YUFA Supports Union’s Demand for SRCs

A recent communiqué  from the YUFA Union representing tenured and special contract faculty has shown support for the Union’s demands for the SRC programme. SRC stands for ‘Special Renewable Contract’ and is designed as a programme to give contract faculty (without tenure) more job security and increased compensation. Currently the Union is demanding, 

Re-establish program that guarantees movement of a certain number of members (67) who have been teaching intensively for 10 years or more to YUFA teaching pool. We are asking for a course load defined by YUFA (between 3 and 3.5), for annual salary of $75,000, for an initial term of five years that is easily renewable and eligible for sabbatical. (source)

and the University has offered,


Long Service Teaching Contracts, course load of 4 at $60,000 (which is approx. 3000 more than the current Unit 2 wage rate for four CDs) with an evergreen pool, initial term of five years subject to academic need and availability, rejection of sabbatical. The employer has added a service component but they have not reduced workload. 

Additionally the Union has been demanding conversion of 10 Unit 2 (contract faculty) CUPE members to tenured positions for every year of the contract length and is demanding that the volume of work (that is, courses to be taught) will not go below the 2007-2008 levels. The University has not moved on either of the latter demands and there is currently a freeze on tenure appointments until further notice (source).

The SRC programme has been in service previous to this strike and the Union is demanding a renewal of the agreement and improved conversions. 

Here is the communiqué:

YUFA communiqué: YUFA says YES to SRCs 

A fair and equitable resolution to this dispute will only be achieved by addressing promptly the precarious work situation of York University‘s many long serving, high intensity contract faculty.

YUFA supports the resumption of a program similar to the SRC program that is in the YUFA Collective Agreement (Article 12.32). This program was negotiated by CUPE 3903 and the Employer, along with YUFA, in 1999. The program applied to a fixed pool of 42 people with 15+ years of high intensity work as contract faculty. Over a five year period, all the people in the pool (under age 65), received a five year YUFA contract, with a provision for a further five year contract (and recently a further three year contract).

Some context:

1.      Contract faculty members teach over 50% of undergraduate classes at York.

2.      Contract faculty members, with years of higher education, are only hired sessionally. They must reapply every year, with no guarantee on how many courses, or which courses they will be assigned. On the other hand, units depend on them for essential contributions to undergraduate teaching.

3.      Contract faculty members are used by the Employer for inexpensive teaching, under difficult conditions. They are hired with a salary and provision of benefits which are a fraction of the cost for full-time faculty teaching the same number of courses. When this condition becomes long-term, it is very difficult for contract teachers to achieve a decent pension or to make plans for their futures.

4.      There are 20 CUPE Unit II faculty with 20+ years, 18 more with 15-19 years of service, and 30 more with 10-14 years of service.

5.      These people will continue to teach – the question is under what conditions, and with what other contributions to York University and our students? The current SRC program worked for most individuals and many units. We can work together to make a new program also contribute to York University.

YUFA condemns the casualization of labour at York University, with its reliance on increasing contingent labour and precarious employment. This casualization also increases the service load of YUFA members as retirements are not replaced, and CUPE people are hired to teach but not to do the companion work connected to academic planning and administration and graduate supervision.

Any SRC type program negotiated this year will be paid from the CUPE bargaining envelope, not the YUFA negotiations next spring. Any changes needed to our Collective Agreement will be brought to a ratification vote by YUFA members.

YUFA will continue to work with CUPE 3903 on this issue and calls on the Employer to seriously address this major concern in order to reach a speedy resolution. YUFA has offered to join in tripartite discussions of such a program, which will begin once there is a basic agreement between the Employer and CUPE that some program for these faculty members should be part of the CUPE contract.

YUFA Ad Hoc CUPE Support & Communications Committee




Filed under Uncategorized

28 responses to “YUFA Supports Union’s Demand for SRCs

  1. jk12

    so what exactly does this mean? is YUFA’s support going to further waterlog negotiations or will it bring for a quicker resolution?

  2. Selected updates from the YUFA mailing list, presented without comment:

    “The membership rejected a motion that would have required YUFA to ‘adopt a stance of dignified neutrality during the remainder of the strike”. A number of people spoke to the fact that during a strike, for a labour union, there is no such thing as ‘neutrality’. One member asked where YUFA stood on the issue of students in this strike and there is a simple answer. It is the one that was repeated often during YUFA’s own strike of 1997: teachers’ working
    conditions are students’ learning conditions. Many of CUPE’s demands, such as capping tutorials, will directly benefit students. YUFA urges both sides
    to work toward a fair and equitable settlement so that our students may return to classrooms that provide the best education possible.”

    “Motion: That YUFA adopt a stance of dignified neutrality during remainder of the strike. Moved by: [redacted]; seconded by: [redacted] Defeated: 57 for; 78 against.”

    “A Message from the YUFA President and Vice-President Internal: Many members have written to YUFA, or directly to the YUFA President,
    regarding the CUPE 3903 strike. Some of you have asked why YUFA is not doing more to support CUPE 3903 and many of you have questioned YUFA’s support of CUPE 3903. YUFA’s official position has always been and continues to be that we support a fair and equitable settlement for CUPE 3903. We urge the parties to return to the bargaining table so that our members and our students can return to the classroom.”

