Bargaining Team Report for the Week of Oct 10–13

Defending Member Rights and Finalizing Our Proposals Package

Bargaining Team Report for the Week of Oct 10–13

The Bargaining Team was busy this week, finalizing several new proposals and counterproposals and meeting with the Employer. While we’ve found some common ground with the Employer on the issue of updating some of the language of our collective agreements for the sake of clarity and to reflect actual practices, we refused (and will continue to refuse) attempts by the Employer to create a chilly or hostile work environment for our members. 

Defending Employee Over Management Rights!

As we’ve previously noted in our reports from July 31 and September 4, many of the Employer’s proposals focus on expanding management rights at the expense of our members in areas including grievances, employee evaluations, and discipline. During bargaining this week, the BT presented counterproposals on several of these problematic proposals. (A complete list of all proposals presented so far by both sides is available on the CUPE 3903 website under bargaining.) We largely accepted Employer proposals to change the language of the CAs to recognize the fact that job applications are now overwhelmingly submitted online, but we counterproposed language to allow Unit 2 members to continue to submit applications by hand and flatly rejected an Employer attempt to impose of two-week deadline for Unit 1 members to return an offer of employment. (See proposals 58 and 56, respectively, in our proposals’ document.) 

We further rejected a proposal that would make it easier to initiate the disciplinary process (Article 8)—a process that can have serious adverse effects on a member’s employment. Currently, a documented complaint is required to initiate the disciplinary process against a member—and we are seeking to introduce language that the Employer must provide evidence before the first meeting (see proposal 42); the Employer has proposed that an ill-defined “concern” on the part of a chair or director of a hiring unit could be grounds for beginning this process. Similarly, we rejected a proposal to deprive Unit 1 & 2 members of their right to choose their own evaluator if they are subjected to a teaching evaluation (per Article 13)—another process that can end by adversely affecting members’ careers (see proposal 52).

We also rejected an Employer proposal to make student evaluations for courses taught by contract faculty (Unit 2) members publicly available to students (see proposal 54). The Employer presented this change as an attempt to put our members on par with tenured faculty, whose student evaluations are already shared with students. We countered that the precarious job security of CUPE faculty in comparison to YUFA means that the sharing of such evaluations—with their well-documented biases based on gender, race, ethnicity, and even attractiveness—would place our already precariously-employed members at much (much!) greater risk of the loss or reduction of work than is the case for tenured faculty.

Our Emphasis on Equity Continues

Continuing our emphasis on equity issues in this round of bargaining, we presented the Employer with additional equity proposals on October 11. During the last round of bargaining, our BT fought hard to have more useful data on employment equity embedded in our collective agreements to ensure meaningful progress is being made in meeting representation thresholds of Employment Equity Groups. To our previously presented proposals, we added this week a proposal to establish a representation threshold for persons with disabilities. (Although the Employer claimed in the 2022–21 round of bargaining that the data to set such a threshold was not available in Statistics Canada data for either Toronto or Canada as a whole, the Employer’s own report has since contradicted this position; see especially pages 22 through 25 of the linked Employment Equity Report.) 

In addition, to ensure the Employer makes use of the latest available data in calculating the underrepresentation of Employment Equity Groups, we also proposed a Letter of Understanding (proposal 5) between the Union and the Employer that will require the Employer to apply the 2021 census data (set to be released publicly on January 1, 2024) to the relevant provision of our collective agreements that cover the calculations of underrepresentation thresholds (Articles 5.03.6 of the Unit 1, 2, & 3 collective agreements and 12.04.1 (ii) and 12.04.2 of the Unit 2 Collective Agreement). The Employment Equity Committee will rely on these new representation thresholds to assess the success of Employment Equity programs and initiatives (see proposals 3 and 4). 

We also continued to push the Employer to update the Employment Equity Survey that the Employer sends to our members. The Employer has resisted making changes that our Union has insisted repeatedly are necessary to make the survey more useful for employment equity purposes (for example, allowing for the disaggregation of data based on how people self-identify in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and so on), and to changing the language in questions so that people see themselves reflected in descriptions of gender, sexuality, racialization, disability, and so on.

