Report Back – Mediated Bargaining Sessions with Mediator Chris Albertyn – February 27th and 28th

The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team continued the process of mediated bargaining on job security issues with the help of Chris Albertyn. While there was some progress over the weekend, the parties remain far apart. Mediated bargaining will continue on March 13th and 14th. Members can find all passes by the Employer and the Union here.

February 27: Third Day of Mediated Bargaining with Chris Albertyn

The Employer’s counter-proposals

The Employer presented counter proposals on the Transitional Continuing Appointments (TCA) and on post-retirement benefits. Key highlights include

  • The TCA counter offers only a two-year path to retirement (framed as ‘incentive’);
  • The post-retirement benefits counter extends the time to file for retirement from to five months from the end of the last contract, but does not change the $1800 cap on the post-retirement benefits spending account (the Employer cited oversubscription concerns for this, even though the fund has run surpluses every year since its 2008 inception), and does not extend email privileges beyond retirement.

The Union’s counter-proposals

The Union presented counter-proposals on equity hiring, the Long-Service Reward Program (LSRP), post-retirement benefits, the TCA, and conversions. We underscored the importance of balancing equity with seniority and the need for an attractive path to retirement to create opportunities for upward mobility in the bargaining unit. The Employer’s BT then proceeded to caucus. While the Union agreed to stay beyond the scheduled 6pm end time in hopes to reach a settlement on the equity hiring proposal, the meeting adjourned at 6:30pm due to the Employer’s inability to respond at that time.

February 28: Fourth Day of Mediated Bargaining with Chris Albertyn

The Employer’s equity hiring counter-proposal

On Sunday, the Employer presented another counter on Article 12.04 (equity hiring). The following are key highlights:

  • Uses the language from the the Federal Contractors Program to name the Employment Equity groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities) as opposed to the Union’s proposed language (women, Indigenous people, BIPOC, people with disabilities);
  • Shifts the equity hiring thresholds to a different article, other than the hiring section;
  • Does not include the Union’s proposed language to provide compensation to non-BIPOC members who were not awarded contracts because of equity provisions (⅖ of the contract salary);

The Union’s equity hiring counter-proposal

In its response, the Union objected to the Employer’s characterization that prioritizing BIPOC members is a ‘limited’ approach to equity, and asserted that addressing systemic racism must be a high priority for both parties. We also indicated that the Employer’s stated struggle with including the language of ‘commitment’ in the collective agreement contradicts the university’s public statements promising concrete steps to address systematic racism at York University. The Union then presented another counter on equity hiring.

The Employer’s TCA counter-proposal

Key highlights from the Employer’s TCA counter:

  • Recognizes appointments that are Type 1 or equivalent (i.e. to include TAships) towards the eligibility for a TCA;
  • Does not include  any equity provisions;
  • Is a one-off rather than a continuous program;
  • Requires approval rather than being automatic for qualified members who want to participate;
  • Is unclear about how the reduced teaching commitments would be compatible with pension eligibility
  • Still only offers 3 years as the longest possible appointment, with weak severance.

Next Steps 

The parties agreed to take the next weekend off in order to rest and regroup, and then to reconvene the following weekend (March 13 and 14).

In the interim, the Bargaining Team agreed to

  • Review the Employer’s conversions proposal that was provided right at adjournment;
  • Work on a TCA counter-proposal;
  • Review the Employer’s rejected Continuing Appointments Program (CAI) proposal to see whether it contains any workable elements;
  • Prepare a chart with all the existing and proposed CUPE 3903 job security programs to support a conceptual discussion of overall job security goals.

Next Meetings

Members are encouraged to join us for our upcoming bargaining meetings with the Employer. Dates and exact times of all meetings can be found on our calendar here. Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the meeting.

Members can also get in touch with the Bargaining Team for questions and comments.