Labour update: A fair deal is possible without prolonging the strike

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Mar 6, 2018

Dear Student,

A fair deal is possible without prolonging the strike

Since bargaining began last fall, York University has been committed to reaching a new collective agreement with no disruption to the school year.

We were disappointed when CUPE 3903 voted to reject the university’s final offer and their decision to go on strike. We were disappointed that the bargaining team did not invite members to vote on our offer of arbitration on some of the toughest issues where we disagree.

We were further disappointed that CUPE 3903 did not provide us with a counter offer that would have provided the opportunity to reach a settlement last weekend and avoid a strike

CUPE 3903 Response

On the evening of Monday March 5, CUPE 3903 provided a counter proposal through the Conciliator. The counter offers do not provide any basis for resolution or even for the resumption of negotiations. The demands remain significantly outside the reach of the University.

The union lowered its wage and funding increase to 3.5% per year (still essentially double the Ontario University average increase) and maintained its request for a 2% increase in vacation pay for every employee. The Union is still demanding significant increases the already extensive and sector leading benefit plan provided as well as increases to other funds over the offers already made by the University.

Most importantly the union continues to propose 30 appointments to full-time faculty positions in each year of the collective agreement, including 20 conversions to tenure stream positions without an open collegial search, which is the hallmark of tenure stream appointments at universities across the country.

Troubling among the union’s counter proposals is a request to have the University report to Employment Insurance that a Course Directorship is 600 hours of work. The University has repeatedly told the union that there is no basis for this and that this request is improper and yet is still maintained.

In the best interests of the entire York community, especially our students, we urge CUPE 3903 to provide York with a realistic counter offer as soon as possible, that shows renewed collective agreements are achievable through continued negotiations

York’s offer to go to arbitration is also still on the table, to let an independent third party decide what’s fair and make a binding decision on those key issues where we cannot agree.

York’s final offer keeps CUPE 3903 members in the lead

Highlights include:

  • A wage increase that exceeds recent settlements at all other Ontario universities. It keeps our teaching assistants, contract faculty, and graduate assistants who already have the best total compensation package of any Ontario university, in the lead over the next three years;
  • Increased childcare funds and subsidies, health benefit funds and other employee funds, establishes LGBTQ as an equity group, adds other equity provisions, introduces a paid sexual violence leave and much more;
  • Increased number of opportunities for PhD students to teach a course in proportion with the growth in the number of PhD students;
  • A new Career Advancement Program to support contract faculty in their application and competitions for full-time faculty positions;
  • A minimum of eight (8) full-time faculty positions in each of the next three years, restricted to CUPE 3903 members. Two of those are conversions to tenure stream faculty, representing an unprecedented opportunity for a transfer to tenure stream positions in the university system, and six of those as Special Renewable Contracts. The University’s SRC proposal is subject to YUFA’s approval; and
  • Increasing the total number of Long Service Teaching Appointments in the CUPE 3903 Unit 2 collective agreement, which guarantee a minimum of three courses per year for three years, from 60 to 75.

See the university’s full final offers to Units 1, 2, and 3 and other relevant information, including its Setting the Record Straight #2 document, at

York University