U of T Strike Not Likely ‘Till February

 

U of T teaching assistants will vote on a strike mandate from Dec. 3 to Dec. 9. If they pass the mandate, their unit of the Canadian Union of Public Employees 3902 will have the option of striking should contract negotiations with the administration break down.

CUPE 3902 has been bargaining with U of T since July. Improved maternity leave, smaller tutorials and labs, wages tied to inflation, improved health and dental benefits, and a two-year contract are currently on the table.

The union hopes to gain momentum from a yes vote, but the prospect of an actual strike will have to wait at least until February, after either the admin or the union has sought conciliation from the Ministry of Labour. If the parties still don’t reach an agreement, the union can then strike.

“The university continues to bargain with CUPE 3902 and we are hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties without a strike,” said Angela Hildyard, VP of human resources at U of T. Several meetings are scheduled between the union and admin, starting today.

CUPE bargaining team spokesperson Rebecca Sanders said that they had reached agreements on several smaller issues, but not major monetary concerns.

“Before the strike vote they said no to our maternity and parental leave program,” said Sanders. Since the strike vote was announced on Nov. 4, she said, the proposal has been revisited.

Not all teaching assistants are supporting a possible strike. Mathieu Roy, a TA at U of T, wrote in opposition to TA strikes in the National Post, “I’ve had a taste of the exceptional conditions and wages, and believe me, you will never find better for a part-time job: $36 per hour, health and dental benefits for the entire family, flexible schedules, guaranteed re-hiring until graduation.”

“I can tell you from personal experience that TAs usually work considerably greater hours than what is in their contracts,” said Sanders. She argued that at those rates TAs earn $15,000 a year, which is below the poverty line. Sanders added that to complete their degrees, grad students complete hours of research outside of TA duties, for which they are paid little or nothing.

The University of Toronto Students’ Union and the Graduate Students’ Union have both pledged support for CUPE 3902. A strike would only occur in the event of a serious breakdown in negotiations. In September, the Steelworkers union passed a strike mandate but reached an agreement with admin before they were due to strike.

“None of our members want to go on strike, but it is one of the few tools left to us if our demands are denied,” said Sanders.

TAs at York University went on strike on Nov. 6, shutting down classes. No resolution is in sight. The York Federation of Students has been criticized for announcing public support for the strike, even though 50,000 York students could lose a semester.

Source

Article taken from The Varsity (U of T newspaper)

 

This is interesting. My previous predictions that York might wait until U of T made a move seems to either be given a lot more gravity or is completely flawed. I claimed previously that the York Union (3903) would wait until the U of T Union (3902) moved before CUPE 3903 would entertain any serious negotiations. Both York and U of T are trying to get 2 year contracts so that they can participate in the 2010 Collective Bargaining Projective that several Ontario universities have already secured 2 year contracts in order to participate in. The Unions and the Administrations are certainly in contact and since the two universities are the largest in Ontario their participation (or lack of) in the 2010 could make or break the planned bargaining project. I predicted that once U of T went on strike it would complicate and make the negotiations process much slower since they would have to move in co-ordinated fashion.However this new information that U of T will not be on strike until after the holiday break flips this prediction on its head. This means that either the York strike will be elongated until U of T goes on strike or York will go its own way.

Obviously the latter is preferable, but we have no way of knowing. If both U of T and York went on strike simultaneously it would be epic. Almost 100,000 angry students concentrated in one city. This would pressure everyone – most importantly it would pressure the government to tell the Universities to ‘fix this situation immediately!’ This option seem so tempting to both the Unions and the entire 2010 movement in general. Imagining this strike going until February so that they can play in the sand box together just seems far too impossible to be a reasonable expectation. 

Perhaps I am reading too far into this 2010 deal. We shall see…

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71 Comments

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71 responses to “U of T Strike Not Likely ‘Till February

  1. Basil El-Salviti

    Interesting update.

    Yesterday, I spoke personally to one of my TA’s…and he informed me that it is likely this strike could end in mid-January….though there is no way of telling whether that is a certainty. I imagine, though, that he is right….

  2. P D

    I highly doubt that this strike will continue to drag on into February just so the York CUPE could coordinately work with U of T CUPE. Im sure that if this was the case, York would give into the CUPE demands in hope of ending the strike asap than having the strike go into February. That would just be ridiculous in the eyes of everyone from the students to York to the government to the CUPE itself. I dont know when we’ll be back in school we could easily be back next week( Dec 8) but i have a feeling that we will be back in school in early January. But you never know….

