Bargaining Team Report, April 3–6

Bargaining to Resume This Week!

Bargaining Team Report, April 3–6

The Bargaining Team spent this past week working on a new comprehensive framework for settlement for each unit. On Thursday, the Bargaining Team sent our latest counterproposals, including the new wage offer we adopted the day before, to the Employer and provincially appointed mediators. 

Late Friday, the Employer agreed to our proposal to return to the bargaining table on Tuesday and indicated that on Monday afternoon they will provide (through the mediators) a response to our latest proposals. We have yet to hear from the mediators but assume they will support the will of both parties to return to the table.

See our summary and comparison chart for an overview of our remaining proposals and changes made since bargaining broke off on March 25.

The full text of our April 4 frameworks can be found at the links below:

CUPE 3903 practices open bargaining, and members are welcome at all meetings. The Bargaining Team will be meeting on Monday, April 8, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Bargaining meetings with the Employer on Tuesday and Wednesday (and possibly Thursday) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. have yet to be confirmed. Advance registration is required for bargaining meetings with the Employer. Registration links will be posted to the CUPE 3903 Calendar

Bargaining Team Report Back March 29th

Bargaining Team Report Back March 29th

Bargaining stalled; Union working to re-start negotiations

During bargaining sessions with the Mediators on March 24 and 25, the Union and Employer reached significant agreement on all proposals in Schedule 1. We also reached agreement on most of the proposals in Schedule 2 with the Unit 3 items moved to Schedule 3 at the Employer’s request. At the end of the bargaining session on March 25, the Union presented counter proposals and questions for the Employer to respond to in the form of a revised proposal of Schedules 3 and 4. However, we did not make further movement on wages given a lack of substantial movement on wages from the Employer. The Mediators responded by informing the Bargaining Team that they would not be inviting the parties back to the bargaining table until further notice. 

Next Steps

Following the bargaining report at the March 27 Special General Membership Meeting, the membership affirmed the Bargaining Team’s ability to make binding, real time decisions at the table. 

At the end of the day on Thursday, March 28, the Bargaining Team reached out to the Employer and the Mediators to urge the Employer to respond to our March 25 6pm package. We have also provided a list of questions on proposals where the Employer has so far been silent or not offered us a counter-proposal. See “The Path to Agreement Requires Reciprocity” for more details. The Union has indicated to the Employer and the Mediators that we are awaiting a response to our March 25 6 pm package and our questions, and that upon receipt of those responses, we are prepared to present a new comprehensive package and resume bargaining. We look forward to the Employer taking these actions available to them to be able to meet us at the table.

Units 1 and 3 are invited to join the Bargaining Team at a townhall on April 1 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for an update on bargaining and our proposals. 

The Bargaining Team will also be holding a preparatory meeting on April 2 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to prepare further and to discuss our next steps.   

Further Bargaining Team Preparatory Meetings include April 3 from from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and April 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to discuss the latest developments in bargaining for Units 1, 2, and 3, and strategize the next steps. All members are welcome!

Keep an eye on for all the latest events and meetings.

YUFA, YUSA and CUPE 1356 Issue Joint Letter Defending CUPE 3903 from York University’s Recent Claims

York University’s divide and conquer tactics won’t work here!

Thank you to York University Faculty Association, York University Staff Association and CUPE 1356 for standing strong in our collective fight for a more equitable and accessible York University. This important show of solidarity means a lot.
This joint letter of solidarity defends CUPE 3903 from the Employer’s “use of the agreed-upon multi-party arbitration to publicly shame and isolate” us. In response to the university’s claims of having a budget crisis, the letter also points out that “It seems clear the university does have money in the budget, but it has chosen to spend that money on pay increases for swelling ranks of managers and building a new campus instead of giving workers at the university a fair wage”.

