A more complete document concerning today’s events

Click on link for a more detailed explanation of today’s events from the University’s perspective.


YorkU Update



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71 responses to “A more complete document concerning today’s events

  1. ram

    I am eager to see an article on the UNION website in opposition to the update or at least something that says that the university is wrong.. Usually union does respond to the university’s updates on the union’s website.. So just wait..

  2. ams

    “the right not to use electronic formats for student evaluations and grade submissions”

    WTF? um, i don’t agree with that. if they want all that stuff, they should be willing to go on EMAIL, or use the computer.

  3. Micheal

    I wonder how long the strike is gonna take?? can anyone guess

  4. flushafleshfarm

    Start praying for January. Any later and this could get worse than any of us want it too. I’m currently hoping that they’re closer that it appears but conflicting reports as striking as these make it seem as though one side has just declared war.

    So I’m drunk. So what?

  5. Frustrated

    so no school next week for sure then huh….

  6. haris

    i just hope they restart jan5th. period.

  7. Curious Yorkie

    While its definitely incovenient for us to start classes right now, I would be bloody mad if the Union and the University do not settle this by January. I have better things to do than be caught in the middle of it. I have lost all sympathy for their shenanigans and I mean BOTH PARTIES!


  8. The Man With The Plan

    I really hope they don’t come to an agreement next month. I am hoping in the start of Jan. I lost all drive for school for dec and it is not really reasonable to start up now, and have exams in the new years right away.

  9. MR Two

    I would have accepted dec 1st…. any later is too late IMO. Since it would appear that this week is pretty much null, I say Jan start is best.

  10. theowne

    Why would anyone on this website care. You guys all want the strike to go on till January and waste two months of our year, right? Who cares, let the strike go on forever, this is a great opportunity to catch up on earning money to buy your new mp3 player, right? >_>

  11. The real Sam

    Shut up nerd.

  12. theowne

    And there it is.

  13. theowne,
    i’m pretty sure people would be using these weeks off to work towards paying tuition. Seeing as we cannot work over reading week, and lose a few weeks in the summer anyways, why not now And we’re not saying we want the strike to go on forever, but to start classes for a week or two and then have 2 weeks off for christmas is kind of ridiculous, expecially because many people book flights home around their exam schedule (and don’t bother bringing up that we’re advised not to book anything until the exam period is over because no one realistically waits around doing nothing until the 23rd incase an exam gets moved).

  14. RainMan


    Most students have an OSAP loan that they help them get through the term before the 2nd installment of the loan is ready for pickup. Now that the school is on strike, they are forced to work to pay off that loan before they run out of money. It’s very hard to keep up with readings or assignments while the strike is happening. Idealistically, people would want to catch up with their sleep and school work, but it’s just not going t happen that way.

    While people are working, it’s going to be very difficult to come home and get some readings done.

    The OSAP loan is estimated to cover the weeks you are in school. So with the strike, there will be additional week(s) added that OSAP did not consider in their loan. The extra weeks are going to be hell for students who are independent from their parents.

  15. JMac

    The union is probably thinking much the same way. Many of those people, TAs and contract instructors, and the rest of the instructors who aren’t on strike probably had plans of their own to go back home or to go away for the holidays.

    If they settle this week there would be a whole lot of unhappy students back in class who had plans of their own for the holidays ruined by what they will see as a bunch of selfish people.

    People make comments about students working to earn money while this is happening and not caring if classes don’t resume until January.

    The union knows that for the most part students aren’t really going to mobilize to do anything to stop the strike at this time but everyone is going to pay when this is over by having to write exams after Christmas some time and having to be in school past the normal end of semester while people from other universities snap up those good jobs.

  16. JMac

    I said this earlier but I think it was a definite factor in talks breaking down on Saturday.

    The union went back into negotiations on Thursday, November 27th, saying they were serious about reaching an agreement, while on Friday, November 28th they posted a notice on their web site (while still negotiating with York) for a December 3rd rally to “Fight against the Casualization and Devaluation of Educational Work”.

