Bargaining Team Report: Feb 28th-March 3rd

Employer Preoccupied with Misinformation and Stalling, while BT Hits the Picket Lines

BT Update — March 3, 2024

Since we began bargaining in June 2023, the Employer has repeatedly attempted to unilaterally define what bargaining is and how it works. Early on they told us that they would not engage with our monetary proposals (such as wages and benefits) until we had given them all of our non-monetary proposals. Now they have reversed their position, communicating via the Conciliator that they will not come to the table to negotiate other proposals until we lower our wage demands, while publicly pointing to “the advice of the provincially appointed conciliation officer” to justify their refusal to come to the table. Today the bargaining team met with the Conciliator and reiterated that we are ready to bargain at any time. We also pointed out that the two sides had reached substantial agreement on important equity and other proposals before talks broke off nine days ago, and that we could be meeting to resolve these non-monetary issues. The CUPE 3903 bargaining team intends to present unit-specific and all-units focused proposal packages to the membership at the next Strike SGMM. Meanwhile, we will continue to signal our willingness to bargain and call on the Employer to come to the table this week.

Upcoming Meetings and Events:

Join us for the next BT prep meeting from 10 AM to 5 PM on Tuesday, March 5.

We are hosting a Unit 1 and Unit 3 town hall on Tuesday, March 5 from 5 to 7 PM (a.k.a. “Teaching/Graduate/Research Assistant Q&A”).

Join us for the Unit 2 town hall at 5 PM on Wednesday, March 6.

Finally, the next Strike SGMM will be held on March 7, 5 to 8 PM; please register in advance.

Bargaining Team Report for Friday, March 1, 2024

While the Employer has stated that they will not meet until we move on wages, the Bargaining Team intends to motivate the Employer to return to the table by preparing a focused proposal package for next week. We plan to meet with the Conciliator as soon as possible (a meeting is being scheduled for this Sunday). And we are preparing for two upcoming Q & A sessions, one for international students and one for members of Unit 1 and Unit 3.

Bargaining Team Report for Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Strike to Win! 

On Monday, February 26, our members showed up in large numbers to kick off the strike rally. Our members, who make up more than half of the teaching community at York University, affirmed that We Are York. We made clear that we are fighting for fair compensation, job protection, and equity in the workplace, and that for many of our members, this strike is about survival. While York gives senior administrators significant pay raises, sometimes 20 to 30 percent, our members are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay for rent, groceries, and other necessities.

Spreading Misinformation and Stalling Negotiations

Unfortunately, instead of returning to the bargaining table, the Employer has been focused on spreading misinformation, stoking fear, and has continued their practice of interfering in academic freedom. 

At its core, bargaining has stalled due to the employer’s reluctance to adjust their wage proposals. While CUPE 3903 has decreased its wage demands in good faith by a total of 6%, the employer merely increased by 1.75%. By refusing to continue bargaining until we move on wages, the Employer is treating our equity demands as pawns. These include important protections for members experiencing racialized violence and discrimination in the workplace. 

What’s Next?

Members of the Bargaining Team have been out on the picket lines this week, both walking the lines with our departments and visiting other lines, individually and together, to answer members’ questions and listen to their ideas about bargaining. We have also been working to streamline and focus our proposals into a comprehensive package to try to re-engage the employer. 

Although no bargaining is currently taking place it might resume at any time. We will provide as much notice as possible when this happens. 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. Members are encouraged to attend both our Bargaining Team meetings, which take place online, and our meetings with the Employer, which usually take place in a hybrid format.

Join us at our next Bargaining Team Preparatory Meeting on Friday, March 1, 4:00–6:00 PM to discuss the latest developments in bargaining for Units 1, 2, and 3, and strategize the next steps. All members are welcome!

Please also mark your calendar for the following important meetings being hosted by members of the Bargaining Team:

All International students are welcome to a recurring International Student Q&A to get to know your Union. The first one takes place on Sunday, March 3 from 3:00–5:00 PM. Do you have questions about the strike, questions about strike pay, or questions about the hardship fund? We can help. We also want to make this into an e-social, so please—all International students—do attend. We are your Union! Let’s get to know each other.

We are also hosting a Teaching Assistant / Graduate Assistant Q&A for Unit 1 and Unit 3 members on Tuesday, March 5 from 5:00–7:00 PM to take questions about the bargaining process, how striking works, and your rights during a strike, as well as to address and discuss bargaining priorities moving forward. 

Finally, the bargaining team will continue to be out on the picket line with you! If you see us, ask us questions about bargaining, chat with us about the strike, and get to know us better. We’re looking forward to meeting you all! 

Keep an eye on for all the latest events and meetings.

Don’t forget that all members are welcome to participate in twice-weekly Strike Committee Meetings, including Friday, March 1 from 2:00–4:00 PM and Tuesday, March 5, 4:00–6:00 PM (link forthcoming).