Predictions on the direction and duration of the strike

As I am sure many of you are aware of by now, the Union is trying to get a 2 year agreement so that they can participate in the project of collective bargaining with other CUPE locals and the Province in 2010. The University has consistently rejected attempts for a 2 year agreement and have demanded either a 3 year agreement or binding arbitration – neither of which the Union will likely capitulate to. The gravity of this collision and its implications for the direction and duration of this strike have been largely unrecognised. I wish to clarify, give context and demonstrate the significance of this point of conflict. 

As a member recently wrote in a comment, the 2010 project is a province wide initiative by CUPE locals at other Universities. As of now the University of Ottawa, Ryerson University, Brock University, University of Windsor and McMaster University all have recently signed contracts that are expiring in 2010. McMaster nearly evaded a strike and Windsor just experienced a 3 week long strike earlier this term. The plan is to have all the CUPE locals’ contracts to expire in 2010 so that they can hold collective bargaining with the Provincial Government and circumvent the Universities. So where do we fit into this picture?

York is currently on strike and, as I mentioned above, the Union is adamant about securing a 2 year contract. CUPE Local 3902 is currently bargaining with the University of Toronto administration for, among other demands, a 2 year contract. The 3902 local is in legal strike position and will hold a strike vote on December 3rd and 9th. This has heavy implications for all sides of this conflict. York and U of T are the two largest Universities in Ontario and if they cannot participate in 2010 the project will likely fall through. York and U of T failing to secure a 2 year contract not only permits a broad and unifying action plan to fall apart but it also sets precedent for following labour negotiations.

York and U of T administrations are most likely in contact, considering the intimate nature the repercussions that an outcome will have on York and U of T negotiations and on the wider 2010 labour movement. Consider, if U of T administration gives a 2 year contract to CUPE 3902 then York will have to, almost imminently, concede to a 2 year contract with 3903. I believe that the two administrations are wise enough to recognise this and are coordinating their strategies. As a result, I will predict with certainty that U of T will be on strike by December 9th and will be for a while. Indeed, the current York experience is a foreshadow for the coming U of T labour conflict. Furthermore, if U of T goes on strike then the entire situation will be greatly complicated; York cannot very well move without U of T’s agreement, or at least prior knowledge, and vice versa. The same will be for the Unions. U of T administration simply cannot give a 2 year contract to 3902 as that will make it very difficult for York to resist a 2 year contract with 3903. Likewise, if 3903 gives into a 3 year contract then it will be even more difficult for 3902 to not lose hope in the feasibility of a 2010 collective agreement and cave into the proposed 4 year contract. I believe this entire conflict will be extrapolated onto a much larger canvas.  

I am not fear mongering, but this is a real possibility that should be considered. There are relations and connections that are being overlooked in many discussions on the direction and duration of this strike. There is a much larger cause at hand than financial upgrades and there are other parties that are, as of yet, hiding in the backdrop. It is a very real possibility that York and the University of Toronto will be on strike simultaneously – that would mean an almost certain elongation of this disruption. 




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144 responses to “Predictions on the direction and duration of the strike

  1. A big question is the motivation of rank-and-file union members to push the 2010 issue to the wall. U of T’s TA union is less militant than York’s, so it’s not impossible that they will cave first.

    Also, I’d just like to do a shameless plug for my blog, where I’m specifically dealing with the 2010 issue … (click my name above)

  2. Curious Yorkie


    After reading this, i have a feeling that the Union will significantly lower its demands now and push for the 2 year contract – thats their utmost priority. they wont like cut down on all their demands but i have a feeling that they will come down from the clouds. York aint gonna give in to all their demands and the 2 year contract! Its one or the other. And I think the union is starting to realize that as well.

    What do u guys think?

  3. yorkstrike2008

    @Curious Yorkie

    I think the Union has cornered York.

  4. @Curious Yorkie

    The 2010 issue was flying below the radar until the York strike had already started. So if you’ve got friends at U of T, let them know.

    Actually if you’ve got friends at any Ontario university, let them know.

  5. Soraya

    After reading that I think that the union will wait it out and see what U of T will do.

  6. Art

    SO NOW I’m getting the whole picture…
    Oh wow I didn’t even know about uoft.. haha my friends there not gonna laugh at me anymore, now would they.

  7. Soraya

    @ yorkstrike2008

    In your opinion, although the dean said if it came down to a 2 year contract they would accept…do you think they really would?

  8. Curious Yorkie

    Err. am at a loss of words. I seriously dont even know what to contemplate anymore? so u guys think that the strike is going to drag on till UofT starts too? Interesting. I surely have friends at UofT. Have mailed them this page already.

  9. Nathan

    I believe there is one big difference:

    U of T will not shut down the school in the event of a TA strike. From what I understand, York is not shutting down the campus because it has no more educators to teach – it’s shutting down the campus to avoid massive traffic jams and confusion. The former was not a problem in 2001, the latter definitely was.


    U of T has more staff, less vehicular traffic, and a more centralized location, as well as a student body that predominately walks/busses/bikes/subways to school. Picket lines, unless they were to block off major Toronto arteries (not happening), or to block pedestrian traffic (suicidal) would have a very minimal effect.

    Because they likely won’t shut down the school, all that U of T students will face is a redistribution of course weighting. They’ll still graduate on time, get their credits on time, take their exams on time.

  10. Hot Water

    If the 2 year contract and the 2010 labour contract is as crucial as York Strike 2008 and other contributors portray, then the government should also be exerting some pressure on York not to give in. I really cannot imagine the government wanting to have a statewide university shutdown in 2010 especially since Ontario is a have-not state.

  11. If UofT TAs do vote in favour of a strike, will it occur immediately (ie, on December 10th)?

    @ Nathan,

    Also, if UofT TAs are on strike, how will their undergraduate students write their exams and do they really have that many extra staff to supervise…Doesn’t that mean the UofT year will also be affected as well? (although to a lesser extent than how it has affected York)

  12. AL

    they have 1 month to figure this out. I want to be back in school on Jan 5, not earlier and not later!

  13. P D

    Im a bit confused. It seems like through this article that the CUPE would be waiting for U of T to go on strike to put pressure on both U of T and York for the 2 year contract. Yet, the Dean stated that if it came down to a 2 year contract demand, the Dean would accept that and also CUPE claims that it has lowered its demands for the upcoming meeting. So it seems as though the strike may very well come to an end early next week if is it just the 2 year contract that is the main problem…or CUPE may drag this out until U of T goes on strike…thats what I at least get from this entry. I wonder which one it will be..the strike ending this/next week or going on for weeks more…

  14. Commuter

    @ Nathan

    I disagree, and I think the “no educators to teach” is a very valid reason for cancelling classes. A vast majority of my classes are taught by contract faculty, who are on strike, and all my tutorials are led by TAs, who are also on strike. Therefore, how am I supposed to be taught?

    I can’t speak for the situation at U of T, but I would imagine they would be in a similar boat.

    I do not believe that the traffic delays play a significant part of it, although they may be “a” factor.

  15. Hot Water

    Hey guys,

    This bargaining update from the CUPE 3902, UofT local seems to indicate that UofT isn’t really particular about the 2 year contract issue. Apparently, they agreed to bring some proposals based on a 2 year contract to the table.

    Don’t know but maybe we are overplaying the 2 year issue a bit

  16. U of T’s last TA strike (in 2000, I think) lasted several weeks. They didn’t cancel classes, and it turned out much like Nathan suggested — because it’s an urban campus, very few people drive and it was almost impossible for the union to block access.

