ePetition update

Remember to sign the ePetition online, and if you are feeling proactive to download the revised hard copy of the petition to gather signatures.

ePetition and downloadable version for circulation

Hey guys, a member of our community here has started a petition that she plans to deliver to the Senate Executive Meeting. She has worked very hard on it and if you can do nothing else, sign it. If you are feeling ambitious you can print it off and get lots of signatures, shoot me an email and I will arrange it so that the organiser of this petition can get your sheets ASAP. 

You can sign the online petition here: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/voice4us/petition.html

Please circulate it as much as possible. It only takes a few moments. 


The petition and an information sheet are linked here below:




Please support one of our own trying to assert some leadership and power for us in these dreadful times.



Filed under Uncategorized

28 responses to “ePetition update

  1. hicrewComm

    lets stop caring about the strike… lets just go back to school next year…. for peepeesakes gosh…

  2. Marj

    very mature hicrewComm….lot of thought went into your comment….

  3. wowzers

    Ok so I definetly read ‘proactive’ as ‘pervocative’ for a moment there…oh god I need to be back in school YESTERDAY!!!

  4. lol

    marj I see you are very MATURE

  5. Wow. Did this blog just die or what? Two days ago this page would have been filled with 30 comments by now.

    All I am going to say is this, it is Dec 21st, and Christmas is four days away. Even if you do not celebrate Christmas, please relish in the fact that you and your loved ones will likley be off for a couple of days this week.

    Despite what they say, I highly doubt that York nor CUPE will be doing anything to try and resolve this strike over the next two weeks, and I say, we follow suit. While a petition sends a nice symbolic gesture, it is unlikley that we are going to be able to get anything done within the next week or so.

    Obviously, this strike is something that affects all of the GOOD students at York, and one we all wish could be averted. However, to all those reading this blog, for the next seven days, push all of this out of your head. Just relax and do all that you can to enjoy yourself. Even you Yorkstrike2008, take a couple of days off from the blog. I could only imagine that being as knee deep in the strike as you are could drive you crazy.

    I all but guarntee that 7 days from now, NO MATTER WHAT, we will be in the exact same position we are today. So go with your friends, go with your family, drink some co-co, and to all the people who have frequent this blog (pro York AND pro CUPE), have yourself a Merry Christmas.

    I look forward to arguing with you all in the New Year.

  6. Yorkstrike2008


    I am off to Mexico tonight my friend…I am not taking my laptop, so I will be absent 🙂

  7. @Yorkstrike2008

    Wow, I did not realize how lame my user name is. Can you tell that when I made my first post I did not intend on posting any further?

    Seriously though, thanks a lot for maintaining this blog for all York students out there. Anyone could have started a blog about this stuff. I am sure a lot of people did. However, it takes someone truly dedicated to create a blog and maintain it the way you have. I know that, without you, I would be totally lost on all of the information.

    I believe that I am speaking on behalf of almost every single person on this blog when I say thank you once again and have yourself a fantastic trip. If I knew who you were and bumped into you while in line at the Tim Horton’s in Central Square, I would def buy you a coffee and a donut.

    p.s. Don’t drink the water, we will need you in Jan!

  8. tester

    don’t drink the milk either.

  9. demarche

    A York philosophy professor has written and is circulating a ‘letter to the public’, giving important background information about how the university works. It’s useful for understanding the issues at the stake in the strike. It’s long, but in case you’re interested, here it is.


    ABC’s of the York strike for the general public

    It is probably fair to say that the general public knows very little about what professors actually do and what it takes to become one, which could only deepen one’s confusion about the terrible strike that has strangled York for weeks. Those who have followed the fiasco know it involves contract faculty and teaching assistants (CUPE local 3903). The former have usually completed their doctorate but not secured a full-time position at a university; the latter tend to be working toward their doctorate. As a tenured professor who has worked at the university for more than 20 years, I am deeply concerned that the demands of the contract faculty threaten to relegate both teaching positions and tenure appointments to a union procedure rather than a free competition for the best candidate. I am also concerned that teaching assistants see themselves less as graduate students and more as private sector workers.

    Some may think that a professor’s primary role is to teach. However, when one applies for a permanent or tenure-stream position, the hiring committee is more concerned, at least initially, with the original research of the candidates. Depending on the position available, there could be more than 200 applicants with doctorates from universities around the globe. From this pool, three or four candidates are selected (sometimes a wish list, given the considerable competition for talent), who must then undergo a lengthy interview process on their past, current and future research.