    I really wonder why they would do that, and its obvious from York’s response that they took it to mean the union wasn’t too serious about reaching an agreement.

    For a bunch of supposedly “smart” people that wasn’t a very smart, or respectful, thing to do.

  17. Tom

    3903 Negotiations Update – Nov 29
    Published on 29 Nov 2008
    CUPE 3903’s bargaining team met with York University representatives on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Some progress was made but the University’s bargaining team continues to stonewall our key demands for job security for contract faculty, reinstatement of benefits and funds to 2005 levels, and a subsistence wage adequate for the cost of living in Toronto.

    Important clarification: Talks have not been “suspended” by the mediator. CUPE 3903 has requested a continuation of talks on Tuesday, December 2nd. In the meantime our bargaining team is using the time to streamline proposals with a view to accelerating progress towards an agreement. Likewise, we look forward to the University making a meaningful shift by substantively addressing the Union’s priorities.

    The hostile tone of York University’s communications is cause for concern for all members of the university community and the public. The continued and misleading use of mid-negotiation numbers and figures only serves to create confusion and an antagonistic environment which can only undermine the speed with which a settlement can be reached. York University students, undergraduates and graduates alike, should not be treated as pawns in cynical public relations strategies. Students’ real interests, the quality and accessibility of education in the classroom, should be driving York to negotiate energetically at the bargaining table rather than engaging in destructive rhetoric in the press. CUPE 3903 continues to be committed to reaching a fair and equitable settlement with the University in the shortest amount of time.

    Students who are concerned about the effects of the University’s stance on their education should make their views known to President Shoukri, and Alex Bylik, Director of Media Relations.

    Source: http://www.3903strike.ca/


  18. Commuter

    This is BEYOND screwed up.

    Look at CUPE’s side of the story:

    “Important clarification: Talks have not been “suspended” by the mediator.”

    And York’s:

    “As the mediator suspended talks on the evening of Saturday November 29”


    Stop BSing us! Stop!!!

  19. Commuter

    This is BEYOND screwed up!

    York’s side of the story:
    “As the mediator suspended talks on the evening of Saturday November 29”

    CUPE’s side of the story:
    “Important clarification: Talks have not been “suspended” by the mediator.”

    UM… WTF?!? Again, we’re getting two EXTREMELY different sides to this story.

    Are talks suspended or are they not?!?

  20. Tom

    ^I just posted that but awaiting mediation as I posted the source link… I’m wondering the same really. To me it seems like York might be writing that in order to make more people upset with the union and as a result, when they force a vote, there will be even lower odds of CUPE voting against.

  21. Another student

    Soooo, I guess we’re not back tomorrow….

  22. Disillusioned

    I still can’t believe I quit a good job and went into major debt to return to school this year. I plan on transferring out of York to get the rest of my degree.

  23. iwik

    Heres part of the cupe 3903 online paper that a lecturer of mine drew my attention to in regard to remediation of classes….this term could be toast.

    Back in 2000–2001, the remediation of classes
    after the 11 week strike extended classes and
    exams well into May and resulted in about
    one-and-a-half weeks of lost pay, as most of
    the contract was honoured.
    While the last strike remediation is not to be
    used as a crystal ball into the future and every-
    one hopes for a quick labour dispute settle-
    ment, let’s still look to the past to see what we
    can learn from it. Especially when it comes to
    one of the more pressing questions, namely,
    how will education resume?
    Flashback (FB): On Nov. 28, 2000, a month
    into the strike which begun on Oct. 26, the
    York Senate indicated that the reading week
    scheduled for February (2001) would be
    Flash forward to now (FFTN): Rumours
    persist that York will cancel reading week.
    “It wouldn’t surprise me,” says Fred Ho, CUPE
    staff representative, “That’s one place where
    they have some flexibility in making up lost
    FB: By Nov. 28, 2000, the strike had resulted
    in 24 class days being cancelled and the Sen-
    ate then ruled that no classes would be sched-
    uled until at the earliest, January 3, 2001. It also
    ruled that the fall term would be shortened by
    five days—from 59 to 54 in the classroom.
    FFTN: Although the current strike has af-
    fected only 16 days of actual classes (at the
    time this went to press on Thursday, Nov. 27),
    students from other parts of Canada and the
    world are clamouring to find out when they
    can make arrangements to get home to their