  17. yorkstrike2008

    Very interesting guys. I still maintain that the proximity of U of T’s strike deadline, the 2010 date and the fact that they are the two largest in Ontario will undoubtedly complicate processes. We shall see…

  18. A UofT TA

    Nathan is correct regarding UofT’s usual actions when CUPE 3902 has gone on strike in the past (only a couple times in the last 30-35 years). Classes are not cancelled as far as I know.

    Also, please inform yourself of what really happens after Dec. 9th if the strike vote passes. The strike does not begin on Dec. 10th; there are many steps in the process before that point.

  19. s~

    this is getting ridiculous!
    at this point i think york should
    hold out a little longer…because i’m sure
    the ta’s and the union can’t go on without
    getting paid for that long…i mean if they
    are really pushing for a 2 year contract
    that can’t mean good, they are probably
    scheming to screw us over again in a mere
    2 years…i’ll be in school still, i rather them
    just tank it out a little longer so noone has to
    deal with this strike bs again…

  20. Tasnia

    I dont understand…can someone plz explain to me:S:S

  21. Amanda

    Has anyone considered organizing a class action lawsuit? This strike will have a direct impact on our abilities to move on in our lives, especially for those of us in professional programs. This is going to make our plight to acquire jobs next to impossible, which is a limited window in itself for teachers.
    Perhaps the threat of a class action lawsuit on behalf of the students will make the Universities move forward in a productive manner.

  22. Stef

    Hey s,
    I think the union is getting paid for striking – it’s picket pay, and they get $10 an hour for 20 hours a week. I remember reading this on their website when they were calling on people to sign up. Anyone correct me if I’m wrong, and it’s not a lot, especially with rent payments and such, but they are getting paid.

  23. A UofT TA

    For UofT/CUPE 3902, we get paid $20/hour, up to $200/week, for performing picket and other strike-related duties. Also, childcare costs are reimbursed and access to interest-free loans are available for those facing financial hardships due to a strike.

  24. R


    There is CUPE hardship fund that they can apply if they need to. Financial hardship is out of the question.

  25. Commuter

    This is how I see it…

    I think U of T will play a major role in deciding the outcome of the strike. They give CUPE 3902 a 2-year deal and it forces York’s hand to give 3903 the same in the hope of salvaging its reputation. U of T averts an imminent strike; they seal York’s fate with the possible 4th strike in 13 years. That is if U of T wants to compete with York.

    If they want to be buddies, then U of T won’t offer 3902 a 2-year contract, 3902 will strike, and then we won’t be back till the new year.

  26. Still Doing Homework anyways...

    Yorkstrike2008, that was a very well thought-out and written statement and provides quite a bit of ideas to chew on.

    Thankyou for maintaining a site that updates (and with neutrality) its readers about the strike. I have been viewing this site since day one and have found it a pleasant source relief to anxiety (in regards to not knowing what exactly is going on).

    It seems to me that although York would look hypocritical if they chose to turn around and disagree to a ‘compromise’ because of the two-year contract, the Union themselves would look hypocritical if they drastically reduced their financial demands to settle a two-year contract, would it not?

    Furthermore, it’s really sad to see that even education is not immune to the tragically false world of politics.

    I personally believe (that in an ideal world) the bigger issue truly is:
    – Tuition fees are too high
    – Employer and Employee relationships need a drastic helping hand in communication
    – The upper half of the hierarchy is not only disassociated from the lower half, but unjustifiably makes too much money…

    The latter two could also be attached to life and the business/corporate world in general..

    In any case, if your projections do ring true (and it most certainly seems that it will be the case), I fear that the true meaning of education is lost to almost everyone involved.

    [once again, thankyou for maintaining this site – the true purpose of my commentating)

  27. s~

    ohh i see, i didn’t know they were paid to picket…hmm maybe i should join them 🙂
    well then…see you all next year? 😉

  28. MR Two

    hmm… given the new info, I think that the unionand the university are gonna hold out at least until the outcome of the UofT strike vote.

  29. Ridiculous

    This is just plain stupid…
    Going on strike in order to be able to strike…
    Negotiating something in order to be able to negotiate 2 years from now….
    It all sounds so dumb.
    Clearly the Union doesnt care
    The only ones losing here are the students,

    This is when you start seeing the negatives of Unions. Unions work to a point…
    York strike has crossed the line.

    Then they wonder why the big 3 auto makers are in trouble, and these fools haven’t learned a thing.

    They are playing blackmail with people (students).
    Students lash out against the union and of course against York..
    By lash out i mean complain to your local MPP or MP….This has got to end here.

  30. Commuter

    @ MR

    That would seem to be the most rational thing to do.

  31. Mhm

    so how long does everyone think the strike will last?? honestly.

  32. Nathan


    Invigilators do not have to be unionized. Anyone can be an invigilator – you could pull random people off the streets, offer 14 bucks an hour, and tell them to hand out papers, collect papers, and check student cards – direct all questions to the professor. After all, in many courses, TAs teach tutorial/lab related material, and are not required to actually attend/remain up to date on lecture material. When they invilgilate, they have no prior knowledge of the tests, and they refer to the prof re: all academic related questions.

    No educators to teach IS a valid reason, but that doesn’t mean that York is particularly concerned about that particular aspect of the strike. After all, if York kept classes going, the undergrads would still get their education (albeit at a reduced quality obviously), their credits, and their diplomas. Given those last two key things, I bet the undergrad interest in the strike would drop significantly.

    Re: contract faculty – it won’t come into play. Apparently, the strike vote at U of T is UNIT 1 ONLY.

    Re: tutorials – easy. Assume a course is evaluated as follows:

    Term Essay 30%
    Midterm 20%
    Tutorial Attendance and Participation 15%
    Exam 35%

    All you have to do is:

    Term Essay 35%
    Midterm 25%
    Exam 40%

    You wouldn’t even have to add more work.

    I’m not arguing this from an ideological standpoint, I’m just speaking about pure logistics.

  33. Nathan

    @ Stef:


    $ 200 a week maximum, $800 a month. This income is not taxable.

    Also, there’s a $300 dollar hardship fund that all members who picket can apply for once a month, multiple times.

    Now, that doesn’t seem like much. BUT:

    Assume a TA makes $15,000 a year. 15,000/12 = $1250 a month.
    Tuition costs (after taking away the rebate for being in the union) are: $5,483.82 – (590.00*3) = $3713.82. Divide by 12, you get $309.49 per month.

    1250 – 310 = 940. So after taxes, EI, CPP, that comes to about $800-900 net income per month.

    But wait, if someone picketed for 20 hours a month, and got hardship fund money… they’d be making $1100 a month, tax free.

    So what’s the incentive to deal again, when picketers… are making a profit on the lines?

  34. yorkstrike2008

    $1100/ month is hard to live on…

  35. Basil El-Salviti

    Hm….interesting developments. What can UNDERGRADS do at this point is the real question…? any ideas?

  36. Soraya

    @ yorkstrike 2008

    I think Nathan means $1100 + $800-900

  37. Curious Yorkie

    Guys, check this out:

    York Faculty to Hold News Conference, Wednesday, November 26, 10 am

  38. jack

    My prof just sent me an e-mail saying he’s flying out December 15th.

    So I don’t think I have to worry about taking that class before January.

  39. jack

    Correction !

    Uh no. I meant to write 5th.

  40. Guess Who

    If the negotiations on 27th turn out to be completely useless, then I’m going to leave for home.

    I’ve waited enough and can’t take their crap anymore.

    We international students are stranded. We can’t study (which is the reason why we’re here) nor can we go back home.

  41. Nathan

    No no, $1100 is still hard to live on, but when you’re making more money picketing than working, what’s the incentive to get to the table?