    Whoever succeeds is then faced with spending roughly four or five years demonstrating that he/she can achieve the tenure expectations of the department and university, and is appraised in three categories: professional contribution and standing, teaching, and service. The first category entails, among other things, an appraisal of the candidate’s publications by nationally and internationally respected scholars in the candidate’s field. The second category, teaching, is obviously also very important. The candidate is appraised, for the most part, according to teaching evaluations, solicited student letters and collegial in-class evaluations. The third category, service, is generally the least important since the department does not want to burden the candidate with onerous duties that would take away from his/her research and teaching. But demonstrated competence is necessary since the numerous university committees are fundamental to the functioning of the institution. The candidate’s application for tenure must past through several university committees before it reaches the president. I do not wish to imply here that the tenure process is faultless or again that every candidate is worthy of tenure. But it is important to have some idea of the difference between tenured (or tenure-stream) faculty and contract faculty in the context of the present strike.

    My understanding at the moment is that the primary demand of contract faculty (I will try to contextualize the demands of the teaching assistant further on), and thus the primary motivation to continue the strike, is job security.

    I empathize with the contract faculty in the context of what it takes to obtain a doctorate. In the university world, a doctorate is an impressive accomplishment, but is still only a ticket to apply for a job. While the number of those completing a doctoral program in arts or science is astonishingly low, so is the number of tenure-stream positions. Contract teachers are increasingly being hired on a part-time basis to fill in the gaps where there are not enough tenured faculty to meet the needs of growing student populations.

    It is often said that contract faculty teach at least 50% of the courses at York. I do not know if this is the case, but I do know that it is not the case in philosophy in the Faculty of Arts. More important, the number of courses taught by this group varies from year to year depending on how many tenured faculty take sabbaticals and other leaves related to administration, illness, maternity, research awards, and so on. In the past, sabbatical leaves were often replaced with contractually limited appointments. In this case, the department would advertise for a one year appointment to replace the tenured professor on leave. The appointment would be open to competition and could still receive a hundred applications. Otherwise, each spring, the department determines how many courses will need to be filled by contract teachers in the following year. Positions are open to CUPE members first, and this is where things get complicated — things that are never mentioned in the media and rarely surface in CUPE or University announcements.

    If philosophy has, say, 10 open courses, there may be 20 or more contract applicants. Priority goes to CUPE members with the most seniority, that is, those who have taught a similar course in the past. It does not matter if the CUPE member has had poor evaluations, the accent is on seniority, not quality. Moreover, it is often the case that the most senior CUPE members (sometimes only the top three or four) have a claim on all of the available classes. Only if a course were never taught by a CUPE member before or no member has demonstrated competence in the area, can it be offered to a non-union member.

    I do not wish to imply that CUPE members are not competent teachers — they are some of York’s very best — but only that job security is a complicated issue. How does one promise job security to a large pool of applicants when there is a limited, and changing, number of course offerings? There is nonetheless a certain irony in the fact that those with the most seniority already have a form of job security (they often receive three courses or more) to the detriment of the other members. But what they are demanding are Special Renewal Contracts (SRCs) as a guarantee without any type of competition, with near-automatic renewal to retirement, and with the same benefits as professorial tenure stream faculty. Of course, they do not want to have any research responsibilities for this involves competition!

    The university has recognized that long-serving CUPE faculty should have the opportunity to compete, but only with each other, for special positions called “conversion appointments.” This would allow CUPE members who have a long service to the university and who have taught a large number of courses over a four year period to automatically apply for conversion to a tenure-stream appointment, without having to go through the regular, highly competitive hiring process. Granted, the full-time faculty’s own union (YUFA) has publicly supported these appointments, but few tenured faculty would agree with this move. YUFA has around 1,300 members and I have little doubt that less than 20% of faculty are in support. Of course, the issue is never put to a vote allowing every member to participate for electronic voting is conveniently not included in the YUFA constitution. In fact, a few weeks ago, a petition was circulated requesting signatures of faculty who supported CUPE conversions. At the time, I saw only a handful of signatures, all of which belonged to YUFA members who had themselves been converted in the past. Indeed, conversions are seen as an imposition and as undermining the vision and quality of a department. But at least in this case those appointed to conversion appointments have to compete (albeit only with themselves) and they have to go through the tenure and promotion process. So there are evaluative dimensions to the process, which is not the case with SRCs. It is not surprising that no other university in North America has anything like these two programs.

    There is nothing, of course, to prevent CUPE members from applying for tenure-stream openings at any university. The sad reality, though, is that if one has not landed a tenured position within several years of completing a doctorate, the chances are quite slim that it will ever happen. However, there are obviously many options outside of academia available to doctorates.