    source; on the picket lines, cupe 3903

  24. ram

    It is just the union that has REQUESTED for a meeting on tuesday.. The university can always decline as they definitely have an upper hand… I can say no classes this week..BUT, we will know on Tuesday whether there is talks or not.. so wait for 2 more days..

  25. yorkstrike2008

    The University will probably scramble to negotiate before they have to pay back tuition. Imagine paying say $3000.00 to 50,000 people.

  26. Impatient

    “and a subsistence wage adequate for the cost of living in Toronto” haha so apparently 9.25% and 11% IS a key sticking point as they see it as too much of a gap. In my eyes this strike is about 2 things, money and a 2 year contract.

  27. Nathan


    Maybe, but if CUPE’s rank and file start swallowing what the admin is saying, then CUPE leadership is doing a TERRIBLE job of educating its members.

  28. yorkstrike2008


    A lot of strikers don’t even want to be on the lines. It was only a 22% turnout with a 75% vote for strike. Sounds a bit like some closed door politics of the aristocracy to me…

  29. ram

    While we are hoping for a january start, there is one other group on facebook having a series of comments insisting that the govt should force them back to work… they badly want to go back before january!!!!
    Unless they come down phenomenally university is not gonna agree. Because Their demands are still 28% over 2 years while york’s offer is still 10% over 3 years….

  30. Ridculous

    I do believe the university will negotiate BUT I highly doubt a refund in in the agenda. Also, I think CUPE is willing to meet on Tuesday and York is chosing to follow the provincial mediators advice.

    I asked a tenured prof why York cancelled classes this time. He explained that he actually was part of an academic strike review committee: so what happened basically was during that 11 week period any student who used the strike as an excuse for not submitting an assignment on time, got off scott free. As you can see this was deeply unfair to all the students who didn’t use the strike as an excuse. It sucks that we have no class but I can see why its necessary to preserve academic intergrity.

    I am fustrated though since I am in a 4th year class that has collectively agreed to finish the class via correspondance when I sent an e-mail to the prof if he was planning to teach classes if we come back… he actually answered NO… So, I will be in the library today at least the due dates for everything has been pushed back by the exact amount of days the strike winds up being.

    Bottom line we are all paying for this strike. I have the opportunity to work more which some doubt but I still have to keep up with my studies and will miss the benefit of in class lectures.

  31. 50,00 students – Some just started at York and will probably transfer after this, some living on residence forced to move back as they wasted $, some students who worked hard 4 years to finish their degree and get a job who now have their lives on hold, and the rest losing a semseter of their lives.

    All for what?

    Paramedical care? Childcare? Health care benefits + fund protection?

    Does anyone realize TAs work 10 hours a week? Can you name a single job that works 10 hours a week and receives benefits like that? You want these benefits? Go work 40+ hours a week at any job in Ontario like the rest of everyone, and you will get them.

    Don’t be fooled; there are many, many TAs who break the LOOSE provincial law governing the 10-hour work week standard. There are many TAs who aren’t living alone, aren’t single mothers, are living with their parents and make good extra cash. If one TA really is relying on a compensation of a TA to live a comfortable life, you chose the wrong job.

    You have to mark 500 papers a week? You have long hours? I guess plumbers should complain from back pain, nurses should complain from catching sicknesses. This is the job, the life you chose, the payment, the life is the result of your choices. If you do not like it, get another job.

    I am in no way praising York. If it knew how to settle such labour disputes it would not have a HISTORY of them.