    Also, yes, from my understanding, since wages are not tied to the hour but to the course, all TAs will receive all the monies they were due to receive, strike or no strike. They’ll just get it a little later. Because of this, there are definitely a few TAs who are looking at this strike as nothing more than a cash grab.

  42. Curious Yorkie

    Guys, I feel that its bad for us to demonize the TAs like this. While some of them are definitely profiting out of this, the real beef is with the Union. They are surely the manipulators in this situation. I think its unfair that people are lashing out completely at TAs.

  43. jason

    Why did cupe wait this long to ammend their demands, if this proves to be fruiful on thursday, then it makes one wonder if cupe just went out on strike in spite. This could all have been prevented probably if cupe ammended their demands three weeks ago to a realistic framework. I Think the university is looking more and more like the right one in all of this. Also, why didnt they just stick to the framework they had previously, does cupe even know what they are fighting for, why change it now.. pick your fight cupe.. know what u are fighting for and stick it out… I think the carelessness of the union is what caused this strike, if they had ammended their demands three weeks ago, there would not of been a strike….. or if they felt they didnt need to ammend their demands, then why are they doing it now… maybe because they know the administration is right in saying their framework was unrealistic….thanks cupe for an unnecessary strike… solidarity only works when you know what u are fighting for….

  44. yorkstrike2008

    I think they are pointing out a series of fortunate events… In an unfortunate situation.

  45. jane

    I think the funniest part of this is that the TA’s which they are using as pawns… a large portion of them will be done their studies by the time this 2010 strike occurs. The union just brainwashed them with ideas of increased wages and better benifits in order to get them to vote in favor of a strike. This union is laughable and I would be embarrased if I was a part of it.

  46. Cupe Doll

    A good portion of 3903 members are contract faculty. Mostly old(er) folks with absolute zero job security. And getting 3903 contract faculty some job security has been the most legitimate issue this strike. Maybe the only issue with which the general public resonates any sympathy.

    That’s the issue 3903 always waves at the media. But what 3903 is really after is a 2 year contract to participate the general strike in 2010. So here’s what’s gon’na happen. 3903 will totally fold like broke accordions on the contract faculty job security issue — in order to try and get a 2 year contract.

    3903 will sell every interest of it’s most vulnerable members down the river. Because many the more militant in 3903 aren’t happy just striking. They need a war. They need to be striking for blood — not just wages or job security — against “neo-liberalism”.

  47. New Student

    Check this out… Looks like the University of Guelp may also be looking at a strike led by CUPE 3913. Things that make you go hmmmm….

  48. New Student


  49. Krisen

    so, I’m not sure if I got your prediction on the duration correct, but it looks like not a Dec 1 start, and most likely going to be a lot more?

  50. jason

    Cupe 3903 still thinks that they will get more out of a settlement striking then accepting arbitration. I think the university should use what the arbitration would offer in settling with cupe 3903, because I think York at this point will only offer that. They took this long to ammend their demands because they knew york wouldnt give in to their last framework. At this point York is not going to give in that easily, it took this long for them to ammend their demands. In the end, yorks offer is what arbitration would probably propose. If cupe 3903 ammended their demands from the beginning, I think york would of been more then willing to negotiate, but cupe had to cause an unnecessary strike. To this end…. York should stand firm, and not be played a fool… because its the union that is faulty, not the university….

  51. Mhm

    that’s what i think after reading everything for the past few days… any other opinions on length?

  52. wow. they get paid to strike?


  53. Pingback: CUPE, seriously. « kavisolo.

  54. Kate

    you can add an additional university to this strike line-up soon – guelph may also go on strike as of next week.
    check out the link

  55. I don’t get why people complain about it being “difficult” to live on “x” amount of dollars per month. You’re not asked to do that for life, this is a grad degree that you’re essentially getting paid to obtain, you’re not working for tim hortons for “x” amount per month to survive…

    Equality vs Efficiency again, what constitutes as a “fair” pay? Enough so you’re making the same money as a regular full time lets say…bank teller? But ultimately, you’re better off b/c you’re getting a degree out of it no?!

  56. Observer

    As a silent observer to this process I have been lurking since day 1. I am not a student, parent, TA or York Faculty or Staff member. Just a citizen of the GTA, following along with the process.

    My comment:

    Why does the general public (meaning you, and the other sites offering information on this action) believe that all the University TA’s negotiating together would be bad come 2010?

    Perhaps it MIGHT mean that in 2010 they will strike, perhaps it might offer better job security, perhaps it might offer better services, or benifits, or pay. Perhaps it might equalize pay structure across Ontario, perhaps it might make becoming a TA more difficult, and perhaps that might mean a better education for students in University, perhaps not.

    I just hope the negativity towards the 2 year contract is warrented, and perhaps someone can tell us why?

  57. york student

    i don’t want to be screwed over in the another two years…I actaully plan on grduating the day that I am supposed to so that I can get myself to a grad school (this might not even be in Canada, could be the U.S., The U.S. schools wouldn’t care if our dear little school was on strike or not, they just wouldn’t take me as I wouldn’t have my degree!!!!)

  58. Worried

    Does anyone know whether the rally today is being televised? I believe they are having a press conference at 10 am.

  59. yorkstrike2008

    @York Student

    Well if you are going to the US then I suppose you are either extremely smart or extremely wealthy to pay for the ludicrous prices down there… 😉

  60. york student

    Does anyone know when the ratification vote will occur if the union and york admin do reach an agreement tom?

  61. yorkstrike2008

    @York Student

    It depends. Probably soon after an agreement is met.

  62. sam

    I think theres a good chance we go back on monday but thats my guess. I think its wrong but what can you do we are going to have classes up to the 23 for sure.

  63. Curious Yorkie

    So the majority here think that the strike isnt gonna end tomorrow? or that a deal would be reached?

  64. Commuter

    @ Sam

    I highly doubt York will offer them a 2-year contract tomorrow.

  65. Poor Student

    so, i work part time for York and my job has been on hold during the strike, but today I got an email saying we’d be expected to return to our regular hours starting Thursday….

    either the admin is folding, some secret negotiations are in the mix or … maybe there is just alot of strike related paperwork to sort….

    any thoughts???

  66. P D

    I have a feeling that the strike is coming to an end very soon and may even end tomorrow. The CUPE claim to have made a reasonable cutdown on their demands and the Dean stated that if the only major issue separating the CUPE from York is the 2 year contract, they would give in to the 2 year contract. I think the strike may just end tomorrow if the CUPE truly did adjust their demands.

  67. Hot Water

    My gut tells me that this strike will end very soon. Probably not tomorrow but at least by the end of next week. If the Union has brought forward a workable framework, then its only a matter of time before the details are worked out. Honestly, I dont think the 2 year contract is a big issue as both UofT and Dean Drummond seem very willing to give in to that.

    Obviously, a lot of this is based on pure speculation and my gut as I have not actually seen the Union’s demands.

  68. Poor Student

    oh.. p.s. to all the people giving the picketers crap about making too much money…are you kidding???

    Do any of you pay your own way??


    I’m a full time undergard student, I own my own vehicles, rent my own place and pay my own tuition, I have three jobs with a total income $2000/mnth…

    guess what ITS NOT ENOUGH!!!!!!

    I go in debt each and every month AND I haven’t finished paying my tuition yet!

    oh and P.P.S… they get more than minimum wage for 20 hrs a week!!!! Minimum wage at 40 hrs IS NOT enough to live on!!!!!