    This brings me to the teaching assistants who are also on strike. Teaching assistants are graduate students who are working toward their doctorate. They are not professional teachers contrary to what is posted on the CUPE website. In fact, many have only recently completed their undergraduate degree. There is also a certain irony in the fact that contract faculty and teaching assistants belong to the same union. When graduate students finally complete their doctorates, it is very important to have some teaching experience should they wish to pursue an academic career. In most universities, doctoral candidates are therefore permitted to teach at least one course toward the end of their studies. However, at York, very few graduate students are given this opportunity because of the CUPE contract faculty’s virtual monopoly in this area through their greater seniority.

    Naturally, there is also the monetary side. In my view, the offer from the university administration is fair in light of the disastrous economic situation at the moment and the fact that York’s contract faculty are already one of the highest paid in the country. As for the Teaching and Graduate Assistants, the monetary problem essentially affects those who have not received scholarships in addition to compensation for teaching or research duties. Some universities have such rich endowments that they can offer all of their graduate students substantial scholarships. No graduate student wants to be burdened with a large debt on graduation. On the other hand, we enter graduate school because we have a passion to pursue the subject of our choice at a high level. Yes, it can be hard to focus when living on a meager salary, but the salary is meant to be a subsidy by the state and/or university to enable the students to pursue their studies. The graduate students, for their part, appear to be expecting the teaching assistantship (which consists of 10 hours of work a week at $45 per hour at the “current” rate) to be the equivalent of a private sector job and thus that it should keep them, that is, those without scholarships, above the poverty level.

    Finally, unions are a mixed blessing. The most depressing reality is that when it comes to a strike vote so few of the union members actually vote. Crucial decisions are most often made at assemblies, which are often attended by the more ardent elements. In the case of the current CUPE strike, the number of demands were as ludicrous as they were unrealistic. CUPE should have jumped on the university offer of binding arbitration and let a professional and unbiased mediator resolve the situation.

    Meanwhile the strike continues at a university which has a teaching semester that is already almost 25% shorter than in the US (terms in Canada tend to be 12 or 13 weeks as opposed to 15 or 16 in the US). The implications for students are nothing short of dramatic. Making up for lost time, to say nothing of financial worries and lost opportunities, will be extraordinarily difficult. I can well imagine some legal challenges and the finger would point toward those who did not have their priorities straight before entering negotiations. To think that York University on the eve of its 50th anniversary was willing to pick a public fight is ridiculous. Indeed, the long standing Dean of Arts, Robert Drummond, was chosen as one of the lead negotiators for the university and I cannot imagine a more pro union academic. As for the current York president, the recently chosen Mamdouh Shoukri, it is equally naïve to believe that he would start his tenure with a long and destructive strike unless the state of the university finances were truly dire. On the other hand, I agree with CUPE that senior members of the administration should show some restraint in their own compensation packages even if they may fall short of those of their counterparts in similar institutions. Whatever the position of CUPE or the university administration, and I am confident that the vast majority of my colleagues would agree, Queen’s Park should have imposed binding arbitration when it was clear that the term for 50,000 -plus students would be lost, which now appears to be the case.

    Gerard Naddaf
    Professor of Philosophy
    York University

  10. LetMe

    who the heck actually read everything writtin above :[

  11. Soraya


    Haven’t been here in a while and I don’t have time to go through all the posts and I have a question…

    Whats the latest news in regards to going back on January 5th? Is there a realistic chance we will be going back or is it looking more like mid-late January?

    Thanks in advance!

  12. Student Victim

    Thanks demarche,

    I actually went through the entire letter, and it was very thorough in outlining some of the details we need to put the situation in perspective.

    I signed the petition, but there is also apparently some talk of a rally January 5th. We need to be there!

  13. Cupe Doll

    Student Victim,

    If undergrad students hold a successful rally, that will put this strike out like a wet match. York admin and especially we in 3903 are scared to death of students. Because there’s so many of you. You are the sleeping giant York admin and we in 3903 hope will never wake.

    But you’ve got to have a successful rally in order to establish your presence. Here’s one suggestion. Get students at the library and anywhere in the Ross building to join with you. Also invite York admin, YUFA faculty and 3903 members who are on the side of students to come out and show their support. Some will.

    Make some noise.

  14. Soyes

    Santa drained my 3 cartons of milks last night

  15. yorkstrike2008

    @Cupe Doll

    It has been tried many times…

    Too many people have absolutely no problem with this strike, or cannot, for many reasons, come out to such a rally.

