Bargaining Team Report for the Week of Oct 30, 2023

Bargaining Team Report for the Week of Oct 30, 2023

Bargaining Team and membership discuss and approve proposals and a revised timeline, while the Job Stability Committee comes to a disappointing, if predictable end

This week, we did not have a bargaining meeting with the Employer;  nevertheless, the BT was super busy. Our subcommittees had a full week prepping and meeting to get the balance of our proposals ready for the membership (see below for details on the proposals). A few proposals remain to be finalized, largely we are waiting on already requested information from the Employer. At the GMM on October 31, we were able to present all those proposals to the membership, and get approval to bring them to the bargaining table on November 7!  The Oct. 31 GMM also included a discussion of the Employer’s Oct. 27 “Framework for Settlement” and of our revised timeline and plans for mobilization; please see below for further details. For Unit 2 folks, we did meet with the Employer on November 2, on the joint Job Stability Committee (JSC), which wrapped up this week with a whimper and no agreement–so far. 

Please note that due to unexpected circumstances unrelated to bargaining, there is the U1 BT vacancy. The nomination period is open as of Nov. 3! Please consider putting your name forward for this important work. Finally you can show your support for your bargaining team and see for yourself how bargaining works by coming out to our November meetings (see below for details and locations and/or links)Bargaining team meeting (Nov. 6 1- 3 pm, online; Nov. 7 1130-1230, hybrid), Bargaining next week (Nov. 7 1-5, hybrid).  See below for specific information for each meeting.


Since we began meeting with the Employer in July, the bargaining team has been gradually presenting a number of all-units proposals, including equity proposals, and our crucial demands on wages and benefits, which we presented in August. To meet our self-imposed deadline in relation to larger bargaining timeline considerations, the BT presented 35 all- or multi- unit  proposals, as well as a number of Unit 1 and Unit 2 proposals at the October 31 GMM. described below. The few proposals still to come remain unfinished because the Employer has not provided us with information we requested months ago or, in the case of Unit 2 job stability programs, we were waiting to see if an agreement on a comprehensive job stability program could be reached at the final meeting of the JSC (see below for more on the JSC).

All/multi units proposals:

We are proposing automatic enrollment in benefits, new coverage for medical devices, hearing aids, and medical tests, and a new fund, modelled on the SASSF (Sexual Assault Survivors Support Fund), to support members experiencing racial discrimination, harassment, and violence.

Unit 1:  

The Bargaining Team presented several Unit 1-specific proposals: improvements to the fellowship and the minimum funding guarantee; offsets (against “clawbacks”); a minimum turnaround time for the grading of assignments, tests, and exams; protections of intellectual property; academic freedom and “mode of delivery;” and scholarships and awards that affect membership in the bargaining unit. These proposals were all approved by the membership and will be presented to the Employer on November 7. 

Unit 1 members clearly identified graduate funding and wages as major priorities in the bargaining surveys that we administered over the summer. As such, the Bargaining Team has developed a proposal on fellowship funding for domestic students that parallels our proposals on wages, Grant-in-Aid, and Graduate Financial Assistance: a 40% increase plus inflation indexation. In developing our proposal for increases to the international student fellowship, we wanted to ensure equity between domestic and international students (i.e., we wanted to make sure that both domestic and international students receive the same amount of “take-home” pay once tuition is deducted from the increased fellowship amount, approximately $2,100). In several proposals we have attempted to eliminate and reduce the frequency of clawbacks by protecting certain funds (e.g., increases to wages, funds, scholarships) from offsets and raising the thresholds at which the fellowship is clawed back (e.g., scholarships of $50,000 or more instead of scholarships of $15,000 or more). 

In addition to these monetary proposals, we also presented a handful of proposals related to workload and academic freedom. Our proposal on workload would ensure a minimum turnaround time of 14 calendar days for TAs to grade assignments, tests, and exams. This would facilitate a more reasonable pace of work for Unit 1 members. Our proposal on academic freedom would give Unit 1 members more control over the mode of delivery of teaching-related duties such as office hours.  


The Unit 2 members of the Bargaining team  presented the majority of our proposals, which have now been passed by the membership. These include proposals on overwork, querying, applicable prior experience (or APE) credit for participating in University committees and governing bodies, new language for the collective agreement on Nursing qualifications (and a letter of agreement on the same), extending incumbency on member-designed courses, language and references in the collective agreement for triggers for markers and graders in Offers of appointment, and finally proposals for retirees to continue with their existing level of benefits, as well as library and email access.

We will present all proposals approved on October 31 to the employer at our November 7 meeting (see below for more information on upcoming bargaining meetings). Members can find a copy of all of our proposals online. 

