On Monday, June 11, the Bargaining Team voted to send the employer’s latest offer to ratification on Wednesday, June 13 (Meeting starts at 5 pm, voting will continue until 10 pm, 30 Tangiers Rd). While the circumstances of this decision are less than ideal, there are also serious problems with the offer itself. Therefore, the Executive Committee cannot in good conscience recommend this offer to Unit 2 members. The Executive committee recommends in the strongest possible terms that members vote NO, and reject this offer.
Nothing for Low- to Mid-Seniority Members
The employer’s offer sends all Unit 2 job security proposals to third-party arbitration. While many think that strategic arbitration is useful, sending all proposals to arbitration is not actually a strategy. It is also especially risky for low- to mid-seniority Unit 2 members because of the inclusion of the Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP).
The CSSP is the only program for low- to mid-seniority Unit 2 members, and therefore, of all of our job security programs, it has the greatest impact on our members.
Even though our job security programs for higher seniority members, such as Conversions and Long-Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs), remain tremendously important, these programs — even at their most successful — were only available to a relatively small number of members (8 Conversions and 7 LSTAs per year in the last Unit 2 Collective Agreement).
Historically, trying to make changes to job security programs in arbitration (like when LSTAs were first established in arbitration in 2009) does not produce good results, as these programs are complicated and require a robust understanding of the university and how it functions, knowledge that is not usually held by arbitrators.
Concessions Remain on the Table
The offer also includes concessions around Technology and Instruction. With these proposed concessions, Unit 2 members could be required to use Moodle or other technology, regardless of whether it was needed, or even useful, for the course. Unit 2 members will lose existing protections around the use of email that allow us to control when and how much to use email. These concessions could significantly increase the number of hours required per course, without commensurate remuneration.
Reprisals Have Already Begun
The Memorandum of Settlement does not adequately protect our members and allies from reprisals from the employer. Members have already been contacted about Code of Conduct violations for sending mildly mean tweets. If this is the line York is willing to draw, anyone who participated in any kind of strike duty or strike support (on the picket line or online) is open to employer reprisals.
While this Memorandum of Settlement allows York to initiate reprisals against striking members, it gives people who participated in strike-breaking, therefore benefiting off the backs of our sacrifices and hard work, blanket protection.
Remediation Will Be a Mess
Ratifying this offer would leave Units 1 and 3 on strike. Accepting this offer is not only breaking solidarity with the other units, it would present serious problems and dangers for Unit 2 members. It may also prolong the Unit 1 and 3 strike and the turmoil at York University. Where Unit 2 members are part of teaching teams that include Unit 1 members, either as Unit 2 Course Directors with Unit 1 TAs or as Unit 2 TAs alongside Unit 1 TAs, those courses are not going to be able to resume and students still will not be able to get their grades.
The Memorandum of Settlement also grants the Employer an unspecified level of flexibility in hiring for the Fall and Summer terms, which they could use to undermine our hiring language, our postings language, and our ability to grieve appointments for those terms.
The Executive Committee asks members to reject this offer and give the Bargaining Team the opportunity and the mandate to return to the table to negotiate a fair deal for all three units together.