Report Back – Mediated Bargaining Sessions with Chris Albertyn, March 13 and 14

On March 13, the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) met with Chris Albertyn for the third full weekend sessions to discuss the interlocking issues of job security and equity. While there was some positive movement and we remain optimistic about the ongoing mediated bargaining process, the parties have yet to come to an agreement on any of the outstanding issues. The Union is disappointed that there were no sign-offs at the end of our third weekend. 

Job Security: General Principles

On March 13, the BT presented our job security proposals through a chart that outlines a trajectory of what a member could predict as they move through Unit 2, and outlined the Union’s major principles for job security goals:

  1.     Security and equity at all career levels and for a majority of members
  2.     Steady, predictable work, livable income, and manageable teaching intensity
  3.     Recognition of seniority and incumbency
  4.     Automatic/mandatory and transparent programs
  5.     Respectful work culture, and functioning mechanisms of recourse

Continual Appointment Program (CAP)

Chris Albertyn had asked the BT to attempt to incorporate elements of the Employer’s previous Continuing Appointment Program (CAP) proposal into our proposals. After reviewing the problems with the CAP, which seems designed with many ways to fail to provide security, the BT decided to use a few of the Employer’s ideas to achieve our goal of fixing the Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP), a job security program for lower to mid-seniority members.

The hybrid program we presented would offer more predictable and steady work for our members, and uses a transparent hiring process that is mandatory for the Employer to operationalize, as opposed to the current CSSP, which departments have the option to forgo. Our CAP proposal also has a lower threshold than the current CSSP to enter the program, and guarantees members a minimum workload of 3.0 FCE each year they are active in the program. We await the Employer’s response to this proposal.  

Transitional Continuing Appointment (TCA)

The BT responded to the Employer’s proposed TCA, which is intended to help senior members transition to retirement. The Employer’s proposed a program that has 2- and 3-year terms, though as a one-time program; while the Union proposes an ongoing program and offers 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-year terms with differing course assignments, and clarifies questions about pension contributions (please refer to proposal for further details). At the very end of the weekend, the Employer gave us another passback, which the BT is still reviewing.

Hiring Equity

The Employer responded to our equity hiring proposal from February 28 where we proposed a payout mechanism for cases where equity is prioritized in hiring. However, York’s proposal asks for these payouts to come out of the Union’s Ways and Means fund, instead of being paid by the Employer. The BT strongly believes that the cost of equity measures to address systemic racism at York University should not be borne by our members, and that it is the university’s responsibility to financially support its stated commitment to equity.

We are also troubled by the Employer’s effort to significantly revise Article 5.03, which lays out their responsibility to collect and share equity data with the Union. This data would constitute the basis for definitions of underrepresentation and thus trigger clauses on equitable hiring in Article 12.04. The Union deems the Employer’s proposal concessionary:

  1. It treats equity thresholds as a ceiling rather than a floor;
  2. It bases its definition of underrepresentation on sets of data that are nationwide rather than GTA-specific, where racialized people constitutes a significantly higher portion of the population;
  3. It limits the Union’s entitlement to access university census data and other equity-related information.

We are drawing nearer to a consensus on Article 12.04 equity hiring proposals, which outline how equitable representation would be measured and how hiring equity would interact with existing seniority and incumbency rules; but references to Article 5.03 continue to be a major sticking point.

Next Steps

We will be holding a Special General Membership Meeting on bargaining, on March 26. The BT will present the latest updates, answer questions, and discuss strategy for next steps with the membership. Please register in advance for this meeting here.

The Employer and the Union are also discussing additional dates for mediated bargaining, which will be announced on our calendar as soon as they are scheduled.

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