  3. Basil El-Salviti

    @PD

    I have a feeling this month is school free. Fortunately for some, this means more time to study….

    Unfortunate for those students that actually want to resume their semester, like myself….that means an extra month of labour disruption.

  4. Remember that a TA strike at U of T probably won’t shut the university down. Having said that, it’s clear that the union executives are intent on the 2010 project, and will likely coordinate strategy to make it happen. I have a contrary view though — with both York and U of T on strike at the same time, it would hand the provincial government an excuse to intervene and impose a settlement — likely with a three year deal, to break up CUPE’s plan. CUPE might see that and recognize the risk.

  5. yorkstrike2008

    @Bill Williams

    Good insight. I agree with your argument.

  6. Outraged

    Honest to God I am sick and tired of this strike now. I have all the sympathy in the world for contract faculty, RA’s and TA’s but this is too much of a price for the students. I don’t blame union as much as York. I can’t believe how greedy they’re being. They’re acting like stubborn kids. Like a kid with an ant farm who knows no matter how much they stand together it can just stomp it. I’m sick of this strike. This is my last year and I’m not losing it because York refuses to appreciate what made it worth going to.

    Stupidness..

  7. commenter

    yorkstrike2008: yes, you (and everyone else) are reading way too much into 2010. ever since that maclean’s blogger (joey coleman) made into some sort of conspiracy theory, everyone has been obsessed with it. honestly – 2010 is important, but nowhere near as huge a deal as folks have made it out to be. the issue of job security for unit 2 faculty is a *significantly* bigger deal.

    get over it, people, and stop hatching up conspiracies!

  8. Basil El-Salviti

    According to my source, commuter, 2010 IS important…………but if the university can offer a three year contract that is satisfactory, that can address the concern of contract faculty and wages…..then they would take it.

    The details though, I’m not sure what the details of an IDEAL agreement would be….or at least, what is the LEAST they will accept from their employer.

  9. Basil El-Salviti

    @ commuter

    Also, 2010 isn’t some conspiracy…..nearly every TA I’ve communicated to has openly said they are looking to line all the local unions contract to begin negotiating with the province. It’s openly expressed in many avenues…

  10. commenter

    @Basil El-Salviti

    2010 is one of the bargaining demands, yes, but it is nowhere near as important as some have made it out to be. as you mention, if a 3-yr contract addressing all the concerns, including the job security issue, were put forward, it is highly likely that the membership would accept it.

    i don’t think the union ever made it out to be a conspiracy; it’s the gossip and rumours, fueled by speculations from various bloggers that have turned into some sort of union conspiracy. gossip and rumours have grossly overestimated the significance of 2010.

    that is all.

  11. yorkstrike2008

    @Basil

    I agree. I think I may be looking at it more of invariable instead of a variable (if that makes sense -man I’m bad at math). I mean, like it is a sort of static demand that cannot be altered and it must be satisfied or no deal will suffice.

    I am sure that they would accept a deal with a 3 year contract if it was a really sweet one. Maybe a 15% increase w/ better job security over 3 years. The 9.25% is not going to cut it. The deal would probably have to be worth not going to 2010 for.

    As I said, we shall see…

  12. Commuter

    @ Basil

    He’s commenter. I’m Commuter. 😉

  13. CUPE member with child

    Hi all,

    Long time no see – I’ve been on the picket lines for the past two days. And, it appears I was once again wrong on something – about talks resuming this week. Here’s why I was wrong:

    I was at the bargaining session between York and CUPE on Saturday, as an observer (I learned late Friday night that CUPE members are allowed to attend but not speak). After the meeting, and York’s side went to their own caucus room, CUPE requested to the moderator that he ask YORK to meet again this week (as confirmed in CUPEs press releases). The moderator said he would ask them. At this point I left for home thinking it was all done for the day. Little did I know that York decided not to re-enter negotiations, and somehow convinced the moderator to not schedule any more talks as if HE was the one to call it off (and there’s a quote from him which I assume to be genuine). I find this to be unusual – typically the job of an independent mediator is to keep talks going, especially when there are still items on the table – as there were Saturday (albeit the much less significant ones, to CUPEs annoyance). It is very unusual that the moderator be the one to initiate the cancelation of talks when one party expressed its desire to continue, especially given the political nature of talks breaking down (favouring York’s call for binding arbitration). Unless York has misrepresented his quote (i.e. left lines out that clearly implicate York as the party refusing to return to the bargaining table) then I have to admit that I’m very perplexed. While I have not and will not point fingers at the moderator – I will simply admit to being very perplexed.

