December Remediation and Retroactive Pay Update for Unit 2 Members

Despite numerous attempts since September to get clear information from the York Administration, including the Faculty Relations Office, on the process and criteria for determining remediation pay for our members, we have yet to receive any clear guidelines or instructions.

Just this week, we received information that York’s payroll department has decided that the last remediation payments will be made on the January 25, 2019, payroll date. This is troubling, given that the deadline for students with deferred standing to complete outstanding coursework is Dec. 21, 2018. Thus many of our members will likely still be doing remediation work in January. We have contacted Faculty Relations about this matter. Continue reading

Arbitration Award Shows the Need to Defend Free Collective Bargaining

On Monday, December 3, the arbitrator James Hayes provided his award for the Units 1, 2, and 3 collective agreements. These awards confirm what we at CUPE 3903 have said from the start: arbitration is not a valid way forward to resolve complex disputes. Arbitration, by Hayes’ admission, is a blunt instrument that knowingly simplifies difficult and complicated issues to arrive at limited solutions. While the government claimed to be acting in the best interests of students, it is clear from this that legislation that trampling on the rights of workers to impose half-measures that paper over problem is not in the best interests of anyone but the powerful and privileged.  

This result is a demonstration of a continued trend of attacks on unions by both the government and employers. York refused to bargain in the hopes that the government would bail them out of that responsibility, and they have been rewarded. Meanwhile, it is the workers who suffer from this alliance.

Rather than working with the union in an effort to reach an agreement that both sides could live with, the employer chose to bargain in the media, with misleading language designed to polarize the York community and the public. We should not misunderstand their intentions: the use of the Code of Student of Rights and Responsibilities to punish members and undergrads for peaceful protest is yet another example of their aggressive attitude which left the entire York community reeling for a record-breaking 143 days.  

That the government did bail out the employer from its duty to bargain is not something to be celebrated, as this outcome demonstrates. The issue here is not that the union did not get everything it was asking for — after all, that is what can reasonably be expected from even a freely bargained settlement. The problem is that this settlement does nothing to alleviate the situation of precarity at York University and contains rulings that fail to consider the challenges they present to free collective bargaining. A negotiated settlement would have avoided these pitfalls.

The climate of precarity in academia is very real. In fact, Hayes himself states in his ruling that “York is only one university among many others that depends heavily upon contract faculty for the delivery of undergraduate teaching.”  By imposing concessions through arbitration, all this ruling has achieved is to deepen the existing crisis and further entrench these antagonisms. We need a sustainable solution and this process has done nothing to work towards one.

While this is the close of one of the hardest chapters of York’s history, it is not the end of the story. We continue to fight for good stable jobs and against the precarity espoused by both the York administration and the government. Members of CUPE 3903 gave everything they had to hold firm for themselves and their colleagues, and a better future for York University as a whole. This matters as we move forward into the next chapter of this struggle.   

To read the awards for all units, check below.

York University Unit 1 Award dated December 3, 2018

York University Unit 2 Award dated December 3, 2018

York University Unit 3 Award dated December 3, 2018

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Image description:
The CUPE 3903 star logo is on the top left. Underneath that is the United Nations IDPD logo, which is a four-colour graphic of hands circling around a dot in the center as if holding or hugging. Underneath that and also to the right is text.
Image text:
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December.
In recognition of IDPD, CUPE 3903 celebrates our disabled members and the contributions they make to our union and our workplace. People with disabilities have been, and continue to be, agents of change both in the university and within our local.
An intersectional disability justice agenda asserts the inherent value of all people and all lives, regardless of ability to maintain paid employment.
As a labour union, CUPE 3903 recognizes the barriers to employment that people with disabilities face and we affirm our interdependence and our responsibilities to each other.
CUPE 3903 reaffirms our commitment to challenging ableism and making our union, our workplaces, and our communities more accessible.

Vacancy on Joint Health and Safety Committee

A vacancy has opened up on the Joint Health and Safety Committee. Any members interested in sitting on the Committee can nominate themselves by emailing Stacey at by the end of the day December 4th (apologies, please note the information in the newsletter gave the day incorrectly as November 4th). If necessary a by-election will take place at the December 6th GMM.

Results of bylaw amendment votes from Nov 23rd GMM

At the GMM on November 23rd, two bylaw amendments were voted on: Bylaw 23.b (Voting of Funds), to make the bylaw consistent with Appendix G; and Appendix F (Listserv and Posting Guidelines) to include additional forms of electronic communication. The results are as follows:

Bylaw 23.b – Passed

Yes: 30

No: 5

Abstentions: 0

Appendix F – Passed

Yes: 28

No: 1

Abstentions: 0

Tentative Agenda for the November GMM

  1. Roll call of officers 
  2. Reading of the Equality Statement 
  3. Reading of the Mississauga Land Acknowledgement 
  4. Approval of Agenda 
  5. Reading and Approval of minutes 
    1. January 19, 2018 SGMM minutes
    2. January 23, 2018 SGMM minutes
    3. July 25, 2018 Strike SGMM
  6. Notices 
    1. Levy
    2. Bylaw amendment: Article 13.II (Ratification Vote)
    3. Bylaw amendment: Article 10 (Committees)
    4. Donation request: No One Is Illegal Legal Defense Fund for the activists who got arrested at the Anti-Steve Bannon protest
  7. Treasurer’s Report
    1. Budget Amendments
  8. Unfinished Business
    1. Endorsement request: Resisting Doug Ford
    2. Endorsement request: Human Rights Tribunal Case, Mandi Gray vs. York University
  9. Matters Arising
    1. Motion to open voting for the Unit 4 ratification at the SGMM on November 26
    2. Additional Trustees honoraria for audit of 2017/18 fiscal year
    3. Bylaw Amendment: Article 23.b (Voting of Funds)
    4. Donation to the Silence is Violence Legal Defence Fund ($1000)
    5. Bylaw Amendment: Amendment to Appendix F
  10. New Business
    1. CUPE Ontario Convention resolutions
    2. Endorsement request: A Better York Collective referenda
    3. E-voting Implementation Working Group
  11. Reports of committees and delegates
  12. Executive Report-backs
  13. Good of the Union
  14. Adjournment

Poll Clerks Needed!

Poll clerks are needed to operate polls at Glendon next week, beginning Monday November 26th, from 11am-3pm. The position is paid at $15/hour, and 2 clerks are needed for each shift. Given the size of Unit 4 and the potential for all known members to have cast their ballots before the end of the week, decisions about continuing polling at Glendon will occur on a daily basis. Therefore poll clerk positions are being offered on a day-to-day basis subject to the needs of the vote. Any member who is interested should contact Stacey, VPU1 at

Unit 4 Bargaining Update

On Saturday, November 17, 2018, the Unit 4 bargaining team met with York University representatives. After 4 hours of negotiations, the university made an offer to Unit 4.

Some gains resulting from this meeting are as follows:

  1. Wage increase (2.3%, 2.2%, and 2.1% respectfully)
  2. Inclusion in the Professional Development Fund
  3. Extension of Health Benefit for 5-month coverage after the end of contract

The Unit 4 bargaining team has recommended this offer to go to ratification. There will be a Special General Membership meeting on Monday, November 26th, 10-11am. The location for the SGMM will be in Harry Crowe, 109 Atkinson. We must applaud the perseverance and hard work of the Unit 4 bargaining team. To read previous bargaining updates, visit the Unit 4 Bargaining page.