    8.75 x 160 hrs = $1400

    I hope the strike ends soon….OR….the school makes a statement about us returning at a specified date after the holiday…

    I’ve read a number of posts in regards to profs. leaving in holidays….well guess what, if bobby and julie don’t have to bust their asses to get back to school I am not either!

    Personally, I feel this seriously jeopardizes academic integrity and equality….


    anyone want to email the admin on mass demanding that ALL classes resume on the same day or we’re striking next…

    for all you “I’m not waiting for my degree!!!” people….guess what to late!!! ahha what are you doing right now, sucka?

    ive already contacted out of province universities to discuss transfer options… but in the mean time im not getting the short end of the stick because my profs decided not to take a vacation….

    so yeah, mass email anyone???

  69. Worried Union Member

    I’m a contract faculty member at York. Along with a number of my colleagues I’m very worried about what the union’s going to end up doing to get a 2-year contract. We’re concerned that many of the bargaining issues are just window dressing, and that the ideologues in the union are using the membership as dupes in order to get a 2-year deal so they can have a general strike in 2010.

    Many contract faculty members have supported the strike because we believe job security is vital. But we’re afraid that we’re going to end up with none, just as we do in every round of bargaining when the union (let alone the employer) sells us down the river.

    Longstanding contract faculty members at York are depressingly aware that the job security we’re fighting for is something the union lost AS A RESULT of the strike in 2000-01. That’s not something the union is admitting to the membership, any more than it’s willing to admit that THIS WHOLE STRIKE is really about getting a 2-year contract. The union doesn’t take any other issue seriously, and this means everybody’s going to end up losing in the end.

  70. MR Two

    I wonder how that’s gonna work if some profs are indeed flying out this upcoming week…

  71. I think a lot of people have forgotten that there was over 150 different aspects of the contract that were left on the table last time… 150! Do you honestly think that the Union/Administration has changed something like 75 each to meet in the middle? I HIGHLY doubt that. I think there is still one meeting after this one before the possibility even arises of it ending

    Also, just wanted to add this. Yorkstrike2008 you have done an AWESOME job keeping up with the information and keeping us up to date, but I think these predictions are quite useless. It seems to me that all these comments here are like fear mongering, scaring/panicking students into when the strike will end, if they can and can’t go home. This isn’t intended to bash you or anything, as you making a prediction is great because you are up to date and what not, but disable the comments on it. I think most of us here don’t care about anyones (not offence here to anyone) gut feeling since your gut doesn’t know the facts. Remember, none of us here have seen the new demands, so how can we make assumptions?

    Again, not attacking anyone, but I think its a waste of time and space

  72. Cupe Doll

    Observer above asked: “I just hope the negativity towards the 2 year contract is warrented, and perhaps someone can tell us why?”

    Come on, Observer. Don’t mislead people. You know the problem isn’t with trying to get a 2 year contract. The problem is with what 3903 is willing to do — and not do — in order to get it.

    Just watch how far 3903 sells its most vulnerable members (contract faculty) downstream. Down the rushing river of 3903 ideology.

    It only gets admitted in private. How this Union of Public Employees is out to bring the employer — York — to its knees. To strike for blood against “neo-liberalism” everywhere.

    This is war. Let’s just admit it. Let’s stop pretending its about negotiating or anyway compromising. 3903 isn’t out for better wages or security of its membership. Its out to hurt the employer enough to bring it to its knees.

    What’s wrong is hypocrisy. Lots of people would get behind the war effort against “neo-liberalism” if it were declared and admitted openly and honestly. If 3903 were to tell York: “Don’t even try bargaining. As a matter of principle we’re gon’na shut you down hard — much harder than last time — or die trying. ”

    Instead, 3903 pretends to negotiate. And because what its really doing is fighting war, it winds up negotiating so badly, so poorly that everyone involved is tarnished and humiliated. That’s why the arbitrator keeps saying there’s no point to it. Too humiliating even sitting at the same table. The table probably wishes it could go home too — that’s how humiliating this “bargaining” is.

    There will be no genuine bargaining until one side gets defeated. And given how ideologically committed the driving core in 3903 is — one side is gon’na have to get totally crushed before negotiating gets remotely genuine.

  73. Basil El-Salviti

    My instinct tells me YorkStrike2008 is correct. Although that is assuming that York will not budge without UofT’s understanding of THEIR contract. Though at this point in time, it’s anyones guess…

  74. Basil El-Salviti

    Well said Cupe Doll.

  75. yorkstrike2008


    Thanks for the kind words. I have to respectfully disagree with you. I feel that my predictions are sound. Of course, they cannot be taken as truth and must be considered with the context and developments of this conflict.

    The University and the Union do absolutely nothing to inform us or give us a chance to talk about what is going on – they have alienated us. Many people just want a place to ask questions, find out some information and rant. This site consolidates all the information from all sides. And, I hope this site has helped a lot of people handle and provide scope to the gravity and size of this conflict. People have invested thousands of hours and dollars into their education and it should not be treated lightly.

    As I have said before, there are about 25,000 unique repeat visitors to this site and the daily unique visitor numbers are constantly rising. If the time comes where this strike develops into a complete power pogrom then this is a good place to come and find out what undergraduate students are doing to, at least, have the rest of Canada know that there is a 3rd, innocent and very debilitated party involved in these antics.

    Both Union and Administration officials come to this site to spy… 😉

  76. Worried Union Member

    Annoyed: Forums like this one are the only place where a lot of us, including union members, can express our opinions and learn/speculate about what’s going on. That’s the kind of thing that an academic environment is supposed to encourage. Even idle gossip is more useful than waiting and wondering.

    By the way, has anyone noticed that the union has disabled comments on its strike blog? It’s not just that a lot of negative comments were or would be posted, it’s that the union is not really interested in dialogues, including with its own members or the general public it seems. As a member the only chance I have to have my input heard is to go to a 6 or 7 hr meeting where the union doesn’t even follow its own rules. I can’t stay long enough and because of this I don’t even get to vote on any of the motions.

    It’s even worse behind closed doors, where some departmental listservs (especially political science, sociology and communications) are places where anyone questioning the strike, or any aspect of it, is attacked personally and silenced.

    As a contract faculty member I want job security, but I no longer believe in this strike.

  77. Commuter

    @ yorkstrike2008

    Is there any truth to this, or did they just mix up the date and put Wednesday instead of Thursday?

  78. sam

    I have a gut feeling that the strike will end thursday and we could be back in class as soon as friday. After what I have read and herd

  79. Oh, and I completely agree with you Yorkstrike. Those comments were not, whatsoever directed at you. This site is great, and the information you provide is vital. Heck, I’ve given up on going to Cupe or Yorku site since I get all the info here first.

    What I was refering to was the predictions. Yes, your predictions are well informed and based on facts and what you have heard from your sources. However, a lot of people will just come on and post comments that its a bout to end because they want it to end. There is no substance to their predictions/replies. This, I believe, is wrong because it can confuse others who aren’t so up to date

    Now, that isn’t a knock against others here since I know there are T.As and other people who are as informative as you are Yorkstrike, but I think it’s better if people use sources when they suggest they know/believe/feel that the strike is going to be ending/prolonged since in reality, we have no idea

  80. Commuter

    @ Sam

    Between you and I, we must be reading and hearing totally opposite things haha

    I cannot imagine that after months of failed negotiations, including the last one in which the admin walked out after 15 minutes and the mediator said negotiations would be pointless right now, that one little meeting tomorrow will bring peace on Earth.

    There must be a reason that it’s been a week since the GMM and them finally meeting tomorrow, and it’s a tactic I call stalling.

    The administration and the union were so far apart last time I checked; I don’t see how they can resolve all their differences in a couple hours. This surely will require multiple meetings.

