Bargaining Update: Oct 30 Meeting with the York Admin

On Monday, October 30, the CUPE 3903 and York University bargaining teams met to discuss CUPE 3903’s equity proposals (numbered 76 through 94 in CUPE 3903’s bargaining proposal package). Thank you to the rank-and-file members who attended the meeting. Open bargaining and membership mobilization is the source of our strength. The next meeting will be on Monday, November 6 at 10am in the Harry Crowe room, 109 Atkinson.

Labour Management Issues

At the beginning of the meeting, CUPE 3903 requested that the employer address the problem of late Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP) payouts. In past practice, issues that are normally dealt with at Labour-Management Committee (LMC) meetings were addressed at the bargaining table since the LMC does not function during bargaining. York’s lawyer, Simon Mortimer, quickly tried to shut this discussion down. He failed to do so, and the issue was brought to the attention of Rob Lawson, Associate Director of Faculty Relations. It was also established that ongoing labour management issues would be discussed at the bargaining table.

CUPE 3903 Equity Proposals and Employer Response

CUPE 3903 tabled several proposals meant to hold York accountable for their failures to accommodate members with disabilities, and address equity issues that emerged during the last contract period. These proposals include adding language to establish accommodations based on marital and family status, to strengthen and protect disability-based program extensions, and an accommodation procedure with firm timelines. The employer’s bargaining team seemed to conflate the issues of accommodations and extensions. There was an overall failure on the part of York’s bargaining team to address the blatant CA violations that these proposals were drafted to address.

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Collective Bargaining: Video

CUPE 3903’s efforts to negotiate fair collective agreements with York University has always been a struggle. We have tried to ensure fairness not only for our members, but for the entire York community, especially the students we teach. Another round of bargaining has begun, and it is with the same eye towards fairness that the union heads to the negotiating table.

Direction and videography: Amin Toyouri

Check out the Bargaining tab, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information on bargaining.

What’s a Concession? A Guide to York’s Proposals

After the exchange of proposals on October 16, we released a report that states that the employer’s proposals are concessionary in nature. In the name of clarity, this post seeks to provide more information on what concessions are, as well as why CUPE 3903 considers the employer’s proposals to be concessionary.

In the context of collective bargaining, granting a concession means accepting a contract in which important elements that were won in previous rounds of bargaining are lost. CUPE 3903 does not accept concessions; this is why our contracts are so strong. From round to round, we build on what was won before.

To say that proposals are only concessionary if they involve a decrease in wages or a loss of benefits, as York has, implies that wages and benefits are the only proposals that truly matter. This is clearly not true. A fair contract involves many non-monetary issues, such as equity, class sizes, protections from harassment and discrimination, job security, and the overall quality of employment. Concessions can mean a significant loss even if wages and benefits remain untouched.

The next sections explain why we consider some of York’s key proposals to be concessionary. In sum, it is clear that York is in fact asking CUPE 3903 for concessions. We commit to providing facts and well-reasoned arguments to justify our position. It would behoove York’s commitment to transparency and good faith bargaining to do the same.

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CUPE 3903 Dismayed by York “Apology” Concerning Use of Our Logo

During the bargaining meeting on October 16, the Bargaining Team (BT) raised a serious concern with the use of the CUPE 3903 logo by the employer to promote their bargaining website. The ads had been allowed to run for more than a week on the LCD screens that line the corridors of the Keele Campus.

This is especially upsetting since the use of our logo seemed to imply that CUPE 3903 endorsed the contents of the site. Nothing could be further from the truth. York’s bargaining webpage is a transparent PR maneuver, and does not reflect the real tone and content of bargaining. For example, nowhere on the site are they honest about their desire to destroy the Conversions Program for contract faculty. The PR might be slick, but it is very light on the truth.

The context in which our logo was used makes this a serious violation. It could be read as an attempt to undermine the credibility of the updates provided by the union. Consequently, the BT, supported by the Executive Committee, requested that a public apology be issued on as many platforms as is feasible, with a clear statement that CUPE 3903 does not endorse the contents of the employer’s bargaining website.

This was a very reasonable request. If York was serious about its stated commitment to respectful dialogue and transparent and accurate reporting, they would have jumped at the opportunity to rectify what they assure us was an honest mistake. Instead, they tucked a short post on their site, did not advertise it, and did not even inform the BT or Executive of its existence. The post does not state that CUPE 3903 does not endorse the contents of the site, which was the single most important element of the request.

