Strike Mandate Vote: December 11 – 18, 2023

UPDATE: The Strike Mandate Vote closed December 18th, the result were an overwhelming majority YES strike mandate! Next steps are preparing for our Red lines Meeting – Please attend the January 19th from 3:00pm Red Line Special General Membership Meetings to identify which proposals or principles the membership will not accept a Collective Agreement without!

The collective agreements for CUPE 3903 Units 1, 2, and 3 expired on August 31, 2023. Since that time, we have collected data, prepared proposals, and begun bargaining. Despite our best efforts, we have not seen any significant progress so far at the bargaining table in any of our priority areas.

The reality is, for the past three years our wages have been suppressed at 1% while the cost of living skyrockets around us. Members are struggling to keep up with rent, bills and the cost of groceries. Many having to take on additional employment, go into debt, rely on social assistance and food banks to get by. On top of that, after almost two years of efforts with the Job Stability Committee, we have not been able to reach an agreement with the Employer.

The Employers’ counter-proposals so far are simply inadequate, the monetary proposals would allow us to scarcely break even as of 2023 (if it was implemented immediately) and does not factor in current and future inflation. While the mere 1% increase to only certain funds, and no increases or improvements to our Sun Life health benefits, hurts our ability to afford services essential to wellbeing. On top of that, the Employer has proposed language making it harder for members to file discrimination and harassment grievances. We need to push back against these attacks on existing protections. In fact, we need to make those protections better! Some things are worth fighting for.

Members are feeling more precarious than ever and we simply can’t afford to wait any longer for the Employer to meaningfully engage with our proposals. We need to pressure the employer to take our proposals seriously and respect the work done by our members at York. Vote YES on the Strike Mandate Vote (SMV) electronically from 3:00 PM December 11th to 3:00 PM December18th to show that we are willing to fight for what we deserve!

What is a strike mandate vote?

The Strike Mandate Vote (SMV) serves two purposes: it meets the requirements to be in legal strike position, and it serves as a strong bargaining tool. The SMV is the first step in mobilizing to be in legal strike position, and as such, is an important bargaining strategy. It shows the employer that the membership supports our bargaining team and the proposals they’ve brought forward by allowing the bargaining team to call for a strike if certain terms are not met.

Why are we having a strike mandate vote?

A strong strike mandate is often necessary to give the employer incentive to move at the bargaining table; in fact, in all the rounds of CUPE 3903-York bargaining in our living memory, the Employer has never brought any proposal worth settling on to the table without a strong Strike Mandate Vote.

Having a strike mandate vote has two effects:

  1. It shows the employer that we are serious about our proposals, and that the members are mobilizing to support them.
  2. In the process of mobilizing, it helps the members prepare for a strike if escalation is required.

What kind of strike mandate vote do we need?

The most effective strike mandate vote has a high turnout (the number of members who vote) and a strong strike mandate (the proportion who vote yes).

  • A high turnout is important because it shows that a wide cross-section of the membership is engaged and mobilized about the bargaining process.
  • A strong yes vote is also important because the union is strongest when it is united.

The Employer will be much more fearful of a strike – and more likely to negotiate seriously – if they know that the vote represents a real threat, and not just a bluff.

Does a ‘yes’ vote mean that we’re going on strike?

It is the first steps towards being in a strike position. A strong strike mandate vote does not necessarily mean we will strike, but it does indicate that we are ready to do so if necessary. If a strikes is necessary, You, along with the other members of your unit, are at the wheel of this process. If strike escalation is required, we will be prepared and members will vote a second time to authorize a strike.

What happens after a successful strike mandate vote?

After a successful strike mandate vote, the Bargaining Team returns to the bargaining table empowered to negotiate a good contract for all three units. The Bargaining Team will present the Employer’s best offer to the membership for a vote. If it passes, the offer will be sent to ratification; if it fails, the membership will discuss whether to go on strike or return to the bargaining table.

If the employer still doesn’t take bargaining seriously, we move to next steps.

  • First both parties will have to meet with a conciliator.
  • If no agreement can be reached, the conciliator files a “No-Board” report, which indicates to the Ministry of Labour that the parties are too far apart to reach an agreement.
  • After the No-Board, there is a mandatory wait period of 17 days before we reach a strike or lockout position.

The whole timeline gives the Bargaining Team ample time to try to reach an agreement with the employer, assuming the employer is willing. No decision to go on strike will be taken without another vote, members are in charge every step of the way.

How to Vote

We will be opening our strike mandate vote on December 11th at the Special General Membership Meeting, and it will remain open until December 18th. The vote will take place online, through SimplyVoting. The ballots are sent to the member email lists we receive from York University, sometimes this is your York University employee email address.

How to Vote

We will be opening the strike mandate vote at 3:00 PM after the December 11th Special General Membership Meeting, and it will remain open until 5:00 PM December 18th. If you can’t make the December 11th meeting but want to hear from the bargaining team and discuss bargaining before voting, there will be a second Special General Membership Meeting on December 14th.

The vote will take place online, through Simply Voting. The ballots are sent to the email list we receive from the Employer; sometimes this is your York University employee email address. If you are having issues finding your ballot from Simply Voting once the vote opens, please try the following things:

  1. Check your employee email address (the email used to access things like HR self-serve and class lists)

  2. Check any other email addresses that York University may have on file.

  3. Check your junk mail on your emails as well

  4. Try searching ‘Simply Voting’ in your inbox (the email comes from

If you STILL can’t find your SMV ballot, please the your full name, primary email address, and your employee number.  Also, please add to your safe senders list so that subsequent ballots do not end up in your junk mail folder.

If you do not have a current contract but have held one within the last 12 months, you are a political member and are eligible to vote. Please email with your full name, primary email address, and your former employee number to receive your electronic ballot.