A Letter to President Shoukri

Here is a cool video of CUPE member’s addressing the President.

Watch Vide Here

Why won’t the University meet with CUPE?

That is a loaded question. It assumes that the University is the one that should have to concede to Union demands and give space to negotiate on. Ie. Raise its financial compensation package.



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42 responses to “A Letter to President Shoukri

  1. ...sigh...

    Those are some intimate cameras, gives us a pretty good view of the inside of that first woman’s nose.

  2. hmm

    ok, I just have one unrelated question..
    Is it true that CUPE members can only work the one job at the school? They are not allowed to work a part-time or full-time job outside of the University?
    This is basically going to make or break what I think about this strike, because if it’s true then yes they should get a little more (maybe not 20%).. but if this is not true, then get a part time job and stop complaining about your salary.. you’re making a hell of a lot more than most undergrads can during the school year, so stop screwing us!

  3. demarche

    It’s just spin to say that the University won’t meet with CUPE. It’s completely symmetric: the mediator says there’s no point in the two sides meeting because they’re too far apart. You could just as well ask, why won’t CUPE meet with the University?

    And this situation will not change as long as CUPE demands that many of its members be given tenure based only on their seniority. That is not how tenure is awarded, and it would mean slow death for York as a serious research university, undermining the education of students for generations to come.

    Many CUPE members are great teachers, and probably they should be given better job security. The University has now made an offer of five-year contracts, which is pretty good as job security goes. But not good enough for CUPE, apparently.

  4. j eff

    That first woman is definately doing an impression of Fred Armisen’s SNL Weekend Update Character ‘Nicolas Fehn’. It’s there. tell me one of you sees it.

  5. the university just posted that they asked the mediator to have CUPE meet with them on friday

  6. Andrei MR


    After CUPE conceded and conceded and conceded over these past few weeks, I think it’s reasonable for CUPE to feel it’s now the Administration’s turn to concede something.

    Anyway, the point is moot. The Administration finally accepted CUPE’s request to meet to resume negotiations. See their latest press release for details. (p.s. the Administration is acting in RESPONSE to CUPE, despite what the press release claims.)

  7. Please post the link from the York Website: It is on the Yorku.ca hompage. York has requested a start in negotiations for this Friday. Cupe has agreed to Saturday.

  8. j eff

    So apparently saying that the first lady in the video reminds them of Fred Armisen’s SNL weekend update character ‘Nicolas Fehn’ is too controversial a statement to be worthy of posting.

    Nice. Real Nice.

  9. CanCan

    Oooh! I would love to see a meeting on Friday/Saturday. Maybe we’ll have the weekend to move back in from far away places!

    Sweet deal. Just keep optimistic!!!

  10. MR Two

    A Jan 5th start is pretty much a no go =__=

  11. tester

    THere is a hunger strike being staged on Jan 5 in Vari Hall. It is a anti strike movement, and supporters and participants are needed.

  12. Cupe Doll


    Hunger strike?! Are you kidding? If not kidding — more details, please.

  13. anon

    on google news it said that talks will be resuming saturday?

    @cupe doll: do you see anything significant happening this upcoming saturday?

    here is the link – http://www.insidetoronto.com/article/61642

  14. Andrew

    Demarche, you hit the nail on the head. There are many great contract profs, but also — without naming names — many that are terrible. Seniority-based “tenure” wouldn’t distinguish between the two.

  15. Domino

    CUPE Unit 2 should split from Units 1 and 3. The former has valid concerns that must be addressed, the latter are self-important brats with an unbelievable sense of entitlement.

  16. gee

    I just find it amazing that the even when the union says yes, it says no.
    Why couldn’t they just say yes to Friday?

    curious, the last strike was 11 weeks, how much time did the students have to make up?

  17. anon

    @Cupe doll: Do you see anything significant happening in this weeks negotiations or do you still feel that negotiations at the table will not solve anything?

  18. j eff

    ill go to the hunger strike to eat

  19. mik

    apparently, york wants the mediator to get the ball rolling again very soon….

    University announces resumption of talks

    TORONTO, December 29, 2008 — The University announced today that it requested that the mediator convene a resumption of talks with CUPE 3903 on Friday, January 2, 2009, in an attempt to resolve the strike that began on November 6, 2008.

    The University has taken this initiative in an effort to have all classes re-started as soon a possible in the New Year, if a fair and sustainable deal can be agreed upon. The mediator has indicated that CUPE 3903 is willing to resume negotiations on Saturday, January 3, 2009.

    Alex Bilyk
    Media Relations Director,
    York University
    (416) 707-9574

  20. Yorkie

    Yes, I’d like to know that too. Do you think these negotiations will have a major affect on the strike situation? Or will we have to wait for BTW legislation to work its magic? Or forced ratification maybe… Afterall, the mediator did say that the two groups were too far apart to come to a solution, unless one of the two actually changed their offers.

  21. Bobert


    I do agree to the point where creating long term job security for contract might be a bad thing for the university as a whole, the world of academia is intended to be a meritocracy.

    I must preface what I am going to say with the point that for much of this I have largely sympathized with contract faculty unit, a great majority of them are people who really earned their jobs.

    NO offense but if you’ve been working on a year to year contract with the same university for the last 20-30 years , and if you’ve made contributions in your field then its time to get either apply like everyone else for a tenured position, or move on to an institution that will give you tenure.

