CUPE 3903 One of Top Villains of the Year

CUPE 3903 has scored itself #3 position of the Villains of the Year  by the Torontoist. Here is the write up and the link:


CUPE 3903 at York University

Some place the blame for the York University teaching assistants strike on York University’s administration, and it’s certainly fair to assign fault to York’s labour-hostile environment. But it takes two sides to poison a dialogue, and CUPE 3903’s staggering sense of self-importance makes solidarity with the strikers impossible. It wasn’t York University, after all, who rejected arbitration. The union did that, and they probably did itbecause the union wants a two-year contract to harmonize York’s contract term with the rest of the other TA unions in the province so they can organize a mass strike in 2010. (There certainly wasn’t any other good reason to avoid arbitration.) When York allowed foreign students due to graduate in December to complete their degrees (students who are paying tens of thousands of dollars per year and who are mostly from poor countries), CUPE issued a statement calling it “unconscionable.” This mix of high-handed rhetoric and blunt tactical maneuvering has turned off even traditional labour supporters such as the Toronto Star from the union and conditioned a generation’s worth of students to consider unions as spoiled complainers. And when the government likely passes back-to-work legislation in January, it’ll all have been for absolutely nothing. Way to go, guys.




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71 responses to “CUPE 3903 One of Top Villains of the Year

  1. erin latham

    The union and its members have lost all credibility with the majority of York students, as well as with the general public. This is evident in the press coverage and how it has swung away from supporting the union. When the Toronto Star is writing negative editorials about CUPE, you know that a sea change has occurred. People are fed up with unions, and in this case, are particularly fed up with grad students who are already earning $30/hr striking for more, and in the process, disrupting the education of tens of thousands of undergrads. Enough is enough.

  2. Flying J

    Awesome. A well deserved bronze medal for CUPE 3903.

  3. Confused and Exasperated

    Anyone else see the giant ‘Fuck CUPE’ with a big piece of dung spray painted on their little shack on York Boulevard today?

  4. Getting partial refund

    Call 416-870-2242 to vote YES for : Should York Students get a partial refund due to the strike? It’s your money, guys. Do it!

  5. Rebecca

    they should be fired

  6. Jim

    The article is right on…

  7. StormHunter

    mods – can you please get rid of all the mr. snake bullshit. It’s nothing but a porn/scam site.

    I’m annoyed enough about the whole strike without needing to read through a pile of “isn’t the site great?” scam crap.

  8. Undergrad

    I am loving all the bad publicity this pathetic union is getting.

  9. oh really...

    I am fed up with the TA’s, and it’s going to be really awkward to go back to tutorials when they obviously talk about the strike and I do NOT support them. One of the worst parts, is one of my TA’s happens to be Graham Potts. I’m so bitter about it, especially because in this whole year, he never attended one lecture and we had him for FOUR tutorials.

  10. Pally Wally

    The writing in this article is quite atrocious. The idea that the 2010 contract is a sticking point isn’t one that the admin is really touting, possibly because they stand to benefit from province-wide collective bargaining themselves.

    Oh really,
    Also, TAs that have taught a course before with the same instructor are often not required to attend lecture. It is usually up to the instructor, and generally, only minor confusions will result. I can assure you he knows the material.

  11. Confused and Exasperated

    @Pally Wally… So that is why one of the biggest obstacles in this latest negotiation seems to be CUPE demanding a 2 year term, York only offering a 3 year. I mean do you even stop to think before typing sometimes? How does York stand to gain from another drawn out strike… oh wait, you’re the same person who said we would still get our precious piece of paper, so fuck the education, it doesn’t matter, undergrads don’t care about anything but the paper. And hell if you want to talk about writing, look at the quality of half the posts on this website, their absolutely awful, and guess who is responsible for their education. Isn’t your party line chaffed and bleeding by now from all this incessant stroking?

  12. Sally Beauregard

    Mr. Snake is a fake site, guys!!!

    Here’s the real deal:

  13. Confused and Exasperated

    Well Sally at least that site reproduces how I feel about CUPE… and to be fair, long hardened me to gaping orifices. So yeah,e veryone else, don’t click on that link… this site really went to hell today for porn spam…

  14. @ John

    lol. Did you fall for the trick like I did?…Can’t say I didn’t enjoy it!

  15. @Pally Wally

    I’m wondering why you think York University is in a hurry to hand over its control over its relationship with the province to a private organization, which speaks for less than 10% of the university community.

