Union Update


November 26, 2008 – 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.”



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53 responses to “Union Update

  1. Curious Yorkie

    “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”.

    HA! Bullshit!

  2. KH

    lets be realistic here- what are the chances that this meeting solves everything? take this release as a PR stunt and the meeting tomorrow as a step in the right direction to getting us all back in class- whenever that may be

  3. 1 out of 50,000

    I wonder if Christina Rousseau will get misquoted in this too?

    *rolls eyes*

    PR bullshit. Half-assed pr too.

  4. enjoyingsleepingin

    I found this and thought about the money I made this summer to pay for my education…

    By Joey Coleman | November 26th, 2008 | 2:31 pm

    According to a report in The Excalibur, the Canadian Federation of Students has given CUPE 3903 a $2,500 donation which is assisting the union to provide free lunches to striking TAs, GAs, and contract faculty at York.

    I bet York students are thrilled to learn their student fees are helping keep them out of class.

  5. yah

    the bullshit meter just exploded

  6. Stef

    I’m noticing that a lot of people are really bitter about this strike (including myself), and I’m starting to wonder how student/ta/university relations will be at the end of this, regardless of who does what at the bargaining tables. Does anyone know anything about what happened AFTER the 2001 strike ended? I know of two people who transferred away from York after that – it would be really interesting to know more details. (batting eyelashes at yorkstrike to do some digging if you can :P) The last thing the TA’s need are surly tutorials, and the last thing the university needs it a flood of students transferring out – and I wonder if the union and administration are thinking the same thing or hoping that we’ll all be so happy we’re back that we’ll just put it behind us.

  7. Erin

    i don’t think theyre thinking about the students at all. Otherwise they would have never let 50,000 of us lose so much time and mess up our lives and educations. I personally am having second thoughts about this university because of how little regard they all have for the needs of the students who are making sacrifices to get an education.

  8. Hameed

    Guys..i don’t know if anyone asked about this yet..but what about the parking passes for the semester?…is there going to be a type of refund given to the students?

  9. 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?

  10. lol when we get back…….if my ta’s are assholes to me, i think i’ll go on strike……………and i by strike i mean striking them in teeth!!!

  11. Art

    @ jacky
    How does ANYONE can possibly give you answers to those questions? FFS think before you post..

  12. Stef

    Greasy Mike: too mean.

  13. Basil El-Salviti

    Damage control in action. The union really blew it with their press releases before….though this is a step in the right direction , I think it’s safe to say that students have uncovered the unions real demands by now…

  14. Stef

    Seriously. I truly believe that the goal of achieving a massive conglomerate bargaining team for the union in 2010 is too important for 3903 to lose, and way too damaging to the university to give. Oy vay.

  15. Curious Yorkie

    Is it just me or does everything sound jibberish at this point?

  16. Undergrad@York

    The more I read, the more and more anxiety I feel about this whole thing. I have no idea what to think, who to agree with, and which speculation on end date to believe. Is anyone else seriously stressing over this? Because I am getting physically sick with stress.

  17. jack

    @ curious yorkie

    it’s not just you, that’s literally what it sounds like.

  18. jack

    @ Undergrad@York

    I totally felt that last week, but it’s passed. I’m just doing what work I can bring myself to do and enjoying the extra time I have to sleep in.

    Just take a deep breath, we’re all in the same boat.

  19. Curious Yorkie

    Thanks for the words of support, Jack.
    I almost wanna run out, wake up the admin and Union members from their “peaceful” slumbers, and force them to have a meeting and decide tomorrow’s fruitless outcomes RIGHT NOW!

  20. Undergrad@York

    @ Jack

    Thank you, sometimes I need to be reminded that other people are feeling the same way, and are just as frustrated as I am. Glad to hear you are feeling better from last week! 🙂

  21. New Student

    Lack of info is so frustrating. Is is safe to say that exams that were scheduled during the original exam period will be rescheduled? I originally had an exam scheduled for the 5th of December and am so lost as to what is going on. Has it been published anywhere by the University that the original exam dates released will no longer be in effect? The only updates I have seen state that we are so many days into the strike and that the senate will have to make ratifications… providing no details on the specs!
    Help, PLEASE!