    An interesting letter to follow.

  14. CUPE member with child

    Check out this letter from the Star. It’s fantastic. I think it also explains why, for us, this strike isn’t a ‘tift in the sandbox’ on our part, but that there are very important gains to be made for cupe, AND the 50,000 students by having a fair settlement:

    link to letter in the Toronto Star:

    http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/546718

    And the text:

    Time to end York strike, professor says

    Dec 02, 2008 04:30 AM
    As a faculty member, I am distressed by the debilitating effects on students of the avoidable labour dispute and lockout between management and contract faculty/tutorial assistants at York University. Many of these students have been victims of strikes since they were in elementary school in the anti-education years of the Harris government. Now my fourth-year students end their 17 years of schooling with this debacle. York’s administration cannot replace the time lost or the resources wasted. Hardball tactics over the years have resulted in a series of often lengthy strikes with faculty, admin staff and contract teaching staff. York’s management rhetoric on academic standards, currently amplified for the 50th anniversary in 2009, is hollow when students feel betrayed and abandoned.

    Contributing to this labour dispute is this decade’s unmistakable shift to yet more corporate interests at Canadian universities, which demand considerable research investment. Recent decisions by Ontario universities to expand greatly their grad spaces as part of this exponential growth in research made this conflict foreseeable. Management had apparently expected sacrifices from this larger pool of grad students since funding for their teaching duties and personal research did not correspondingly expand with their numbers.

    Research growth also occurs on the backs of undergrads who have had to accommodate density in classrooms and libraries, degraded services and remote contact with their professors in huge classes. One of my students said, “I feel like a dollar sign with boots on when I come on campus.” Our students have mastered critical thinking; they know when they are deceived. They see their concerns, investment, time and energy shoved off the table by an administration that prefers to formulate disinformation about negotiations with CUPE 3903.

    The union seems to be engaged in a sustained attempt to address the long history of social injustice to contract faculty and grad student educational workers (everywhere) as casual labour. I support the union’s aims in general because they expose the disconnect between the university’s agendas and quality of education.

    Entering a recession economy with a degree and debt requires courage and confidence, so let York’s administrators and Board of Governors decide to fortify their 50,000 students by ending the lockout and negotiating fairly so undergrads can reach at least the destination of graduation with some of the quality education they hoped for at York recoverable. Let classes begin!

    Gregory Malszecki,
    Associate Professor,
    Faculty of Health,
    York University

  15. CUPE member with child

    Basil,

    Just to follow up on something we were discussing earlier. The offices are unaware of any changes and they claim not to have made any. Despite what they believe to be some sort of error on your part (a misreading in Sept?), the person above me said to simply carry on as if all is normal… I’m happy to carry on like that too (although I don’t really buy their misreading claim – something must have happened at some point). Nonetheless, we can carry on. Let me know if you’re confused. 🙂

  16. CUPE member with child

    err, not sure why the letter I posted is “awaiting moderation”, probably because of the link to the Toronto Star I put in it. i’ll repost without the link.

  17. commenter

    ps. yorkstrike2008: no disrespect intended; i don’t necessarily share your perspective on all fronts, but i appreciate your thoughtful and intelligent analysis. i’ve just found this 2010 issue to be particularly irksome.

  18. CUPE member with child

    This was in today’s Toronto Star. I think it explains well why the gains being fought for in this strike are too important to be characterized as a ‘sand-box tussel’ (or whatever term was used). It was submitted by a York Associate Proffesor (senior faculty):

    As a faculty member, I am distressed by the debilitating effects on students of the avoidable labour dispute and lockout between management and contract faculty/tutorial assistants at York University. Many of these students have been victims of strikes since they were in elementary school in the anti-education years of the Harris government. Now my fourth-year students end their 17 years of schooling with this debacle. York’s administration cannot replace the time lost or the resources wasted. Hardball tactics over the years have resulted in a series of often lengthy strikes with faculty, admin staff and contract teaching staff. York’s management rhetoric on academic standards, currently amplified for the 50th anniversary in 2009, is hollow when students feel betrayed and abandoned.

    Contributing to this labour dispute is this decade’s unmistakable shift to yet more corporate interests at Canadian universities, which demand considerable research investment. Recent decisions by Ontario universities to expand greatly their grad spaces as part of this exponential growth in research made this conflict foreseeable. Management had apparently expected sacrifices from this larger pool of grad students since funding for their teaching duties and personal research did not correspondingly expand with their numbers.