    This is why I am so upset with YFS. Our Union has become a mouth piece for the Union and has completely abandoned undergrads. Why is YFS not offering support to undergrads who are trying to do something?

    I contacted YFS several times to see if they would be interested in working together to get some sort of thing going and I received no response.

    They are completely useless and should be dissolved and delivered a new mandate with strict principles to adhere to. One of them should be:

    “No abandoning your constituents in times of crisis.”

    YorkIsAwesome and Tester,

    Those are old wives tales. The water and milk are fine. It is the baking yourself in the sun for 7 hours, three litres of booze everyday and all you can eat buffets that kill people… 🙂

    I will probably post a picture of myself in a couple days for the fun of it, so you can buy me a coffee if you ever seen me around 🙂

    You guys give me more credit than I deserve. This site has been the heck of a lot of work, but most of it was done by you people who have been sending me information, links and updates on what has been going on. There is no way I could have ever found as much information as this site contains.

    I am sure, some sociologists in a couple of years will look at this site for some empirical research and quote us…or maybe the site will be revived in 2010!

    Anyway, I did end up taking my laptop as I am writing this in my beach condo right now 🙂

  16. yorkstrike2008

    PS. I do not usually put that many smiley faces in one message – I’m not that optimistic of a person.


  17. D


    I will most definitely buy you many coffees if I see you in the hallways 🙂 Keep it up.

    Alas you are right when you say too many people are perfectly fine with the strike. Here is what I see:

    P1: Oh man I am really angry at this, I have lost so much time. Grr something should be done!
    Me: Come to queens park, there is a rally.
    P1: Err… I’d love to but you see I have to do this and this and this… if I have time I will.

    I get people are busy, heck even I sometimes have conflicting plans… but in a school of 50,000? When school is in I see pleanty of “anti/pro Israel” demonstrations… but not even a fraction of that for this?

  18. yorkstrike2008


    It is difficult for us to see each other as brothers and sisters. We feel no real connection to one another. Israelis and Arabs feel that, especially when they discuss such delicate subjects.

    One of the virtues of going to a University of 50,000. 😉

  19. Andrew

    I suggest people to read what was written. It doesn’t take long it because it is like a good book, once you start you don’t stop. Why? Well because a lot of what he says is a lot of common sense and goes to a lot of the things students say. Like how we always say “if we were not there, you’d have nothing to teach” which is correct.

    Example is, if you have 100 students, and 1 teacher for every 10 (that would make union members happy) then you have 10 teachers. But if you only have 60 students, you only need 6 teachers, and 4 don’t get jobs. University basically has to stay flexible with the market. Supply and demand. If you have little demand, you don’t start brining in a huge supply of products.

  20. Andrew

    To bad we couldn’t hold these activist groups hostage. “You MUST show up to a rally for the students. If not you will not be allowed to protest your cause.” Ahh wishful thinking. Thank god in 5 more months I never have hear some punk kid telling me why I shouldn’t eat animals, or why some form of god will save me…unless they come to my door. Then I ask them to come in steaks and satan worship. 😀

  21. Kat

    Thanks for posting that letter, it’s been a while since I’ve read something other than the tabloids.

  22. really pissed!

    I am sooo pissed about this strike now…like on the cupe website they are saying that they are available to talk over the holidays but York isn’t available, but York is also saying they are available!!

    This is just freaking incredible now!! Enough is enough!! CUPE needs to stop being soo fucking selfish and give in!! This is probably the worst time to go on a strike due to the financial situation of the economy!!!!!!! They should take whatever they can right now. York can’t give all it’s money to freaking 1500 students opposed to the 50,000 who are being screwed right now!!!!!

  23. Yeah, that letter was amazing.

    Yorkstrike2008, don’t mean to tell you how to do your job, but you really should consider making a new blog entry with just that letter in it. Cause it was really quite good, and I would have to imagine that a lot of the people that check this blog don’t read all of the comments.

  24. tester

    So, what is the plan for January 5th?

    Who is going to school to protest?

  25. Andrew

    Considering it is 11 days away and there has been no real push to have a protest other then a few talks on here, I really don’t see anything happening.

  26. Eam

    During strikes, unions will often use songs to rally support and boost member morale.

    However, rather than playing anything so potentially polarizing, I’d like to offer a song that I hope will bring both sides together.

    Please listen with an open mind:


  27. Soyes

    What is really happening after the Winter Break? would this actually continue through Feb?

  28. Pingback: YorkU Strike 2008, OVER! « kavisolo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s