Background

What is CUPE and local 3903?

CUPE 3903 represents the contract faculty, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and research assistants at York University. With almost 3,700 members, CUPE 3903 is the largest trade union on campus. Our local is a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Canada’s largest union with over 628,000 members across the country. CUPE represents workers in health care, emergency services, education, early learning and child care, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation, airlines, and more. CUPE has more than 70 offices across the country, in every province.

Where is CUPE 3903?

Our office is located at 143 Atkinson Building on the Keele campus of York University. Our email address is CUPE3903office@gmail.com and our phone number is 416-739-5154. To contact members of our staff, please click here. To contact members of our Executive Committee, please click here.

Our history and social mandate

CUPE 3903 works and organizes to improve the working conditions of the nearly 3,700 education workers at York University who comprise our membership. Improvements in our working conditions also improve the learning conditions and environment of the wider York University community. York University is credited with having one of the best funding packages for graduate students. This package is the result of hard-fought organizing efforts to win these rights and benefits in our Collective Agreements.

In order to sustain these gains, and through the democratic mandate of our membership, our local has used strike action and other tactics to oppose the administration’s attempts to cancel tuition indexation language and to erode job security. While we organize to defend our progressive contract, we also recognize the need to defend the learning conditions of all students who seek accessible, high quality education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Unions and the labour movement are committed to social justice and improving the lives of communities and working people. Our local is proud to be active in the struggle for living wages for all, an end to homelessness, for a women’s right to choice, for fair trade policies, for protection of the environment, and for good public services. We believe our social mandate is to improve the conditions of not only our members, but also the wider working class.

‘What has the union ever done for us?’

In a unionized work environment, workers have written and legally-binding guarantees covering our wages, funding, and health benefits. Collective agreements give members of our local rights and protections which are often stronger than non-unionized workplaces. The collective bargaining agreement governs the relationships between education workers and the employer. Our work and learning environments are directly tied to the level of our mobilization and commitment to organize and defend gains made through our contract. Members challenge violations of the collective agreement by pursuing our established grievance procedure.

Our local has on average higher pay than other comparable locals in our sector in education.

Women with union representation earn an average of 89 percent of the wages earned by men. In non-unionized workplaces, the rate is 71 percent.

Our union’s collective agreement provides us guaranteed extended health, vision care and dental coverage.

Our collective agreement also contains tuition indexation language, which protects our members from tuition fee increases and helps preserve accessible, high quality education for incoming graduate students at York University.