Wages and the Employer’s offer to all unions on campus

Due to Bill 124, all employers in the campus unions were unable to negotiate fair and just wage increases during the last few years of collective agreements. The last report goes into much further detail, about the “framework of settlement” that the Employer offered to us. In similar frameworks to ours, the Employer has released similar offers to the other unions on campus. It is too soon for the Cross Campus Alliance (CCA) to have a response to the Employer, but look in both this space and in general 3903’s website for both the statements of the CCA and further ways to get involved.

Bargaining Timeline and Mobilization of Membership

As of the October 31 GMM, the membership has also approved a new timeline that is this month we should be entering conciliation, and which means that next month should be both the redline and strike mandate vote.  

What this means for you, the membership, is that you need to come out to the both, we need to show the Employer that the time is now for us to make our collective agreement, and the only way to do that is for us to have the strongest mandate possible.

JSC update:

At our August 10 GMM, Unit 2 members voted, somewhat reluctantly, to agree to one final meeting of the Joint Job Stability Committee, which was then over a year past its deadline to come up with a new job stability program. That final meeting took place on November 2 with representatives and staff from 3903, Mae Nam who is legal counsel for 3903, the Employer, and the Mediator, Chris Albertyn. 3903 representatives on the JSC were also joined by U2 members of the bargaining team to look at the Employer’s latest proposal for job security and stability for Unit 2, alongside our own redrafted sections. 

In the process, we reviewed our positions on elements where we remain significantly apart from the Employer, came up with new approaches where possible, re-affirming what we see as essential to getting long-overdue predictability and living wages for our members. The significant areas of difference remain eligibility (the Employer wants to limit access to job stability to members doing Type 1 work, while the 3903 side remains clear that both parties agreed to work on stability for Unit 2 members, full stop), appointments (again, the Employer wants to frame job stability as related to departmental need for Type 1 work, while we reject such a narrowing of job stability), guaranteed work (the Employer is offering a range of 2.0 to 3.0 FCEs, while we are sticking with 3.0 FCEs as necessary for economic survival), the amount that would make for a fair severance when exiting the program, details of the continuation of the CSSP while the new job stability program is implemented, as well as the speed of the rollout of the overall program and Direct Entry for low-seniority members who are Racialized, Indigenous or belong to two or more Employment Equity groups. 

There was tremendous unanimity and good spirit of all those working on the 3903 side to get a deal finalized. Despite 3903 members having made it clear to the ER in advance that this would be the final meeting of the joint JSC and despite our willingness to continue working into the evening, members of the ER’s team refused to stick around to continue to hammer out an agreement. What this communicated to us is that the Employer’s side considers the personal engagements of one or two people on their side more important than job stability for close to a thousand of our members. While we are very disappointed and frustrated with this outcome, we are working on next steps that we will bring to the membership at the November 14 SGMM.

Get Involved! Upcoming Bargaining Meetings

We’re continuing with a busy month of bargaining. Our union practices open bargaining, meaning all meetings of the Bargaining Team—including our face-to-face meetings with the Employer’s bargaining team—are open to all members of CUPE 3903. All  members are encouraged to attend bargaining meetings (the regular weekly meetings and our meetings with the Employer). As members of CUPE 3903, 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

With the exception of November 30, this month’s bargaining meetings are taking place in a hybrid format. Join us in person in Kaneff Tower 519 (located just east of York Lanes) or online by registering in advance using the links below.

Tuesday Nov 7 – 1PM-5PM 

Friday Nov 17 – 10AM-5PM 

Friday Nov 24 – 10AM-5PM 

Thursday Nov 30 – 1PM-5PM  (Online) 

Bargaining Team Meetings

Nov 6, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM 

Nov 13, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM 

Nov 20, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM 

Nov 27, 2023 1:00–3:00 PM 

Upcoming 3903 Bargaining SGMM

We encourage members to participate in the SGMM on Bargaining, which are now HYBRID!  (For Zoom participation, you need to register in advance), in person: Location TBA.  Here’s the link to join the next bargaining team meeting (also shared on 3903’s website’s calendar):

Tuesday Nov.14, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Register here! 

Upcoming 3903 GMM

We encourage members to participate in the GMM, which as part of our bargaining process will obviously have updates about bargaining, but which also includes general union business, and which are now HYBRID!  (For Zoom participation, you need to register in advance), in person: Location TBA.  Here’s the link to join the next bargaining team meeting (also shared on 3903’s website’s calendar):

Friday Dec. 1, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m., 

 Register here!

Upcoming 3903 Bargaining Team and 3903 EXEC Meeting

As always, we encourage members to participate in our regular bargaining team meetings with 3903 EXEC (without the Employer). Here’s the link to join the next bargaining team/EXEC meeting (also shared on 3903’s website’s calendar):

Tuesday Nov. 21, 3:00-6:00 p.m.