    Research growth also occurs on the backs of undergrads who have had to accommodate density in classrooms and libraries, degraded services and remote contact with their professors in huge classes. One of my students said, “I feel like a dollar sign with boots on when I come on campus.” Our students have mastered critical thinking; they know when they are deceived. They see their concerns, investment, time and energy shoved off the table by an administration that prefers to formulate disinformation about negotiations with CUPE 3903.

    The union seems to be engaged in a sustained attempt to address the long history of social injustice to contract faculty and grad student educational workers (everywhere) as casual labour. I support the union’s aims in general because they expose the disconnect between the university’s agendas and quality of education.

    Entering a recession economy with a degree and debt requires courage and confidence, so let York’s administrators and Board of Governors decide to fortify their 50,000 students by ending the lockout and negotiating fairly so undergrads can reach at least the destination of graduation with some of the quality education they hoped for at York recoverable. Let classes begin!

    Gregory Malszecki, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, York University

  19. dcb

    As a Glendon student, and History major, I have discovered that this strike has become an important part of my education. It has strengthened my Frenchness.

    Adopting the celebrated national pass time of France has certainly enlivened my bilingual education. This ongoing labour disruption has improved my understanding of the French love of Labour disruptions, collective baragaining agreements, protests and wine. Actually all this Liberty has strengthened the Fraternity of students and put us all on an Equal footing.

    Maybe we should all just get together, brandishing pitchforks and raid the bastille singing the Marseilleuse at the top of our lungs.

    Or maybe we should leave the striking to the French

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/1116/breaking34.htm

  20. yorkstrike2008

    Thanks cupe mwc, that was a good read.

    I dwell on this two yrmear deal so much because I worry that in the event they reach an agreement on everything else the progress will be stunted over a collision with contract length. The major difference vetween this strike and the 2000-2001 strike is this collective bargaining deal they want. York cannot afford a decade of perpetual strikes; 2000-2001, 2008-2009 and 2010!

  21. Basil El-Salviti

    @ Commuter

    My mistake.

  22. Basil El-Salviti

    @ CUPE MWC

    I am perplexed. Regarding the issue you and I personally discussed, I am absolutely sure (I can bet my life on it) that I did not miss-read. I will have to call the school and inform them….because I double checked for the other class that I told you the same situation occurred….and I can see that the TA was switched, I did not once at all switch my tutorial sessions…..they (being the course co-ordinators) must have switched instructors for TA’s, it makes no sense otherwise unless an enormous glitch undertook the course enrollment system…

    Regarding negotiations that were meant to start tomorrow, this is absolutely ridiculous now. I am stunned that there are no ‘scheduled’ dates yet. Normally, you would have a deadline set up where people would be forced to come in with new developments……………..I’m appalled at this latest news. Set up a damn date, get both sides to come up with something to put forward….we can’t be living in this ridiculous silence anymore, I wish more students would demand action of both the employer and the union!

  23. Stringofstrikes

    MAY GOD BLESS THE UNIVERSITY WITH GLORIOUS LONG STRING OF LABOR DISRUPTIONS.. LET YORK BECOME FAMOUS FOR AT LEAST THIS..(SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THREE DISRUPTIONS IN A DECADE WILL EARN YORK AN UNPARALLELED NAME IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR.. YEMEN..

  24. prodigy

    why don’t they copy a better model???

    like… go to the ministry of labour before they actually go on strike???

  25. Stef

    I am willing to bet money that if we were being supplied with accurate information instead of having to wade through propaganda on both sides, there would be many fewer `consipiracy`theories. When you have 50,000 students in the dark, some panic is bound to occur.

  26. Jmac

    Whether you believe the union or York admin, it has to start sinking in that this mess has to be resolved by someone other than those 2 – back to work legislation or binding arbitration.

    York is taking alot of heat for not budging much in its contract offer but how can they justify to their other unions giving one employee group a huge increase compared to what the others got and compared to what just about any other union involved in education in this province has received over the last several years?

    When negotiations started, prices and the cost of living were moving upward but in a short time things have changed drastically.

    The union is now looking like the real estate speculator who dug their heels in and refused to sell unless they got that extra $10,000 in a booming market – while the boom became a bust and the speculator sits there with an empty house that is still for sale. And the longer it sits ther, the lower the price falls.