    Originally the idea of unions, a by-product of communism, was created to decrease the earning and power gap between employees and their employers. But after decades, unions lost their way, lead with corrupt leaders, non-democracy-oriented and restrictions on free speech of members of the Union who did not hold significant positions. Today unions are blind by greed, and of course with $, there is no horizon, no limit, CUPE has striked before, and will again, within the next decade, and in the next, again and again.

    The overwhelming majority of students have a simple opinion – this is the life you chose. Don’t ruin ours

    I hope the picketers freeze

  32. Impatient

    @student101 finally, someone who sees it the same way I do. TA’s are primarily students, with a part-time job of TAing why do they deserve all these benefits when you have other students working 30-40 hours a week without them?

  33. One More Student

    Wait a sec….York says that the mediator “suspended” negotiations.

    The Union said that negotiations were NOT “suspended”, because they requested another meeting Dec. 2, but do they actually mean ‘requested’, as in the University still has to accept, or is it actually going through?

    This muddled misinformation is killing me

  34. CUPE member with child

    Some people have asked me for my take on this – why the discrepancy in the media releases.

    First: The last I saw was that York’s side made a rather unsubstantive move at Saturday’s meeting (they simply fiddled with the language on some rather less important outstanding issues – the moderator described it as “pecking aroud the edges”). The Union side said that they would take Sunday to formulate a response and then meet on Monday (for some reason that I’m unaware of its been changed to Tuesday.

    I think the main cause of concern is, (a) The University is not talking about anything serious that the Union wants. Instead, they’re “pecking around the edges” and stalling for time. Meanwhile, to make it seem like they care about undergrads, they are lying in media reports. I can prove it on several instances (see below). Why would they do that? The longer the strike goes, they think the angrier undergrads will get at CUPE, strikers will get tired, and the Union will turn on its bargaining team. So, in order to accomplish this strategy effectively though, they have to make it seem like (1) the Union is single-handedly responsible for delaying neogitations and keeping the strike going, (2) it’s always up to the union to change its position, but never up to York.

    Sorry, daughter woke up form her nap, I’ll have to finish this later.

  35. anonymous

    It says on the National Post that students will have to make up for classes either during x-mas break or summer of next yr.

    This is unfair as most students needs to graduate otherwise they will not get jobs, etc.

    I hope for students sake, these ppl resolve their issues soon and stop making us suffer!

  36. Undergrad@York

    I was just wondering, if the strike goes on into the summer, do those of us that live in residence have to pay extra to continue living there? Was that the case in the 2000 strike, because I think we should definitely be fighting that one…. I cannot afford to pay this school anymore because of its own stupidity.

  37. Impatient


    yes they had to pay extra before

  38. Ridculous

    @ CUPE member with child

    Your post is NOT PROOF! I am not picking on you but you are asking me to take your word (essentially a poster: who does not give any real information as to your identity) over the university.

    You are giving me an account of words which were supposedly used at a confidential meeting between the union and York. If you were in fact there and are not recounting 2nd hand information that you are leaking information.

    Also, I will say according to York`s media release (which I am taking with a grain of salt) the union has come down from a 41% to a 28% increase.

    But the reality here is all I see is finger pointing on both sides….WHICH IS PROBABLY WHY THE PROVINCIAL MODERATOR SUSPENDED THE TALKS!

    It is wonderful that the union still wants to talk but why isn`t CUPE 3903 playing the same game and outlying their issues in the media by providing media releases


    In short my sympathy is waining CUPE 3903 is comprised of contract faculty, GAs, and TAs so there really is no excuse for being so coy with your issues or facts.

  39. Idea

    Can anyone say, CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT, by the students against both York and CUPE 3903??

    The students need to be reimbursed for 1 month of lost tuition fees and possible lost income, and extra unnecessary expenditures of delaying the school year.

    Students join together against these 2 sides who clearly dont care about the students they’re playing a game of blackmail with.

