3903 Members: We Can End This Right Now

You’ve probably heard by now.  York’s made 3903 a final offer.  And it’s a damn good one.  In fact, it’s better than York offered any other locals.  Almost as if York capitulated just a little.  Just enough to reward 3903 for ruining this academic year.  For totally ruining this year when it comes to anything remotely academic.

Fair enough.  Sometimes, to save the babies, you’ve got to drink bathwater.  Trouble is, though, that this here 3903 local isn’t merely childish.  It’s totally loco.  Listening to our own internal 3903 chatter, it’s like hearing voices.  Disturbed voices.  Voices insinuating how “concessionary” York’s final offer is.  How we didn’t go striking out so long just to concede anything to York.

No surprise.  Everyone should understand already.  Far as our 3903 ideologues are concerned, this strike isn’t about what York can bring to the table.  It’s about kneecapping York under the table.  Regardless whatever consequence for York students, faculty, staff and our own membership.  And however our 3903 ideologues deny what they’re after — kneecapping York — it’s no secret.  Not only is it not secret — it’s earnestly and proudly advertised.  For one of many instances, in the very first paragraph of his article — The Neoliberal University: Looking at the York Strike — Eric Newstadt wrote that “.. the tenor of the action was and remains pitched firmly at rolling back the “neoliberal university”…”

Not a secret.  Should come as no surprise by now.  Our 3903 ideologues truly honestly believe they’re striking out for student’s own good.  That because we in 3903 don’t want students having to pay their education — that totally justifies us ruining the education students already paid for.  And look: our 3903 ideologues are not knowingly evil.  All we are is totally ideological.  In our own minds, we are proud how we fight for students.  How we strike out against the “neo-liberal” university.  In our own minds we are the good guys.  We keep waiting students to show us the love.  All this false hatred?  Nothing but bad PR.

What does all this mean — like, in practical terms?  Should be fairly obvious.  If at least five hundred 3903 members show up at tomorrow’s GMM, only then will there be much chance York’s final offer getting positively ratified.  Because only then will there be sufficient regular membership to outvote our ideological bloc.  Otherwise, if fewer than five hundred show tomorrow — the chances slim to none.  In which case it becomes a matter for either forced ratification — or legislation.  Thereby exponentially jeopardizing the year getting lost entirely.  Due to time fleeting from every York space.

What can you do?  Email each T.A. and contract faculty you know.  Urge them to come out tomorrow.  That simple.  Personally remind every 3903 you know to come out as the “valued educators” we’re supposed to be.

And if you’re a regular 3903 member reading this?  Don’t be intimidated.  Let’s enough of us come out to be intimidating.  So that when we have reason to clap at our own GMM, the ideologues will object how intimidating we are.  It’s just a numbers’ game — and now’s the time to get counted.  Let’s do it.

Here’s the GMM location.



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18 responses to “3903 Members: We Can End This Right Now

  1. Dray the CUPE Member

    Hi, all. Folks, I’m afraid there’ll be no voting on the university’s latest offer at tomorrow’s GMM. There will be a length discussion about it, however. (I read all the same ‘chatter’ on the 3903 listservs as does CUPE Doll.)

    However, if you want to see the university’s offer voted on, you need to try to get a motion passed at the GMM that “b.i.r.t. the union shall hold a ratification vote on the university’s latest offer.”

    You can do that. That’s not too hard to do.

    P.S. If our contract ends up being three years long, you can expect another strike at York in 2011, as CUPE will be very angry and want to catch up with the gains other locals achieve in 2010.

  2. Below is a comment from the previous thread @ this forum.

    @Dray the CUPE member: “You seem to suggest that tomorrow’s GMM will have a ratification vote.”

    Lol. Sure. Unless you actually read my post. And my 8:21 comment — 4 above yours. Why not read what you respond to?

    “At best, members can pass a motion to hold a ratification vote at a later date.”

    Yes. Thank you. You’ve managed to agree with me. Now then — there’s only one point of contention. When you say “at a later date”? Are you suggesting the membership can’t pass a motion to ratify “later” tomorrow? Because, if enough general membership shows tomorrow — good luck to you. Good luck if that’s what you’re suggesting.

  3. Commuter

    @ Dray the CUPE Member

    F**k. I don’t want another strike in 2011. That’s when I’ll be graduating.

    Great, come in as a first year. Strike. Leave as a graduate. Strike.


  4. Dray the CUPE Member: “If our contract ends up being three years long, you can expect another strike at York in 2011, as CUPE will be very angry and want to catch up with the gains other locals achieve in 2010.”

    Lol. So classic. If you don’t give me your lunch money I’ll be very angry and have to beat you harder next time.

  5. Pally Wally

    Che vuoi?

  6. Fudge

    Ha! I’m not going to sit and wait for another strike to happen. As a first year student, I’m going to get my grades and transfer to another province…probably go for McGill or something! Screw the unions striking in 2010 and CUPE 3903 ‘being angry’ in 2011.

    I hope people around the world find out about this stuff, especially York’s strike record…and don’t apply to York (or any other Ontario uni..but especially york). Let’s see how the reduction in students would turn out for York and CUPE.

    argh…I wanted an awesome first year 😦

  7. 3rd year student

    See for a first year student its not so bad, imagine being mid med school applications and find out if you lose this year you can’t receive interviews….now that sucks

  8. Aaaaaaaaah

    …or the Consecutive Ed students who woke up this morning to back to back news stories about a possible Elementary School union action and CUPE’s determination not to present this latest offer. Nice

  9. Dray the CUPE Member

    @CUPE Doll:

    “Lol. So classic. If you don’t give me your lunch money I’ll be very angry and have to beat you harder next time.”