    Maybe the union should wake up – and take the money and run.

  27. F-Ed Up

    @CMWC

    I read that article too and I was pleased to see someone with experience in the academy and at York to be providing a succinct, well-written, clear indication of the real problems, without ignoring the fact that the students are indeed suffering from this strike. Thanks for posting it here!

    “Contributing to this labour dispute is this decade’s unmistakable shift to yet more corporate interests at Canadian universities, ”

    I think that this is the bigger-picture issue at stake here which people need to consider, without always getting caught up in the details of this particular strike and these particular demands at this particular time. I am not suggesting that the details are not important – they are extremely important. However – and I’m not sure if some one else has mentioned this but I haven’t seen it anywhere on any of the threads I’ve read – schools like York and U of T do set the bar for smaller schools in the province. Even if you believe that they should not be seeking the increases in pay, benefits, etc (given that many do agree on the job security issue) because they already have a better lot than other schools, keep in mind that the type of settlements they make will effect the types of settlements made at other universities. I worked as a TA for 2 years at one of the lowest-paid universities in the province. For TAs, GAs and contract fac at those schools, who are already chronically underpaid, a good settlement at the larger universities is crucial for setting the bar high enough for a half-decent settlement at their institutions.
    I am basing this all on my experiences with the threat of one strike in each of the two years that I worked at this institution, and some of the problems and issues that came up there at those times. If larger and wealthier schools do not set the bar at a decent height, smaller schools with less money and already underpaid workers can kiss fair contracts goodbye. While this strike effects us here and now (and in the future, for those of us needing to graduate this year and join the workforce), and while I am not denying that these are unreasonable sacrifices to be asked of the student population, there is also a bigger picture which involves the state of post-secondary education in Ontario.

    I am not asking anyone to agree with me here, but just posting my opinion based on what I have seen.

  28. Cupe Doll

    Well, about 3000 mostly grad-students hold everyone hostage. Won’t just stop until they either get what they want (no more “neo-liberalsim” — anywhere) or at least some get hurt and humiliated enough to cry for their uncles. This won’t just stop anytime soon — like because York makes a “reasonable” offer. Fact is it’s too much like war to get settled by marginally better or worse offerings. Settlement requires one side getting defeated.

    So, in fact about 3000 mostly grad-students are now totally in charge. But there’s way more you guys. As a total fantasy — not to be confused with fact or reality — can you imagine picking one day to pretend everything’s just normal? One day say — what? 30000? — you guys show up and go to your classes, tutorials, roam campus as you normally would? It wouldn’t be anything unusual or special. Just be a normal “back to school” day. It would so clearly underscore the contrasting insanity of the union and the employer. Media would run like dogs competing for coverage of it. And, one would imagine there’d be more than few union members joining in. For sure some. Try to imagine the frying and broiling sounds under the butts of all them “bargaining”. All the heat they never bargained for.

    Just fantasy. But I can’t imagine how hard something like that would be to organize. Be just like a normal day, wouldn’t it? Not at Queen’s Park — just @ your own campus at York.

    Disclaimer: not trying to incite anyone to go to school or anything. This is ONLY fantasy.

  29. For those who think the 2010 issue is blown out of proportion, so far we’ve got lots of evidence that it’s not — no CUPE locals, to my knowledge, have recently settled for contracts that run through 2010, and contract length is on the table both at York and at U of T. There’s also evidence that union executives are pushing the issue behind closed doors, whatever the costs are to their membership:

    http://cupewatch2010.blogspot.com/2008/12/quiet-revolution.html

    Where’s the evidence that it *is* being blown out of proportion?

  30. F-Ed Up

    @ Cupe Doll

    I imagine everyone sitting in lecture halls and seminar rooms in complete silence. It would be pretty powerful to witness. It would be damn sweet if we could do it, though I also recognize that it’s just a fantasy 😦

  31. CUPE member with child

    Cupe Doll,

    That was the worst written piece of tripe I’ve read on this blog yet. I’m much more amuzed by the guys who drive by my picket line screaming, “Get Back To Class!!!!”

    like… ok?

  32. CUPE member with child

    @ Fed-Up,

    Sorry that I have no team for a longer response, but I agree with you entirely.

    One thing that stands to mind as proof of this downward spiral in the quality of education being offered is the sheer increase in number of students at all levels, without the infrastucture and teaching staff to suppot it.

    In the class I TA for a significant numbe of students have to sit on the floor in the aisles just to attend the lecture.