The Path to an Agreement Requires Reciprocity

March 28, 2024

Dear Dan Bradshaw,

CUPE 3903 remains committed to negotiations and reaching an agreement in the near future. This is why on Sunday, March 24 we presented a significantly reduced wage proposal, dropping by 4%. The two bargaining sessions on March 24 and 25 achieved significant progress, with the Union and Employer reaching agreement on more than 20 proposals. At the end of those two days, at 6 pm on March 25, we presented a new comprehensive package to the Mediators. The Employer has yet to provide a response to that package or answer our questions in regards to those proposals. Contrary to what you have shared with the community, we do see a path to a settlement; but the Employer must be willing to come to the table.

In the interest of moving things forward, and taking our cues from your March 16 document, we present you with questions below. With your answers to these questions, and a response to our March 25 6 pm package, we will be in a position to quickly respond with a new comprehensive package that we believe will move us towards a swift resolution.


The CUPE 3903 Bargaining Team


1) Mentorship

This proposal operationalizes recommendations made by multiple reports commissioned by the University. Mentorship provided by experienced colleagues and bargaining unit members offers a critically important source of support for people who have historically been excluded from higher education and who experience barriers as a result of these systemic exclusions. Robust and diverse mentorship programs therefore can serve as an affirmation of the University’s commitments to decolonization and employment equity. Mentorship can also serve the University’s stated goals of employee retention. Having reviewed documents provided by the Employer on February 22, 2024, we find that the University’s existing programs for Unit 1 and 3 members (provided through the Faculty of Graduate Studies) focus on academic mentorship and not on social and peer supports; and the University’s existing programs through the Teaching Commons are an inadequate substitute for the mentorship opportunities offered to our YUFA colleagues. Therefore, we again ask, how is the Employer responding to its own reports’ recommendations for employment equity-focused mentorship programs, particularly for Indigenous and racialized members?

2) Protection from Technological Change

This proposal is modeled on existing language found in the YUFA Collective Agreement (CA) and language from other existing CAs in the sector. Why does the Employer feel that the Union doesn’t deserve protection from new technology as technology changes are escalating? What is the reasoning behind not engaging with this proposal in the context of other Unions going on strike for concerns over the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within their sectors?

3) Continuation of Library and Email Usage

a) Post-contract U1/U2
b) Retirees

We would like to understand the Employer’s lack of engagement with both of these proposals. In the Union’s view, the financial requirements would be minimal. By contrast, the benefits would be significant, for example in regards to the ability of Unit 1 and 2 members to begin researching syllabus design and readings before the formal start of a contract. Understanding the Employer’s reluctance would help us better plan the way forward with these proposals.

4) Funds and Accommodations for Racialized Members Experiencing Violence, Harassment, and Discrimination

In response to questions during bargaining, the Employer has not denied the Union’s assessment that racial violence, harassment, and discrimination take place in the workplace and are part of the everyday reality for many racialized members, including at York University. These proposals have been put forward as a response to those real and ongoing experiences; these proposals are also a response to demands the York community has been making for years. The fund in particular is modeled on the already existing Sexual Assault Survivor’s Fund (SASF), which has been part of CUPE 3903 CAs since 2018. In agreeing to contribute to the SASF, the University acknowledged the profound impact of sexual and gender-based violence in the lives of our members and assisted in the creation of a fund that has helped offset the cost of therapy, legal support, and lost wages. Further, through the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education (the Centre), members receive support in coordinating both academic and workplace accommodations, along with accessing additional financial assistance (beyond SASF). By providing this support and removing much of the bureaucratic burden of accessing accommodations, the University is acknowledging the mental health impact of sexual and gender-based violence. The Union wonders what, in the Employer’s view, is substantially different between the needs of members experiencing gendered or sexual violence and the needs of members experiencing racial discrimination, harassment, and violence in the workplace? Is the assumption that survivors of racialized violence do not require the same level of support and care or that the mental health impacts are lesser than those experienced by members who have survived gender-based violence? In the absence of centralized services for members experiencing racialized violence, such as the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education, what direct financial assistance does the University offer its members to access the very services that it has failed to provide? Correspondingly, what is different about the impacts of institutionalized racism and racialized violence that would disqualify our members from having access to the same sort of fund and from receiving academic and workplace accommodations?

