Vote No: York’s Offer Remains Unacceptable

Re: York Administration’s Request for a Supervised Vote for all Three Units

York University has requested that the Ministry of Labour supervise a forced vote by the CUPE 3903 membership on York’s latest offer. By doing so, the York administration continues to reject the process of bargaining constructively with CUPE 3903. This is largely the same disappointing and unacceptable offer that York proposed before the strike.

We, the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team, call on the membership to —again— reject this offer. This supervised vote is an unfortunate diversion. The two sides should be bargaining. We are confident that once our membership again rejects this offer, a better settlement can be reached through collective bargaining.

Unit 1 should reject this offer because it does not protect Teaching Assistants from the reduction or unilateral changes to their funding. York’s refusal to commit in writing that they won’t change how Unit 1 funding works for the life of the collective agreement indicates clearly that there are plans for future changes.

Unit 2 should reject this offer because two conversions a year is a step backwards for job security, because the Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP) desperately needs to be improved, because York cannot offer Special Renewable Contracts (SRCs) that the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) has “very serious misgivings” about, and because arbitrary changes to qualifications are unfair and discriminatory.

Unit 3 should reject this offer because the elimination of more than 90% of the Unit is unconscionable and has serious impacts on the accessibility of graduate education.

All units should reject this offer because, in the time of #MeToo and #TimesUp, the employer’s refusal to fund a Sexual Violence Survivor’s Fund, while hiding behind an institutional response that is widely known to be lacking, is despicable.

CUPE 3903’s bargaining team has always maintained the members’ ability to judge for themselves the issues at hand in any bargaining session. In the spirit of open bargaining, our members have been involved at every step of this process: drafting surveys for members, writing proposals, debate and discussion around bargaining strategy in our general membership meetings, and particularly in the setting of ‘red line’ issues. We see these as crucial aspects of any open and democratic system.

York has decided to bypass bargaining altogether and present an offer that is largely unchanged since the last union-wide vote on March 2. When all three units voted NO to the employer’s final offer on March 2, it was an informed choice, and this time will be no different.

When we bargain, we bargain collectively. If our employer sees that as a weakness, we can only assume that the contribution of our voices, and that of the broader York community, to this campus is seen as a weakness. Let us demonstrate the strength in our collective will and resolve to ensure that this institution affords us all the dignity and respect of a fair contract.

CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team