CUPE 3903 Discontinues COVID Table Meetings

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Please read the following update on the upcoming COVID Table Meeting by Matt Lomas, Chief Steward (Unit 1) and Co-Chair, COVID table. For any further points of clarification, feel free to contact cupe3903csu1@gmail.com :

The CUPE 3903 Executive Committee has decided that we will not attend the final COVID Table meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, 26 April 2022. We made this difficult decision as the result of months of these meetings yielding no results, and out of disappointment that the employer has not been transparent with us regarding their COVID response plans. These meetings were agreed to in bargaining, yet we do not feel the employer ever took them seriously.

The purpose of these meetings was for the employer and the union to share information with regards to a shared goal: COVID safety on campus. And yet, we could not rely on the information we received during these COVID Table meetings. More than once, we were given information that was either incorrect or was later changed without our input. Most egregiously, it was at the COVID Table that the union was told that members impacted by the employer’s vaccine mandate would be put on unpaid leave; later, the employer went back on its word and terminated the contracts of some of these members, in an inconsistent and often arbitrary way. We were relying on the information we were given to formulate our position on the application of the vaccine mandate, and receiving incorrect information in this situation was a serious breach of the good faith that needs to exist between unions and employers. 

 At the most recent COVID Table meetings, York has consistently refused to take any concrete stance on what policies will or won’t continue into the Spring/Summer and Fall 2022 academic terms. Responsibility for decision-making has continuously been deferred to the municipal and provincial governments or to the Council of Ontario Universities. The York administration has consistently refused to take responsibility for the health and safety of the York community. Without York acknowledging and using their power to make sound policy decisions, it is impossible to properly discuss what steps need to be taken to keep people safe.

In addition to refusing to declare policy positions at these meetings, the employer’s representatives have consistently been unable to answer simple and direct questions. For example, over the last several months, CUPE 3903 has been trying to access ventilation data for Keele and Glendon campuses. At first, York said there was no ventilation data; later, they said they had not received proper paperwork from the union; then, they said we couldn’t have what ventilation information existed because we wouldn’t understand it. To this day, we have not received any concrete information about the state of ventilation on campus. The employer relied on the audit for which they have contracted an outside expert, failing to acknowledge that this audit is late, and the audit is required as a result of a grievance settlement with the York University Faculty Association (details of this settlement can be found here, in Article 19).

Due to York’s COVID measures, many CUPE 3903 members required workplace accommodations. However, the process to get these accommodations was overly difficult and many members’ accommodations were denied or decisions were not made in a timely manner. When we attempted to talk about COVID-19 related workplace accommodations, we were rebuffed at every turn. In order for these COVID Table meetings to achieve their intended purpose, they needed to rely on clear communication and good faith engagement. It has become clear to CUPE 3903 that if one side is coming to the table unwilling to provide full transparency, it is a waste of time and resources to engage in these meetings.

Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic is entering a new wave and shows no sign of abating. What the York community needs from the administration is a proactive stance that provides clear, useful information to all students, instructors, and staff. York’s pandemic response has been lacking throughout the entirety of the pandemic, and it is disappointing to see such a clear refusal to work with the union on what should have been a clear shared goal. We are informing you about our refusal to participate in the meeting on 26 April. This refusal to participate is not a withdrawal from our responsibility to help ensure safety on campus, but rather an expression of our dissatisfaction with the nature of the COVID table meetings thus far and because we feel our efforts would be better spent working directly on behalf of our members. 

 

Signed,

Matthew Lomas (Chief Steward Unit 1; COVID Table Co-Chair)

CUPE 3903 Executive Committee

Nomination Open on Various Committees

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Nominations have reopened on the following committees:

1. Advisory Committee on Race/Ethnic relations (2 vacancies)
2. Bargaining Research Preparatory Committee (1 vacancy)
3. Communications Committee (1 vacancy)
4. CUPE Toronto District Council (5 vacancies)
5. CSEU Committee (1 Vacancy)
6. Distribution Committee (6 vacancies)
7. Joint Health and Safety Committee Reps (12 vacancies)
8.  International Graduate Students’ Committee (2 vacancies)
9. Labour Management Committee, Units 1-3 (1 vacancy, unit 3 only)
10. Toronto York Region Labour Council Representatives (4 vacancies available)

Interested members should email Ali Gholami, VP Unit 1, cupe3903vpu1@gmail.com to nominate themselves or for more information.

Any committees with more nominees than positions open will be voted on at the upcoming General Membership Meeting (GMM). Otherwise, nominees will be acclaimed to their position.

Nominees will be notified if their candidacy will be voted on at the GMM and are then welcome to send a short written candidate statement (max. 150 words) for inclusion in the AGM package.

For further details on the work of each committee and honorarium payment attached to their work, please see here.

