CUPE 3903 Makes Significant Movement, York Walks Away from Bargaining Table

After more than two weeks away from the bargaining table, we are disappointed and dismayed that York will not continue bargaining despite the progress that took place today. Rather than negotiating, the employer issued an ultimatum: capitulate on all important issues, or York walks away from the table.

A packed room of CUPE 3903 members came to hear the employer’s position. York’s lawyer, Simon Mortimer, opened bargaining by telling CUPE 3903 that Unit 3 proposals were ‘not proper’ as the local does not represent this group of ‘non employees’. There are still members in Unit 3 — refusing to bargain contracts for one of three units is unacceptable.

The employer made some minor revisions to some proposals which are posted here. York has still not responded to the union’s updated proposal package from March 5, where the union moved on 20 proposals. We are also still waiting for answers to several of the counter-proposals that we have made today. Even when the union agreed to the employer’s proposals, York failed to provide sign-offs, such as the proposal on vacation pay. The union made a lot of movement, signing off on six proposals, dropping four proposals, significantly overhauling the Unit 2 job security proposals, and presenting five counters. We were making progress until York shut down all negotiations with an ultimatum. Therefore, we would welcome York coming back to the bargaining table tomorrow, especially to hear the response to today’s counters. However, they refused.

The employer also refuses to acknowledge that there are any issues of interest for Teaching Assistants (Unit 1). This is completely disingenuous, as we have explained to them on several occasions that securing Unit 1 funding to prevent clawbacks and unilateral changes is a priority. See more information here: Funding for Teaching Assistants is Under Attack.

More details on the movement from today are found below.

Points of Agreement

We have reached agreement on six proposals:

  • Vacation pay in line with the new labour laws
  • 2 weeks notice of practicum placements for Clinical Course Directors in Nursing
  • A cap on orientation hours for Clinical Course Directors in Nursing
  • Secure access to email, software, professional development resources and funds over the summer for Unit 2 members who hold Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs).
  • Complement existing ASL interpretation services with a pilot Video Remote Interpretative (VRI) services.
  • Shared union space at Glendon campus, and the ability to book meeting spaces.

Union Drops Four Proposals

Four proposals have been completely dropped:

  • Increase hours for Employment Insurance purposes
  • Changes to the preamble to the Conversions language
  • Research Leaves (except the equity provisions)
  • Changes to the Letter of Intent on Internet courses

Significant Movement on Unit 2 Job Security Proposals

Job security for contract faculty has, from the very beginning of the bargaining process, been the most important issue for Unit 2 members. Nonetheless, in the interest of approaching a settlement, the Unit 2 bargaining team has moved significantly on three different job security programs.

  • Reduce Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP) minimum teaching load from 2 courses to 1 course.
  • Reduce the requested number of Conversions from 20 to 15 per year or 20 to 15% of tenure-track hires
  • Drop the proposed improvement to the salary top-up for Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs).

Significant Movement on Eight Proposals

In the interest to continue reducing and streamlining our proposal package to resolve the strike, we have proposed significant amendments to important proposals on which there is not yet agreement but which cannot be dropped outright.

  • Move down to $2,100 for the individual cap for post-retirement benefits
  • Reduce the Sexual Violence Survivors Support Fund to $50,000
  • Offering to accept the Employer’s proposal of $260,000 for the Childcare Fund, as long as it begins in 2017-18 not 2018-19
  • Counter lactation room language to clarify that these rooms will be accessible and properly advertised
  • Drop the two proposals for equity provisions and departmental distribution of ticketed course directorships in exchange for the employer dropping their proposal to increase the number of ticketed course directorships
  • Accept Employer’s proposed dollar amounts and include 2017 in the language for Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) Fund
  • Reduce requested increase to Research Costs Fund amount (while continuing to include printing costs)