What We’re Bargaining For:
Negotiating new collective agreements is an opportunity to improve working conditions that only comes around every three years. This round, we have four broad priority areas addressing crucial issues that need to be addressed now; there’s no time to wait!
Addressing the Cost-of-Living Crisis
The cost-of-living crisis is affecting everyone but hitting those who are already vulnerable the most. Between the unconstitutional Bill 124, which restricted wage increases to 1% per year for three years, and record high inflation (amounting to 15.8% over the last three years, according to the Bank of Canada), the real wages (adjusted for inflation) that precariously employed academics earn for their work has dropped drastically. Inadequate wages impact us every day—at the grocery store, at the rental office, at the pharmacy. We need not only substantial increases in wages and graduate funding, but also significant increases in our health benefits and other funds that we rely on to make ends meet.
Protecting Our Rights
On one hand, the employer has proposed language making it harder for members to file discrimination and harassment grievances; on the other, they’ve launched an attack on members’ right to free speech. We need to push back against these attacks on existing protections. In fact, we need to make those protections better! We have proposed a better process for dealing with discrimination and harassment cases, ways to improve the workplace accommodations process for members with disabilities, an accommodations process and supports for members experiencing racialized violence, and a new mediation-arbitration process so grievances can be resolved faster. And these are just some of the union’s proposals!
Ensuring Job Security
Did you know contract faculty (members of CUPE 3903 Unit 2) have to re-apply every few months for courses they’ve often taught for years? York relies on precarious contract labour for more than half of its teaching needs yet resists recognizing the value of that work. This bargaining round, we want to address this with a holistic Job Security Program that would give contract faculty the stability and predictability they deserve.
Graduate student employees also need stability! This round we have presented proposals to strengthen the priority pool for Unit 1 members (graduate students employed in teaching), and we’ve proposed a comprehensive set of proposals to protect graduate student researchers in Unit 3.
Our Working Conditions Are Students’ Learning Conditions
Members of CUPE 3903 are the instructors and educators that students interact with most! Improving our working conditions has a direct impact on students’ learning conditions. In this round, we have made proposals to address class sizes and workload, so that students can get more one-on-one instructor attention. Job stability and equitable hiring also improve students’ learning experiences by giving instructors more time to plan courses and creating an overall better learning environment at York University.