YorkU Update: “Only a YES vote is certain to end the strike


Why should I vote YES? 

• This offer provides significant enhancements to your collective agreements which are already among the 

best inCanada. 

• Only a YES vote is certain to end the strike and restart the Fall term no later than Monday, January 26. 

• A No vote will prolong the current uncertainty and the impact of the strike on the York community. 

-Uncertainty will remain about: 

􏰀 when the strike will end 

􏰀 when the Fall term will restart 

􏰀 the University’s ability to offer a full Summer term. 

• The University simply cannot afford the union’s remaining demands from both an academic and a 


The University cannot settle this strike at any cost or set the stage for another possible strike in 2010. 

Thatwould not befair to our students, our faculty, our staff, or the communities that we serve. 



What about Back to Work Protocol arrangements? 

• The University’s Offers for Settlement include Back to Work Protocols for each Unit, which contain similar 

provisions tothose agreed with the Union after the 2001 strike. 

Whyshould I vote? 

You are exercising your democratic right in the knowledge that the choice you make not only affects you and your fellow 

union members, but the entire York community – most especially our students to whom we have a special responsibility 

as their educators. All membersofthe York community will be affected by the choice you make. 

Your vote matters for you and for all other members of the York community. Please consider your decision carefully 

and please exercise your democratic right to vote. 




Filed under Uncategorized

86 responses to “YorkU Update: “Only a YES vote is certain to end the strike

  1. Soraya

    ” Only a YES vote is certain to end the strike and restart the Fall term no later than Monday, January 26. ”

    Does that mean if we don’t start before set date the 1st semester is lost?

  2. MM

    No, I think they just mean that’s the earliest possible date classes could resume. If they vote ‘no’, we will go back much later than the 26th but the 1st semester will (hopefully) not be lost.

  3. Steph

    No, this means that if they vote yes then we will be going back no later than the 26th. They did not mention anything about losing the semester simply because that will NEVER HAPPEN. Everyone needs to calm down and stop worrying about losing the year because it will not happen. The university can’t afford to give students their tuition back, and therefore they will not cancel the year.

  4. Soraya

    heh, I’ve been calm all along. I’m the one who keeps telling people the semester/year won’t be lost but that update made me think twice. I also though that if they vote yes we would be back in 24 hours (i.e. as early as Wednesday or Thursday)?

  5. Pat

    If its a yes then most likely class will restart on Thurday (based on the fact that the strike started on a Thurday)

  6. Glenn

    I haven’t been keeping up to date with the union meetings, but how big of a chance will the union vote yes to York’s latest offer? And what will happen if they don’t accept it. This week will be intense!

  7. Tabrias

    @ Pat

    What does the strike starting on a Thursday have anything to do with what day classes will restart?

  8. MM


    The link below lists the reasons why the bargaining team is against the offer. The very last page sums up their reasons in bullet form.


  9. tim

    So what are the chances of there being a yes vote? I just want some idea! PLEASE ANYONE lol

  10. CUPE member with child

    Here’s a letter of response to the Deans’ letter from a graduate student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies who’s NOT a member of CUPE:

    “An open letter to Barbara Rahder and other York deans,

    (I am not a striking member of CUPE 3903)

    As a student within the Faculty of Environmental Studies, I just wanted to express my isappointment with regard to the letter that you
    co-signed with other York deans where you cited a “worsening economic crisis” as a major reason why you support York University’s offer to CUPE 3903. The “economic crisis” is the same argument that auto executives are using to layoff workers while they continue to fly around in their private jets, it is the same argument that neo-conservatives (those who benefit most from our structurally unjust economic system) are using to reject arguments for environmental change, now it is the same argument that the deans of York are using to justify the actions of the neo-liberal university. The pattern is the same, those in power are using this current economic pinch to
    continually justify a system of unjust power relationships by saying that we all need to ‘cut-back’ or ‘sacrifice’ while very little changes happen in the upper echelons of power. In your letter it
    seems as if the economic system is being presented as the primary concern, above that of (in)justice concerns just as many people have
    prioritised our economy above our need for action on climate change – quite arguably a much more significant “crisis” than the economic one
    we currently find ourselves in now and certainly a significant form of environmental injustice.

    Will York’s President, Mamdouh Shoukri, offer to decrease his massive salary due to the “severe budgetary constraints” you speak of?

    Will you and the other deans be reducing your salaries due to the “extremely difficult economic climate” the university finds itself in?

