CUPE 3903 bargaining proposal package (Units 1, 2, 3) – updated Feb 28

The following summarizes important changes.

Deadlines Suggested for Unit 1

The proposal for Unit 1 funding is in a separate document, which can be found here: Unit 1 funding counter – Feb 28

We have suggested language that ensures penalties for late payments, prevents funding clawbacks, and enshrines the fellowship funding model into the collective agreement. This is not about increasing funding, but rather about stopping York from reducing it or moving amounts around arbitrarily.

Unit 2 Job Security Reworked

The Unit 2 bargaining team has put significant work into reworking the job security proposals. For the Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP), a program to stabilize work for mid-seniority Unit 2s, the proposal strengthens the language of the existing program so that those who are eligible would receive 2 Type 1 positions (or equivalent) or an equivalent payout, as long as they maintain a similar teaching intensity.

In terms of the Conversions Program, through which high-seniority Unit 2s can get tenure-track jobs, the union has moved substantively from automatic conversions to 20 Conversions or 20% of tenure-track hires, whichever is higher, per year. 25% of these appointments would be reserved for members with 10 years of service or more.

Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs) are longer-term contracts for high-seniority Unit 2s. The proposed language proposes a minimum of 10 5-year LSTAs per year, at a teaching intensity of 3.5 courses.

For Special Renewable Contracts (SRCs), a program for Unit 2 members with the most years of service to the university (as long as they meet the teaching intensity requirement), the union is suggesting 10 per year.

Unit 3 Jobs Compromise

The Unit 3 bargaining team suggested a compromise to address the more than 800 jobs that were eliminated in Unit 3 by proposing to give priority in research jobs to Graduate Assistants. If York is correct that this drastic change in jobs for Master’s students represents the real research needs of the university, they should be willing to accept this proposal.

Employer Evening Counter Deemed Unacceptable by All Units

After waiting all day for the employer’s counter to our substantive package, the union was handed a number of disparate proposals, most of which were deemed unacceptable by all units.

Positive movements

The employer has suggested language linking sexual and domestic violence leaves with Long Term Disability, as we had requested. They have also finally dropped their very ill-advised public course evaluations proposals. These are positive movements.

Unit 1

After yesterday’s promising pass on summer funding, the employer proposed new language that would enshrine the employer’s ability to claw back summer funding towards tuition, which is the opposite of what we told them we needed.

They have also refused the language that would apply penalties for late payments and enshrine the fellowship funding model into the collective agreement so that it cannot be arbitrarily changed again.

Unit 2

In response to the comprehensive package of Unit 2 job security proposals, the employer has remained at 1 conversion a year, with language that would allow departments to elect to turn a Special Renewable Contract (SRC) into a Conversion. These programs have nothing to do with each other, and also there is no guarantee that any SRC language agreed upon in this round of bargaining would be approved by the York University Faculty Association (YUFA), especially since the employer’s SRC proposal is very different from the one that exists in the YUFA collective agreement.

The employer has also insisted on their Career Advancement Program. If there is lack of career advancement, it is because York keeps systematically dismantling job opportunities.

Unit 3

The employer has responded to our reasonable compromise on Unit 3 with a Graduate Assistant Training Fund which proposes to allocate $40,000 to “incentivize” faculty to hire Graduate Assistants (GAs). However, the maximum a researcher could get is $2000. Considering that York has arbitrarily increased the cost of over 800 GAs by around $6000 — in order to tell faculty that hiring them would cause their grants to be denied — offering 1/3 of that increase to 20 researchers is less than a bandaid solution.

‘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.