    Your statement is also inconsistent with recent negotiations at other universities with CUPE locals. Trent’s TA local recently averted a strike with a one-year deal, and the word I’ve heard is that the administration refused to talk about a two-year deal (which would expire in 2010), leaving one-year and three-year as the only options.

  16. ArsenAL

    Here we go…

    York took out their hand and presents forced rat

  17. @AresnAL

    I wonder what the chances are of them voting no.

  18. Tropic

    So, does a forced ratification mean that the union is legally mandated to present the offer to its members at the next GMM or are we looking at some more delay?

  19. sam

    I think this is it the end to the strike, it seems like a really good deal and I dont think that cupe can get anything else. So hopefully back in class monday although I cant even remember where my classes are lol.

  20. anon

    @cupe doll: what do you see happening with this forced ratification vote?

  21. fed up

    This better be the end of it. And for all of you TAs who have caused this nonsense, good luck feeling welcome when you get back to class. It’s going to take a long time before undergrads look at you with anything but contempt.

  22. sam

    Whats funny about this situation is that if cupe doesnt take the offer they will look like the bad guys even more, and then yorku admin will play the part of an innocent by stander, Wwhich we all know is not the case at all.

  23. M

    It is sad that there are so many students that completely remain ignorant to the actions of the University administration.

  24. ...

    i hope all the TA’s who supported the strike choke on all the extra money.

  25. Andrew

    The only issue I see is that the offer is still 3 years and that means CUPE 3903 can’t join in on the 2010 mass strike offer. But that is a really good deal, and I hope it spells the end very soon. I’m debating going back to Toronto this weekend or not, and if things turn for the better I will go back. Would be nice to know what CUPE is actually thinking.

    The good thing is, I think if they say no to this then BTWL will be well on its way.

  26. so what's going to happen?

    The proposal outlined on York’s website is still based on a 3-year agreement…NOT 2 years. However, the settlement of 10.7% over this time period is close to the 11% figure CUPE initially wanted (I believe).

    So what do you guys think will happen at the GMM tomorrow? (Cupe Doll?)

    Is the 2 years that important to CUPE that they will reject this agreement?

  27. Commuter

    @ so what’s going to happen?

    Except 10.7% over 3 years isn’t the same as 11% over 2.

    I wonder if job security for 2% of the members is good enough.

  28. so what's going to happen?

    And can someone please clarify whether this offer by York is indeed a “forced ratification”?

  29. Sshmr

    From the York Anti Strike Facebook group:

    “I would not get your hopes up for class on Monday. From what I’ve seen of the ‘offer’, I will not be voting for it. I can’t speak for other CUPE members plan, but the university is STILL asking us to take a concessionary offer (i.e. take cuts in certain areas). Being out on strike for 2 months to take a pay cut is not what we are doing this for.

    I’m really sorry this is happening.

    Interesting though, that once again – it’s York walking away from the table. So much for them “not bargaining in the media”.”

    That, combined with York’s decision to release this to the media in the middle of the negotiations, means that CUPE is likely to dig in and reject this offer.

    Of course, it’s possible that York, realizing that negotations were about to stall, did this on purpose in order to turn PR against CUPE… but PR is already about as against CUPE as possible. Are we slated for Back to Work Legislation or Forced Ratification?

  30. Ken

    The end is near
    Students, get ready for a compressed schedule and getting screwed….

  31. chris<—-this website gives your computer a virus, so don’t click it!!!!

  32. wawaweewa this is such horse shit man. i dont know about you guys but the transition back to school is going to be a bitch…

  33. Sshmr

    To everyone, this is NOT FORCED RATIFICATION (yet). This is the latest offer by York to the CUPE Bargaining Team, who then must decide whether the offer is satisfactory to present to the General Membership for a ratification vote.

  34. Mike Oxbig

    lol both sides are the “bad” guy in this…

    as good as this offer may be even…

    why didn’t the administration come out with this earlier?

  35. Dale

    @Sshmr… thanks for the update, although it isn’t very encouraging to hear :\.

    We will know by tomorrow evening whether we have school Monday, I would say.

  36. ArsenAL

    My appears its not forced rat but the university is asking the union to present it to their members..

    if the union disagrees, then the uni will ask for forced rat..

  37. Lee

    I just received an e-mail from my prof and he sounded pretty confident that we are getting back to class next week because he was giving us a breakdown of what he will cover in each remaining class. Are the profs getting some info we arent?

  38. Ken

    We are all getting screwed by University. They will do everything in their power to cram as much possible into our schedule to make themselves look good and not losing the future revenue
    This strike has one loser and that is the group of students who have been played by both groups for the last two months

  39. so what's going to happen?