General Membership Meeting – April 19 (Noon–3pm)

We are hosting a General Membership Meeting via Zoom on April 19th from 12:00pm to 3:00pm! All members are encouraged to attend.

Please register in advance for this meeting here.

In order to register, you will need to provide your employee number, which will be kept confidential. Your employee number is on your monthly pay stub. If you don’t know your employee number, please click here for instructions.

Keep reading for the tentative agenda, accessibility information and more.

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New Executive Committee at a Glance!

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The new Executive Committee members have assumed charge in their respective positions. The following is a list of the names and the corresponding positions. All Members are encouraged to write to the new Executive Committee to find ways to get involved in the local.

NAME TITLE EMAIL
Stephanie Latella Chairperson cupe3903chairperson@gmail.com
Kaitlin Peters Recording Secretary recsec.cupe3903@gmail.com
Nilloofar Golkar Secretary-Treasurer sectreasurer3903@gmail.com
Ali Gholami Vice-President Unit 1 cupe3903vpu1@gmail.com
Julie Allen Vice-President Unit 2 cupe3903vpu2@gmail.com
Kerry-Ann James Vice-President Unit 3 cupe3903vpu3@gmail.com
Matt Lomas Chief Steward Unit 1 cupe3903csu1@gmail.com
Chris Bailey Chief Steward Unit 2 cupe3903chiefstewardunit2@gmail.com
Vacant Chief Steward Unit 3 cupe3903csu3@gmail.com
Peter Gorman Chief Steward Unit 4 cupe3903csu4@gmail.com
Vedanth Govi Communications Officer cupe3903comms@gmail.com
Parbattie Ramsarran Grievance Officer cupe3903go@gmail.com
Kelsey Ioannoni TFAC Co-Chair tfac.cupe3903@gmail.com
Thania Vega TFAC Co-Chair tfac.cupe3903@gmail.com

Nomination Open on the Extended Health Benefits (EHB) Committee

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A Nomination has reopened on the Extended Health Benefits (EHB) committee. Interested members should email Ali Gholami, VP Unit 1, cupe3903vpu1@gmail.com to nominate themselves or for more information.

Any committees with more nominees than positions open will be voted on at the upcoming General Membership Meeting (GMM). Otherwise, nominees will be acclaimed to their position.

Nominees will be notified if their candidacy will be voted on at the GMM and are then welcome to send a short written candidate statement (max. 150 words) for inclusion in the AGM package.

For further details on the work of each committee and honorarium payment attached to their work, please see here.

UOITFA Letter of Thanks

A letter of thanks was offered by UOITFA to CUPE 3903 and our members for supporting the UOIT Faculty Association as they embarked on the very first strike in their Association’s history. The following are the contents of the letter:

The UOITFA would like to thank you and members of your association for your
generous donation made to support members of the UOIT Faculty Association as we
embarked on the very first strike in our Association’s history. We could not have done it
without you.

We went on strike committed to getting a fair and equitable deal for our members, that
addressed issues such as workload and pay equity, and because of the amazing shows of
solidarity, we were successful in our endeavour. Your support was an incredible source
of inspiration that helped to strengthen our resolve as we fought to strengthen our
collective agreement. It was so encouraging to know that we were not alone in this fight.

Our fight is your fight, and we look forward to supporting you and the entire post-
secondary sector as we continue our collective fight for better working conditions at
Universities across Canada.

Sincerely,
Mike Eklund
President
University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association

 

CUPE National BIPOC Gathering (April 9, 2-4pm)

Black, Indigenous and racialized CUPE members are invited to a national gathering on April 9, hosted by CUPE’s national diversity vice-presidents. Register now for this important event and use the invitation to spread the word. Registration deadline is April 1st.

The virtual gathering takes place Saturday, April 9, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST. It will be hosted by Debra Merrier, CUPE National Diversity Vice-President representing Indigenous workers and Aubrey Gonsalves, CUPE National Diversity Vice-President representing Black and racialized workers.

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2022-23 Executive Committee Election Result

Voting in the general election for the Executive Committee closed on Sunday, March 20th at 5pm. With most positions acclaimed, the only position contested was Secretary-Treasurer. Niloofar Golkar was elected with 239 votes. Full results are below:

Niloofar Golkar: 239 (56.0%)
Sylvia Peacock: 188 (44.0%)

Abstentions: 111
Total votes cast: 538

We thank all who participated in the election and wish Niloofar the best in the year ahead!

2022-23 Executive Committee Nominations

The nomination period for the 2022–2023 Executive Committee for the positions of Recording-Secretary and Chief Steward Unit 3 closed at 11:59pm on March 17, 2022. Please find the results below.

Recording-Secretary:
Kaitlin Peters – acclaimed

Chief Steward Unit 3:
No nominees

We congratulate Kaitlin and wish them the very best in the year ahead!