5) Grant-In-Aid (GIA) and Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA)

Historically, both GIA and GFA have been bargained for as “across-the-board” increases and have been negotiated in tandem with wages. So far, the Employer has proposed both retroactive wage increases (reflecting the need to correct the unconstitutional nature of Bill 124) and future wage increases. Yet the Employer has proposed no retroactive increases to GIA and no increases (retroactive or future) to GFA. Both GIA and GFA were unconstitutionally limited by Bill 124 and comprise a significant portion of the take-home pay of graduate students.

What is different in this round of bargaining such that the Employer has not included GIA and GFA as across-the-board monetary items?

6) Funding Commitment for Priority Pool Members

What are the Employer’s concerns about standardizing pay for priority pool members in Unit 3 as it is already done for Unit 1?

Preparing for a Forced Ratification Vote

Preparing for a Forced Ratification Vote:

CUPE 3903 expects that the Employer may call a FORCED RATIFICATION VOTE at some point.

A forced vote is a tool of the employer, they are allowed to use it only once during a labour dispute.  These forced votes are often called when the employer thinks that they might be able to win concessions by bypassing the normal bargaining process.  This could happen at any time, and it might be difficult to mobilize fast enough when it does happen if individual members don’t know to take steps in advance. The employer can only force a supervised vote once though.

That’s why if it happens, you need to vote no!

When it fails, they will be pressured to do what we’ve been wanting to see for the past 8 months: bargain in good faith. Beyond that, you need to vote no in order to ensure fair contracts which include decent wages and a modicum of job security for all three units. Maybe most importantly, we need to be in charge of negotiating our back-to-work protocol, so that we are protected from reprisals and will get compensated for finishing our contracts.

How to prepare for a Forced Ratification Vote:

→Set up your EMPLOYEE email account now, before a Forced RAT is called←

While normal contract ratification votes are administered by CUPE, a forced vote will be run by the Employer. It can be in their interest to suppress voting. Even if you have never set up your Employee email address, your link for a forced ratification vote is likely to be sent there, not to the email address you most commonly use or have on file as your preferred address — and your employee address is not the same as your graduate student address.

The first step is making sure you can access your EMPLOYEE Passport York:

You can verify what your employee email is by logging onto your HR self serve with your Employee Passport York information. To view what your employee email is, please click:

–> Personal Details

–> Contact Details (your employee email will be visible there)

Setting Up an Employee/Central York Email Account

NOTE: These instructions may no longer be necessary. Most employees now automatically have Outlook 365 Accounts through York. Outlook accounts use your Employee Passport York username and password and do not require you to set up a separate password.Try logging in with your employee email login and password to

If your employee email account has not been set up for Outlook you can follow the following instructions to set your employee email password:

  1. Go to Manage My Services and enter the employee Passport York username and password you have previously set up (see instructions above).
  2. Under “Manage My Services” should be an ‘Activate Your Email Service’ link, click on this link.
  3. You must agree to the “Appropriate Use Policy for Electronic Mail Services” by clicking on ‘I Agree’ to continue.
  4. You will then be taken to an “Activate New Service” page where you can set a password for your employee email account by entering a new password and clicking ‘Submit’.  Guidelines for acceptable passwords are given on the page.
  5. Once your password has been submitted (and no error messages received) you now have a password for your central email account, and can log out of Manage My Services by clicking the Logout button (normally in the top right corner).

Some Faculties have Faculty-specific email accounts. Usually CUPE 3903 members are not given a Faculty-specific account but you may contact your hiring unit, department, or Faculty helpdesk for more information. The Faculties with Faculty-supported email accounts are:

  • Schulich Email – ends in
  • Osgoode Email – ends in
  • Glendon Email – ends in
  • Faculty of Education email – ends in

If you need to RESET your employee password, or if the steps above do not work, you have two options:

  1. Visit the York IT office IN PERSON, and show government issued ID or your YU card.  They will reset your password on the spot and you can change your password from their terminal.

Stacey  Building
136 campus walk, rm 107c
Open 8:30 am to 9:00pm

  1. Have your department or manager email on your behalf including:

A statement that you are an employee
A statement that you need your EMPLOYEE PASSWORD reset
Your Employee #
A non-york email address at which you can be reached.