    To be giving tenure to people “just because” you’ve been there x number of years is no good when you’re trying to build a reputable university. If you really think you’re worth the university keeping you on, in the capacity as a tenured member then you need to prove it.

    It is necessary to separate the good from the bad not old from the new. It’s a university not a factory shop for crying out loud.

  22. demarche

    @Bobert, Andrew

    I agree. Also, the whole point of tenure is more to support research than teaching. Once you’ve proven yourself by earning a Ph.D. and then running a successful research program for another five years, tenure gives you the chance to do serious, risky, long-term research over the course of your whole career. If you take on a risky research project, it could pay off big time, or after five years you might find that it leads nowhere. Tenure covers your back, and makes it possible to take on those risky projects. But why would anyone need tenure to do teaching?

    The same thing is true about sabbaticals, which CUPE wants for special renewable contracts (SRC’s). A professor with tenure gets a sabbatical about every seven years, which means that he or she has no teaching that year, in order to be able to focus on research. If your job is just teaching, a sabbatical would just be a year-long vacation. Not quite the right idea.

    It’s interesting that CUPE’s demands make it clear that, despite being an important part of how the university runs, they really have no idea how a university actually operates.

  23. Capt'n Obvious


    The universtity has requested a meeting for this Saturday and I will assume that they will offer their ‘best’ proposal to date. (The CUPE bargaining team will surely laugh it off.) On the basis of the new proposal, the university will request a forced ratification vote sometime after the 5th. The CUPE rank-and-file will bend over, abandon their idealism and cave like a deck of cards while flocking to accept the offer… We’ll be back to classes by the 12th. Money talks, it gets what it wants.

  24. 4th year curious

    I will be away from the Country for personal reasons until the 11th of January. I am only taking 2 courses: on Mondays and Tuesdays.
    Should I be fine even if School starts on the 5th? Considering that I will only miss one class…. (hopefully).

    Cupedoll: do you think there is a possibility that classes will start the first week of January?

    Thanks a million!

  25. shinshin


    Torontoists poll for supervillain of 2008. Cupe is a candidate, vote if you feel like they deserve it.

  26. Andrew

    Too many Andrew’s on here.

    For those who did not read the letter by Gerard Naddaf, a tenure prof, he said ” 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”

    The problem is like many jobs, there is just to many people wanting the same job. Seriously, ask your classmates how many of them want to get their PhD’s and teach at a University. The number is probably high. I know a lot of people who want to be University profs, and the problem is, the market can’t handle it. It is like in any job, you can’t move up to be the sales manager until the person who is that leaves, or the company gets bigger and they need 2.

  27. Disappointed

    Hi all,
    I have two questions:
    1. I can’t find the post where the Senate meeting that’s open to all students is located. If someone can tell me when it is and the time, that’d be great.
    2. The idea about going back to classes on Jan. 5th no matter what, is that still happening? I haven’t seen any updates and the facebook link doesn’t lead me to the group.

  28. B

    The Academic market isn’t immune from what every other market is facing; the retirement of baby boomers.

  29. angry

    Can anyone tell me what is happening with course work – should I have all of my assignments completed or will some assignments be cancelled?

  30. demarche


    The next Senate meeting is January 22, 3:00-5:00, in Ross N940.


  31. i really don’t see how a hunger strike will do anything. i mean, now you’re just being silly.

  32. R

    Heyy…. if we get back to classes on 5th, when do u guys think would the finals be held??? or is there any chance of pass/fail option being given?? any ideas whats going to happen on the saturday meeting??? Im seriously not in any mood for studying for finals now…. they’ve screwed us pretty bad, now they should really make it upto us!!

  33. F-Ed

    well it might help reduce the holiday booty

  34. P D


    Looks like a deal may be made this weekend and we could possibly get back to school next week. Anyone know if York will be implementing the pass/fail option?

  35. B

    @P D – That article may as well have been written and researched by an Excalibur “reporter.”

    I’d bet good money that it was Potts and Co who contacted The Star to put this piece of PR spin out there in hopes of gaining some media sympathies.

  36. B

    Additionally, of course there is hope for a resolution in 2009. How many of you are holding out that this strike stretches out into 2010?????

  37. D

    2010? that would be absurd, might as well shut down the university for good.

  38. j eff

    i like how someone named “sheiittttt” gets to tell people to ‘suk it up’, while my observation that the woman in the video resembles a character from SNL gets censored.

    Great Website.

  39. anon

    honestly i highly doiubt a resolution will occur until the 11th week of the strike approaches nothing will occur in my opinion…as said in many other articles in there was always high hope for a resolution and we thought maybe this time they will coem to an agreement…just my 2 cents

  40. Disappointed

    thanks demarche.

  41. ams

    I personally feel, if the union has been so immature till now — “demanding the impossible” — nothing will change on Jan 3rd. But it is a good sign that they are negotiating!

    I do see this going the way of a RAT vote, where CUPE will see that it has no support from all of its members…esp, those who have been sitting home for 2 months without pay thanks to this mess. I bet their Christmas was bad plus all this recession fears.

    York is going to offer lots of bows and frills and will get them back.

    What I think York should have done is offered them ALL that they wanted BUT in a 3 yr contract and see if they take it or not. IF they did, then good, if not, then it would have PROVED they have a further agenda of 2010.

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