  22. Mhm

    @ new student
    what you stated is exactly all we know… In my opinion there will be no exams until january, because how can we have an exam when half the course wasn’t even taught… Some of my teachers are trying to post slides etc., while most of them expect us to do no work and simply say “ill see you when the strike ends.”
    Here’s some advice for everyone (including myself)….. GO TO SLEEEP 😛 & stop stressing

  23. Curious Yorkie

    @ New Student,
    You will surely not be having any exams next week. Even if classes resume on Dec 1st, the senate will have to produce new guidelines abt what is gonna happen with the semester. As well, your profs will need to have a word with ur class to tell u and decide how to compress the term, how you will be evaluated now and what and when ur next exam date will be. So dont panic!

  24. New Student

    @ Curious Yorkie

    Thank you!

  25. jacky

    do you think they can talk through it tmr?
    like be realistic,

  26. gruber

    From what they say it doesn’t look like the university wants to bargain all that much. I don’t understand why though. They’ve got our tuition money so why are they dragging this on so long? Do they expect me to be mad at my profs for not working while not getting paid?

  27. MR Two

    @ Curious Yorkie

    I share your sentiments =( I’m so anxious, I’m spending unhealthy amounts of time (IMO) reading this web blog even when I know no new information will be circulated =((

  28. MR Two

    I’m beginning to wonder if half of the TA’s and profs involved in the strike actually have a good idea of what’s going on, or if the union is feeding them propaganda as well, in hopes of them spreading good words about the union and raising student morale (read: support) so that if/when things “unexpectedly” go awry at tomorrow’s meeting, the students will be more likely to side with the union… I for one wouldn’t put it past either the union or York admin to do this…

  29. Confused and Exacerbated

    I have a question about one of the CUPE 3903 demands which I haven’t really seen
    addressed much by either side (or anyone else for that matter) and I was hoping
    you might be able to clarify. On their website, the bottom right corner of the
    star asks that the punitive code be scrapped, this seems to be quickly
    mentioned in one of York’s briefings which can be found here:


    It states that the union is asking for:
    • New whistleblower protection
    • Guarantee that the University’s Student Code of Conduct will not apply to
    Teaching Assistants (Unit 1) and Graduate Assistants (Unit 3)

    Could someone please clarify (A) what whistleblower protection entails and why
    it would be necessary?, and (B) if this is indeed this student code of conduct:


    Which appears to address breaking the law, threats of violence, disruption of
    university activity by calling in bomb threats, damage to the property of the
    university, selling drugs or alcohol illegally on campus and other details that
    strike me not only as being just basic common sense, but as well standards that
    you can’t hardly expect ANY MEMBER of the York community should be exempt from.

    I feel this must be some misunderstanding on my part due to a lapse of
    communication. I can’t imagine this strike has anything to do with the right to
    harass the students (other than canceling our classes), I just find the lack of
    information on the subject more than a little frustrating.

    Thanks in advance.

  30. anonymous tipster

    We will be going back to class next week, so be prepared everyone…..they will come to an agreement this friday, and it will be voted on next week… so classes are finally resuming next week…yayyy, finally

  31. christina Rosseau

    My comments on the toronto star are completely valid, the strike will be ending next week everyone so be ready..

  32. york student

    anyone know when the meeting is?

  33. York Student

    “CUPE 3903 has succeeded in their bid to bring a reluctant York University administration back to the bargaining table.”

    Oh thank god CUPE has done this. Brave dragon slayers there, heroes to all. Finally, CUPE has forced the Snidley Whiplash-ish York University admin back to the table. I can only assume that York University took a break from its busy schedule of tying helpless virgins to railroad tracks and kicking puppies to finally speak with the brave, selfless Social Realist squared jawed heroes of the CUPE bargaining team, who have no agenda here whatsoever and, with tears running down their face, ask, NAY DEMAND, that York University return to the barganing table, so those poor urchins, the York University student body can return to their studies. When CUPE (which clearly has no political agenda) finally screws over its membership for an awful deal so they can get a 2 year contract so they can do this again in 2010 and making the whole strike a meaningless and time wasting gesture, those poor, starving and weak students, can look to our magnanimous benefactors in CUPE and with tears in our eyes and dirt smearing our cheeks, an in our best Dickensian cockney manage to croak out a “thank you guvne’r” before expiring in the noble, strong and comforting arms of CUPE 3903

  34. P D

    Is there any source stating that the strike has ended? I have looked at the Toronto Star and the most recent post on the strike only states the CUPE has brought York back to the bargaining table. It states nothing of the strike being over and the two parties coming to an agreement.