Members Approve New Bargaining Proposals at the October 12 SGMM

The day after bargaining, the BT presented a bargaining update and new proposals to members at another of the Special General Membership Meetings (SGMMs) that the Union has been required to hold since bargaining began. Members of Unit 3 approved proposals to double the number of  GATF (Graduate Assistant Training Fund) grants from forty to eighty, provide a second opportunity each year for the hiring of GAs (Graduate Assistants), and enshrine language in the Collective Agreement that incentivizes the hiring of GAs. Since the Employer succeeded in drastically reducing the membership of Unit 3 in 2017–18, the Union has been fighting to protect and expand graduate assistantships, and the proposals approved this week continue that work.

To further ensure our members continue to have access to affordable, high-quality childcare, the SGMM approved a proposal to significantly increase funding to the two on-campus childcare centres (Lee Wiggins and the Co-Op) used by our members. (This proposal supplements our previous childcare proposal to increase the Childcare Fund, which is a union-administered fund that provides direct payments to members to subsidize childcare costs.)

Additional Proposals to Be Presented at the October 31 GMM

We are working hard to put as many of our proposals as possible before the membership at the next GMM on October 31. Significantly, the Employer’s bargaining team has flatly stated that it will not meaningfully engage with our monetary proposals—including the wage demands that our membership has indicated are a priority—until all proposals the Employer considers to be monetary (their definition is more expansive than ours!) have been dealt with. Unit 3 proposals are all but complete, and the Unit 1 and Unit 2 caucuses of the Bargaining Team are meeting frequently together and with  3903 staff to hammer out the details of proposals on the remaining issues that our members have identified as important to address in this round of bargaining. 

In the case of Unit 2, this task has been complicated by the fact that we are still awaiting a final meeting, with the mediator, of the joint Job Stability Committee that has been meeting with the Employer since the last round of bargaining wrapped up. Until that meeting happens (likely sometime in November) and we have clarity about whether any job stability program(s) will result from it, we can’t know what job stability proposals we may still need to present at the bargaining table. 

Nevertheless, the October 31 GMM will consider important new proposals we intend to present to the Employer in November. Join us to have your say!

Get Involved! Upcoming Bargaining Meetings

We’re continuing with a busy month of bargaining. In keeping with the principle of open bargaining, all members are encouraged to attend bargaining meetings (the regular weekly meetings and our meetings with the Employer). You can see more details about that and other meetings below, and we want members to know you are free to come and go from our meetings with the ER as your schedules require: you don’t have to show up right at the start or stay until the end—but of course, if you can stay, please do!

Check the CUPE 3903 website’s calendar for any updates. 

Bargaining Meetings with the Employer

This month’s bargaining meetings are taking place in a hybrid format. Join us in person in Kaneff Tower 512 (located just east of York Lanes) or online by registering in advance using the links below.

Oct 18, 2023, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM (in-person location TBD)

Register in advance for this meeting:

Oct 27, 2023, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM (in-person location TBD)

Register in advance for this meeting:

Bargaining Team Meetings

Oct 16, 2023, 11:00 AM–1:00 PM

Oct 17, 2023, 3:00–6:00 PM Joint meeting of the Bargaining Team and Executive Committee  

Oct 23, 2023 01:00–3:00 PM

Oct 30, 2023 01:00–3:00 PM

General Membership Meetings

October GMM

Oct 31, 2:00-5:00 

Accessibility of Bargaining Meetings 

For the regular bargaining team meetings, Zoom captions will be enabled. For the bargaining meetings with the Employer, CART will be available. If you require ASL interpretation or reimbursement for childcare/caregiver/attendant care or have any other accommodation requests, please contact our Equity Officer, Nadia Kanani, at

Due to the high demand for ASL interpreters, we encourage members to provide, when possible, two weeks’ notice if ASL interpretation is required.