Unit 2 remediation overwork claims: Post-strike procedures

Because the York University Senate attempted to re-open classes mid-way through the strike there is potentially a lot of extra work that Members of Unit 2 will have to do, or be asked to do, before the end of the semester. Outlined below are the steps to take to make a claim for pay for that work.

Classes that resumed on or before March 23

The Employer has developed a procedure to claim pay for overwork for courses that resumed on or before March 23, 2015. Members of Unit 2 who wish to make a claim for Remediation Overwork will be asked to submit a remediation plan to the appropriate Dean or Principal.

Senate policy 008 allows students to decide wether or not they want to cross the picket lines, resulting in some students receiving instruction during the strike and others not. Potential overwork, in the eyes of the Employer, will come from having to duplicate instructional time, evaluation, office hours, etc., with or without modification, in order to accommodate the students that decided not to cross the lines. As a result, members of Unit 2 are asked to submit a remediation plan that contains the following information:

  1. Date on which course resumed;
  2. The number of students requiring remediation;
  3. The form(s) of remediation instruction that will be provided; e.g., lectures, seminars, tutorials, studios, labs, unsupervised directed reading, review sessions, etc.;
  4. The number of instructional contact hours associated with each form of remediation provided;
  5. Additional preparation time required;
  6. Additional examination time required;
  7. Additional marking time required; and
  8. Other alternative forms of remediation and time required; e.g., posting lecture notes on the web; e-mail office hours and/or correspondence.

Members will be asked to include the following signed statement: “I declare that the information set out above is as accurate as I can practicably determine.”

Remediation plans should be submitted no later than June 15, 2015. The Employer’s Procedure will be posted on the Faculty Relations website.

Classes that resumed after April 1

The Employer’s position is that, except in exceptional circumstances, remediation overwork arises when teaching activities (instruction, evaluation, office hours, etc.) conducted for courses that resumed on or before March 23, 2015 have to be repeated, with or without modification, during the remediation period for those students who did not attend classes during the strike. The Employer’s position is that for those Members who resumed classes on or after April 1, 2015, are simply completing their courses and not repeating teaching activities conducted during the strike.

3903’s position is that additional teaching has been required by Unit 2 members during the remediation process for all courses, not simply those that resumed on before April 1, 2015. Extra work has been required to reformat classes, tutorials, labs, etc., and to maintain the academic integrity of instruction. Members who resumed classes on or after April 1 and believe that they have a basis for a remediation overwork claim can petition the appropriate Dean or Principal to have an overwork claim considered. The petition to the Dean should include a description of the number of additional hours worked and nature of the work performed.

The Employer will likely take the position that the shortened term, remediation plans that reduce the number of assignments in the course, and the use of “Assessed Grades” for those students who cannot continue classes after April 30, 2015 may offset any increase in workload caused the need to modify classes and accommodate various students’ needs. Where possible, your petition to the Dean should address the specific circumstances that give rise to your claim for overwork pay despite these factors.

CUPE 3903 will file grievances on behalf of members whose petitions and overwork claims are denied.

Working after the end of the semester

Article 12.20 of the Unit 2 CA guarantees payment at the marker/grader rate where a Member is required to work after the “formal termination date” of their individual contracts. This article is normally applied to address grade appeals, cases of academic dishonesty, and other circumstances where a Member is require to perform work after the end of a course.

The work associated with grading final assignments and exams for fall/winter and winter semester, will not be compensated as overwork unless the assignment or examination is submitted or conducted after the course is actually completed. In most cases, the course will be considered completed the day on which final grades are submitted – roughly a week after the dates currently set as the end of the semester. Work performed by Unit 2 members after the submission the final grades for the Fall/Winter and Winter terms may be paid as overwork, just as it would be in normal circumstances.

Unit 1 and 3 remediation and pay for overwork: Post-strike procedures

Because the York University Senate attempted to re-open classes mid-way through the strike there is potentially extra work that Members of Units 1 and 3 may have to or may be asked to do, before the end of the semester. Outlined below are the steps to take in the event of overwork.

Unit 1

As part of the completion of negotiations 3903 and the Employer agreed to a back-to-work protocol that was to be followed by all course directors when members of Unit 1 returned to work. Before tutorials, labs, marking, etc., resumed, course directors were to:

  1. Have a meeting with all Unit 1 Members under their supervision in order to discuss remediation plans; and
  2. Do so with reference to the workload forms that were filled out at the beginning of each Member’s contract (the workload form is Appendix 1 of the Unit 1 CA).

If this hasn’t already happened, you should request a meeting with your supervisor as soon as possible. Completed workload forms are designed to help ensure that Unit 1 members do not work more than 135 hours/semester. If more than 135 hours are required in order to complete your contract this year, you are entitled to overwork pay at the rate of approximately $40/hour (article 10.04.1 of the U1 CA). Any overwork done by Unit 1 Members has to be approved by each department. If a department refuses to pay for overwork, you are entitled to refuse to do that work.