    Thanks sshmr and arsenal. I guess the next question is … will the union put this offer to a vote tomorrow?

  40. Commuter

    @ Lee

    Is your prof a tenured prof or contract faculty?

  41. Lee

    im not sure lol

  42. Sshmr

    It’s possible that the Senate is telling some profs something, or the prof may be high ranking in the department and friends with people in the Senate and/or the Negotiating Team. Either that, or the prof is just guessing.

    Certainly though, there is no mass email to YUFA, since YUFA declared their solidarity with CUPE.

  43. Davey

    This offer will not be accepted! It is virtually the same one presented about 3 weeks ago!

  44. Lee

    yea, but by the sounds of it there is no sympathy for the students..and supposedly there is suppose to be no mention of the strike during class

  45. Ken

    The new compressed study schedule will destroy the students who had no say in this mess and are victims

  46. anonymous

    CUPE should be ashamed to be affiliated with a man like Sid Ryan.

  47. Melanie

    Last time they were negotiating weren’t TA’s and profs sending out emails about us getting back to class soon? If they did it then and nothing turned out of that why would anyone believe its going to be any different this time?

  48. Confused....

    Has anyone looked at recently? If not you should new update!

  49. mikael

    any ideas what the compressed schedule would look like?
    what will happen to summer school ??

    thx in advance

  50. Commuter

    Posted by Matthew Geigen-Miller:

    “This is not a tentative agreement. It is an offer that York has made to the union. This is not a “forced ratification vote,” because York is simply requesting the union to hold a vote. The union leadership can decide whether or not to hold a vote.

    If the union leadership does hold a vote, I would not assume that the offer will be rejected. All of the hardcore strikers here on facebook say they don’t like the offer, but the majority (about 2/3) of union members haven’t been involved in picketing, commenting on facebook, or participating in the strike at all. This means that nobody has any idea how they majority feel and how they would vote (assuming that a good turnout would show up and vote at a GMM).

    It is possible that the union will refuse to hold a vote on this offer. In that case, York will be left with few options. One likely next step is to request a forced vote through the Ministry of Labour, but really who knows. It is also possible that the Ontario government will finally pass back to work legislation.

    There are many unknowns right now, unfortunately. We’ll just have to watch and see.”

  51. Andrew

    You CUPE people need to get off this 2 year stuff. It is fairly obvious you want to be involved in another strike come 2010, which makes me wonder “Why are you asking for job security when you are going to walk out yet again?” I don’t blame the school for always putting a three year because they want to move passed the 2010 mass strike so they don’t have to be involved. Since they are getting hurt now by this going long, being one of the only schools open in Ontario in 2010 would be a big plus.

  52. fed up

    Ken, it’s not the university that’s been screwing the students, it’s the union and its greedy members. In this economy, anyone who does not accept an offer of 10.7% over three years should be ashamed of themselves. Seriously. It’s too bad that they can’t all be fired. Unions have outlived their usefulness in a modern society. They promote and reward mediocrity, and they are absolutely unrealistic in their expectations. Disgraceful. I hope all you TA’s enjoy your raise on your $30+ an hour you already earn! We should all be so lucky.

  53. Disgruntled Yufite

    To Lee:

    Some faculty were feeling optimistic that we’d be back soon and might have communicated that to students, but no one can be sure. It’s all guess work at this point, but some departments have been meeting and projecting different options for how things would theoretically move forward if the strike were to end on such-and-such a date, etc.

    One thing to be clear about: NOBODY is talking about the possibility of losing the school year. If anything were to be canceled on account of the strike continuing, it would most likely be the first term of summer school. The “Winter” term might end ridiculously late, but the idea that the whole year could be scrapped is just misinformation.

  54. Undergrad 2

    And who said 2010 wasn’t a big deal and a major influence on the negotiation process?

  55. Andrew

    Yeah I know. It is fairly clear they want to be back at this in 2010, because they will then have the support of all the unions. THAT would be the time to “battle neo-liberalism”. If they were smart, they would cave in on a lot of the University’s stuff, take lower then what they offered if it means they get 2 years. Then go into 2010 and look to make up what you “lost” (which of course, they gained, just not as much).

    But yeah, fairly obvious they want to be in 2010.

