How “Consultation” Works at York

CUPE 3903’s Response to the Suspension of the York University Advisory Committee on Responsible Investment (YUACRI)

Like many organizations committed to basic principles of social justice, CUPE 3903 is extremely disappointed to learn of the recent suspension by the York administration of the activities of the York University Advisory Committee on Responsible Investment (YUACRI) (see the open letter from YUACRI members). This unilateral, top-down, and heavy-handed decision comes as a response to the duly-constituted Committee’s recent majority decisions to recommend divestment from companies involved in arms manufacturing and fossil fuel industries. It seems more than obvious that investments in industries that directly contribute to violence and the death of human beings, and to ecological destruction, wholly contradict our shared values and York’s social justice mandate, clearly outlined in the university’s mission statement.

Rather than seizing this opportunity to position itself as a progressive leader taking a bold stance on issues of global concern, the York administration has unilaterally suspended its own Advisory Committee for doing what it was ostensibly designed to do – provide advice, based on community feedback, on how to invest York’s endowment fund responsibly. This unprofessional decision does not demonstrate the kind of leadership that takes principles of collegial governance seriously. As CUPE 3903 is well aware, the current administrative practice of “consultation” with the York community is far too frequently an empty public relations exercise.

CUPE 3903 adds its voice to the many other organizations and individuals at York calling for the immediate reinstatement of YUACRI, so that it can continue its invaluable work.

Chief Steward Unit 3, Unit 3 BT, and BT RecSec Nomination Results

The nomination period for the positions of Chief Steward Unit 3, Unit 3 Bargaining Team, and Bargaining Team Recording Secretary closed at 5 pm on Monday, April 17. The Unit 3 BT and Chief Steward Unit 3 positions are acclaimed — congratulations to the newest members of our executive and bargaining team!

Bargaining Team Recording Secretary is contested. Candidate statements will be posted as they become available. The campaigning phase of the elections will end on May 2, where voting will open at a GMM. Caught between violating the elections timeline or the bylaw demanding monthly GMMs, the executive committee decided to hold the April GMM on May 2 to conserve the integrity of our electoral process.

The results of the nomination for these three position are as follows:

Chief Steward Unit 3

  • Sandra Noel — acclaimed

Unit 3 Bargaining Team

  • Mariful Alam — acclaimed

Bargaining Team Recording Secretary

  • Gizem Çakmak
  • Sabina Mirza

Nominate Yourself for Elections Officers and Other Vacancies

Following a recent bylaw amendment, the election of the Elections Officers (EOs) must take place at the April GMM. Due to scheduling restrictions around elections, this GMM will actually take place on May 2 (just think of it as April 32!). There are a number of other committee vacancies that should also be filled at this GMM.

If you would like to nominate yourself for EO or any other committee vacancy, please email Hossein at by 5 pm, Monday May 1. The full list of vacancies is available below.

Continue reading

Bargaining Team Meeting Report – April 13

The Bargaining Team (BT) for Units 1, 2, and 3 met for the fourth time on Thursday April 13.

1) Shopper’s Drug Mart Incident
2) Staff Presentation on Bargaining Issues
3) Anti-Oppression Training
4) Bargaining Posters
5) Updates on Surveys
6) Membership Contact Info (not) provided by employer
7) Employment Equity Issues
8) Training
9) Next Meeting

Shopper’s Drug Mart Incident in York Lanes
Looking at the Bargaining Surveys, members have frequently been mentioning racism and Islamophobia. And they are pointing to the Shoppers Drug Mart incident on campus, where a student was injured by store security. Members are really upset, disappointed and angry about it. It is seen as a student and community safety issue. What is York doing about it? How does Shoppers have this space on campus? It is important that we as the BT express our concern.

Continue reading

Unfair Labour Practices Mediation Report

On Tuesday, April 11, mediation was held regarding the Unfair Labour Practices (ULP) complaint filed by CUPE against York University. The mediation was well attended by CUPE 3903, with several rank-and file members, including a member of the Unit 1 bargaining team, present to show York that union-busting is not acceptable. The Chairperson and Communications Officer were in attendance for the executive committee, along with a CUPE National representative and legal counsel. Representatives of the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) were also in attendance.

This first meeting on the ULP was fairly uneventful. Nonetheless, the members in the room took the opportunity to discuss the case and share ideas. The mediation was adjourned pending the preparation of new documents. As the process of mediation is still ongoing, it is unwise to disclose too much in a public setting. Once the next steps in the process are known, they will be shared widely.

Bargaining Team Meeting Report – March 30

The Bargaining Team (BT) for Units 1, 2, and 3 met for the third time on Thursday, March 30.

