York’s Offer Has No Back-Pay or Protections

York’s offer, which is being presented for a forced ratification vote, contains no back-to-work protocol. This will have serious repercussions on the conditions under which we will return to work, should the offer be accepted.

What is a back-to-work protocol?

A back-to-work protocol is usually negotiated between the union and the employer’s bargaining teams in order to set out the terms and conditions under which work resumes after a strike is resolved. Historically, our team has negotiated back pay between 85% and 100%, depending on how much of the term remains to be completed. The protocol has also typically included protections from reprisals either from the university, for those who have participated in the strike, or from the union, for those who engaged in strike-breaking activities.

What happens to my pay?

Without a back-to-work protocol, there is no guarantee that we will receive any back-pay at all. Considering the university’s hardline approach to negotiations and the strike as a whole, we should expect that accepting this offer without a back-to-work protocol will mean taking a huge pay cut despite having to finish the semester. The March paycheque has come and gone, and many people are feeling the pinch — but accepting this offer is unlikely to be the solution, as the next paycheque will not be forthcoming. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, consider applying to the Strike Hardship Fund.

What if I’ve returned to work?

If you have returned to work, you should know that in refusing to include a back-to-work protocol, York is also refusing to protect you from sanctions laid out in the CUPE National Constitution. This can include monetary fines and the loss of good standing, which would entail a denial of access to funds for extended health, emergencies, and professional development, as well as other union rights.

In sum, this offer is bad for everyone, regardless of your opinion on the strike and bargaining. We need a back-to-work protocol that reasonably represents how much work is left in the semester. Even those who oppose the strike should be alarmed by the lack of protections afforded to them by York’s offer.