    Oh, snore! I wasn’t iterating a threat. Come on. What I’m trying to say is that don’t think that a three-year contract will make the threat of a strike go away. Rather, it’ll only worsen labour relations at York even further, setting up the condition for another strike mandate.

    The current strike is a case in point. Recall that the previous three year contract, CUPE had saw a reduction in real wages and benefits. First, the GSA tried to address it via diplomacy. York didn’t even agree to talk to the GSA. Then CUPE tried to discuss it through the regular channels. Same issue — York stonewalled CUPE. So, CUPE launched a Back-to-work campaign. (Did you hear about it? No, of course you didn’t.) It didn’t work. So, now there’s a strike.

    Regardless of the ridiculously high demands at the start of the strike, regardless of the Marxian analytical crap, regardless of the “loco local” mentality that you identify, the strike happened because CUPE was being dicked around for three years.

    It takes a whole lot to get a huge union to agree to striking. It took a whole lot to get ME to accept the need to strike. I was very much in opposition to the demands and to the strike mandate. (You must’ve seen or heard me at meetings.) I fought tooth and nail against it, and mobilized folks in my department (usually apathetic to union politics) to come out and vote. Then, well after the strike began, I came to understand what precisely the issues were. I also came to understand that it wasn’t CUPE being intransigent but York — steadfastly refusing to negotiate, calling for binding arbitration in order to avoid negotiating (and their current ‘offer’ is the same thing again). And, I heard many personal stories from many people in the union about how they’re outright abused in their jobs. Then, I became much more supportive — and more understanding of the complex personalities who make up the ‘cabal’ you identify.

    I’m still not 100% in support of my union — more like 60%, actually. But, I really have much more respect for them than I used to. At the very least, these people are actually acting altruistically. And — guess what — they *deeply* care that they’ve affected 50k students. (Everybody talks about it all the time, and everybody feels mighty guilty about it.) No other stakeholder of this strike does.

    Also, remember: EVERY union has a poor relationship with the university — and it gets worse with every contract. The next strike may not even come from CUPE. I’m willing to bet that YUSA is the next group to walk out, as they’re already pissed.

    Folks, as radical and crazy as CUPE leadership can be, strikes happen at York because York does a terrible job of managing its people. e.g. I’ve never had a term go by where York hasn’t screwed up on or been late on a paycheque.

    Anyway, if people want to treat CUPE Doll’s highly tinted personal view of CUPE’s character as fact, that’s very much up to them.

  10. Dray the CUPE Member

    “So, CUPE launched a Back-to-work campaign. ”

    Sorry. I think was a Freudian slip. (I personally would like to see a back-to-work campaign.) 🙂

    I meant to say that CUPE launched a Work-to-Rule campaign.

    Big oops!

  11. Dray the CUPE Member


    I’ve been here for three degrees. For each degree, I’ve endured a strike.

  12. Andrew

    @Dray the CUPE Member

    I understand that you’re not saying this, but there is no way that CUPE is blameless either. It’s frustrating to hear union members accuse the university of refusing to bargain, because when we remember the union’s initial offer, it’s hard to argue that the union was truly bargaining. Let’s also remember that the union’s bargaining team was not empowered to bargain during the first 2-3 weeks of the strike; during that time, they invited the admin to the table, and then had the audacity to blame the admin for the failure of talks! What exactly were they expecting?

    Personally, I set the date at which negotiations began at November 27, when the union’s demands dropped to a level pretty close to where they are today. Since that time, neither side has moved significantly, as far as I’m aware.

    And concerning the leadup to the strike, it strikes me that CUPE’s first offer was so ridiculous because they were all full of themselves for “winning” the last strike — if you doubt that, you can consult their site archives. In light of that, it’s not clear what the admin could have done differently, as they would continue to find themselves over a barrel until such time as CUPE loses a strike, or radically changes its attitude towards negotiation.

  13. R

    they rejected the offer again??

  14. Dray the CUPE Member


    I agree fully with your analysis on CUPE’s first offer and especially with your telling of events in the first few weeks of the strike.

    What’s interesting to me is that CUPE members have always had two voices about our position. The first voice says, “be realistic, demand the impossible, and strike to win as much as we can,” whereas the second voice says, “the university has given us a concessionary offer and refuses to bargain fairly, so strike to minimize our losses.”

    My impression is that the radical voices (that CUPE Doll keeps picking up on) involved in leadership since March speak with the first voice, whereas the bargaining team (and many others, but CUPE Doll seems to miss this) seems to speak with the second voice. (Recall that Graham Potts told us on November 5 the reason to go on strike was that “the university’s offer is crap” and that “they don’t take us seriously in bargaining, refusing to talk about most of our proposals”). In bargaining years (whenever the collective agreement gets renegotiated), there has always been high tension between leadership (executives and some very active members) and the BT, which is evident on the listserves currently.

    Anyway, it seems to me that, lately, the second, pragmatic voice is winning the day. CUPE brought down its demands precisely because CUPE never believed in its initial demands — indeed, they were recognized as ‘impossible’ — something the second voice has been pushing for internally since even before the strike even began.

    So, I would say CUPE’s attitude towards negotiation is quite different today. The issues on the table are mostly the *real* issues: bringing benefit funds back to 2005 levels, addressing job security for long-serving contract faculty, clawback protection for science students (clawbacks hurt me personally — a big slap in the face, particularly given that my research project has made a few headlines but my name doesn’t appear in the news stories), etc.

  15. Frank


  16. clennis

    my (very limited) survey of cupe workers suggests that this concessionary offer from the employer will be rejected (again).
    i will vote against it.
    i’m also certain that classes will resume within the same (or a comparable) window of time, after the offer’s rejected and replaced.
    i’ll throw in (10$) on the bet that a deal will be reached within 14 days following the refused ratification vote (i’d bet on seven, maximum).

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