Bargaining Team’s Summary of Tentative Agreement Signed April 14th 2024


CUPE 3903 Units 1, 2, and 3

On Sunday, April 14, after six consecutive (and long!) days of bargaining, the CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team for Units 1, 2, and 3 reached a tentative agreement with the Employer. This deal will now go to the membership for ratification on Friday, April 19. (See the end of this summary for details.)

All three units of the Bargaining Team voted to recommend that members ratify this deal. The information below is designed to give members a summary of what is in each offer to inform your vote. 

You can also look through the complete tentative agreement documents here:

A summary chart of all the agreed-upon changes in the Memoranda of Settlement is also available: Changes to the Collective Agreements, 2023–26

You can also check out these wage calculator documents, prepared by a rank-and-file member, to get a sense of how compensation will be improved with the next collective agreement (and the gains we made over the course of the strike). 

Each unit will vote to ratify separately, although many of the gains are common to all three. 


Wage Increases

For the 2020-2023 period, negotiated retroactively due to the unconstitutional wage freeze imposed by Bill 124, we have achieved the following increases in addition to the 1% already received:

  • 2020-21: 1%
  • 2021-22: 2%
  • 2022-23: 3%

As we negotiated, this retroactive pay will apply to current and former employees who have left York University. Everyone who worked from 2020 to 2023 will be eligible for a retroactive lump sum payment.  The Employer will contact ex-employees by mail and email at the addresses it has on file so they can confirm their banking information. Former employees will have 90 days to do so, and midway through the process, the Employer will provide the Union with a list of those who have not yet responded.

For the period of the renewal collective agreement, we have negotiated the following increases:

  • 2023-24: 3.10%
  • 2024-25: 2.85%
  • 2025-26: 2.85%

In total, then, we’ve negotiated increases of 14.8% (or 17.8% including the previous increases of the Bill 124 period). The cumulative, compounded increase over the six years is 15.7% (or 19.2%, inclusive).

Compensation for Graduate Students

For Units 1 and 3 members, Grant-in-Aid (GIA) will get the same retroactive and future increases as wages. 

Also for Units 1 and 3 members, we have negotiated an 18% increase for Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA), which is greater than the wage increase, and is effective September 1, 2024. This larger increase recognizes the specific financial pressures on graduate students. In light of the disproportionate burden of international tuition fees, we also made a case for even greater increases for international students but were unfortunately unsuccessful. 

Let us be clear: these wage and funding increases are neither what we aimed for nor what we deserve. Between the unconstitutional Bill 124 and record-high inflation, the cost of living has increased well past any level that could be meaningfully addressed by such small increases. Nonetheless, we recommend this deal because we believe it is the best we could achieve under the circumstances. Our wage increases are the best in the sector, which unfortunately would limit what we could achieve in arbitration. 

Other All-Unit Gains

Many of the all-units proposals we achieved this round are wins for equity! Highlights include:

  • A NEW $25,000/year fund to support racialized members experiencing racial discrimination, harassment, and violence; this is a proposal we have fought for unsuccessfully in previous rounds of bargaining!
  • A NEW Mentoring Fund of $10,000/year to provide mentoring, professional development, and other supports among the units, especially for employment equity groups
  • Three additional weeks (for a Fall-Winter contract, from 12 to 15) of paid parental leaves for non-pregnant parents and adoptive parents, as well as increased unpaid parental leave
  • An increase of $10,000 to the operating costs of each of the two on-campus childcare centres (from $50,000 to $60,000) and a 3% per year increase in the Childcare Fund for members
  • A commitment from the employer to have regular discussions with the union about the workplace accommodations process and policies

Other gains include 1% increases to the following funds: Professional Development Fund, Equity Fund, Extended Health Benefits Fund, and Ways & Means Fund. We also increased the employer contribution to executive service (which pays the honoraria for the executive committee) for the first time in over a decade, and reduced the number of steps in the grievance process from four steps to two, so that members can have their grievances heard and processed more quickly. 

We regret to report that—aside from a modest increase to the healthcare spending accounts of post-retirees—we did not win improvements to the benefits plan. The employer held firm to its position that our benefits are best of any similar union in the province; it was unmoved by the reality that the cost of medical care has increased along with the cost of living and that, as a result, existing benefits have progressively gotten members less and less care. Even our proposal to add coverage for essentials like hearing aids was denied. We pushed hard until the very end but received only dismissive comments from the employer. 