Bargaining Team Daily News, March 25, 2024

BT Daily News, March 25, 2024

Our Fight Continues

Even with some slight movement from the Employer, and a lot of hard work from the 3903 Bargaining Team, at the end of the day today the Mediators closed the door on further negotiations, indicating they do not anticipate calling us back to the table this week.

The day started with a response from the Employer to the Bargaining Team’s March 24 end-of-day pass. The comprehensive packages from the Employer showed some slight movement on wages (i.e., minimal increases of 1.25% over three years on retroactive wages), some movement on the grievance procedure, and for U2, the first sign that the Employer might be willing to take their version of the JSP off the table. The Employer has offered an ‘option B’ “status quo” proposal. As it stands, however, their “status quo” is completely concessionary, making no mention of past hard-won programs, which would effectively kill them.

Though the Employer’s response still falls short of an acceptable wage offer in the current cost-of-living crisis, it does represent the first movement we have seen on any of our priority areas since striking on February 26th. In response, the 3903 BT set to work examining the Employer’s offer and reviewing our Schedules 3 and 4 to determine our next pass, which we presented to the Mediators at 6:00 p.m. However, after many hours of dedicated deliberation, and the bargaining team making meaningful movement on monetary proposals other than wages, the Mediators insisted that both parties were too far apart. 

We are disappointed that the Mediators are refusing to invite the parties back to the table until further notice. We have demonstrated that we are serious about achieving a deal with our proposed schedules, we have made significant moves, and we remain open to bargaining further with the University, with or without the Mediators. 

Most of all, it is the strength and determination of our membership that motivates us further. Members on the picket lines are organizing and standing up for what we deserve: decent wages, job stability, and a more equitable university for all. We are building connections with other unions, holding rallies, and gaining power through education and solidarity.

The University has a lot on the line here, too, and we have the experience and collective power to continue our strong strike efforts, as we fight for higher quality learning and work experience for students and educators alike. With the membership alongside us, the bargaining team is taking stock and will be discussing strategy tomorrow; in Tuesday’s meeting and at Wednesday’s SGMM, we look forward to planning our next steps to get back to the table and get a fair collective agreement for our members. Some things are worth fighting for.

Strike to win!

Upcoming events

Bargaining Team meeting – March 26, 4:00–6:00 p.m. 

Bargaining Meetings with the Employer (To Be Determined)

Bargaining Team Report: March 24th

Bargaining Back in Action!

Today we marked the first day back at the bargaining table since the strike began!

As a reminder: On March 19, the Bargaining Team proposed a plan to resume bargaining based on the four schedules that we reported on at the last Special General Membership Meeting. After positive responses from the Employer and mediators, moving through the proposals in these schedules became the basis of the bargaining meeting called by the mediators for March 24. 

We had over 160 members join us in open bargaining! We started the morning with the Employer agreeing to our Schedule 1 proposals, which resolved about a quarter of our outstanding items. Throughout the day, we reached further agreement on most of the items in Schedule 2, creating momentum toward dealing with the most contentious issues, including wages, contained in Schedules 3 and 4. After 14+ hours of bargaining today, it is certainly turning into a marathon, but we are moving towards a strong collective agreement!

In the late afternoon, after much analysis of what’s been achieved by other unions in the sector, strategic considerations, and discussion of the window of opportunity that we are in, the Bargaining Team decided that the time had come to make a move on wages. We made this decision in the interest of getting the best deal for our members through open negotiations. The Bargaining Team voted to move from our current proposal of 7% on wages (including GIA and GFA for Units 1 and 3) in the first two years of the renewal collective agreement and 5% or the CPI index in the third to 5% in each of the three years. This move leaves untouched the retroactive wage increase we had already proposed. We also lowered our demand for a new Mentoring Fund from $20,000 per year to $10,000 per year. Rest assured, your Bargaining Team remains committed to winning strong, sector-leading wage increases and other improvements to our collective agreements.