  40. Ridculous

    Also, disturbing:

    Was Cupe 3903 claim of wanting to reach a resolution over the weekend but simultanously posting an invitation to its members for a rally downtown onthe 28th dayof the strike. Which just happens to correspond with the beginning of the strike vote at U of T http://www.cupe3902.org/cupe-3902-to-hold-strike-vote/

    Not too mention U of Guelph settling with a 1 year contract. This is very disturbing in light of the proposed 2010 coordinated action plan.

    All of these things only undermine CUPE’s credibility. Just as York’s credibility is being taken for a beating.

    How will I as undergraduate student planning on grad school benefit from this strike? And yet another one planned in 2010? I am not even planning a career in academia…

    If the casualization of higher education teachers is an issues and there is a larger context, why be coy about? Why not inform the public from the get go?

  41. Nathan


    You’re right. Furthermore, looking at the picket sign up lists, it’s the same 200 people picketing day in day out. 200/3000. I know that a decent chunk of those picketers are just picketing for the money too, since humans like food.


    I do question your sources – are you attending the negotiations as a bystander?

    I don’t like how you keep saying unsubstantial moves. The Admin offered “fund protection” – not at the levels that any of us want, but that’s a fairly substantial move in that they offered it at all.

    Regarding York’s tactics: what you say is true, but there’s another reason that York hasn’t tackled the big issues yet – the big issues are the ones that will cost them the most money, so naturally, it is the big issues that they would like to concede the least. Also, on that line of thinking – if you want to buy a car from me, and you offer to pay $50, but I want $15000. When I offer $14000 and you offer $7000, obviously, you’ve made the bigger move, but am I “pecking around the edges”?

    Finally, are they lying in media reports, or just contorting the numbers? And if they are lying, why isn’t the Union jumping on these lies? One can’t say that the ENTIRE media is against CUPE 3903, and use that for justification against a PR campaign. If anything, should York be outright lying, at least the provincial NDP should be sympathetic to the Union’s plight.

  42. CUPE member with child

    I didn’t yet offer “proof” that the employer lied because my message was interrupted.

    Here’s the case for York’s lying:

    On Friday’s Bragaining session CUPE withdrew a number of its outstanding issues with the employer, another number of issues were resolved between the two parties, and lastly some others were near to agreement. Granted, these are almost all concerning outstanding issues that are not high on CUPE’s priority list.

    At Saturday’s bargaining session, the York bargaining team returned with a list of issues, again concerning the issues that they are relatively close on solving. In their information, they wrongly used an old list of the outstanding isues which, as mentioned, some had already been resolved or withrdrawn.

    CUPEs bargaining team raised it with the moderator that the list was old and that a number of issues had already been resolved.

    The moderator agreed that the list was indeed old and needed updating, and confirmed that the list of “outstanding demands” did not number 120.

    Furthermore, CUPE told the moderator that it would take Sunday to consider the particular counter-proposals that the university had made at Saturday’s meeting, and they requested that they meet again with York’s bargaining team on Sunday. Some discussion ensued as to a location for of the meeting. CUPE reiterated to the moderator that by no means was the day of formulating a reponse meant to be seen as a “breaking down” of discussion, but that talks were moving forward.

    I do not know why the meeting date has changed to Tuesday – but I don’t see it as consequential.

    So – how does York present this in their press release?

    They say that the moderator has “suspended talks” (so everyone will once again call for binding arbitration) and that CUPE still has an outrageous list of 120 outstanding demands.

    While this not be proof to you (since you have no way of verifying whether or not I’m telling the truth), it’s proof enough for me that York is outright lying in their press release.

    To me, the worst thing besides the likelyhood of a bad contract, is that this is supposed to be an institution that formulates knowledge and understanding. These are the a%%holes that I’m supposed to be in partnership with to foster such an environment. I don’t feel good at all about having a relationship with York. I’m seriously considering applying to other phD programs elsewhere. It’s really going to be difficult to have a working relationship with the university with the animosity they’re creating in order to make themselves look like doves.

