Executive Elections 2023: Candidate Statements

Chief Steward Unit 1
Matt Lomas
I am the current Chief Steward for Unit 1, having been in the role since January 2022, and I am hoping to be re-elected to continue serving. Prior to working for the members of CUPE 3903, I represented the workers at Western University as the Chief Steward for the Social Sciences with PSAC 610. My experience as Chief Steward makes me particularly suited to the role as we go into what I expect will be a particularly contentious round of bargaining. Since I started in the role, I’ve been glad to be able to help members to understand their Collective Agreement rights through things like orientations and other workshops, but also by helping to prepare material such as the Unit 1 TA Handbook. I’ve also been able to assist members in organising direct action campaigns when those Collective Agreement rights have been violated or ignored. Not only do I think these things are vital for our members, I enjoy doing them. This year, CUPE 3903 is going into bargaining coming out of the wage freeze imposed by Bill 124 and during a period of serious inflation in Canada. To ensure that you get the best possible deal, you need to have an experienced representative who is dedicated to understanding and supporting you as union members and as workers. I have the experience, the institutional knowledge, and the dedication to do this for you, and that’s why I hope to be able to continue working with CUPE 3903 members as the Chief Steward for Unit 1.

Ehsan Tabesh
As a fourth-year PhD student in the Mechanical Engineering Department, I am excited to express my keen interest in running for the position of Chief Steward Unit 1 for 2023-2024 in CUPE 9303 at York University.
My academic journey has been closely tied to various associations and unions, such as the Material Engineering Students’ Association (MESA), the Iranian Union of Scientific Student Associations of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering (IUSAME), and the York University Graduate Student Association (YUGSA). Through these experiences, I have gained a wealth of valuable skills in decision-making, conflict resolution, and the art of reconciling differing perspectives.
My dedication to the cause of social justice and equity is reflected in my last role as the Vice President Finance at YUGSA. During my tenure, I worked hard to make YUGSA a more inclusive, supportive, and anti-discriminatory organization. I was responsible for communication, coordinating and providing various services to graduate students at York, acted as the chief signing authority for the organization, and ensured that funds were disbursed in accordance with Council instructions.
As a candidate for the Chief Steward Unit 1 position, I firmly believe that my extensive experience, combined with my passion for serving union members, will enable me to excel in this role. I am committed to being an effective communicator, a proactive problem-solver, and a dedicated advocate for the rights and interests of union members. My diverse experiences and skills make me a strong candidate for this position.


Communications Officer
Erin McIntosh
Hi, I’m Erin McIntosh and I’m running for Communications Officer. As a Unit 1 Steward for the Department of Politics, I love organizing and connecting with fellow members, and my “friends and comrades” email communications have even become somewhat renowned within the department.

As it stands, the long-term effects of the global pandemic have resulted in a membership that is more disconnected and isolated than ever. We are heading into bargaining and often struggle to meet quorum for meetings. We need communications that feel inclusive, empowering and that leaves membership knowing that they are integral to union function, that it is not something that exists without them. I see a comprehensive communications campaign, premised on community and capacity building, as a crucial part of addressing these challenges.

I have experience managing communications for a non-profit organization, including newsletters, educational materials, website overhaul, press, and social media. Additionally, I have interned as a social media marketing assistant in the arts sector, and have learned the skills needed for creating a powerful social media campaign across many platforms. I have successfully promoted and executed a variety of events, ranging from workshops and conferences to fundraisers and cabarets.

This role will require dedication, determination and focus. If elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure that all members are informed, and engaged, with our unions’ activities, events and initiatives. The following are proposed strategies that I will adapt in collaboration with the wider executive team and membership:

  • Maintaining consistent and clear communications on procedure, meetings and news.
    • Revamping the weekly newsletters.
    • Website updates and maintenance.
    • Additional promotional communications for meetings and actions.
    • Creating educational material to share with members when promoting meetings so that they feel informed and empowered to participate.
  • A comprehensive social media campaign across all major platforms
    • Creating and maintaining a strict social media schedule and content calendar.
    • Building community through regularly scheduled cross-organization solidarity posts and information sharing.
    • Developing a bargaining specific communications campaign outside of regular scheduled communications.

Vedanth Govi
My name is Vedanth Govi (they/them) and I am a PhD student at LAPS, at the Department of Anthropology. I am running for the executive committee position of Communications Officer (CO) for the 2023 term. I bring experience to this position at a time where the communications landscape is rapidly changing and therefore my experience will be crucial in revamping various aspects of the communication portfolio. In my time as the CO for the previous term, I have initiated several projects to improve our communications, including working closely with our Equity Officer and Assistant-Staff representative towards creating a website that is more accessible in further compliance the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). Furthermore, I also helped develop the COVID-19 Reporting Tool as part of our back-to-campus campaign and revived our Instagram page to make information available across a variety of platforms. I want to build on the work I have been doing, which includes focusing on the following projects, and others as might emerge:

  1. Building a more robust social media policy that cements our Twitter and Instagram profiles firmly in the algorithm by developing a scheduling roster that turns posting across platforms into a well-oiled machine so that these platforms can be used effectively for our campaigns during times of outreach, to inform and, fight back against various forms of misinformation.
  2. Work closely with our website vendor Union1 to ensure that new 3903 website is rolled out in the coming term with all our major accessibility concerns addressed.
  3. Work with the Bargaining Team to improve bargaining survey reach and relevance, as well as raise awareness about key issues for all units as we build towards bargaining.
  4.  Reorganise the Comms profile to include the Recording Secretary to build towards efficiency by collaborating on all overlapping areas.

Arefeh Shamskhany
My name is Arefeh Shamskhany and I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Civil Engineering Department, at York University. As Communications Officer, I will strive to ensure that all members are informed and engaged in our local’s activities. I had similar responsibility at YUGSA as the VP-Internal for the past year, and I know the ups and downs of this position. I believe that it is essential to maintain an open line of communication between the Executive Committee and the membership. To achieve this, I will hold monthly meetings with the members of the Communications and Distribution Committees to gather input and feedback and to ensure that the communication strategy aligns with the local’s goals and values.
In addition to the newsletter and social media, I will explore new avenues to reach out to our membership, such as podcasts, webinars, and other digital media. One of my goals is to ensure that our communication is accessible and inclusive to all members, including those with accessibility requirements.
As a responsible and experienced communication officer, I understand the importance of record-keeping and confidentiality. I will ensure that all books, seals, and other properties of the Local Union are properly maintained and transferred to my successor upon the termination of my term of office. I will also provide a copy of all documents pertaining to my work to the CUPE 3903 Archive to ensure that our history and achievements are archived and preserved for future generations.
In summary, I believe that my experience, skills, and dedication to the membership make me an ideal candidate for the position of Communications Officer at CUPE 3903. My goal is to enhance our communication strategy and ensure that all members are informed and engaged in our activities.

Thank you for considering my candidacy.