Based on the momentum we built today and the substantive moves we made, the mediator recommended continuing bargaining on Monday. We ended the day passing a combined version of our Schedule 3 and 4 proposals, including our new wage and Mentoring Fund demands, to the Employer through the mediators. The Bargaining Team will continue the battle bright and early with a focus on our revised proposals. Let’s go! 

We practice open bargaining and all members are invited to join us at this crucial moment in bargaining. Please register in advance. The bargaining Meeting with the Employer begins at 9:30 a.m., Monday, March 25. (The Bargaining Team will begin meeting at 9:00 a.m.) 

Member Podcast Launch Day! – On the Line – Strike Stories!

Welcome to On The Line – Strike Stories, a captivating podcast dedicated to exploring the lives and experiences of the members of union CUPE 3903. Join us as we journey to the picket lines and uncover the essence of this strike, delving into the stories of those directly affected. What’s truly at stake for them? In this enlightening series, we aim to offer you, the listener, an intimate window into the lives of these individuals.

Click this link to listen!

Through candid conversations and heartfelt narratives, union members from diverse backgrounds and various units open up about their passions, joys, fears, and hopes amidst the ongoing struggle. Our goal? To dismantle the monolithic image of the union perpetuated by the employer’s administration, shining a spotlight on the unique and personal tales that often go unheard.

Tune in to On The Line – Strike Stories and join us as we amplify the voices and experiences of CUPE 3903 members, painting a vivid portrait of solidarity and resilience in the face of adversity. New episodes are available on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Listen to our sister podcast, Dr. FM’s Offline Education, for more information on strike concepts and what CUPE 3903 is fighting for:

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed are the speaker’s own and do not represent the views, thoughts, and opinions of the Canadian Union of Public Employee, local 3903, or the Executive Committee. The material and information presented here is for general information purposes only. The “CUPE 3903” name and all forms and abbreviations are the property of its owner and its use does not imply endorsement of or opposition to any specific organization, product, or service.

Bargaining Team Report March 21st: Bargaining to Resume on Sunday!

Bargaining to Resume on Sunday!

The Bargaining Team’s plan for resuming bargaining, based on the four schedules we reported on yesterday at the Special General Membership Meeting, has been accepted by both the Employer and government-appointed mediators! 

Last week, after the mediators declined to call the parties back to the table in response to our March 7 proposals, the Bargaining Team developed a new plan to reorganize our proposals into four schedules, ranging from the easiest to reach agreement on to the most difficult. On Tuesday, March 19, we sent these schedules to the mediators and Employer along with a cover letter that explained our proposal to deal with the schedules in succession during a series of four meetings. 

This morning, the Employer responded positively to our plan, though they still refused to move away from below poverty wages. And this afternoon, we heard the same positive response from the mediators, who invited the parties to return to the table for a virtual mediation meeting Sunday, March 24, at 9:00 a.m. 

Both sides have confirmed their willingness to meet, so the first bargaining session since the strike began will take place this Sunday. Members are encouraged to attend as this development marks a pivotal moment in our strike. Moving forward, it is imperative for the Union to remain united and resolute to secure our position at the bargaining table.  

The Bargaining Team will be meeting tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to prepare. Our legal counsel will be joining the meeting for the first hour. Members are welcome to attend this and all Bargaining Team and Bargaining meetings. 

Mediated (Virtual) Bargaining Meeting with the Employer, Sunday, March 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (registration using your employee ID will be required to attend this meeting):

Currently, we have another Bargaining Team preparatory meeting scheduled for Monday, March 25 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. (unless it is preempted by bargaining):

Radium Girls – The Play!

The Radium Girls play, which is run by the Theatre Department, has dedicated to CUPE 3903. In both the lobby of the theatre and the program they have made space for attendees to learn about the strike and donate to the Strike Relief Fund. The play will run from March 24th- March 30th from 7:30-9:00 at the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre. Purchase tickets here:

Sunday, March 24 – 7:30pm (Preview)
Monday, March 25 – 7:30pm (Opening)
Tuesday, March 26 – 7:30pm
Wednesday, March 27 – 7:30pm
Thursday, March 28 – 7:30pm
Saturday, March 30 – 2pm (Closing)