    I am not a member of CUPE 3903, but what I find most troubling about your letter is that you site budgetary constraints to justify your position. This is the same argument that has been used for
    generations to maintain many forms of injustice. Instead, if you and the other deans feel that CUPE’s demands are unjust then I respectfully request that you speak to it on a justice level.

    I have chosen to make this email into an open letter as your letter was certainly sent within a public form and I felt it appropriate to respond in an public forum.

    Peace, Pascal Murphy
    FES Graduate Student”

  11. CUPE member with child

    note: missing letters in the posted letter above seem to be a fault of my cutting and pasting somehow … the original is fine.

  12. Pally Wally

    anyone keeping count still?

  13. theowne

    What is Shoukri’s “massive salary”?

  14. CUPE member with child


    There is a 77.8% chance that the union will shoot it down, 12.1% chance that it will accepted and an 11.1% chance that Doctor Strange will obliterate the world before the vote takes place. The high percentage of the latter is attributed to the axis of the moon at a 63 degree radii to the tropic of

  15. Pally Wally


    he has a BASE SALARY of $325, 000.

    He got a 3.5% increase + $2700 for ‘progress through the ranks’ in 2008; AND
    another $10, 000 raise.

    Each year he gets a 10, 000 dollar guaranteed raise.

    Then, there are the performance bonuses…the interest free loan of 750K, the private car, driver….

    There is a pdf widely circulated that has more details.

  16. piece of the pie

    See the thing is nobody is asking CUPE members to decrease their salary, in fact Yorks current offer entails salary increases, decent ones too. That right off the bat is a faulty comparison.

    Also, CUPE in the beginnings of negotiations were citing economic influences (inflation) to justify requested salary increases. This is contrary to the fact that recently we have been experiencing a period of deflation and are expected too for the next couple years.

  17. Pally Wally

    Oh, I forgot one of the best parts – the bang-up job he’s done so far gets him a GUARANTEED PERFORMANCE BONUS this year of $81, 250. Although we might decide he should get more – up to ~$160K, but that’s up to the review process!

  18. tim

    lol thanks CUPE member with child

  19. piece of the pie

    pally wally, is this all fact? I would like to see verifiable evidence.

  20. Pally Wally

    I will post a link to the pdf momentarily

  21. Soraya

    That’s re-donk-u-lous.

  22. theowne

    And we’d prefer a pdf that isn’t hosted by CUPE or biased sources.

  23. B

    Do you people honestly think that if it wasn’t for the money, anyone would want to hold such responsibility at the top of an organization? It’s not like he coasts through his days doing absolutely nothing to earn that money.

    Much less that a paycut on his part would have settled this strike? Even a paycut at any management level?

    Like someone already mentioned, no one is asking 3903 to take a salary reduction.

  24. B

    And, when all is said and done, the government takes a little over 50% of what he earns. Which gets put into health care, education, social services and what not.

    Ah. Socialism.

  25. Pally Wally


    used to be, by which i mean “until very recently” – President of the University was a very prestigious position – in fact, most would argue it still is. It used to be a position held by former profs, and was an academic position.
    The whole idea of the president as a lobbyist for the university’s endowment is a recent phenomenon and a disturbing product of the ‘neo-liberalization’ of university.

  26. piece of the pie

    that is a lot of dough. I am not sure I am fully convinced, but I will assume it to be true unless proven otherwise. Compensation for his position is most likely comparable to other University presidents. I wonder what president of U of T makes? Much like a CEO position he is obviously compensated more than anyone in the organization.

  27. caitron

    hey everyone,
    i posted this question in another thread, but people were getting really silly and nobody answered my question. does anyone know how york determined the plan for the new schedule? under the academic remediation section on the website it says:
    As indicated above, when the fall term resumes, there will be 13 days of instruction (excluding courses taught on weekends). These 13 days will bring all courses to the equivalent of 11 weeks of instruction and they will be scheduled as follows:

    * Courses that meet on Monday: 3 class meets
    * Courses that meet on Tuesday: 3 class meets
    * Courses that meet on Wednesday: 2 class meets
    * Courses that meet on Thursday: 3 class meets
    * Courses that meet on Friday: 2 class meets

    does that mean one week we’ll have wednesday and friday off? or are they gonna re-jig the schedule or what? it’s a bit confusing.

  28. B

    Pally Wally – but what would you suggest Universities do to stay afloat? To grow? To invest in research and academia? If that old academic role was all well and good, why did it change?

