York still hard on binding arbitration!

So the latest York update has CHILDISH written all over it! They are still demanding binding arbitration and the Union has over and over again said NO! I really have to go note for note on this one. 

The Employer’s first priority continues to be getting our students back into the classroom immediately.  To this end, we continue to propose binding arbitration as the fastest way for classes to resume.

No! That is not the fastest way to get us back into class if the union has said they will NOT agree to binding arbitration. They are being supported by other CUPE locals in this.

The Employer has made a fair and reasonable settlement offer to CUPE 3903.

Stop saying that! We have all heard you whine and pout about how “reasonable” your offer is. York is starting to sound like Harpo – “Putting 14 year old children in jail is a fair and reasonable law to pass.”  

Yes.  Binding arbitration will put an immediate end to the strike.

Not if the other kid’s won’t play monster trucks in the sand box with you! 

We are now into the second week of the strike and the fact remains that the positions of the Employer and the Union are very far apart. 

So there is the big and significant update we have all been waiting for!


This update is sort of insulting. 


Here’s the link: http://webapps.yorku.ca/NegotiationsUpdates/doc/Communication7.pdf




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35 responses to “York still hard on binding arbitration!

  1. 1 out of 50,000

    Why is binding arbitration flawed? Why won’t the union agree to it?

  2. yorkstrike2008

    I am not saying its flawed I am saying it is redundant to keep saying it when the union has said no because they won’t get the two year agreement and because now it is precedent because of all the other CUPEs that have supported 3903 against BA.

  3. YAH!

    yess!! this is great..i’m making about 2 grand per paycheck working full time andd i might have to go to school in the summer! Come on guys! going to YORK!! in the summer..what’s not to like? what’s york known for!?!?! (lol) ..just a thought.

  4. kate

    so i had to go to york today, meaning i had to cross the quite pathetic picket lines. honestly, it didn’t even seem like most of these TAs actually cared to be there.

    then an older TA came up to my car, and started chatting, asking if we know what’s going on (duh?) and if we have any questions. to this we said, no and that we just want to get back to school so we could have some sort of summer. to this, the ‘great’ TA said that she’s a student too (PhD – yes, apperantly they can afford that), and that she teaches 3 classes at ryerson (which by the way pay much more than york) and one class at york. she says that her monthly paycheck (from york) can’t cover childcare for her daughter. that’s right, that’s what she said.
    first of all, i don’t need to hear your sob story to support your strike. you have another job that pays more, and you complain about york. if you don’t like york, leave. if you can’t afford childcare, why don’t you give up your PhD and actually take care of your daughter. and if you can’t do that, then don’t have kids.

    i understand, those TAs have their own life and bla bla bla (yes, that’s what it sounds like now), but if you don’t like your job at york, leave.
    we, the students, have nothing to do with your ill-decision to come work at york. it was your choice to work there, so don’t complain.

    i feel much better now 🙂

  5. Jimmy

    Amen Kate Amen

  6. jack

    @ yah

    I kind of have to agree with you. Everyone work now, and look forward to taking classes in warm weather :).

  7. Art

    Are we looking at the strike that will last even longer than the last one did? I personally think so. Sadly. 😦

  8. New Student

    Here’s an idea… How about in the event of having to write off the semester, instead of refunding tuition (which I think the University would avoid at all costs anyway), give students full credits for the courses in which we are enrolled without a grade. We were nearing completion of 3 credit courses anyhow, what harm could it cause to give us the credits without a grade? Wouldn’t affect our GPA, saves time and stress over finals, and might bring up the morale after such an impacting event on the students. At least students wouldn’t completely lose out! My thoughts anyways…

  9. ManKnows

    Guys i think we should all just calm down, the TA’s know whats right for the students and obviously has put us as one of the stakeholders this strike is effecting the most. I believe with full love and compassion we will come to a settlement, a settlement that will bring love to all students in a way in which is unexplainable. Lets all just allow the TA’s to take their time, because in the short run its bad, but in the future will bring success!

  10. Hostage

    Speaking of pathetic picket lines, I was at Keele and Glendon today between 5:50-6 and at both the picketers had packed up and left. Thought they were supposed to be there til 7? Not that I’m complaining it makes my commute easier, but I thought it was required?

  11. MR Two

    I agree Art… =\\

  12. Flying J

    Yorkstrike, I just got an email from my course director, and she is under the impression that if the strike were to end tomorrow that all of the original due dates from the course outline would still stand. Is she allowed to do that? I thought I read somewhere that all due dates are to be extended the length of the strike. I have decided to express my solidarity with the union by sleeping during the strike, so I will be screwed if all original due dates still stand, so please give me some hope!

  13. x

    I think by ‘extended’ they mean, say you had an assignment on day 2 of the strike – you don’t have to hand it in on that day – but gets extended until school resumes, during which time is your extension. And when the strike ends, you follow where you left off on your course outline. I mean, for however long the strike is, surely it’s a generous amount of time to work on or finish off assignments. Have SOME sense of responsibility during this time. You should have tried to catch up or get ahead of your courses so you will be prepared if and possibly have less work to do when you get back.