  3. jack frost

    NO SCHOOL yay, keep it up guys! i don’t ever want to go back to schoool!!!!

  4. anonymous

    Ok so does anyone know whats going on? according to me it seems as if nothing new is in the works what so ever..but why is ratification being talked about when no updates have been posted? are we just making speculations? that is what i am assuming..someone please verify with me thanks…

  5. Just Some Thoughts

    Quick Note – In your last line you say “The SRC programme has been in service previous to this strike and the Union is demanding a renewal of the agreement and improved conversions. ”

    I think you meant “The CONVERSIONS programme has been in service previous to this strike and the Union is demanding renewal of the agreement and improved conversions.”

    The SRC programme is not currently a part of the collective bargaining agreement. As I understand it, a similar programme used to be in place and was lost during the 2000-2001 strike negotiations. So while it is not totally new to York, it would have to be reinstated from scratch.

    It’s easy to get SRCs and Conversions mixed up because they seem similar but they’re really quite different. One (conversions) turns a select number of qualified Unit 2 members into professors – full fledged, with defined expectations for teaching, research and service, and eligible for all parts of the YUFA collective agreement (Emphasis on qualified, this is not a back door way of slipping into tenure unqualified, it’s quite a rigorous set of standards to become eligible). This program already exists – the union is asking for the university to make more of these conversion spots available. And I believe the University has totally avoided making any movement on the issue.

    The other (SRCs) introduces new teaching-stream positions under the YUFA contract. The official duties of the job would be limited to teaching (Though I imagine many who ended up in this position would maintain research, and possibly even service any way). In order to be eligible for one of these positions you would have to have been teaching a full course load at York for at least 10 years. The university has given a sort of half-hearted response to this by saying that they’ll allow for an SRC program but that people who enter these teaching positions will also have a service requirement, will make barely more than they are now if they’re teaching 4 courses, and will be excluded from parts of the YUFA collective agreement even though they are YUFA members. This is supposed to be a trade off for the “security” of a 5 year appointment, except that they can essentially be laid off at any time “subject to academic need and availability.” So how is that secure at all?

    I think this is the issue where the university and the union are farthest apart. And I really hope we see some movement on it when they get back to the table (sooner rather than later, I hope!).

  6. anonymous

    im asking because no sources have been provided about forced ratification…as for myself i honestly dont see this strike ending anytime soon nbut just for clarification could someone please answer my qquestion above thank you

  7. Cupe Doll

    Don’t mean much.

    First, because there’s too much cluttering the table for job security to get proper noticed. For instance, we’ve got to afford massage therapy, aroma therapy and those fancy frames for our glasses. We can’t be expected to fight “neo-liberalism” while wearing free-frame glasses.

    Second, even if all the self-indulgent nonsense got shoved off so that job security could get proper noticed — it still wouldn’t. Nobody wants to seriously notice it. All sides are just lip servicing smoke-screens on this only legitimate issue this strike. Like, what are they all talking about? York, 3903 and now YUFA? Nothing more than rescuing fewer than 1 in 10 contract faculty from 3903 to YUFA. Whether by renewable contract or conversion — means nothing but rescuing some very select few from 3903 to YUFA. To servitor-class YUFA membership. But as for any non-zero progress when it comes to the absolute zero rank and file contract faculty job security? Nobody bothers even mentioning it.

    And third. Last but noway least. Say the employer were to mention it. Say the employer smacked some genuine job security down the table. Still wouldn’t matter. Too many of us in 3903 wouldn’t care. Like, so what if contract faculty default their mortgages? We’re fighting “neo-liberalism” here! Contract faculty are way privileged having mortgages in the first place. We are fighting this war and we will never be satisfied until we assassinate the academic year at York. Nothing less will give our fight against “neo-liberalism” any meaning.

  8. anonymous

    @CUPE DOLL: so what you are saying is that nothing new is in the works and this strike will not end by at least for sure this month…AM I SOMEWHAT CORRECT AFTER READING YOUR RESPONSE?

  9. MR Two

    That’s what I got from CUPE DOLL too… so if there is a forced ratification vote, it will be a no go and we’ll be in a (seemingly) eternal stalemate until further notice…

  10. anonymous

    @ MR Two: do you know if there has been a call to do this ratification vote or is it all speculations on this blog? because there does not seem to be any reliable source stating that there will be..can you clarify that for me thanks

  11. alien baby

    cupe doll, are we going to the same meetings?

    anon, i can almost 100% assure you there will be no classes of consequence until jan, forced rat or no.

  12. Man this is all starting to feel real Beckettian.

  13. alien baby

    forced rats come suddenly without a lot of warning, because the union has to respond and organize a vote in a set amount of time. the buzz is happening because the “offer” posted on the York website seems to foreshadow that one is in the works. my guess is they’ll wait until people like ms rousseau have departed for their unfortunately publicized vacations.