  29. Pally Wally

    I think David Naylor actually makes less than most Univ. presidents around – but there has been a HUGE jump in their salaries in the last decade, as I was saying.

    You are right to make the CEO-UniPres comparison – the question is: when did the University [which isn’t supposed to have profit motives (at least not ones measured in dollars)] become a business?
    Is it wrong to resist these trends? Or should the knowledge produced at universities be judged solely on its pragmatic transfer into directly marketable forms?

  30. Andrew

    What does “neo-liberalization” of the university mean exactly? I have no idea, and I’ve spent most of my adult life in the academy.

  31. Pally Wally


    I have to run out – but for now I will say that the strike leaders have made explicit their opinion that this strike is ideologically motivated at stemming these trends.

    The few pieces regarding the ‘neoliberalization’ of the University track the process that has produced these changes better than I could hope to reproduce here.

  32. Ilia

    @CUPE member with child or ANYONE ELSE THAT KNOWS..

    is it true that if one unit accepts the offer the strike is over??

    or do all units have to say yes for the strike to end.

    If anyone knows, please answer! Thanks in advance

  33. MM


    Assuming they came up with those numbers based on how many classes have already been held (taking into account holidays and the start date of the semester), I think we would just have those two days off to even out the numbers.

  34. Ms Doan

    what will be will be

  35. Ms Doan

    but i feel like it’s time to get back to work…Tmr will be saved for essays

  36. CUPE member with child


    “neo-liberalization” of the university refers to many ongoing trends.

    First, by making university increasingly a ‘user-pays’ service that rellies on a higher proportion of tuition fees rather than government transfers (much like many might fear will happen with healthcare in Canada). This reduces access to those of lower socio-economic backrounds and leads towards education and ‘credentialism’ becoming a prerogative of the upper classes. The higher the degree of ‘user-pays’, the less access…

    Second, this term also applies to the concept that the puppose of universities is increasingly towards the research and sharing of ‘information’ that is marketable in a capitalist context, and the suppression of knowledge and analysis that attempts to contradict capitalism. As universities open up more to corporate sponsorship (and come to rely on it for funding) there’s increasing fear that any curriculae that might contradict the will of those corporations in particular, and capitalism in general, will be surpressed. There is thus a general trend for universities to increase emphasis on business and science programs, for example, and steer away from social sciences. These trends can be likened to similar excercises of power in the mass-media: contradict your advertisers and you’ll soon have the rug pulled out from under you. Nor need it be directly in relation to advertisers. Conrad Black for example openly declared that he would not have any articles in his papers that were anti-capitalism. He hired and fired editors accordingly.

    Third, in congruence with neo-liberalism is the running of universities much like a corporation rather than a public institution meant to serve the public good. Students become “income units” and their education becomes a matter of cost-efficiency towards being granted a credential. The responsabilities of educating them becomes increasingly “contracted-out” to cheaper labour. Tenure-track positions are on the decline while part-time work is on the increase (that some would liken to Walmart’s human-resources strategies). Management salaries become priveledged and coveted, and very highly paid, whereas those who actually make the product are paid below poverty-line wages. Better yet, find a way to have the students pay money to teach one another.

    These are some of the arguments I’ve heard, and I’m sure there are others. I’ve merely presented some of them here since you asked. I find a general pattern that people tend to agree with them or not based on their own socio-economic position and potential, i.e. those that stand to do very well think there’s nothing wrong with such a system (if they even acknowledge that it exists), whereas those who feel they are caught in it are very much dissillusioned by it.

  37. CUPE member with child


    I’ve heard that the strike will continue if any of the units reject the offer. I heard this at the GMM on Wednesday. I don’t know if it’s true. As far as I know, it’s up to the University Senate to decide when classes will resume, so as far as I know they may resume if only one or two units accept the offer.

    Please don’t take this information as guaranteed – it’s only what I’ve heard and do not yet have a means of veryfying it.

  38. york student

    @ CMWC, how are u so sure that the majority will vote no? have u spoken to a lot of cupe members or just the ones that are passionate about the strike and attend GMM meetings and such.

  39. CUPE member with child

    Pally Wally,

    I haven’t read the full article that you posted, but I think this passage from it is an accurate description of what ‘neo-liberalism’ is in general – whether people feel comforted or afraid of the trend:

    “neoliberalism seeks to subject every aspect of social life to the logic of the market, and to
    make everything into a commodity that can be privately owned and bought and sold for a profit.”