  43. ram

    As every one says the union has to come forward defending themselves with evidence if they felt the university is playing with words and contorted numbers and lying to the media.. The very fact that the union being VERY PASSIVE after the recent update is making me question the union’s claims … COME FORWARD AND CLARIFY YOURSELF IF U HAVE GUTS!!!!!!

  44. Impatient

    @Cupe mwc

    your making all these claims as to what the union said to the mediator at the negotiations, please validate that with proof. Otherwise you are just saying what you think happened at the negotiations, and saying it with a complete bias.

  45. CUPE member with child

    Sorry, there’s one mistake in my post. The line that reads, “they requested that they meet again with York’s bargaining team on Sunday”, is incorrect.

    I meant to say, “the requested that they meet again on Monday”. (And again, for clarification, the meeting date has been changed to Tuesday).

  46. CUPE member with child

    For anybody that wants to know how I know this – please post your email addy and I will email you how I know this all to be factual. While it may not take a rocket scientist to figure out how I know, I’d rather not say it publicly at this moment.

  47. CUPE member with child

    The reason I would rather divulge the information as to how I know via email is because I would like to maintain some anonymity. I hope all can understand why.

  48. Ridculous

    The point is why be so coy. Why not organize a press release on the CUPE 3903 website? Outlying the issues and why the talks broke down much the same way York has in their media release. Are you telling me York can make statements about the meeting and CUPE 3903 has gag order?

    As for your e-mail addy and divulging your identity does not tell me which party is telling the truth. But for the record I do understand why you choose to maintain anonymity.

  49. ff

    Why should CUPE even care about press releases at this point? The Star has not been sympathetic – so why even bother?

  50. CUPE member with child

    The whole point is that talks haven’t broken down – York is presenting it as such because they want undergrads and anybody else who’d paying a little attention to think that CUPE is not bargaining in good faith, that CUPE is unreasonable in its list of “120 demands” and that the people should put pressure on CUPE to accept binding arbitration.

    As much as I hate it, York is playing the waiting game (and yes, this is at the expense on 50,000 students). CUPE wants to talk at the bagaining table about the important issues. York is refusing to even talk about them, instead choosing to “peck around the edges” in the words of the moderator and present the image that its CUPE that’s not seriously wanting to talk.

  51. CUPE member with child

    As for the press battle, I have to also express a bit of dissapointment in CUPEs lack of great and informative press releases. I think the one today (or yesterday?) refuting York’s “talks breakdown” lie and the “120 demands” lie is pretty good, but still doesn’t detail enough information.

    I’m not sure why CUPE has been lacking in this area. My initial guess was that our bargaining team, communications people, etc, are mostly volunteers (some of which make a tiny honorarium), so I thought maybe the manpower is lacking to co-ordinate their efforts and be on top of the media and communications better. I’m not sure how accurate that is of an assessment though.

  52. ff

    You can look at it that way – or look at it in the way that the union is banking on the admin refusing to refund 50K students their tuition, and striking is just ‘waiting’ for that to become inevitable.

    Unfortunately, this whole ‘let the bargaining team bargain’ deal seems to indicate, if i’m the administration, that the union isn’t really so sure that this is it’s strategy anymore.

    It is sad that so many union members just went to their parent’s house to chill out while this goes down. But, hey – that’s politics – at least they aren’t actively try to sink the ship.

  53. Andrew

    The man power is lacking? 3000+ people are not working right now, and you are going to tell me the manpower is lacking? With the English and Professional writing department full of people who I hope/know can write a decent press release, it strikes me as odd that you guys can’t even get people to do that. Must be that only a small few actually care, since as has been said, only 200 of 3000 people are out on the lines.

    Please, with 3000 people, there is so much more you can be doing. CUPE will be the first to scream foul when the school says something you don’t like or agree with, yet can’t even bother to write up one press release. Seems to me like a lot of TA’s and GA’s are enjoying the time off.

