Update on Remediation Pay Meeting with Employer

Members of the CUPE 3903 Executive Committee, as well as the LMC representatives from Units 1, 2, and 3 were present for a meeting with Rob Lawson, Leanne DeFilippis (both from Faculty Relations), and Kate McPherson (Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs of LAPS) to discuss ongoing issues with remediation.

Issues that were raised include:

  • Improper appointments (CUPE 3903 executive members indicated that the employers interpretation of the U2 MoS we will challenge through arbitration)
  • Lack of transparency around the approval of remediation workload forms and the lack of consistency between faculties
  • Cases in which Unit 1 work was completed to 100% but total yearly funding fell below the minimum guarantee
  • Remediation pay that does not match remediation hours
  • Unit 1 Course Directors who have not yet been paid for remediation work
  • remuneration for front-loaded courses
  • Irregular contracts, e.g. double TAships or single-semester ticketed courses that are paid out over 8 months (employer indicated most of these cases should be correctable)
  • Payment for Unit 1 TAs who replaced a CD or TA who did not return (the employer indicated this should be considered an “authorized replacement”)
  • Increases to salary for U2 and increases to vacation pay for members who have 5+ years of service (salary increases should be seen in October pay. Employer still working on how to calculate who gets the extra 2% vacation pay)
  • Wrong amounts of GIA (The Chief Steward for Unit 1 will email employer to follow up)

In regards to the concerns that were flagged in the meeting, the employer has indicated that they will need the specifics of the cases. We have taken note of that and will offer to share the remediation spreadsheet with Faculty Relations. Of particular interest, however, is the employer’s response to the fact that remediation pay did not match remediation hours for many Unit 1s. According to the hours on the paystub, remediation pay was paid out at a rate of around $31/hr. The employer, however, claims that the hours on the paystub are not meant to represent the hours paid. In order to calculate how many hours were paid, take the gross pay and divide it by 40.90, which is the hourly pay for Unit 1. It is important to note that because of this unfortunate mix-up, there may be even more grievances than we originally anticipated. We will be updating the membership once we get more information.

Upcoming By-Elections for November 2018

CUPE 3903 will be holding by-elections for the following offices:

  • Vice President – Unit 3
  • Chief Steward  — Unit 4
  • Bargaining Team Member (1 vacancy) – Unit 4

Nomination Period: October 26 — November 9, 2018

The nomination period for this by-election is from Friday, October 26, 2018, until November 9, 2018. The Union Office (located in 143 Atkinson Building) will be open weekdays from 10AM to 5PM during this nomination period.

Nomination Guidelines

These are unit-specific positions which means only eligible candidates in that unit, who are in good standing, can run for elections.

Candidates nominating themselves for these positions must fill out the Nomination Form (forms are available at the union office) with their name and signature. Each candidate must also have the names and signatures of two other members who support the candidate on the form. These two members must be from the same unit that the election is held in.

Once the nomination form has been completed, the candidate will need to drop it off at the union office and put it in the Nominations Box (located on the front desk in lobby area).

A sign-in sheet will be attached to this box, which the running candidate must fill out and sign at that point. It is important that this sheet is signed when dropping off the nomination form. Failure to do so will result in the candidate becoming ineligible to run for election.

At the end of the nomination period, the Elections Officers will contact all candidates.

CSSP Eligibility List – Application Deadline November 1

Please consult the 2017-2018 Continuing Sessional Status Programme (CSSP) eligibility list (you can find the document below) from the employer for the upcoming CSSP application round. CSSP blanket applications are due on November 1, 2018.

As per the Unit 2 Collective Agreement (Art. 12 CSSP section, p. 33), the employer is required to provide us with this eligibility list on Oct. 1st, so that members have an opportunity to address any list anomalies.

If you think you should be included in the eligibility list, but your name is not listed, please contact Rob Lawson (rlawson@yorku.ca) in the Faculty Relations Office. The CSSP eligibility criteria are as follows: you need to have taught an average annual minimum of 2.0 over the past three years. That is, when you add up all of the teaching you have done in the past three years, your total needs to be at least 6.0, even if you have some years when you taught less than 2.0. As an example, if you taught 1.5, 1.5, and then 3.0, your average annual minimum would be 2.0 (total of 6 divided by 3 years = 2.0 average). Continue reading

New CUPE 3903 Forum and Shut Down of Unit 2 Listserv

As of October 16, the Unit 2 listserv has been shut down as we transition to a forum system for members to communicate. This decision was made as a result of a motion put forward by a Unit 2 member and passed at a Strike General Membership Meeting in July. Another motion regarding shutting down the Unit 2 listserv was passed at an Executive Meeting on October 12.