    And I don’t see how sleeping in expresses solidarity. More like apathy. If you wanted to express solidarity, you would have joined them in the picket line instead of doing nothing.

    But what you decide to do with your time is entirely up to you, just know what the consequences are. It doesn’t seem like the strike will end tomorrow so just stop worrying and be a responsible student.

  14. LL


    I understand that you want to get back to school…so do the rest of us. But one thing you said really hit a nerve with me.

    “if you can’t afford childcare, why don’t you give up your PhD and actually take care of your daughter. and if you can’t do that, then don’t have kids.”

    I myself am a sole-support parent, doing my last undergraduate year at york. To comment that someone who is trying to better their lives for themselves and their children by going to school, should “actually take care of [their child]” or “don’t have kids” I found quite appalling.

    Have a little respect for the parents that are trying to set good examples for their children by going to school, working part-time, and holding the 24/7 job of being a parent.

  15. what a mess!

    I personally don’t know what to do if the strike lasts so long that classes continue in the summer 😦 my whole family including my husband live overseas and the only chance I get to see them is the summer 😦 at least I could go visit them now if I had at least an idea of how long the strike would last

  16. student

    i have an essay coming up due on the 25th…will all deadlines be extended?

  17. @LL

    that PhD student has better options elsewhere, and makes more at another school. Her one role at york is pointless really. Everyone there has the option to find greener pastures. There are just as many people out their that would do the job for less or nothing, and do.

  18. j

    well, the union isn’t changing their demands either – so we can’t really be mad at this. (well, we can – but I see their point)

    we’re all just stuck in the game of chicken between the University and the Union – each are waiting to see who cracks first.

  19. Disillusioned

    I completely agree with you. I have 2 children in daycare full-time with only my husband’s income….we are majorly going into debt while I get my degree but we feel it is worth it in the longrun. While the TA shouldn’t have been whining to Kate about her personal financial issues, as it was her decision to continue school with a baby, having kids and going to school can be accomplished at the same time with the knowledge that a few years of extra hard work will make a brighter future for our children.

    As for course assignments, I have completed 3/4 that were due this week or next, and they are MUCH better than they would have been had we had classes the past two weeks! I want the strike to end (as I’ve commented a few times on this site) but I think I can be guaranteed good marks on these assignments because of it!

  20. ff

    Neoliberalism and education don’t mix.

  21. Taka

    God, I need to punch somebody. Can I just get back to my %*#%&*# classes already?

  22. kate

    @ LL

    i understand that as parents, you’re trying to make your child’s life better in the long0run, by furthering your education. but it is your decision, your choice, so there is no need to complain (not you, but the TA i’m talking about)

    i, by no means, meant to have these ‘appalling’ views, it just bothers me that people complain, and affect other people’s lives by doing so, when the issue in hand is the result of their choice.

    that’s all i meant.

  23. ff


    On another page we were discussing binding arbitration – which people are saying is a ‘neutral’ solution to the conflict. We came to the conclusion that it isn’t. In this instance, binding arbitration is in the interest of the administration, and some members of the undergraduate population. IN the same way – bargaining with the union is in the interest of the union and some other members of the undergraduate body.
    My point is: anything you do will effect others lives. If people try and stomp out this strike – it effectively means the end of a form of civil protest. If strikes are made illegal, that doesn’t mean the issues go away, it means that discontent will likely be expressed in other ways.
    It has shocked me how many instances of violence have been uttered or enacted against the picketers when there are so many better options available.
    When talking about ‘choice’ – it is important to remember that there are often factors restricting ‘choice’ – so that not everyone makes choices from the same position, or with the same degree of ease. I believe that everyone should be able to ‘choose’ to attend a university regardless of their socio-economic background, in the same way I believe that everyone is entitled to health care.
    I guess I could move to a country like America and ‘choose’ a different set of values, but I happen to live here – and for the time being, I am happy with that choice to not leave. If this strike is stomped out – it will severely impact my decision on where I will go in 2 years.

  24. JMac

    If the strike is “stomped out” by back to work legislation, for example, then that is what is needed for the greater good.

    If, somehow the sides get together and somehow binding arbitration is agreed upon, then that is what is needed.

    What is not needed is 50,000 students and their families being inconvenienced any longer because of the unreasonable demands of a few people who refuse to accept a fair and reasonable offer.

  25. ff

    JMac, how is that fair? The union are not unreasonable people – they hold advanced degrees in every subject there is at York – if they feel it necessary to withhold their labour, that is their right.

    The university has been negotiating with the union since the spring/early summer. They have ample time to prepare a workable offer. At Mac, the university settled on a 2-year contract without a strike very recently. What is not fair, is constantly using the ‘economic downturn’ as an excuse for why the university is doing poorly. Everyone is registered and most of us paid before anything happened.
    It was a bad year for crops, and the price of food went up a huge amount. I usually shop in kensington market, but recently the quality and cost of food has been skyrocketing. Broccoli is looking like a luxury item to me right now.