  14. anonymous

    gotcha thanks for the clarification alien baby much appreciated i guess we wont see school in december however

  15. Cupe Doll

    @anonymous, I would be extremely surprised if things got settled before end of January. Because this struggle is so bitter, there’s no possibility of meaningful bargaining. So the employer has to forcibly ratify us. Only question is when.

    One thing for sure: can’t be too soon. The employer has to wait until it’s pretty sure at least one 3903 unit (i.e., unit2) will cave. Since, if no units cave, the employer must either capitulate, begin canceling contracts or give up the academic year entirely. All of which aren’t really options.

    Any 3903 units hurt enough to cave now? Maybe. Pickets are faltering badly and unit2 is hurting worse. But “maybe” isn’t good enough. At least one more paycheck needs to get missed before “maybe” turns to “probably”.

    If I had to bet? No classes re-start before February.

  16. Imogen

    lol forever at jack frost

  17. anonymous

    gotcha so then the people talking about there being a forced ratification vote coming up within the week or begining of next week is presumably wrong?

  18. MR Two

    @ anon

    from what I understand it’s a most likely… it’s just a matter of when. Like CUPE DOLL stated, I doubt it’ll happen until January when the really cold weather starts to kick in.

  19. Cupe Doll

    I’m guessing they’re all wrong. York must try making sure the “forced rat” won’t turn on it. And that requires waiting longer.

  20. anonymous

    o ok i was worried cuz when i was reading a few comments on this site i thought people meant it was going to happen right now like this week due to what york posted on the web so i was fretting a bit

  21. alien baby

    ok, i’m gonna offer a really really generous strategy to the employer here, because it’s the season of giving.

    it might, might, might be possible that the employer, or at least of part of its BT , still has a few goodies up its sleeve for contract faculty. but it has to make it look like it was completely, totally forced to concede to the big bad union, or ruin the whole year. then they can say to govt and investors, who they’re trying to get “research” not “teaching” dollars from, no no look, we agree that undergrad teaching is second-class, we don’t want to invest it it, we only want to research and hire research-oriented profs, like the ones you’ve promised to give all the money to. don’t hate us because we had to keep the undergrad running, the big bad union made us do it! can’t you see how hard we tried to break them!

  22. yorkstrike2008

    A forced ratification is what will most likely end this strike. This entire dispute has been far too ‘ideologised’ for negotiations to bring a resolution.

    As I said in a previous post, the University will wait until after Christmas for a nice cold (minus 25) week and call a forced ratification on the proposed package.

    What a forced ratification means is that the University’s proposal will be voted upon in a GMM (General Membership Meeting), not unlike what was done for the strike vote. Effectively, the University will be able to circumvent the Union’s bargaining team. That will probably end this strike because the 88% of Union members who did not even cast a vote, have been shaking their knees and being bantered on the web and at the picket lines for this entire debacle will want a quick resolution.

    The cracks are starting to show in the Union. The top is far too radical and the bottom is starting to realise that they aren’t that interested in the smaller picture (ie. getting better wages, some better job security and all within a decent amount of time). They are more interested in this bigger picture of fighting neoliberalism. Just go out and talk to a few CUPE picketers – they just wan’t to go back to work, finish their degrees and get on with life. There is very little sentiment towards fundamentally undermining the capitalist system.

    I will predict a return to classes on January 15th.

  23. That’s a good prediction YorkStrike2008. January 15th is not when I hoped to be going back to class…but honestly, by that point I’ll take it.

    On a side note, does anyone know how they are going about counting the amount of weeks we are losing due to the strike? I.E is YorkU going to count the weeks in december that would have been the exam schedule as missed weeks as well? I’m assuming so but not quite sure..

  24. amy doan

    Sadened school year so have my fingers crossed for the Jan5 start

  25. Jafac

    Not much news here… obviously YUFA would support the other union. As for this forced ratification talk, would it really pass? Nothing substantial has really changed from the university’s original offer that triggered the strike to this new offer… some very marginal gains on the wage side, and some marginal job security increases, but nothing even remotely close to what the union has been demanding. If a ratification DOES pass, the TA’s will have a lot of angry undergrads to deal with. What was the point of this whole fiasco if you end up accepting basically the same offer the university was giving on nov 6th????

  26. V!

    Hi guys,

    Seems like York U has decided that if no agreement can be reached by Dec. 15, then there will be no school for the rest remainder of Dec.

    See the star article here:

  27. The ball park of Jan 15 sounds the most plausable in my opinion. I highly doubt much will go on during Christmas vacation (especially when Christina Rousseau is leaving the country).

    I see York basically maintaining their current offer until Jan 5th. Then, they are going to start hitting them real hard to get back to class ASAP. Or so I could only hope.

  28. Clara Fire

    YS, you wrote: “What a forced ratification means is that the University’s proposal will be voted upon in a GMM (General Membership Meeting), not unlike what was done for the strike vote.”

    This is not accurate. A forced ratification vote takes place away from the workplace (the last one was held at a hotel downtown) and is overseen by the Ministry of Labour.

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