The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903 has filed an Unfair Labour Practices (ULP) complaint against York University. The basis of this complaint is that York is not acting in good faith by misrepresenting and impersonating the union in the current negotiations. 60% of educators at York University have been on strike since March 5, during which York’s willfully misleading communications have been utilized as an alternative to good faith bargaining. This follows another ULP complaint which was filed last year alleging that York’s unilateral cut of 90% of jobs in Unit 3 (Graduate Assistants) is union-busting.
An Unfair Labour Practices complaint can be filed by either an employer or a union representing employees when one side has evidence that the other side violated the Labour Relations Act. Upon filing, an industrial relations officer is appointed to assist the parties in resolving the complaint. If that fails the complaint is forwarded for adjudication and remediation. Such remediation and any penalties assessed for violations are binding.
In this case, CUPE 3903 has made submissions to the Ontario Labour Relations Board alleging that York has violated sections 17, 70, and 73 of the Labour Relations Act in their conduct the current round of of bargaining. The Union submits that that York University is guilty of three separate infractions: first, the university administration publicly and deliberately mischaracterized its position with respect to specific bargaining proposals related to Unit 2 job security, falsely claiming that its clearly concessionary proposals on conversions constituted gains, or at worst status quo; second, the university maliciously and falsely characterized several union proposals as improper or “illegal” in an effort to unfairly damage the union’s public reputation; and third, that the university administration, or those acting on their behalf, appropriated the domain “cupe3903.com” and fraudulently redirected traffic generated by this clear impersonation to their own site for the purposes of deceiving members of the public and members of the union interested in following the progress of bargaining.
The union is seeking redress from the board including a declaration that York has violated multiple sections of the Labour Relations Act, a cease and desist order to avert further public misrepresentations, a cease and desist order barring them from further use of the cupe3903.com domain name, and an order for York to publicly retract their false and misleading statements, as well as related financial damages.
As noted, this is the second Unfair Labour Practices complaint against York University filed in the last year by CUPE 3903, which taken together demonstrate a clear pattern of contempt for employees, contempt for labour laws, and contempt for basic ethical standards of professional conduct that are unbecoming of an institution of higher learning, or any employer.
The previous complaint relating to overt union-busting can be found here.