In some cases some Unit 1 Members returned to work before the end of the strike and did the work of those who remained on the picket lines. If you remained on the lines, you are not required to ‘replace’ the hours for the work other Unit 1 or Unit 2 Members did in your stead. No Member of 3903 can be required to take on the work of others who are on strike (as per article 9.02 of the U1 CA) and no such replacement work should have been taking place. You are only required to fulfill the duties outlined in your workload form, and then only so long as those duties do not exceed 135 hours each semester. If you are asked to ‘replace’ hours, the Union will file a grievance on your behalf and prevent that from happening.

Unit 3

As part of the back-to-work parameters negotiated at the end of the strike, Unit 3 Members (GAs and RAs) should have been invited to meet with their supervisors before beginning to complete their contracts. This meeting should include looking over workload forms. If you have not had such a meeting, you should request one as soon as possible.

Like members of Unit 1, those in Unit 3 cannot work more than 135 hours a semester, and cannot work more than 10 hours per week. If completing your GA or RA assignment means doing more than these many hours, you are entitled to overwork pay (as per articles 10.02(c) and 15.05) – approximately $37/hour.

If your GAship or RAship can’t be finished by the end of the semester because of the restrictions on the number of hours that can be worked per week, and your supervisor insists that the work be completed after the semester ends, they are required to meet with you and a representative from the Union in order to agree upon a schedule (as per article 15.06 of the U3 CA).

Tentative settlement reached. Employer capitulates: CUPE 3903 wins tuition offset, LGBTQ as Equity group, improved Unit 3 minimum funding

A drawing of marchers in silhouette, carrying a large red banner

A drawing of marchers in silhouette, carrying a large red banner

The last three weeks of our struggle have been an incredible source of energy: undergraduates, other unions on campus, and many social justice organizations have walked the lines with us; our Unit 2 (contract faculty) members have continued to support their Union comrades; the media has started to take seriously the problems in the University sector; our comrades at CUPE 3902 at the University of Toronto marched for four hours between our two campuses in an act of extraordinary solidarity. This afternoon, all this work has come to a head.

The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team (BT) and York University (the Employer) have reached a tentative agreement for Unit 1 (teaching assistants) and Unit 3 (graduate assistants). The Employer’s last offer addresses the three core demands of the Union, as well as our concerns regarding back-to-work protocol. In particular:

  • The Employer has agreed to tuition offset language, indexed to 2012 rates. This means that if tuition fees for domestic or international students rise above 2012 rates – which are the same as the 2005 rates – the University will increase funding for all in-program and incoming students to offset the tuition fee increase. It also means that the international students will receive increased funding equal to the amount of the recent international student fee increases. In brief, this means the Employer has agreed to the substance of the Union’s tuition indexation proposal.
  • The Employer has agreed to make LGBTQ an employment equity group, and agreed to the Union’s proposal to meet with the Union at the Employment Equity Committee within three months of ratification to begin the implementation process.
  • For Unit 3, the Employer has agreed to increase summer minimum funding from $1,750 to $3,000, in addition to previously agreed-to Graduate Financial Assistance and wage increases. This represents a further increase of $750 over the Employer’s last offer, an increase of over 70 per cent.
  • On the question of the back-to-work protocol, the Employer has agreed to pay all Unit 1 and Unit 3 members 100 per cent back pay for the time on strike.

Together, these achievements represent a significant improvement over the Employer’s last offer, and demonstrate the gains that have come as a result of the strike. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and countless hours of work of done by our rank-and-file members. Congratulations to the entire membership of CUPE 3903 for this historic achievement for all three units of our local!

The BT has agreed to send the offer to a ratification vote and will be unanimously recommending that the membership vote “yes” to the offer.

Details will follow soon on the date, time, and location of the ratification vote.

Picket lines will remain in force until the end of the vote (but we will NOT be adding an evening picket shift).

Strike to win!

Online Bargaining Surveys

Our Collective Agreements (CAs) are expiring at the end of August of 2014. These agreements are what guarantee the level of our wages, class sizes, our benefits package, health and safety requirements, and a whole host of things that make work at York better.

Without these agreements it’s much easier for our Employer to mistreat and ignore us. Without the collective strength they represent we become even more vulnerable to changes in the University sector – and many changes are on their way in the coming year and more.

Please take 15-20 minutes to fill out the survey dedicated to your bargaining unit and help push our struggle forward.

You will need to get your employee number from your pay-stub so we can ensure that each Member responds to the survey only once. If you don’t have a pay-stub on hand, instructions for getting your employee number can be found on the first page of the survey.

Why should I fill out a survey?: Bargaining surveys are a way for the Local to figure out which issues are most pressing for the next round of bargaining. With this information it becomes clearer what should be fought for at the bargaining table.

Which Survey do I fill out?:

If you are a full-time grad student and leading a tutorial you are in Unit 1. Click here.

If you are a Full-time grad student and doing a GAship or and RAship you are in Unit 3. Click here.

If you are not a grad student and teaching at York, your are Unit 2. Click here.