TORONTO On December 19, 2000, CUPE Local 3903 (representing contract faculty, teaching assistants, and graduate assistants at York University), received notice that the employer has requested that the Ministry of Labour conduct a forced ratification vote on their latest offer. This is an extremely aggressive, coercive, and anti-union move on the administrations part, one which undermines the democratic structures of our union. It is also an affront to the entire York community, and goes against the principles of collegial and collective decision making that the administration pretends to uphold. Through their willingness to force a ratification vote York administration has proven itself to be the schoolyard bully.
The administrations offer was presented to the unions bargaining team on December 14th (this was the first offer the union had received since October 20th, the strike is now into its eighth week). At a General Membership Meeting later that morning on December 14, our members overwhelmingly said that they did not want this offer to come to ratification. On Friday, December 15, 2000, the executive informed the administration that we would not bring the offer to ratification and asked the employer to return to the bargaining table in hopes of reaching an agreement that we could recommend to our members. But, instead of continuing to negotiate, the employer is attempting to force us to accept an offer that the union bargaining team, executive, and membership have already declared unacceptable. The bargaining team and executive cannot recommend this offer to our membership. We will actively counsel our members to vote NO.
The administrations current offer falls short of our previous collective agreement. It demands significant compromises from the union on job security for contract faculty, and wages and compensation for graduate assistants. Further, it offers insufficient protection against tuition increases for most teaching assistants and no protection at all for graduate assistants. The union believes that these differences with the employer regarding their offer are significant but not insurmountable. We encourage and challenge the employer to return to the table and work towards a deal that we can recommend to our membership.
For more information, please contact:
Michelle Lowry, 416-877-2109
Joe Kispal-Kovacs, 416-877-2103
Joel Harden, 416-877-2361