    Apparently when you’re paying for a “seat” it’s no longer guaranteed that you’ll get one.

    I find that appalling (sp?)

  33. CUPE member with child

    *err, no “time” I meant to say

  34. Vork

    a New release yesterday:

    Academic Remediation: Accommodations, Adjustments and Modifications
    Executive Committee of Senate Bulletin #6

    http://www.yorku.ca/secretariat/Strike2008/Dec2Bulletin6.pdf

  35. F-Ed Up

    “One thing that stands to mind as proof of this downward spiral in the quality of education being offered is the sheer increase in number of students at all levels, without the infrastructure and teaching staff to support it.”

    Also one must question this sheer increase – is this an increase in the number of qualified and prepared individuals who previously might not have been able to seek post-secondary education due to a lack of “seats” or a lack of money? Unfortunately not in many cases. I’m not sure about the situation at York but at my former school there was a clear trend in accepting first-year students who were clearly not qualified and prepared for university and would drop out after (or during) that first year – after the university collected several extra tuition checks for that year. It all seemed a bit fishy to most of us… either the university was knowingly accepting first-year students that would likely not be pursuing their degrees in order to get a few extra customers through the door, or many many more people have taken to plagiarizing their applications…

    The point is that this is bad not just for TAs and profs, but for all of the students, as well. As has been stated before, this business-model system is not productive or useful for a public education institution. Because no, a public university is not a business. It is a public university.

  36. F-Ed Up

    On second thought, it’s more like the fitness-club model: get as many customers through the door paying for the whole year upfront, make it difficult to get their money back, all knowing full well that a large number of them will never take advantage of the facilities and that, even if they do, there is not sufficient space and equipment for all of them!

    While someone might argue that a public university is a business (which I would think is a false statement), one cannot argue that a public university is a fitness club! 😉

  37. ts

    @cupe member with child

    Students that go to York are aware of their class sizes. If they were dissatisfied with the level of teaching, they would choose to go elsewhere. I don’t think it’s up to the TA’s to decide whether the standards of the teaching environment at York are adequate or not. Look at U of T, they have some classes with over 1000 people. Our biggest lecture hall only fits 500, and it’s generally only used for first year courses. Once you get to 3rd and 4th year, the class sizes decrease dramatically (I’m in 4th year, and don’t have one class with more than 25 students). If a student does not like the level of education they are receiving at York, nobody is forcing them to continue their studies here.

  38. Stringofstrikes

    WELL SAID TS, I AGREE::
    i am in 3rd year applied math… i hardly see 20 students in lecture halls… although there were 100s and 150s in first and second year… i definitely think york is doing a wonderful job at least better than the monsterous class rooms in u of T (only with respect to class size)..(although the standard of the professors is doubtfully better than those at u of T in many streams of education…)..

    One of my T.A’s who is doing graduate studies in applied math said that graduate studies in math department at york is very disorganized mentioning that there are very few specializations and only handful of expert professors in the fields…

  39. Mark

    TA’s want smaller classes and more money.
    Smaller classes equals less work/responsibility
    Therefore, they want less work for for more money.
    There we go….union ideology.
    Less work for more money.
    HELL IS TOO GOOD FOR CUPE3903

  40. still doing homework...

    some of my better tutorials were in larger class sizes…

    and i thought that at york they were fairly adamant about students sitting on floors and in aisles because of fire hazard safety..

    which class is this that is so overwhelmed with students?

  41. iwik

    @cupe mwc

    i agree with the tripe comment. re cupe doll.
    utter rubbish.

    i am amazed by what gets like written on here.

  42. bee

    did i miss something? how come there’s no picket lines today?

  43. iwik

    @bee ,

    theres a rally downtown.
    hence, no picket

  44. bee

    oo, ok thanks, i knew about the rally but didn’t connect the two – sorry and thanks

  45. CUPE member with child

    I’m in graduate classes and since the 28% increase in our enrollment (since our last contract in 2005) there are many that are overflowing.

    For an undergraduate class where students ae sitting on the floor in the aisles, might I suggest that you check our HUMA1160 that runs Mondays at 8:30-10:30 in the main lecture hall in Atkinson. Even during our last test, many students wote it sitting on the floor.

  46. still doing homework...

    @ cupe member with child…
    It wasn’t a jab, it was curiousity..

  47. annonymous

    Cupe Member with Child:
    STOP COMPLAINING!