    The groups that are presenting binding arbitration as a neutral remedy for undergrads are politicking just as much as anyone that support the union – only they don’t even know it, or at least pretend not to. The administration WANTS binding arbitration, how is calling for binding arbitration neutral when it is 100% of what one side has called for? The short answer: it is not.
    If you want to take sides – take sides. But pretending that there is ever a politically neutral stance is naive.

  26. Dray

    If the union dropped its demands next week (which I’m betting on), do you think York would actually move on its position, too?

    The union has dropped its demands several times, and York hasn’t changed its position. Instead, York wants binding arbitration only.

    Sounds like the problem is with York and not CUPE.

    Why does York always have strikes? What’s wrong with York’s administration that they can’t manage their employees well enough — or whatever — that the employees keep going on strike?

    My problem is with York administration: they take my tuition money but then, though mismanagement, don’t deliver what I paid for.

  27. Dray


    You said: “There are just as many people out their that would do the job for less or nothing, and do.”

    Of course that’s not true. Who are these people who are instructors or who TA for free? Come on!

  28. Dray

    ff said: “The union are not unreasonable people – they hold advanced degrees in every subject there is at York – if they feel it necessary to withhold their labour, that is their right.”

    Yes, right. To add to this, there is no contract in place! Who says you have to work for somebody even when there’s no binding contract? The TA’s and temporary Faculty worked for eight weeks without a contract before finally saying, “no.”

    That strikes me as perfectly reasonable.

  29. JMac

    Holding advanced degrees does not correlate with reason or “reasonableness”, does it?

    If that were the case, it would either be a standoff or administration should, in all likelihood, be considered more reasobale because I am sure they hold degrees that are just as advanced.

    No, holding an advanced degree doesn’t make you more reasobale, it just means you have spent more time in school.

    You keep harping on the old “the university has had ample time to prepare a workable offer” line, but that is a two-way street.

    Just because your group doesn’t like the offer, doesn’t mean it is unreasonable. It simply means you are unwilling to accept what many others, with advanced and not so advanced degrees, deem reasonable.

    You are no different or better than anyone else. You just happen to wield what you seem to feel is a very large weapon, the futures of 50,000 students – and you hold them hostage.

    You and your union buddies seem very confident that the university will have to give in because they wouldn’t dare risk having to pay back tuition or extend classes way into next summer.

    You have little to lose compared to those 50,000 students and compared to what the university stands to lose. And that’s why I hope administration tells you and your smug union brethren to take a leap.

  30. Jonah


    It may also be of interest to you to note that many of the members of the union do note attend York because this is where they wanted to teach, they came here because there is an opportunity for high quality research. Based on their expertise they fund their studies and offset living expenses by teaching undergrad classes/labs. If these instructors cannot afford to stay at York (for wages or other benefits) then the teaching will stop or degrade and the research will no longer take place – thus bringing down the quality of the school.

  31. you know, I see no point for the TA’s to be such little kids. I mean, youre the ones who are voluntarily being a TA, no one is forcing you to teach and yet you complain about how much you get paid. Makes no sense to me. It’s like getting a job at mcdonalds while you have a masters/PHD, while knowing full well that you would be getting minimum wage and complaining about it. Where you’re able to get a much better paying job with your degress. its just idiotic.

    (if you don’t like my mcdonalds example think of another job that doesnt give great pay)

  32. Jonah

    I don’t expect that everyone understands how graduate studies work…I know as an undergraduate I believed that the sole reason grad students and profs worked at a University was to teach classes. As I have tried to illustrate above, it is important to understand that research is the driving factor for the large majority of grad students and teaching is secondary. This doesn’t mean TAs don’t put effort into teaching, just that it is not the driving reason they are at school. Because grad students are not allowed to work other jobs (mandated by the university) they have no choice but to work for the school. If the university is going to mandate a maximum of 10hrs work per week, then the compensation for that amount of work must be suffient to make ends meet.

  33. L

    @ hmmm
    First off, I am by no means a supporter of the strike, but I do feel that many of the opinions and thoughts expressed here are seriously flawed.
    Take a step back and think about the consequences of not having quality TAs to teach/facilitate discussions/do research.
    I do not think that CUPE3903’s demands for pay increases are justifiable since York TAs are the highest paid in Ontario, but by implying that our TA’s should quit York and go look for jobs elsewhere (Macdonalds, Ryerson) is very offensive, and disrespects the emphasis that our society places on human capital. Sure, they may be able to get pay elsewhere, but York suffers a competitive disadvantage, and the quality of our education suffers. I for one, would like to be in a class were my TA actually knows what he/she is talking about..rather than having to be in a class with a TA who doesn’t know anything and is therefore naturally satisfied with his/her $10/hr salary (or whatever it may be)..
    Take an economics course.

  34. if teaching is secondary, why care about the pay. if you are unable to support yourself go elsewhere to do research, im sure there are plently of places who would fund good research. OR better yet get a job that will let you do reserach while getting paid. but if youre so driven by the research and so strongly believe in it, find your own funding. for the TAs to be able to use the facilities and not get charged to do their research, i think, alone is good compensation for what theyre getting paid. either way i dont care about the strike and what theyre able to achieve or not, only thing i care about is the picket line. i guess you could tell me to wake up earlier but i dont like waking early.

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