  54. CUPE member with child

    Andrew – if that assessment is correct (that they’re lacking manpower) then I would agree with you that it’s pathetic that the press releases have lacked sufficient information.

    Another cause might be (and again, its only speculation) that CUPE up until now felt that in order to bargain in good faith, the two sides should minimize the details (such as explicit numbers) of various parts of the package that are moving towards the middle (i.e. that are actually being worked out and aren’t currently where either side initially stood). Since York has “stepped up” its propaganda to include outright lies rather than simply misleading people, I hope we’ll also see CUPE step up the public information aspect of this labour dispute.

    Again though, we’re simply speculating, and I have no proof whatsoever as to which, if any, of these two theories are correct.

  55. JMac

    Maybe York lied about the 120 demands, maybe they exaggerated but ….

    … wasn’t it CUPE mwc who said the union reduced their demands from 150 down to 20 before the start of last Thursday’s meeting?

    Was it really 20? or were you exaggerating a bit? Maybe it was 120? 100?

    If it is only 20, they should be pretty easy for the union to list…

  56. Teachers college


    Sign this petition if you’re in teacher’s college
    Even if you are not and agree sign it

  57. Commuter


    NOVEMBER 30, 2008

    CUPE 3903 Negotiations Update

    Union requests continued talks as York University stonewalls

    TORONTO, Ont. – CUPE 3903 has requested a continuation of talks with York University on Tuesday, December 2, but union officials say university negotiators are holding up an agreement by refusing to address the key issues at stake in the strike.

    The two sides met for three days last week and some progress was made, but union representatives say university negotiators have stubbornly skirted their main concerns: job security for contract faculty, a reinstatement of benefits and funds to 2005 levels, and subsistence wages adequate for the cost of living in Toronto.

    “York would rather sit back, fold their hands and let 50,000 students lose their term than make us a workable offer to take to our members,” said union spokesperson Rafeef Ziadah.

    Members of CUPE 3903 do more than half the classroom teaching at York yet their contract represents just 7.5% of the university’s $848 million annual budget. Even as the economy slows, revenues are growing as a result of tuition fee hikes, increased graduate enrolments, bigger provincial transfers, and donations to the York University Foundation, according to the university’s own recent financial documents.

    “Hiding behind the current economic recession is downright deceptive,” said union member Katherine Nastovski. “They’re obviously putting the classroom at the bottom of their priorities, so we want to know where the fees paid by hardworking parents and students, tax dollars and public fundraising are going.”

    Ziadah says she finds the attitude of the York administration and negotiators toward employees and students “shocking.” “What is the university’s game here?” she asked. “We are indispensable educators at York and we’re asking for peanuts relative to the university budget. Their four-year accumulated surplus of $139.9 million by itself is worth twice a much as our annual contract of $62.5million.”

    “Before encouraging the province to get involved, we need to see some leadership from our new university president,” said Nastovski. “President Shoukri needs to step in and press his negotiators to get serious at the bargaining table. “It’s time to stop spending precious university funds on high priced lawyers and public relations flacks and start valuing students and educators by showing some goodwill and negotiating a fair contract,” she added.

    The union representing 3,400 teaching assistants, contract faculty, graduate and research assistants has been on strike since November 6.

    For more information, contact CUPE 3903 Communications:
    Rafeef Ziadah 416-616-4796 Katherine Nastovski 416-828-3851 Punam Khosla 416-779-3032

  58. Nathan

    “Another cause might be (and again, its only speculation) that CUPE up until now felt that in order to bargain in good faith, the two sides should minimize the details (such as explicit numbers) of various parts of the package that are moving towards the middle (i.e. that are actually being worked out and aren’t currently where either side initially stood). ”

    CUPE released a list of every last one of it’s demands and the negotiation status of said demand back in October, so I really don’t think this is the reason.