  48. lost interest

    I read in the online version of excalibur that the union has no plans of coming down or softening up their demands in today’s GMM as they have already come down significantly…

    you guys also have a look at that…

    Please tell whether anybody can see the classes restarting coming monday

  49. F-Ed Up

    I think it also might vary between faculty and program… it all depends also on who has the budget to hire as many people as are actually needed. It should also be noted that contract hours rarely increase with increases in enrolment. Hence more marking in the same number of hours (hours which usually aren’t sufficient for completing all duties to begin with, but let’s say we all buy that BS that says that people should work for free).

    And I’m not sure that he/she is complaining, I think that certain issues and facts are being presented from an individual’s point of view. I thought that’s what free and open discussion was about. And I’m not saying this out of sympathy or alliance or bias… just stating that this space has been established as a place for people to discuss and share issues and info relating to the strike.

  50. Catherine

    Found this in my notebox:

    There will be at least 24 hours notice between Senate Executive’s declaration of an end to the disruption and the resumption of classes.

    Tests and exams for all courses (including Internet and correspondence) will not be scheduled in the first five calendar days following the resumption of classes.

    full bulletin: http://www.yorku.ca/secretariat/Strike2008/Dec2Bulletin6.pdf

  51. pp

    I think that if the strike does not end before December 15, there is no realistic prospect of our getting back to class before Christmas. If it should end before that date, we would probably resum for a brief period, but it will be the case certainly that several students will not be able to attend. I am hopeful that instructors will find a means to make material otherwise available, since the students did not elect this disruption in their schedules. It is likely that we will have some Fall instruction — and all Fall exams — beginning in January, but there will be some students who will have left the University permanently — graduating, or exchange students — and we will need to make arrangements for them to finish their fall term courses, perhaps remotely. A deferred standing agreement is the best means of outlining what one plans to do in that regard, and students can then have a deadline to meet. I acknowledge that it may be impossible to be precsie about what is to be done until we know how long the strike lasted, but some assurance to students that they can complete will be desirable. Regards, Bob Drummond

    Robert J. Drummond
    Dean, Faculty of Arts
    S930 Ross
    416-736-5260
    fax: 416-736-5623
    artsdean@yorku.ca

    source in next post

  52. Hey Guys,

    If you haven’t heard this already, Todd from the Dean Blundell Show went to York today….

    Enough said. Hahah take a listen:

    http://www.edge.ca/DJsandShows/DeanBlundellShow/Audio.aspx

    Click on the first on the list.

  53. Still doing homework...

    I have a question in regards to class sizes… If in need of gaining more teaching staff for the increase in the number of students, wouldn’t the slice of the budget pie that is dedicated to “teaching staff” be divided by more slices; consequently rendering each piece already given out to decrease in size?

    In other words (unrealistic numbers), say TA x (of 10 TAs) gets 10% of 100% of the slice dedicated to “York’s budget for our TAs.” in order to reduce class sizes, TA y is hired so that each class has 25 students. Therefore, there is now 11 TA’s sharing 100% of the pie.

    My question is, is a request for a raise plus a request for more teaching staff realistic, economically-speaking?

    Or have I misunderstood the request

  54. F-Ed Up

    1) I’m not sure if a request for more staff is part of the current issues in this strike, rather it is one of the problems in general being faced at several universities due to the corporate models being employed across the province at many different institutions.

    2) An increase in enrollment for any particular program, faculty, or institution should increase the budgets not just for teaching staff, but for facilities and support staff as well.

    I’m no math scholar, but the math should probably look something like this:
    More students = more $$ = larger operating budgets to pay for the infrastructure needed to teach and support the increase in students.

    What it often looks like is:
    More students = more $$ = the same operating budgets = a leftover sum of money that isn’t going towards teaching and supporting those students… so where is it going?

    Again, a certain perspective from certain individuals at certain vantage points and with certain experiences… but it is a bit disconcerting from where I stand.

  55. F-Ed Up

    (something missing which I left implied: more students = more $$ because more students = more tuition cheques)

  56. Omi

    do you guys think that it’s going to go for another month? I’m an international student and I don’t know if I should book my arrival on jan 22. Any suggestions?

  57. An opinion

    Re: Class Size

    Cupe mwc – your claims about overloaded class sizes are simply not supported by the Division of Humanities, who have always been very strict about enforcing fire marshall regulations/class size. Many students in my lecture choose to sit on the stairs, leaving a number of empty, single seats scattered throughout the lecture hall. Many of these “stair-sitters” come in to the lecture after it has begun and decide that disrupting the row of students is distracting and disrespectful towards the lecture.