York University had a chance to show us their good faith by adding a single line to their “apology” and promoting it a bit more broadly. They chose not to. Do better, York.

CUPE 3903 Condemns Anti-Semitic Graffiti and Threats at Glendon

Yesterday morning, Glendon Campus was evacuated by York University Security and the Toronto Police Service after receiving an anti-Semitic graffiti bomb threat. This type of discriminatory anti-Semitic threats have unfortunately become commonplace at York University in the past couple of years.

Anti-Semitism – prejudice against Jewish people on the basis of their faith or ethno-religious identity – is a hateful, discriminatory ideology. It is reprehensible and inexcusable. Threatening violence against the Jewish community here at York University is equally reprehensible and inexcusable. This incident clearly crosses the line that separates protected free speech from hate speech and incitement to anti-Semitic violence.

CUPE 3903 stands with York University’s Jewish community. We reaffirm our commitment to fighting prejudice and discrimination in general, and anti-Semitism in particular. We unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic statements, graffiti, violence, and threats of violence.

We will work with York University’s Jewish community, and its various representative organizations, to fight against anti-Semitism and make York a better, safer place for its Jewish students and employees.

Finally, we call on York University, our employer, to take this incident, and this trend, seriously. There has been an increase in the last couple of years in anti-Semitic incidents on campus, as well as other forms of discriminatory incidents – Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, white supremacy, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, among others.York University’s administration must do its utmost to guarantee that its campuses are safe for its diverse community of students and employees.

Nominations Open: Grievance Officer By-Election

The Grievance Officer, Kyle Belozerov, is resigning effective November 30. In order to ensure continuous coverage of the position, nominations are now open, and will close November 7 at 5pm.

The position of Grievance Officer is open to members in good standing from any unit. However, as this is a bargaining year, the Grievance Officer also sits on the bargaining team as a representative of their own unit, as well as for the local as a whole. Interested members are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the position as described in Article 9 (Officers) of the CUPE 3903 Bylaws.

Nomination sheets can be picked up from the CUPE 3903 office (143 Atkinson). The nomination sheet must be signed by two members in good standing and deposited in the nomination box in the office. Candidates must also sign the register next to the nomination box. Failure to complete any of these steps will result in the nomination being disqualified.

‘Who We Are’ Video – Part 4

Rawan Abdelbaki, a former member of CUPE 3903’s Unit 3 (Graduate Assistants), talks about what being a part of the union has meant to her. Since York has cut around 700 jobs from Unit 3, protecting the rights of graduate students to unionized work is crucial this round of bargaining.

Videos meant to inform the broader public and our members about CUPE 3903, bargaining, and the more will be released on a regular schedule. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and please share widely!

Direction and videography by Amin Toyouri

York’s Fellowship Funding Model: Video

Accessible education shouldn’t be a lottery.

York University recently introduced what it calls the ”fellowship funding model,” cutting hundreds of jobs for graduate students. This means that hundreds of incoming students are being forced to do without the benefits and protections of a union.

Videos meant to inform the broader public and our members about CUPE 3903, bargaining, and the more will be released on a regular schedule. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and please share widely!

Direction and videography by Amin Toyouri

New CUPE 3903 Membership Survey – Bargaining Mobilization

CUPE 3903 Bargaining Mobilization – Membership Survey

This survey is for all members of our local.

Our ability to obtain an improved Collective Agreement (and resist the Employer’s proposals for concessions) is dependent upon membership involvement and mobilization.

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Oct. 24 – Tentative GMM Agenda

General Membership Meeting
Tuesday, Oct. 24
Location: Harry Crowe, 109 Atkinson

Join and share the event on Facebook here!


  1. Roll Call of Officers
  2. Reading of the Equity Statement
  3. Reading of the Mississauga Land Acknowledgement
  4. Approval of Agenda
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Committee Updates
  7. Notices of Motion
  8. Matters Arising
    1. Changing the Name of the ‘Miscellaneous Working Groups’ budget line to ‘Anti-Racism Working Group’
  9. Bargaining
    1. Bargaining Update
    2. Bargaining Timeline
    3. Proposals (cont.)
  10. Executive Reports
  11. Adjournment

Please contact Sheila Wilmot at or at 416-736-5154 ext. 3 if you require any of the following: ASL interpretation, reimbursement for childcare/caregiver/attendant care, and/or transportation costs for members who are unable to secure Wheel-Trans, or other requests for accommodation.