The forum is set up and ready to be used. You can find the link to the forum here:  https://cupe3903forums.ca/index.php

Please be advised that it is crucial you follow the registration agreement when creating a new login. If you fail to do so, your account will be rejected.

Open Letter to the York Community on Behalf of CUPE 3903 Rank and File Members

The following is an open letter to Rhonda Lenton and the York Community written by CUPE 3903 Rank and File members. CUPE 3903’s Executive Committee has endorsed this open letter.


We, rank-and-file members of CUPE 3903, write this letter in good faith because we are members of the York community. We were present at the Senate Forum on Thursday October 4th which was designed to help us move forward after the strike. We were present because we love this university and the community it grants us. We are not outsiders or enemies to the community, but an important and vibrant part of it. Please listen to us.

The entire community has suffered greatly from the 143-day strike. We have paid a high financial, physical, psychological, and academic cost. We are fully aware, in our relationships with our students, colleagues, and staff, that we are not alone. The attempt by the administration to turn a much needed community-building exercise into a PR opportunity was shameful.

There was much talk at the Forum of respect. We are not interested in making an empty show of respect or in going through the motions of ritualized decorum. We require a higher standard than that. For us, respect can be genuine only if it is built on a foundation of truthfulness and transparency. As we are committed to that standard, we are also committed to challenging the York administration when it falls short of it, even if it means breaking the spell and allure of respectability.

With that in mind, it is important to note the many falsehoods that were stated as fact during this Forum. It is not appropriate for the President of this university to state things that are simply factually incorrect then proceed to hide behind calls to civility to let her lies remain unchallenged. Even if we were to generously assume that these falsehoods were the result of being genuinely mistaken, coming to such a Forum without knowing the basics of why the strike happened was disrespectful. Engaging in the process of reconciliation and healing requires a willing partner to participate in an exercise of listening. Please hear us on the following:

  1. The accusations under the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities did not follow the appropriate process laid out in the Code itself, or our collective agreements. The accusations are frivolous and often downright silly (while feelings may be hurt by a chant like “hey hey, ho ho, Rhonda Lenton has got to go”, this is not harassment or bullying. The decision-makers of this institution must take some responsibility when things go poorly, like for example a 143-day strike). President Lenton claimed that the administration was obligated to pursue the complaints through the proper channels because individual members of the community filed complaints. This, however, is not what happened: Carol McAulay, VP Finance, filed the complaints on behalf of the administration. This is a violation of the Code: accusers are supposed to be known and to file complaints on their own behalf. The administration also ignored the timelines in the Code in order to inform the accused of their charges the day after CUPE 3903
    dropped its Unfair Labour Practice suit in good faith and in a show of reconciliation. These facts matter, as they shed some light on the false accusation that members of the York community are real threats to their community. It appears clear that the accusations are motivated by the desire to stifle dissent and instill fear in student activists.
  2. The Fellowship Funding Model, which was rolled out unilaterally in 2016 and was a large cause of the strike, was misrepresented on several occasions. Here are things that are true:
    a. Master’s students who are not unionized lose potentially around $6000 a year in benefits. This is without counting access to funds for childcare as well as professional and academic development funds, support for sexual violence survivors, extended healthcare benefits, and support for Trans* people. These benefits allow the most marginalized to undertake graduate studies, which can only enrich our community and the research produced at the university.
    b. The Fellowship Model hurts those who the university should be supporting. If some students have said they preferred the fellowship model — which the President claimed several times without producing any proof — this does not negate the administration’s responsibility to care for the most vulnerable. Accessibility is not a matter of opinion, and especially not based on anecdotal evidence.
    c.Scholarships are not distributed on top of the Fellowship. This attempt to lie to. graduate students about the contents of their own student accounts was a particularly egregious attempt to reconstruct reality.
    d. The administration not only made GAships optional; they have tripled the benefits surcharge on every GA, increasing the cost of hiring a GA to a point where faculty members may see their grants denied. This indicates that it was done with union busting in mind, not simply “improving the student experience”, and certainly not aligned with York’s claim to promote ‘experiential learning’.
    e. Several policies around the Fellowship are designed to fill York’s coffers at the expense of graduate students and faculty. For example, if two faculty members hire the same GA for a term each, they must both pay the benefits surcharge, even though the student obviously only gets to use one member’s worth of benefits. Likewise, if a Master’s student needs to take a leave of absence, the administration will demand that they reimburse their fellowship.
    f. We tried to discuss these issues and come to compromises at the bargaining table. On March 20th, Simon Mortimer, a lawyer selected by the administration because of his deeply anti-union stance, including a trail of strikes in the Ontario public sector, walked into the bargaining room and declared that the administration refused to bargain for Unit 3. That was an opportunity for us to have a dialogue and move forward, but the
    administration refused.
  3. In order for us to move forward as a community, we need some accountability. The Board of Governors must follow its own bylaws. The President must take responsibility for the fact that the administration refused to bargain for 143 days. We feel strongly that our Unit 2 colleagues deserve an apology for how they and their teaching and research were slandered in the media. We all deserve an apology for months of gaslighting, including the callous cruelty of Lisa Phillips’ letter on May 23rd which brushed off a hit and run on Pond Road with victim-blaming, strongly implying that some members’ and allies’ engagement in innocuous activities such as protest or growing vegetables somehow warranted a car driving straight into the picket line. Undergraduate students deserve an apology for how they were used as pawns in a strike that was orchestrated by an administration which hired a union-busting lawyer who publicly states that strikes are good for employers. The York administration needs to acknowledge the harm done to the students who were kicked out of residence with next to no warning, the ones who have had their graduation pushed back, all the ones who turned to the administration for answers but were turned away. We want to move forward. We address this letter to the community because we love learning, teaching, and doing research at York. The York community is composed of students, instructors, researchers, and staff, not high-paid administrators or the corporate
    Board of Governors.