  40. CUPE member with child


    I’m not 100% sure that all 3 units will vote no, but I am confident that it is much more likely the case than not. I’ve spoken to union memberes on the picket lines, members in various departments, members at the GMMs and recently taken part in some forms of canvassing. By no means have I been able to talk to everyone, and it’s probably the case that I’ve talked with many more ‘active’ strikers than those in the so-called “silent majority”. So far I’ve found the vast majority to be in the ‘no’ camp. I’ve only come across a few, like cupedoll, who seem to be actively attempting to undermine the union and, in my opinion, themselves.

  41. Pally Wally

    I’m having a tshirt made:

    The “Silent Majority”
    Is Neither.

  42. CUPE member with child

    make me one too please 🙂

  43. jacky

    so mostly the rat vote will fail?

  44. Imogen

    Yeah, for some reason I highly doubt that the vote is going to be a ‘yes’

  45. FartyJones


  46. demarche

    re neo-liberal university etc.

    Agreed that there are some trends in universities that we should work against, such as the replacement of tenured professors with contract instructors.

    What frustrates many of us about CUPE 3903 is that their talent seems to be identifying real and significant problems, and pushing exactly the wrong solutions. I’ve asked this before here and never really gotten an answer, so I’ll try again.

    If CUPE is concerned about the replacement of tenure-track positions with contract positions, why don’t they demand that York create more tenured jobs that will be filled by open job searches, so that anyone can apply, like normal?

    Currently, CUPE is demanding that one kind of job (contract instructor) be converted into another kind of job (professor). Contract instructors have never been evaluated on many of the skills required to be a professor (research, administration, graduate supervision, getting grants, etc.), so why on earth should they be hired for such a job? Especially without competing against other qualified applicants for the job from outside York?

    This post echoes some of my earlier posts, so apologies for the repetition. But the question seems an important one to me. So often the discussion gets lost in grand abstractions like neo-liberalism, and no one addresses whether CUPE’s demands are actually acceptable solutions to these problems. What if the cure is worse than the sickness?

    As I’ve said before, CUPE’s solutions seem so far off that unfortunately they strike me as hypocritical, e.g., we’re fighting neoliberalism by getting tenure-track positions for ourselves through labour action instead of competing against applicants from other universities.

  47. ratkill.2k8

    well said demarche

  48. CUPE member with child


    you write, “Currently, CUPE is demanding that one kind of job (contract instructor) be converted into another kind of job (professor). Contract instructors have never been evaluated on many of the skills required to be a professor (research, administration, graduate supervision, getting grants, etc.), so why on earth should they be hired for such a job?”

    CUPE is demanding that a number of contract professors who have already completed a significant number of years of service (10+) at a certain course-load be ‘converted’ to tenure-track positions. That doesn’t mean that they are automatically given tenure. During the tenure-track process there is room for evaluation of the abilities that you speak of that they would be subjected to.

    The other side of the argument is that why would York rehire contract faculty for 10 years in a row (some of them over 20 years) and make them reapply for their jobs every 4 or 8 months (depending on the length of their courses). Furthermore, they get no pension whatsoever. This process is currently the envy of the private sector.

    Do you think it not important to address this situation?

  49. demarche

    CUPE mother with child,

    Absolutely, it is important to address the job security situation for contract instructors. I am in complete agreement with CUPE that this is a real problem, and so are most professors I know.

    But the question is whether giving tenure-track professorial positions to contract instructors, without having them compete against outside applicants, is a good solution.

    You didn’t really answer my question, as to why contract instructors should have tenure-track jobs set aside for them alone, instead of having them apply for tenure-track jobs and compete against outside applicants.

    You pointed out that tenure-track positions don’t guarantee tenure. But a tenure-track position gives people a teaching and research job for 5 years and then a very real shot at tenure. Why should contract instructors get this opportunity without competing against outside applicants? Especially since, as I said, they have never been evaluated on any of the criteria relevant to such a job? We want York to get the best professors, right?

    Something like a five-year contract, renewable contingent on academic need and good performance, is a much more reasonable solution to this problem. As job security goes, that is pretty good.

    The tenure system is in real danger these days, with so many positions being replaced by short-term contracts. If instead of hiring the best available Ph.D.’s for the diminishing number of tenured positions remaining, York starts handing them over to a union to distribute to members based on seniority, then York will be pretty much sunk as a serious research university.

