On Wednesday, September 12, Unit 1, 2 and 3 representatives of the CUPE 3903 bargaining team met with James Hayes, our appointed arbitrator. The purpose of this initial meeting was to provide the arbitrator with a clear understanding of the union’s main outstanding issues. The arbitrator met with York’s legal counsel and bargaining team on Wednesday, September 5, 2018.
Members of the bargaining team discussed the following issues with the arbitrator:
▪Sexual Violence Survivor’s Fund funded for two years, under the union’s control
(through the Trans Feminist Action Caucus (TFAC)).
▪Racial Discrimination Fund
▪Two-year funding extension for Ontario Human Rights Code grounds for Unit 1
▪Amount to be protected from clawbacks at $5403 (essentially protecting the fellowship
▪Non-monetary improvements to the Continuing Sessional Standing Program
▪A benefits surcharge of 31% for Principle Investigators (PIs) who hire Graduate
Assistants (it used to be 15% — now it is 80%)
▪Matched funds to contribute to offsetting the cost of Summer Assistance and Graduate
Financial Assistance for PIs (again, these used to be covered by the university, but are
now applied to the research budgets or individual faculty members who wish to hire
As stated before, members of CUPE 3903 took issue on the fact that this initial meeting was a closed-door meeting. We raised these concerns with our legal counsel and the arbitrator, and we will continue to advocate for open meetings when the opportunity presents itself.
The exact process of arbitration going forward is unknown, as it depends on the what the arbitrator believes he needs to structure his ruling. Currently, we have entered the briefing stage, where legal counsel for both the union and the employer will provide detailed information to the arbitrator in the form of briefs. We currently do not know how long this process will take, or whether the arbitrator will request more information after this process is completed. We will update the membership once we get more information.