The way forward seems clear. We ask that President Lenton and the York administration 1) drop the complaints under the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities and accept that dissent is a healthy part of any community; 2) accept that the Fellowship Model has serious flaws and work with our bargaining team and the arbitrator to come to a compromise that centers accessibility and research opportunities for graduate students; 3) take some responsibility for the position in which we now find ourselves and apologize to those they have harmed.


Deadline To Pick Up Strike Pay

Due to the necessity of forwarding all National Strike Fund Forms to CUPE National as part of the larger reconciliation process, it is necessary for there to be a deadline by which members will need to pick up all strike-related cheques. Checks include strike pay, strike hardship fund, strike childcare fund and expenses made during the stirke. Therefore, October 30th, the date of the October GMM, will be the last date that members can pick up said cheques. After October 30, stale strike-related cheques will no longer be re-issued and strike-related cheques will no longer be available.

For members who are unable to pick up their cheques from the Union Office by the deadline can have their cheques mailed to them. To do this, members need to send a signed (signature not typed out) and dated authorization letter to the Treasurer with the following text:


I, _____________, authorize Devin Lefebvre (CUPE 3903 Chairperson) or Michael Laurentius (CUPE 3903 Treasurer) to sign for and mail out any and all outstanding strike-related cheques of mine to the following address:


(signature) (date).

Student Code of Conduct Update

Last Tuesday, October 9,  the 5 CUPE 3903 members and the 3 undergraduate students facing reprisals by York met with the Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR) for an informal mediation. While the parties are currently engaged in an ongoing confidential process in the hopes of settling the complaints, it should be noted that our members and the undergraduates had initially requested informal mediation months ago, in August, and the University then rejected this request.

In response to York’s blatant attempt to punish our members’ and allies for exercising their democratic rights in holding the senior administration to account for their actions during the strike, CUPE 3903 has filed both a grievance and an Unfair Labour Practice (ULP) complaint. CUPE 3903 stands with those who are being singled out by York’s administration and we will be updating the membership once we get more information

Unit 2 Remediation Work Form

Teaching Assistants and contract faculty are required to submit a Remediation Work Form to assess their entitlement to remuneration for the completion of any Winter Term course. Submission of the Form is not required otherwise. For each Course, please provide the total number of hours required for remediation, with a breakdown including (but not
limited to) the following:
• The number of students previously enrolled and the number of students currently enrolled and still requiring remediation.
• The form(s) of remediation instruction that will be provided (e.g. lectures, seminars, tutorials, studios, labs, unsupervised directed reading, review sessions, etc.)
• The number of instructional contact hours associated with each form of remediation provided.
• Examination time required and exam/assignment grading time required.
• Other alternative forms of remediation and time required (e.g. posting lecture notes on the web; e-mail office hours and/or correspondence.

Please find the Unit 2 remediation work form below:

CUPE 3903 Unit 2 Remediation Work Form [fillable]


CUPE 3903 Welcome Back BBQ

CUPE 3903 is hosting the annual WELCOME BACK BBQ this Wednesday, October 3rd from 12-4 pm on the Roy McMurtry Green (Between Atkinson and Osgoode Hall). This year’s theme will be No Reprisals! as we support the York Eight in their fight against the Administration’s attack on Students and Workers. There will be music, allies, swag, speakers, and a rally to show our support. There will be vegetarian, vegan, halal, and kosher food options. Help bring out the new members in your department to introduce them to their union. Volunteers are still needed to prepare beforehand and to set up on the day of the event. If you help contact your chief stewards.