    Heck, the university is not even willing to give up its binding arbitration solution. I think it’s pretty apparent how eager both sides are to bargain.

    As well, mustn’t they hold a ratification vote before we can go back to class?

    Everywhere else I read, everybody is saying this isn’t going to end tomorrow. I’m curious as to why many people here are inclined to think that it will.

    I am also curious as to what will happen when we get back… if it is still possible to cram exams into the month of December. Surely I hope not.

  81. sam

    For everyones sake at york I belive it is in their best interest to start back in january, so that exams arent right after the holidays. At this point i’d rather go into May then go back now so dont get me wrong I hope it doesnt end at this point. Comming back from the strike now when there is so much going on with the holidays and stuff, in which people where expecting and planning to be off could deter them from getting the marks they deserve.

  82. jason

    To sam, you cant go back the next day even if there is a settlement, it still has to be ratified, and voted on, there will be three days notice usually, earliest would be monday

  83. Anonymous

    I just received a forward from someone I know:

    Update Nov. 25/08
    by Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford – Tuesday, 25 November 2008, 09:37 PM
    Dear Students,

    We have reached a critical moment in the strike. There is a window of
    opportunity here to reach a settlement and return to class before the
    Fall term is extended into the new year. We don’t want the term to be
    held over and we know that you don’t either.

    You have a powerful voice in how events unfold over the next week.

    This past Thursday, our union met to give our bargaining committee a
    renewed mandate to return to negotiations in order to reach a fair
    settlement. We are doing our part. The University, however, has not
    budged from its final offer, has refused to even respond to many
    outstanding elements of our package, and continues to demand binding

    No settlement will be possible until the University abandons this
    position, stops bargaining in public, and brings a new offer to the
    table. The ball is in their court.

    In paying tuition fees, you have contracted with the University to
    provide you with an education. By refusing to negotiate and come to an
    agreement with the people who provide more than half of the teaching
    on campus, the University has effectively broken that contract with

    But no matter what we say about this, York University officials need
    to hear that from you. And the more they hear from you, the faster
    they will return to the bargaining table with a serious offer. Then we
    can all return to class.

    Our demands are reasonable and fair. We are asking that:

    1) our benefits (including child care, extended health, hardship, and
    professional development) rise in proportion to the increase of our
    membership. Our benefits have lost value year over year because they
    have not been indexed to the expansion of graduate enrollment. If our
    benefits were reasonable 5 years ago, the same level of support should
    be reasonable now.

    2) job security for contract faculty. These are people who teach 40
    percent of the courses in our department, have been doing so in some
    cases for 10 years with families to support, and must re-apply for
    their jobs every 4 to 8 months. They deserve better than that.

    3) wages be increased in line with the rising cost of living. A 7
    percent increase in the first year to make up for lost ground in the
    last contract, and 4 percent in the second.

    The University’s last offer is concessionary. The wage settlement is
    below the rate of inflation and it refuses to address benefits and job
    security. In effect, it adds up to a 1.7% decrease for us each year.

    If you want to contribute to a speedy end to this strike, and you
    support our demands, I invite you to write personally to President
    Shoukri. He will listen to what you have to say.

    His email address is:

    please cc your emails to:

    For more information, please visit our union’s website:

    I hope to see you all soon and thank you for your support.
    Prof. Cowdy Crawford

  84. Basil El-Salviti

    I am glad worried cupe member is here to post, as well. I can’t imagine not having this input from inside….I believe that we as an undergraduate body can benefit greatly from this unique input.

  85. sam


    I was just saying we would go back on Friday as as an exzageration!!! I did not mean it litterally I was intending as soon as Monday. I hope we dont, since its going to be crazy and like people have been saying, a mess but I guess we will alll have to wait for Thursday and see what happens.

  86. Curious Yorkie

    @ Commuter,

    I completely agree with you. It seems a bit unlikely to me that the tomorrow’s golden meeting will seal the deal. The union has been insisting on its 150 demands + 2 year contract… they will definitely be pushing very hard for the 2 year contract, but at the same time, they cannot significantly cut down on all their demands because that would seem extremely hypocritical of them. Already we can see in this forum, and from other sources that many TA’s have started losing interest in this strike/disbelieving in the Union’s claims. If the Union pushes for the 2 year demand more than anything, it will be a significant blow to them and their credibility. Hence, I dont think the Union would be cutting back their demands greatly.
    And so I think that contrary to many people’s opinions here… it is the Union, and not York that has been cornered. York will continue rejecting Union’s unfair demands (and try to avoid the 2 year contract) and push for binding arbitration as a fairer way to deal with things.

  87. sam

    @ Curious Yorkie

    I belive that if the union does serverly lower their demands the whole strike was a watse of EVERYONES TIME. That means that this could have all been avioded from the get go.

  88. Commuter

    @ Sam

    No doubt.

  89. Krisen

    Ok, I’ve noticed some of you have posted that you professors are leaving in december…

    So, if we were to start back on Monday or sometime next week, what the hell happens to those classes? And what does that mean for the rest of the school?

  90. HO

    SHAME SHAME for this poor use of workers rights and a POX on the York University Administration for letting this happens. Shows what a 2nd rate, lefty place York really is.

  91. ff

    it means those professors had best recall themselves from wherever they went.

  92. Curious Yorkie

    Yeah, precisely. Big blow to the Union, in my opinion.

  93. Curious Yorkie

    (Sorry, my comment was in response to Sam and Commuter)

  94. uniondues

    nice one:))

  95. s~

    sheesh people, enough with the “gut feeling” you guys are getting, we aren’t psychic or have paranormal powders…so easy on the magical feelings that tingle in your belly, because it makes students like me even more anxious and worried. i don’t need people to say this and that when they have no for sure information about this whole ordeal, sure people are giving ideas and probabilities , but at the end of the day, no one knows wth is going on . so NO MORE GUT FEELINGS PLEASE! or i’m going to kick someone in the shins. kthx

  96. s~

    ahahaha i said powders…

  97. MR Two

    @ sam/commuter

    Given that, I wonder they’ve really lowered the demands that much, or is it that they are just grossly exaggerating and releasing that exaggeration to the public in hopes of winning support…

    And to Prof. Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford – Is it honestly a good idea, compressing 1/2 a term + exams into less than a month time, while things at home are hectic for alot of families? How motivated are TA’s gonna be to mark our work when they have alot of holiday planning/shopping/activites going on? How motivated will students be to really put 100% effort into their work after losing a major, family oriented holiday because of a thoughtless bitter argument between the York admin and the Union? We’re the ones who are most affected in all this, we’ve had no say at all in this entire ordeal. That just sounds like a horrible idea… IMO it’s way too late for that now, this “bargaining” (if you can even call it that) should have been done in the first or second week, not a month later.

  98. JMac

    Like I asked in another comment section, how many of the contract profs actually work for York full time and how many work as professionals elsewhere?

    I recall that just over 800 of about 3300 stikers are contract educators. If over half of those profs work at York for extra cash or to enhance their own careers, what is the real number of profs who have to re-apply for their jobs every 4 or 8 months?

    It is pretty obvious from all that has been said here that the vast majority of strikers are not hurting one bit financially by being out on strike.

    And if it is true that York is still obligated to pay these people what they would have been paid during this period anyway, once the strike is settled, York students are crazy to support these people.

    They’ve just screwed about 50,000 undergrads because they feel that York owes them even more than $65 an hour and bargain basement tuition AND they have nothing to lose by walking off the job!

  99. JMac

    One of the unfortunate things in all of this is that the TAs and CUPE are teaching the undergrads and just about everyone else connected to this strike all that is wrong with unions, and that is sad.