    Generally, I think the CUPE PR department – as much as it pains me to say this – is well, incompetent. Even if they’re trying to put on a good public face, there has been zero internal information. The rank and file have been left in the dark – except the proactive ones who are actively researching the issues. There is a massive amount of manpower who can’t picket, but unless they have an actual physical disability or legal issues, they are being rejected for alternative strike duties, with “we have to keep spots free” as an excuse.

    In the meantime, emails are going unanswered, cheques going unprocessed, and honestly, I didn’t realized that there was a limit on how many people were allowed to post messages on Facebook.

  59. Nathan


    In that whole media release, only the first two paragraphs were relevant… and even then, they weren’t very informative.

  60. CUPE member with child

    Actually, I liked that last press release that was just posted above. I think that’s much better than what is usually reported.

  61. CUPE member with child

    Ah, forgot to address one issue:

    I was mistaken when I earlier agreed that we had dropped the number of outstanding issues to 20. I’m not sure where I got that information, which seemed to be prevalent on the blogs and simply recycled the falsity. In my defense, there was a union information sheet that went out (I received it last Friday – 21st novembre), that outlined the bargaining teams priorities. They appeared to number about 20, and given everybody talking about the number having been reduced to 20, I took it as approximately correct. My appologies for doing so and being part of delivering misinformation. I will always do my best to correct any false information I’ve inadvertantly given.

  62. Commuter

    @ CUPE member with child

    Where is the administration pulling the number “120” from?

  63. ram

    SO it means that the total number of outstanding demands is quite large (120?)…. Hearing the university’s reluctance to go forward to the table, i think it is quite sure that END TO THIS STRIKE IN NEAR FUTURE IS VERY BLEAK.. WE NEED TO SEE IF THE UNION IS READY TO COME DOWN FURTHER IN THEIR DEMANDS ON THE WEDNESDAY GMM. Any comments on that?[CUPEMWC?]

  64. CUPE member with child

    The 120 number is York’s assessment of how many outstanding demands there were at the beginning of bargaining on (Friday?). As far as I know, CUPE believes even this original figure to be misleading because many of them are really about the same aspect of the contract.

    Of those supposed 120 – a number of them are CUPE’s “core demands”, or aspects of the contract that are most important to CUPE. For example, job security for contract faculty that have taught for 10 years or more, indexing our funding back to 2005 levels per student, etc.

    Before Saturday’s meeting, a significant number of the supposed “120” demands were either (1) withdrawn by CUPE, (b) settled between York and CUPE, and (c) others were very close to being agreed upon [only minor issues of wording remained]. So, when York’s bargaining team presented their counter-proposal on Saturday – a number of the “120” outstanding issues were no longer “outstanding”.

    CUPEs main thrust at the bargaining table, to the extent that I’ve been able receive information both first hand and second hand, is to push York to address the core demands, in which giving up non-core demands (although still worth fought for) can be sacrificed for leverage in achieving the core demands.

    York’s strategy at the bargaining table is instead to spend most or all of the time on the non-core demands (“pecking around the edges” – the words of the moderator) and avoid negotiating the aspects that will end the strike and get classes back up and running.

  65. Ridculous

    Thank you for the clarification CUPE MWC.

    I also agree the press release was an improvement I also liked the article: 3903 Strike vs McJobs in the University Teaching Sector. It was very informative.

  66. jacky

    someone is saying that the strike is over for york?

  67. ram

    @ jacky
    What do you mean by ”someone is saying that the strike is over for york?”. Is that your hallucination? no body ever would feel that at least till next fridat (5th dec)..

  68. Nathan

    “York’s strategy at the bargaining table is instead to spend most or all of the time on the non-core demands (”pecking around the edges” – the words of the moderator) and avoid negotiating the aspects that will end the strike and get classes back up and running.”

    Or, they’re trying to do the opposite to what CUPE wants: make concessions on the peripheral demands in order to make CUPE concede on the main demands.

  69. Commuter

    @ jacky

    That would probably be just for Osgoode.

  70. Chanel

    January Start!

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