So the union has released another update on their website (took me 30 minutes just to get into the site). It is very heated and attacks the university on several fronts. Here is, perhaps, the most loaded quote from the article:
The University’s public relations campaign so far has focus on the notion that CUPE 3903 members are unduly jeopardizing the welfare of the student population at York. Furthermore, in their most recent press release, it is claimed that:
“York University’s contract faculty, TAs and GAs are among the highest paid at Ontario universities with highly competitive hourly rates. GAs and TAs are full-time students, not full-time employees. They work an average of 10 hours per week. Claims by the Union that its members are paid below the “poverty line” are misleading, because these are part-time positions. Most Unit Teaching Assistants (TA’s) are currently guaranteed a minimum level of funding at a rate of $63.29 per hour, which would equate to full-time annualized earnings of around $115,000 per year.”
If we are full-time students that’s because we’re supposed to be – actually, York demands of us that we only be part-time workers so that we can excel at our studies. If we were actually paid for all the work we do as students then we would be making that “annualized earnings of around $115,000 per year”, but as any graduate student will know – while we certainly work full-time hours, we are only paid for those 10 hours a week that the Administration counts as “official” work. Please! – If that’s the implication of this statement, then we’ll take it. But no, we’re being rather modest, again, seeing as how we’re only asking for a poverty-line minimum funding package. We think that will get us through okay. We don’t want to ask for the impossible.
Robert Drummond, a representative of the employer’s bargaining team has stated that: “We all need to put the educational needs of our students first,” Drummond said. We agree. The York University Administration apparently thinks that it has more important places to put its money than into supporting the front lines of its teaching staff – the approximately 2500 TAs and contract faculty of CUPE 3903 who do over 50% of the in-class teaching at York University. And apparently maintaining classrooms where teachers can actually have the time to engage with students, answer their questions, and help them personally with their progress doesn’t count as “putting the educational needs of our students first” either – seeing as the employer refused to discuss any of our class-size reduction proposals, nor were they agreeable to our suggestions that core in-class teaching conditions should be secured against becoming replaced by correspondence or online classes.
It appears that the union and the administration are talking past each other. The union seems to have accepted, marginally, the pay increase proposed by the university but the sticky appoint looks like the job security demand. I think we are heading into a strike here guys.
I will post on here at 12:00 AM tonight the second I find out.