Bargaining Team Report: Week of November 20-24 

CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team Finalizes Package and Prepares for Next Stage of Negotiations

Bargaining Team Report for the week of November 20-24 

As we close in on our sixth month of collective bargaining for Units 1, 2 and 3, the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) has finalized our proposal package. Although we expected to receive a complete response to our proposals this month, the Employer still has yet to respond to any of our major monetary items, including health benefits, and has refused to indicate whether and when we might expect a response. 

BT Proposes New Graduated Job Security Program

Our package now includes a Graduated Job Security Program (GJSP) that would considerably improve the predictability and stability of work for Unit 2 members. This proposal was drafted in response to the unacceptable outcome of the Job Stability Committee, a joint committee of the Union and Employer that was supposed to develop a comprehensive job stability program. The BT is excited about how this new proposal addresses the needs of Unit 2 members at various levels of seniority and teaching intensity, and with a view to equity. 

Unit 2 members of the BT presented the GJSP in bargaining on November 24. The Employer had several questions about the ability to fulfil a guaranteed workload and the source of incentive funding for conversion appointments. While these are important questions for university management to resolve, they are not insurmountable, and we look forward to the Employer’s bargaining team demonstrating their stated commitment to alleviate the precarity of contract faculty at York University.

Employer’s Framework for Settlement Still Incomplete

The Employer first introduced a “Framework for Settlement” for each bargaining unit on October 27, but the package was incomplete. On November 24, we received an updated version that included several new non-monetary proposals. We take it as a positive sign that the Employer has listened to our clear objections and removed the concessionary changes they had originally proposed to Article 8 that would have made it easier to initiate disciplinary procedures against our members. However, on the whole these latest Frameworks for Settlement are far from a deal the BT would find acceptable. As well as being silent or unmoving on our proposals to address racialized violence and overwork, the Frameworks are still unresponsive to our proposals on health benefits and other monetary items. When pressed on the question of benefits, the Employer stated that they are not ready to indicate anything further at this time. To the 3903 bargaining team, that’s a clear indication that the Employer is looking to see what the results of our Strike Mandate Vote will be before they get serious about bargaining. (See our Bargaining Proposals webpage for copies of all proposals made by both sides, including the Employer’s updated Frameworks for Settlement.)

Employer Continues to Downplay Concerns about Campus Safety

The BT has continued to press the Employer at the table about multiple safety concerns on campus. Since the Tik Tok pranks that occurred some weeks ago, the Employer has not developed or shared a comprehensive and proactive safety plan. This is deeply concerning given a trend of targeting gender studies classes that had a very recent and violent manifestation in a gender studies classroom at the University of Waterloo this past summer. The Employer must do better on this question, lest they embolden the perpetrators of these pranks and disruptions give way to violence in our workplace.

Likewise, the BT has repeatedly called on the Employer to acknowledge the ongoing siege and genocide in Gaza and to join calls for a ceasefire instead of disciplining students, faculty, and organizations that have spoken and agitated for a free Palestine. We are disappointed to see the Employer frame these calls as distractions from the task of collective bargaining when many of our members and allies are experiencing first hand and in real time the material and political consequences of the university’s repression of pro-Palestinian activism, including police raids and arrests, workplace suspensions, and doxxing in the media. At the table and elsewhere, we will continue to refuse the Employer’s willful disregard of their role in these shameful developments.

Next Steps: Moving to Conciliation and a Strong Strike Mandate

Now that the BT has presented a full proposal package that addresses many of the issues facing members of Units 1, 2, and 3, it’s time to advance to the next step of the collective bargaining process. It’s time to show the Employer the collective power of our membership by returning a strong strike mandate. Our strike mandate vote will take place Dec. 11-18. You can join the mobilization efforts for this vote by signing up for phone banking and departmental events where members can talk to each other about what’s on the table and how we can fight for it. Once we have a strike mandate, we’ll hold a Red Lines GMM where the membership can determine the key items we are willing to strike over. Meanwhile, if we continue to see a lack of meaningful movement at the table, we can file for conciliation, a process by which the Minitstry of Labour appoints a conciliation officer who meets with the Union and the Employer to help them reach a collective agreement. In addition to providing support to the Bargaining Team, conciliation moves us one step closer to a legal strike position. 

Get Involved! Upcoming Bargaining Meetings

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 both our weekly Bargaining Team meetings, which take place online, and our meetings with the Employer, which usually take place in a hybrid format. As members of CUPE 3903, you are free to come and go from any of our meetings as your schedules allow. To attend online, register in advance using the links below.

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

Bargaining Meetings with the Employer

Thursday, November 30, 1:00–5:00 PM  (Online only)

Bargaining Team Meeting:

Monday, November 27, 1:00–3:00 PM  

Wednesday, December 6, 11:00 AM–1:00 PM 

Tuesday, December 12, 1:00–3:00 PM 

Thursday, December 19, 1:00–3:00 PM