Staff Bargaining Proposals
Update on bargaining surveys and unit 1 contract workshops
Bargaining Training: CUPE National training & Anti-oppression training
Planning upcoming meetings

Staff bargaining proposals
Staff gave a brief introduction to several issues that will help form bargaining proposals.
These issues included several unit 2 issues, some issues related to the connection between work and funding for unit 1 and equity issues that have come up since the last bargaining round. There will be a more formal presentation of the bargaining issues identified by staff at an upcoming meeting. Continue reading

Nominations for Three Positions Open April 3

The nomination period for Chief Steward Unit 3, Unit 3 Bargaining Team Member, and Bargaining Team Recording Secretary will open on Monday, April 3 at 12 pm. Nominations will close April 17 at 5 pm. If the positions are contested, an election will be held as outlined in the bylaws.

Candidates must fill out a nomination form, available at the CUPE 3903 office (143 Atkinson), and sign the register. For Chief Steward Unit 3 and BT Unit 3, the positions are unit specific: candidates must be members in good standing of that unit. The members who sign the nomination form must also belong to that unit. BT Recording Secretary is open to all four units.

Interested members are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the positions as defined in the CUPE 3903 bylaws.

SGMM on Summer Funding Report-Back

On Tuesday, March 28, members of CUPE 3903 met for a Special General Membership Meeting on Summer Funding and Mobilization. This report provides a short summary of the discussion, as well as ways to get involved.

The SGMM was centered on the current problems with summer funding. PhD students who are Unit 1 members will not be receiving their minimum guarantee over the summer as a direct result of York’s implementation of their union-busting fellowship funding model. In order to give PhD students this funding without actually increasing how much they pay, York has taken the minimum guarantee normally paid in the summer and rolled it into the fellowship funding, i.e. equally in the Fall, Winter, and Summer terms. This means that, besides the fellowship amount that will be automatically applied to tuition, Unit 1 members who don’t have scholarships or summer TAships will not receive any income over the summer.

The background materials provided at the SGMM — a FAQ on summer funding and a timeline of events concerning the fellowship funding model — are available as a PDF: Materials from the SGMM on Summer Funding and Mobilization.

Needless to say, this change to Unit 1 funding is bound to have a dire impact on many members’ finances. York’s response has always been a callous “budget better” (let’s not forget the time they offered our members “financial literacy lessons“). This violates the Unit 1 collective agreement, and a grievance was filed to that effect, which York ignored for months.

This SGMM was requested so that we could discuss, as a membership, how to address this issue outside of the legal paths that are already being pursued. Some suggestions include:

  • Rhonda Lenton will be giving her first speech at Keele Campus as incoming President on Monday, April 3, 3pm. CUPE 3903 members and allies who are planning to attend are meeting in Vari Hall at 2:45. Bring noisemakers!
  • Other actions are being organized on the short- and long-term
  • Reaching out to other organizations on and off campus to build solidarity
  • Media messaging and digital solutions
  • Angrily knitting during bargaining.

We cannot post the details of plans or actions at this time for strategic reasons. If you would like more information, or to get involved in any capacity, email Graeme Reniers, Chairperson ( Please indicate what kind(s) of organizing you’re interested in (i.e. actions, building solidarity, media, knitting, other ideas).

Temporary Elections Officers Needed

There are currently two vacancies for the position of Elections Officer (EO). While EOs are elected at the April GMM, two people are needed to take on this role until then, as nominations for Chief Steward Unit 3, Unit 3 bargaining team, and bargaining team Recording Secretary open on Monday, April 3.

In order to temporarily fill vacancies in this manner, the executive committee is empowered to pro tem members to committee positions until proper elections can be opened. If you would like to nominate yourself to be pro temmed as Elections Officer, please email before Thursday, April 6, 3:00 pm.

Elections Officers organize the CUPE 3903 elections as per the bylaws. The work includes accepting the nominations, arranging for members to scrutineer, arranging and setting up tables for voting, and alongside the executive, communicating the details of the elections to the membership.

Proposed Bylaw Amendment for the April GMM

At the March 2017 AGM, a Bylaw amendment was given notice around executive honoraria. This post is intended to let the membership know about the proposal in advance to give the membership ample time to consider the suggested changes. Bylaw amendments require a 2/3 vote.

Here is the text of the proposed bylaw amendment. The strike-though text indicates cuts, the underlined text indicates additions:

Article 8 (k): Executive Honoraria

(k) Each member of the Executive Committee shall make a report of their activities to the general membership, in writing and communicated through union channels, and in person at General Membership Meetings, one (1) time per month. Monthly honoraria for Executive service will only be released by the Treasurer upon receipt of these reports. and by the Recording Secretary and after they were presented to the general membership. Additionally, monthly honoraria for Executive service will only be released after these reports are made available to the general membership, with exception of TFAC where monthly reports be presented and made available to the TFAC membership.