  35. yorkstrike2008

    I would be leery of ‘anonymous tipsters’. The one I had when the strike was first announced was a union member inside the meeting. Unless these people have some sort of crystal ball then I doubt it.

    Remember, I could make my name Jim Carey if I wanted to here… 😉

  36. 1 out of 50,000

    P D – nothing yet. if you are referring to those comments above, well anonymity tends to bring out the jackasses.

  37. adam

    How do you know that the strike is over?

  38. adam

    anonymous tipster: you are full of shit, there’s no way you can know this

  39. JMac

    I know alot of students worry that if they show outward support for York admin and against the union during this disruption, that after everyone is back to class that their marks could suffer at the hands of an angry TA.

    I wonder if York has given any thought to changing this whole TA system. Maybe they should be looking at hiring more contract instructors and way less TAs.

    Helping someone out by providing them with reduced tuition while they study and research in your institution and also paying them an incredible $65 an hour for helping out a prof for 10 hours a week – and then have them turn around and demand 41% more in wages and benefits AND a 2 year contract so they can do this again in 2010, must really have university administration thinking about how they can avoid putting themselves in this situation again.

    In 2001 there 1500 CUPE 3903 members and 33,000 undergrads. In 2008 there are almost 3400 CUPE 3903 members and 50,000 undergrads.

    Once the strike is over it may be time for York to start canning some of these freeloaders.

  40. Dave S

    I’m pretty sure this question’s been asked a few times before, but I guess no one really knows the answer:

    What time are the two sides meeting today? Or are they currently doing so?

  41. Dave S

    Oh, and you pranksters aren’t doing anyone a favour. I don’t think Christina would misspell her own last name. I’ll believe the reports when they do finally come out of reliable media!

  42. hannah

    anonymous tipster scares me. my flight is booked…

    I had three weeks to come to terms with classes resuming in january that I actually began to get excited about flying homw to my family who I rarely see on an early flight. I hope I didn’t make a mistake…if this strike ends tonight what will I do?

  43. Regina Falangie

    I’ve been at York for 4 years and I NEVER had a competent TA… They were ALL worthless and contributed NOTHING to my “education” so I hope to god they get f-all out of this stike

  44. Stef

    Oh. My. God. Jim Carey is on this site??? 😉

  45. Anita K

    Hey accordint to CP24 they had the meeting and the university is now considering what to do with the offer from the union.

    check out cp24’s website

  46. sam

    I think that if thats the case they will settle today.

  47. Commuter

    @ christina Rosseau

    We might think you were more credible if you spelled your own name correctly. 😉

  48. regarding whistleblower

    To Confused

    Whistleblower protection is a non-monetary issue of increasing concern to researchers across the continent, as universities increasingly rely on industry funding and private/public projects. Let’s say Killer Cigarettes invests in a study with York to investigate the effects of their new Light and Healthy brand, and you’re the lab assistant/grad student whose job it is to teach the lab monkeys to smoke. If your research indicates that the monkeys are keeling over in the same numbers whatever brand they smoke, you want to publish that. Without whistleblower protection, KC Corp can cancel/withdraw the money from the study, suppress your research, or even get you fired from the project, so that your results are never made public, because they’re only interested in results that support the merits of Light and Healthy cigarettes. Individual researchers need the legal and institutional protection of the university to protect the integrity of their research.

    I’m trying to find out the answer re: code of conduct.

  49. York Undergrad

    So what are the chances of us going back to school next Monday? If so, oo shit when is exam week!?

  50. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  51. 12ed

    “…and start treating us as valued partners in the education of York students.”

    LOL! Quote of the year!

  52. Hi dude, what theme is your site using? It’s amazing

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