    If this practice is unsettling to the teaching team, you simply need to complain to the Division (Rita is extremely good about enforcing class size regulations), or report it to Health and Safety, or speak with Professor Tweyman about your concerns.

    Moreover, there are maximum caps on tutorial class sizes in Humanities for Unit 1 at 25, and Unit 2s have personal discretion (up to 28 maximum) based on room accomodations that do not exceed the fire marshall restrictions.

    I hope that clears up the confusion. I can’t provide a source for my information, but since I have taught in the Division for 4 years, I am aware of the procedures and policies.

  58. Nurse 1

    There is a strong argument and quite a bit of hard proof that CUPE-OUWCC 2010 is one of the issues at the core of the strike.

    On the CUPE strike site Dan Crow writes:
    “a successful strike for CUPE 3903 is of utmost importance for all university workers, for a defeat would make the terrain of struggle for the rest much more hostile” (http://www.3903strike.ca/3903-strike-vs-mcjobs-in-the-university-teaching-sector#more-743).

    Such ideological CUPE positions can be found in abundance. And I greatly fear that the quality arguments for better pay and fair and sustainable contracts are taking a back seat to extremist ideology.

  59. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  60. TA's Opinion

    What I find most interesting about the article is that M. Roy, the U of T TA who is opposed to a strike, quotes his hourly rate as “36$/hr” plus benefits. That’s $3 more an hour than York TAs receive, yet every media outlet that’s covered the York strike describes York TAs as the highest paid in the province.

  61. @TA’s Opinion

    Unless it’s changed significantly from when I was a TA at U of T, York’s benefits are way better.

  62. If they strike in February, for how long? Would we lose a semester?

  63. TA's Opinion

    on 2010

    I have been to 4 of the last 6 GMMs. I receive internal posts from various subcommitees and factions within the union. I have seen the package the bargaining team took back to the employer in the last round, and read many accounts of what happened there. There is little internal discussion that doesn’t end up on public blogs. There are indeed radical ideolgues in the union, just as there are anti-union conservative ones. All have equal opportunity to persuade the general membership, and their own single vote.

    I have found no evidence that there is a secret cabal of union activists directing this whole thing over 2010. Or that contract-length has emerged as a dealbreaker in talks so far, either within the union or at the bargaining table. The university favors 3 yrs, and the union favors 2. But I don’t believe talks have ever gotten close enough to a deal for one issue to break it.

    Advocates of 2010, who are indeed often more active members of larger union and post-secondary education campaigns, have thus far transparently and democratically persuaded the membership to adopt a two-year model. Any member is free to challenge that model, and to put it to the general membership. As far as I can tell, this hasn’t happened. My conclusion is that it’s not as big a deal as many outside seem to think. There have not been contentious discussions around this issue, though there’s been much contention. This has not been been slipped in under the radar – when discussed at all, contract length has been presented in same context it appears above.

    To test the union’s commitment to the 2010 movement, all the university has to do is adquately address the union’s other concerns in a three-year model. But my guess is they won’t, because contract length is not the issue. It’s the philosophical and financial precedent the university will set if it dramatically revalues contract faculty.

  64. Unknown

    meh.. couldnt care less…

  65. A UofT TA

    @ TA’s Opinion

    The undergrad rate at UofT is $28.96/hr; grad students get $36.35/hr.

  66. Marj

    So, someone please post the address where I send the request for total reimbursement…bag this…. I’m going elsewhere…where the professionals believe in the students and their futures. We’ve had it with York…nice introduction to post secondary…thanks for absolutely nothing but disillusion.

  67. Student

    Strike during your own time please. We have all paid for our semester. If you don’t like your wage rate please by all means quit and find a job that pays 100$ an hour.

  68. just me

    Student, +1
    We all have paid for our education with hard-earned money and not going to compromise because someone else is unhappy with their wages. Btw, during four years spent in UofT I had at most only 1 (O-N-E) good TA. Others seemed to just pass their time and did not bother to provide any help to students.
    If you dont like your pay – just quit and dont try to interfere in OUR education at OUR cost. Like its not enough our tuition grows every year, do you want us to get broke? Oops, I forgot. You dont give a damn about students.

  69. Markus

    Looks like someone’s on the same track as this website with http://uoftstrike2009.wordpress.com/

  70. max

    Nice…battle of the strike blogs!

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