Unit 1

Unit 1 focused most of its bargaining power on increasing remuneration (see the Compensation section above) but also achieved the following:

  • Clarifying language defining the duties of marker grader positions (Tutor 3) to help mitigate abuses
  • Minor improvements to the workload language to clarify that course directors must clearly establish grading timelines
  • Minor improvements to the UHIP Fund and Graduate Student Bursary Fund

Unit 2

Job Stability

With the support of the other striking units, Unit 2 successfully fought back against the Employer’s attempt to impose on us their version of the JSP (Job Stability Program). However, defeating this program did mean some losses in existing job stability programs. Ultimately, this is what we were able to achieve:

  • 18 total Long Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs), spread between 2024-25 and 2025-26 (down from 21 in the 2020–23 CA) 
  • 6 total conversion appointments in 2024-25 and 2025-26. 
  • Return of the Time-Limited Severance Program (TLSP) for long-serving members looking to retire, with applications open between May 1 and October 31, 2024 

We regret that we were unable to get any uptake from the employer on the Special Renewal Contracts (SRCs). And in order to secure renewal of the TLSP, a successful program under our previous CA, we dropped our attempt to renew the underused Transitional Continuing Appointment (TCA) program.

Regarding restructuring, we were unable to get the employer to value long-serving members impacted by the administration’s decisions on enrollment and program change. We did accept the offer of severance payments for PKIN instructors looking to exit York, but eligibility for these payments is limited and the amounts are insufficient. Nor does a one-time severance payment address the fact that the goal should be to help members who have worked at this university for decades to find their place amid restructuring, not show them the door. 

Other Provisions

Here are the other gains in the Unit 2 collective agreement:

  • New workload protections for Type 2 work (e.g. tutorial leader, lab demonstrator, etc.) that limit the hours of work to 135 per appointment. This brings Unit 2 to parity with Unit 1 members doing similar work. 
  • Modest increase of $200 to post-retirement health spending accounts, bringing the yearly amount up to $2200. 
  • A commitment from the employer to look into the feasibility of extending email access for retirees
  • Increased incumbency period for members who are requested to design a course
  • A new process to award experience credits (seniority points) to members involved in certain forms of service to the university community

Unit 3

Getting the employer to engage in Unit 3 issues is always exceedingly difficult. This is not surprising, given York’s history of trying to destroy protected, unionized work for graduate students doing research or clerical work at York University. In this round, the employer refused to acknowledge they had been lying about the cost of hiring a Graduate Assistant since 2016 and had misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars meant to be used for that purpose. We will continue to pursue these issues through arbitration. The Employer remained implacably opposed to our main goal, which was to increase the number of GA positions.

Consequently, Unit 3’s gains are minor:

  • Renewal of the Graduate Assistant Training Fund (GATF): 40 allocations per year at $4000 per allocation (up from $2000)
  • Unit 3 members will now receive a written offer of appointment that includes details of their contract, rather than, as previously, just an email with no contract!
  • Minor improvements to the posting language to clarify the financial value of Unit 3 contracts

Back-to-Work Protocol

In the last few days of bargaining, we negotiated a back-to-work protocol for all members who return to work on the first day after ratification; the protocol ensures everyone will receive a minimum of 90 percent and up to 100 percent of their remaining remuneration for the Winter 2024 term:

  • 90% of remaining salary and GIA, to be paid as soon as practicable
  • Payment of the remaining 10 percent is dependent on submitting a remediation plan (Unit 2), the number of students remaining in courses (Units 1 and 2), and the amount of work completed (all units)
  • The protocol also requires that the assignment of work aligns with a member’s approved Accommodated Work Plan  

Ratification Vote

For more information about and to register for the online Special General Membership Meeting at which the Bargaining Team will explain the new Collective Agreements, please refer to the following The Meeting will take place on Friday, April 19, 12:00–2:00 p.m. As per our Union’s bylaws, voting will begin during the meeting (by 1:00 p.m.) and will continue for two hours after the meeting. 

IMPORTANT NOTE!! To receive your e-ballot from Simply Voting for the ratification vote, you MUST REGISTER FOR THE SGMM. You don’t have to attend the SGMM to vote, but the registration list for the meeting will be used as the voters’ list and will be sent to Simply Voting once the meeting starts. New registrations will be accepted up to the close of the poll at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, but please register well ahead of the meeting because any registrations after the meeting starts will need to be transferred individually to Simply Voting, which will delay your receiving your ballot.