    How many of you have heard a friend mumble that they don’t want to show support for admin for fear that the TAs, who mark their work, will see that and screw them on their marks once they get back to class?

  100. s~

    “Prof. Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford”
    “You have a powerful voice in how events unfold over the next week.”

    right…….suddenly were so important ?!
    i think this person is just trying to manipulate students into thinking that by voicing our opinions and rallying at this point in time will make everything better…imo, either way everyone is screwed a little in every direction. students going back now would result in a hectic compressed schedule, and who the hell is going to want to study at this point? when christmas is approaching, people are getting busier work hours…people are flying out on vacation, shit, even profs don’t want to deal with it because they have flights booked. no one is going to want to cram their asses when they have so many things to worry about….i know i know, but its gonna screw so many people over if we return in january…but if we return in jan. we don’t have any holidays to add to the stress. at this point, i think york should hold out, make those damn arrangements with the union and start to settle those problems they haven’t even skimmed yet, they are focusing too much on the 2 year contact thing without even considering the”150 different aspects of the contract that were left on the table last time” part.
    p.s. yorkstrike2008, this site has kept me from kicking people in the faces….have my babies!!

  101. Worried Union Member

    Basil, thanks for your comment but I don’t really have an inside view, any more than anyone else. I hope you and everyone else concerned about the strike look critically upon everything you read and hear about it.

    The note from Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford is a good example of something deserving a critical reading.

    Some questions her students and readers of this forum should be asking are, Is this propaganda? Does she make room for debate or does she close it off? Will students who do not share her view be penalized subtly after the strike is over?

    I send regular updates to my students about the strike but I do not tell them what they should think about it. I have too much respect for their minds. Sending propaganda to students is a failure of academic integrity in my opinion. It’s bad enough when the university does it but it’s unforgivable when your own professor does it.

  102. Commuter

    As noted on a Facebook group, Osgoode students will be returning on Monday. The Senate provided details about the rescheduling of classes:

    Dear Osgoode Community,

    We are pleased to report that at its meeting of Tuesday, November 25, 2008 the Executive Committee of Senate agreed to a request from Osgoode to permit the resumption of all classes beginning on Monday, December 1, except for the relatively small number of courses taught by instructors who are members of CUPE 3903.

    In making its decision the Executive Committee took into account a number of factors, including Law Society requirements for certification of our program and the impact of a continued suspension of classes on the ability of our students to access the licensing process for lawyers both in Ontario and elsewhere. The Executive Community also noted the impact on community legal clinics of a continued suspension and the ability of Osgoode to resume, with only limited exceptions, a full and integral instructional program given the support of full-time faculty and the fact that there are very few CUPE 3903 instructors at Osgoode. Osgoode will ensure that students who choose not to participate in resumed classes will continue to receive the protections and accommodations set out in Senate legislation.

    Under the Remediation Plan approved by Senate Executive, the fall teaching term will be completed over the period December 1 to 19, with the fall term examinations moved to the period January 5-16, 2009. The original exam schedule will be followed during that two week period. Further, all papers and assignments that would have been due the first day of the examination period (December 8, 2008) will now be due on January 5, 2009. The winter term will commence on January 19, 2009.

    Further details respecting the Remediation Plan will be posted on MyOsgoode by tomorrow. Further, each of your instructors will be in touch with you over the next few days to advise you as to whether there will be any changes in the scheduling of classes, the material to be covered in the December 1-19 period and generally on how they propose to complete the remaining work to be covered this term. Students who wish to exercise their rights under Senate policy not to participate in the resumption of academic activities should be in touch with Assistant Dean Gina Alexandris.

    We recognize the stress and inconvenience that the strike has caused thus far, and look forward to resuming the program this coming week.

  103. ff

    Jmac – what do you mean ‘work as professionals elsewhere’?
    In the arts pretty much all contract faculty if they work elsewhere – it is at another university where their contracts need to be renewed every 4-8 months.
    Maybe it is different in business, I can’t say.

  104. JMac

    For example, could a Computer Science instructor actually work at a computer firm during the day while teaching classes in the afternoon or evening at York?

    Could someone who instructs in Creative Writing or other lit courses possibly work in industry as a writer?

    Could a retired lawyer or judge be instructing part time at York?

    Could a Fine Arts instructor actually work in the entertainment industry as a full time job?

    I could go on, but hopefully you can see what I am suggesting.

  105. student

    Given that Osgoode has pushed their exam schedule to the Jan5-16,2009 period. It’s fair to say that should classes resume for undergrads in the next few weeks, we’re all studying over holidays.

    Those of you making early vacation plans, do so with awareness of the risk. The Senate isn’t going to be sympathetic at all with class remediation it seems.

  106. student

    JMac – see your point there…

    There is at least one CEO who instructs part time in the faculty of health. Contract faculty aren’t all struggling academics not attaining tenure anywhere else. They’re a diversified group.

  107. Worried Union Member

    JMAC and etc., many contract faculty work part time at York whilst teaching elsewhere. Some have professional careers elsewhere. Many though work only at York, where teaching the maximum amount of courses permitted in the collective agreement means earning around $60,000/year. Remember that part time faculty are not students, and this income is not large considering our training and background.

    I think I know where you’re going with the argument, but the issue for contract faculty at York isn’t just the amount of money we make. It’s with having some kind of job security, in many cases so we don’t have to scrape together multiple jobs to get by. Unlike the TAs, we are not claiming to work below the poverty line, although some of us teaching only one course are technically below it.

    Even though I have problems with the strike increasingly, I still think many of the issues are legitimate BARGAINING issues, and I hope you can agree. Job security is a perennial and legitimate interest. It might even be a legitimate strike issue. The problem is that many members no longer believe the union when it says the strike is about anything other than the 2 year contract. I don’t expect to end up with more job security when it’s all said & done.

  108. Commuter

    @ Worried Union Member

    I sincerely hope that the union fights for job security. I really feel for you and my other contract profs.

  109. Relaxo-Grad

    Any news?? When exactly WAS the meeting today?

  110. @ Poor student


    “I’m a full time undergard student, I own my own vehicles, rent my own place and pay my own tuition, I have three jobs with a total income $2000/mnth…

    guess what ITS NOT ENOUGH!!!!!!”

    Define “enough”. Does that mean you can go out on fridays and buy a few rounds of drinks for your buddies every week, go out to the movies a few times a month, celebrate after midterms and exams by going out to clubs and drinking $7/shots.

    I rent too, downtown so I sacrifice having a vehicle but that lowers the cost and I am not in debt and I am in considerable range income you are referring to.

    Enough is subjective. Just because of a TA’s spending habits can’t allow them to ‘splurge’ it doesn’t justify the need for a raise =)

    Although hey…I can’t help but agree “it’s never enough” I just want to be the devil’s advocate (especially as my main stand is I HATE STRIKES).

  111. Commuter

    @ Relaxo

    You mean the GMM? Because the union/admin meeting is tomorrow.

  112. olels

    Osgoode is going back to school on Monday – the news is summarized on

  113. Nathan

    @ Poor student

    “Do any of you pay your own way??”


    “$1100/mnth…..HAHAHA!!!!! I’m a full time undergard student, I own my own vehicles, rent my own place and pay my own tuition, I have three jobs with a total income $2000/mnth…guess what ITS NOT ENOUGH!!!!!! I go in debt each and every month AND I haven’t finished paying my tuition yet!”

    a) Vehicles? You own multiple vehicles?
    b) Given that tuition is ~5000/8 = 625 a month. Subtract that from 2000, and you have $1375 to play with. Either you’re renting a place that’s FAR FAR too large for you (a room generally goes for 5-600, a bachelor apartment 6-700), or what we have is a failure to budget.

