Faced with the likely failure of the government’s back-to-work legislation, the employer sent an “offer” earlier today for all three units (Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3). This is not an offer to bargain, nor does it address the vast majority of issues on the table. It is essentially the same offer as before: to go to arbitration.
There are two differences between this “offer” and the employer’s previous position. First, they are offering to include the Sexual Violence Support Fund as part of the Ways and Means Fund, “in consultation with” the Sexual Violence Response Office (SVRO). It is unclear what this consultation would look like. Considering the SVRO’s track record of failing survivors of sexual violence, this is a concern.
Second, the employer has finally specified what constitutes a major scholarship, and can therefore be clawed back from graduate funding: more than $5000. This means that the employer is suggesting that any scholarship of more than $5000 should cause a reduction of funding of $5000.
The employer is suggesting that all other issues be referred to arbitration. This is a tired refrain, which we have heard from the very first bargaining meeting. It is nothing but a continuation of York’s refusal to bargain.
However, the employer’s movement, however slight, proves what we have been saying all along: we are not at an impasse, as there is still room to move, should the parties be willing. We are willing, as we have been since before the strike started.
Ultimately, what to do with this latest “offer” is up to the membership, many of whom participated in the townhalls held for all units this evening.