  56. scenario played out

    In the spirit of speculation…

    So here’s what we know. For the better part of the last 5 days, York and CUPE have been hammering out agreements on the finer points of the strike (trifles, if you will). So are we really expected to believe that they made significant headway on the more substantive issues in the last, say, 2 days? It is clear that York put together this current offer solely for tomorrow’s GMM, and nothing more. It’s a way for the university to preempt any backlash that may arise from those who may accuse the administration of not presenting a reasonable offer in a timely manner (and steer that backlash in the direction of CUPE). Perhaps this was their motive all along – begin to meet on the Saturday (okay, Friday) just prior to the Winter term and hope to have something to show for it in time for the next GMM. Though, York knows and we know that this present offer is not good enough. Why? Because, for CUPE, it’s 2 years or bust.

    Based on what I’ve read on these forums, it would appear that 1 of 2 things must/will happen before an offer is ratified:

    1. York caves and offers a 2-year agreement. When this happens, we are back to class. Because this situation is rather unlikely, and the University cannot stand to endure another strike in 2010, we are left with scenario #

    2. York holds out, and waits for back to work legislation to be enacted. For all we know, the university has already started to lobby MPPs (hence the much discussed NDP leak). However, as indicated on this forum as well as in the McClean’s article, btw legislation seems also seems unlikely … for now, that is. But we will eventually reach a critical point when the “prospect” (and by no means am I implying the “possibility”) of losing the school year becomes imminent. And when we reach that point, you can bet the politicians will be summoned at Queen’s Park.

    Apologies for the lengthy post. Speculation is my way of venting 😐 And based on the available info, this is how I see things being played out. How about YOU?

  57. Undergrad@York

    @ scenario played out

    Your scenario made a lot of sense, and I really appreciated your post! Thanks!

  58. anonymous

    i highly doubt this will be accepted..the main sticking point is the 3 years…my guess is that we have to wait for the 11th week of the strike to arrive then we will either see some government intervention or we will see “real” negotiations happen

  59. anonymous

    @scenario played out: thats the exact idea i was thinking..and i figure the later number will be most likely

  60. Tropic


    Thats a possible scenario except for the fact that you did not take into account the rank and file members of CUPE. There is speculation that upto 2/3rds of CUPE’s members could be disgrunted by the strike. This population could possibly agree to the university’s offer just to end the strike.

    Obviously, this is speculation but a possibilty.

  61. D

    @ scenario played out

    The question is, after so long striking, will the majority of members (the average joe on CUPE) care for 2yr vs 3yr?

  62. S

    @scenario played out (and all):

    I don’t quite get CUPE’s logic. If, as you say, it’s 2 years or bust, why would a reasonable union strike in 2008 knowing that 2010 is “the real year”, and that York would be heavily insisting on a three-year agreement since two major strikes two years apart would completely kill any of its remaining reputation? Why not keep it quiet in 2008, only pressing on the 2-year issue (keeping everything else on temporary hold) and in all likelihood eventually getting it? Nine years apart–b/w 2001 & 2010–is not as nearly as gruesome. Unless, of course, York would be insisting on a 3-year agreement anyway, in which case there’s no point in keeping on hold all other demands.

  63. Aaron

    I’ve been talking with two CUPE members, and apparently a lot of what York has been offering are just concessionary. They’re still very far apart on the substantive issues, and back to work legislation may be the only thing that ends this strike in the end.

    It’s not that CUPE wants to organize a deliberate strike in 2010. It’s just bargaining leverage to force the provincial government to address the existing educational issues. I can certainly sympathize with that.

    Unfortunately, the York administration is every bit as afraid of conceding to the two year demand as CUPE is to relinquishing it.

  64. Rolling my eyes

    I don’t think the working class heroes~ over at Cupe will accept this “offer”. God, York’s spin doctoring excaberated my migraine. Negotiations must have been going terrible for them to pull this!

  65. Curious Yorkie

    Guys, I have limited access to the internet today, but I managed to find this article on the net just now. Thought I’d pass it on. Sorry for the repetition just in case you all have read/posted it here already.

  66. Andrew

    In a way, York may need to offer a 2 year. It won’t hurt then as much when a lot of other schools go on strike at the same time as a collective. It will hurt Ontario Universities as a group.

    Though 3 strikes in 9 years isn’t a good sign.


    CUPE dont be sooo stupid and add a porn site here. Get a life!!!!


  68. Aaron

    That is so immature and moronic.

  69. Catherine

    Oh look, is a top link

  70. Teju

    yes they is villians because they want the international students like me to die. I cunt believe these cupe people and why they make this strike go for long like it is horrible for us. I dnt have money and a place to stay.

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