  114. Cupe Doll

    See? This is the hypocrisy I’m talking about. Like (way) up above where Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford implies to her students that 3903 is all reasonable. And that it’s York’s intransigence repsonsible for this sorry mess.

    Check it out. Where she says, “This past Thursday, our union met to give our bargaining committee a renewed mandate to return to negotiations in order to reach a fair settlement.” Well, yeah — it’s true. But it’s totally and misleadingly incomplete. What she doesn’t say is why 3903 got together this past Thursday and voted to let the bargaining team bargain. Like, isn’t that what bargaining teams ought to do anyhow? Bargain? Nope — not always. And in 3903, maybe never.

    What Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford crucially neglected telling her students was WHY. Why 3903 had to vote last Thursday to let the bargaining team bargain.

    Reason being that when 3903 got together time before last Thursday, 3903 had voted not to let the bargaining team bargain. Does that sound crazy? Maybe. But at least it was just a little bit honest. Because for the 3903 radical ideological core driving this sorry mess, this is war. It’s not about striking as by bargaining or negotiating or compromising. It’s about striking out for blood against “neo-liberalism”. It’s about shutting York down hard. It’s about bringing the employer to it’s knees.

    So when the more general membership got wind how the radical ideological core are harming and humiliating the rest of us — fighting an undeclared war while pretending to bargain and managing to accomplish neither — they got together in much larger numbers. This past Thursday, many more “reasonable” 3903 members attended the meeting. And that’s how the motion to let the bargaining team bargain got passed. Because the more general 3903 membership got sufficiently fed up. But does it mean anything? Of course not. It’s the radical ideological core driving this sorry mess. What do they care if the more general membership wants to let the bargaining team bargain? There’s literally infinite ways the radical ideological core can sabotage our own bargaining team bargaining.

    If they’re not at all imaginative, members of the 3903 radical core can crash bargaining sessions and shuffle papers non-stop. Failing which, they can simply shout down our own bargaining team. Oh.. wait. They’ve done that already. If they were a bit more imaginative.. nevermind. Let’s not give them more imaginative ideas. Just watch how bargaining breaks down again tomorrow.

    The real drag in all this is the hypocrisy pretending 3903 is all reasonable. It means not only that the most vulnerable contract faculty in 3903 will get sold down the river and washed out to sea — again. And not only that you guys wind up as collateral damage. It means also that you guys and many inside 3903 can’t understand why. Some of us and some of you could get behind a declared war against this employer and the “neo-liberalism” it represents. But fighting undeclared wars while pretending to be negotiating, bargaining or anyway compromising? That’s contrary to every principle of democracy, clarity, transparency and courage there is. Just totally inconsistent with being principled in the first place.

  115. Soraya

    “b) Given that tuition is ~5000/8 = 625 a month. Subtract that from 2000, and you have $1375 to play with. Either you’re renting a place that’s FAR FAR too large for you (a room generally goes for 5-600, a bachelor apartment 6-700), or what we have is a failure to budget.”

    You are forgetting books, bills, food, etc. Not to mention that most decent aparments, at least in my area, go for $900+. While living in an apartment as opposed to a room is a choice, I don’t think it’s fair to tell someone they made a bad or stupid choice. While I do agree sometimes people have to budget, make wise choices and sacrifice, they should not have to live that way forever.

  116. Commuter

    Negotiations Update
    CUPE 3903 Takes the Lead to Restart Bargaining at York University

    TORONTO, Ont.
    CUPE 3903 has succeeded in their bid to bring a reluctant York University
    administration back to the bargaining table. Negotiations between the Union and the
    University will resume on Thursday November 27th.

    “We are keen to restart talks and will work flat-out to get an agreement that protects the
    quality and accessibility of education at York University” said union spokesperson,
    Rafeef Ziadah.

    “We’re looking for a settlement which takes our benefit funds just above 2005 levels,
    gives job security to contract faculty who have to reapply for their jobs every year, and
    provides subsistence wages that meet the real costs of living in Toronto,” she added.

    In the interest of reaching an agreement the Union is refraining from publicizing the
    details of their proposals. “We want to preserve the integrity of the collective bargaining
    process so all students and faculty can get back to their academic work as soon as
    possible, ” said Ziadah.

    3903 officials are concerned about the increasingly disrespectful tone of York
    University’s public communications regarding the labour dispute. “These are the kind of
    hardball tactics that pushed us to strike in the first place,” said Union executive
    Chairperson, Christina Rousseau. We are calling on the University to stop the public
    rhetoric and start treating us as valued partners in the education of York students.”

  117. Commuter

    Sorry, the formatting got all messed up there.

  118. 1 out of 50,000

    All these updates are nothing but bullshit pr spin.

  119. Curious Yorkie

    Its silly how the union is asking the University to stop the public rhetoric and what not. What about their immature cartoons etc which they posted on their websites, criticizing the Admin?
    Both parties are equally immature and irresponsible.

  120. JMac

    Reluctant according to CUPE?

    Let’s look at reluctant York’s side of this development. It looks like tomorrow’s meeting could have taken place Monday or Tuesday but CUPE didn’t want to meet the reluctant York admin until tomorrow!

    It sounds like York admin is more skeptical than reluctant – with obvious good reason.


    “Monday, November 24:

    The mediator met with the union on Monday afternoon. Later that evening, the mediator asked the University to give consideration to meeting with the Union.

    The Union’s requested meeting date was Thursday November 27 – seven days after
    the new motion was passed by the Union membership giving the Union’s bargaining team the flexibility to negotiate.

    Given what is at stake for our 50,000 students, this one week delay in getting to the bargaining table does not suggest urgency on the part of
    the union to reach a negotiated settlement.

    The University has advised the mediator that we will meet with the union on November 27.

    That date will mark the beginning of the
    fourth week of the strike and concern for our students must be paramount.

    In entering that meeting, it is our hope that the Union is prepared to significantly modify its current proposals totaling nearly 41% over two years, to enable the parties to negotiate within a
    reasonable framework for settlement.

    In the absence of real progress at the negotiating table, the University will continue to recommend binding arbitration as the fastest
    way of getting our students back to class.”

  121. Hot Water

    “Work flat out to get an agreement that protects the quality and accessibility of education at York University.” Obviously, the way they define accessibility and quality is different from the way m0st people would define it.

  122. Nathan


    My tone in that message was perhaps a bit more aggressive than I had intended, but I believe my point about being a smart consumer stands. If I can live relatively comfortably on $1200 a month, why can’t someone else do the same on $1600 or $2000? Finally, you’re right that no one should be living like this forever… but isn’t that why we go to university? To get the degree that allows us to make 40,000 a year and move to bigger and better places? It’s not completely unreasonable to suffer for a few years in order to live reasonably well for the next 30.

  123. jacky

    i want to know
    does anyone know or feel that when will the strike ends? for york? and do you think they can talk nicely tmr during the meeting?

  124. MR Two

    I wonder how tomorrow’s “bargaining” will go… x_x

  125. Curious Yorkie

    This friggin strike is causing all of us an anxiety attack. I almost wanna call it a human rights abuse! denying education and forcing unhealthy mental stress on us for selfish reasons! The strike has made a mockery of education and students.

  126. jacky

    want to know
    does anyone know or feel that when will the strike ends? for york? and do you think they can talk nicely tmr during the meeting?

  127. MR Two

    @ Curious

    I agree 100%. IDK whether to take shifts next week or not… I’m happy my employer is kind enough to allow me until friday to make a decision, meaning I get to make a judgement based on tomorrow’s meeting. I just want a degree of certainty, when we go back is irrelevant (mostly) to me at this point .

  128. Another student

    I agree too. It’s awful not knowing when we’re going to be told “Ok, you’re back in class tomorrow!”

  129. jacky

    want to know
    does anyone know or feel that when will the strike ends? for york? and do you think they can talk nicely tmr during the meeting?
    does anyone know?

  130. Curious Yorkie

    @ Another student,
    they wont say that u are going back to class tomorrow. The earliest we will be back to class is on Dec 1st. So everything’s up in the air right now. The outcome of tomorrow’s meeting would have to be ratified, if it goes thru. that will certainly take a day or two.

    Damn CUPE! 😦

  131. john

    *The earliest we can be back to class is after the GMM (the next one is on December 3rd). If the Union and the York Admin do bargain to an agreement, the collective Union members have to vote on it, hence, mid-next week.

  132. jacky

    but do you think it iwll go through tho?
    the cupe are saying that they will make the law ppl hard to get in during dec 1
    so tehrefore if the strike really ends then they wouldnt say that right?

  133. An Annoyed York Student


    Enough with this ridiculousness of it being all about the students and enough about 2010. It is currently 2008 so let’s deal with the year at hand and let’s move on. I am supposed to graduate this June and if that does not happen I will be livid along with all the other undergrad graduating students… don’t think we won’t go down without a fight!!!!!!!!

  134. Cheryl

    Hi folks,

    I am the contract professor whose communication to my students was forwarded to this blog. While I have no problem standing behind what I communicate to my students, I am dismayed that “Worried Union Member” has used this as an opportunity to throw my pedagogy into question. As my students will attest, I always encourage them to think critically in the class; prior to the strike, I encouraged them to analyse all communication – both from CUPE 3903 and the York admin – with a critical eye, and to consider who benefits from a particular rhetorical position. I continue to do so and will resist the urge to defend myself further in this space. I would like to point out, however, that I have always – in communication with my students and with people posting on various facebook groups – been transparent about my identity and my position at York. Perhaps those of you reading this blog might ask how “Worried Union Member” benefits from expressing opinions from behind the obscurity of a pseudonym?


    So we have lost most of this semester. Everything we have studied for, performances that we have practiced for have been cancelled. What makes this situation worse is that each semeser costs a lot of money, especially to students who are paying tuition cost for themselves. Do you know how hard and how tiring it is to work and study at the same time just to receive an education? I demand a refund for this semester lost, especially since it looks like we will be repeating these classes again. I DEMAND A FULL REFUND. Do not refund a cheap $100 and expect that to satisfy us when a semester costs us nearly $2000. I WANT MY HARD EARNED MONEY BACK.

  136. A student of Prof Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford

    I was just made aware of this blog and I was upset to read how “Worried union member” is making accusations against Prof Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford without being in her class and knowing what she has said to her students and what she has not said.

    Before their was a strike she always told us both sides of the strike and she dared not take any sides and the students in her class were happy to have someone updating us on what was happening and Prof Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford had no biased to either York or CUPE and she mentioned this many times.

    I think it is ridiculous to be que stioning her pedagogy because she is one of the best professors that are at York and she has shown no committing to eith side but rather staying neutral between the two sides like any respectful professional would!

    Speaking on behalf of the students in prof Cheryl Crawford we are thankful that she has been e-mailing us updates on what is happening as we feels as students and being one of the most effected we are left in the dark and for a professor to go on her own time to update the students is above and beyond her job.

    Prof Cheryl Cowdy-Crawford is a professional professor and NOBODY should question her loyality without knowing her and hearing what she has said to her students both inside and outside of the classroom!!!

  137. jerry

    @ I demand a full refund
    Might this be abit exaggerated? Although the time lost is a shame…it has only been 3 wks to date.


    yes 3 weeks to date you are right, but tell me, are you 100% sure we will receiving passing grades for this semester? Will we be forced to retake these same courses and repay the full amout a second time? Yes it hasbeen 3 weeks but what happens if the whole semester is lost? Then what? We paid some $1500 for a semester that is not completed and expected to pay again to retake it? That makes sense to you?

  139. B

    Last strike was 11 weeks and they didn’t lost the semester. Chances are, after 3 weeks, we most definitely won’t lose ours.

  140. ff

    CUPE Doll,

    you are what is wrong with labour politics. the rank and file that hand over fist accept the benefits of being a part of a strong union, and then literally bite the fucking hand that feeds them by decrying unionism and the ‘radical’ wing that is the entire reason you make anything close to what you do already.

    it’s so sad, that you now turn around and point fingers at the leadership – when all along you could have simply voted on novermber 5th to not strike. the vote was 72% FOR a strike.

    yea, that sounds like SPT (which only has what…80 people total?) is totally responsible for this.

    It is so fucking annoying as an undergrad to see these idiots claiming they don’t want a strike and never did, but then tell you that they didn’t bother to spend the time to vote against the strike.

    Obviously something is amiss, you can’t all be so fucking stupid/lazy/uniformed.

  141. Cupe Doll


    I’ve responded to you @ the other thread. Look, I’m not what’s wrong with labour politics. I’m nobody. And none of this is about “unionism” in general. My comments are totally specific to this strike. See? Like I replied you @ other thread:

    This strike is just comic compared to 2000/2001. As if we’re out to ridicule ourselves. Ridicule who we were and what we accomplished back in 2000/2001. And I’m not just talking not letting the bargaining team bargain — which more general membership (not ONLY unit2s) flipped all over. No. This strike now is harming everyone while helping nobody. Only relief to come from this strike now will be comic. Just wait and see how we get ridiculed for this in the future.

    Why? Why is it so humiliating? Because while our right hand tries to negotiate, our ultra-left hand gets busy punching everyone in the face. Including punching ourselves in the face. Prior last Thursday our bargaining team got prohibited from bargaining. And the sides were so far apart they might as well been babbling different languages.

    We all know how ideological this strike is. We’ve all heard more than once, within 3903, how we’ll bring the employer to its knees. And you know what? Lots of us are eager for the good fight. We’re up for it. But if we are to strike any blows against “neo-liberalism” — then let’s get clear that’s what we’re doing. Let’s not go proposing absurd offers. Let’s let this exploiter know not to bother putting anything on the table — we won’t even try choking York’s crap down. This is a matter of principle. We’ve shut York exploitation down before — this time we’ll do it harder. We’ll shut York down hard.

    Otherwise, if not in pursuit of ideals or ideologies, if it’s about the best pragmatic interests of the membership here and now — then let’s try negotiating like intelligent life forms.

    Let’s stop contradicting and humiliating ourselves doing both — and managing neither. No positive relief can result from humiliating ourselves that way. Nothing but comic relief.

  142. VJC

    Just to remind everyone who is worried about losing the semester:

    Last strike lasted from October 26 to January 10 (or Jan 8, 9, 11, something like that…)

    Which is 11 weeks.

    And they finished their winter semester by May 11th!!

    So if we are only 3 weeks into the strike, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. If an 11 week strike could finish the year by May 11, I’m sure a 3, 4 or even 5 week strike will have us finished on time!!

    Hope that helps

  143. Julie

    My major concern is that if the year is extended into the summer what happens to us students that have summer jobs waiting for them back home? That is a considerable amount of money lost and most of us have bills to pay! I, like many other students I’m sure, cannot afford to lose summer job time!!!

    Question: If the strike goes past the last official day of classes, can we just assume that we are in our winter vacation? Or is it possible that they call us back to school after that and keep us right up until Christmas time?

  144. Cool internet site. Thank you!

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