    But I digress. My main question remains: why are CUPE instructors entitled to tenure-track research positions without competing against outside applicants to show that they’re the best ones for the job?

  50. CUPE member with child


    You write: “But a tenure-track position gives people a teaching and research job for 5 years and then a very real shot at tenure.”

    Are you suggesting that York can’t sufficiently evaluate a person’s performance after 10+ years as a contract faculty and then another 5 years of tenure track? Why shouldn’t someone have a shot at tenure if they get positive evaluations?

    As to your question about simply adopting more tenure track positions open to anybody – I’m all for this as well. Unfortunately the administration that CUPE is negotiating with doesn’t feel the same way as you and me either. They claim lack of money as their reason, but then they give themselves obscene salary raises. By CUPE negotiating conversions to tenure-track after 10+ years of service and withdrawing labour as pressure, it is the best means CUPE has at addressing both the decline in proportion of tenure track positions, job security for contract faculty with 10+ years of service, and an unwillingness of the administration to properly fund qualified teacher’s in the classroom – something YUFA has thus far not accomplished as much as is necessary.

    Also, I’m curious as to your handle – are you a member of the administration or YUFA?

  51. Moving on


    why would York rehire contract faculty for +10 / +20 years if they were not fit for the job? It just doesn’t make sense to me…

    I was also wondering whether contract faculty have the same access to funding/resources to conduct research as tenure profs? It is clear that to improve your credentials in academia as a faculty member, you have to conduct research and publish. How do contract faculty manage to achieve these objectives if their positions at the university are so tenuous and short-lived?

  52. Mike Oxbig

    im assuming this strike is going into february

  53. =)

    @mike: I just have this feeling if cupe members kill the rat…York will definitely come back to the table with a better offer it save their already ruined rep.


    Man who wants school? Just blaze and all is good:)

  55. CUPE MEMBER-#221

    Just to let everyone know..Most will vote ‘No,’ until we get what is needed.

  56. demarche

    @ cupe member with child,

    – “Are you suggesting that York can’t sufficiently evaluate a person’s performance after 10+ years as a contract faculty and then another 5 years of tenure track?”

    Not at all. I’m saying there is a limited number of tenure-track positions available. I don’t see why contract instructors should have privileged access to those positions, rather than applying for them in an open job search. It’s a completely misguided solution to the problem of job security.

    I feel like we’re missing each other’s points somehow.

    – “Also, I’m curious as to your handle – are you a member of the administration or YUFA?”

    YUFA, not admin. I’m not involved in the negotiations in any way. Just a prof concerned about my university. I started following this site because it’s pretty good as a central source for links to negotiation updates, etc., and ended up getting drawn in to the discussions.

    @ moving on,

    – “why would York rehire contract faculty for +10 / +20 years if they were not fit for the job? It just doesn’t make sense to me…”

    They are fit for the job they do, namely teaching. But they aren’t evaluated on things like research, graduate student supervision, getting grants, and so on, that are highly relevant to being a professor.

    I think that much of the disagreement on this issue stems from a misunderstanding of what professors actually do. Even on paper, teaching is just 40% of our job. The rest is research and administration. As time goes on, research and administration take up even more of your time. That’s why it’s a big mistake to think that with ten years of teaching behind you, you’re all set to be a prof.

    – “I was also wondering whether contract faculty have the same access to funding/resources to conduct research as tenure profs?”

    No, they don’t have the same degree of access. It is difficult for a contract instructor to maintain a top-level research program. I’ve been told that some do manage it, and if so, then all credit to them.

  57. theowne

    What do you teach, demarche?

  58. demarche

    Elsewhere I’ve had bad experiences with over-zealous strikers already. I’d rather limit the number of triangulation lines, since we’re all anonymous here anyway. Sorry.

  59. brutal

    york is all about fear tactics – this is well known, but now it is just so blatant. VOTE nO!!!!!

  60. YS


  61. saire

    Ys!u got it right!dont know about the porno and the weed though..however im loving the break!..im not loosing any money and neither am i taking summer school because i’m a3rd year biochem major and there arent any courses offered tht i require..i work longer hours,went on vacay to barbados and im keeping up with studying at a slow and steady pace..so vote no cupe!!! Everyone who has no life apart from school and studying i suggest u get a life, make a friend, take up a hobby? Enjoy your youth!..just a suggestion..take it easy guys 🙂

  62. CUPE member with child


    you write: “I feel like we’re missing each other’s points somehow.”

    I disagree – I answered your question about opening tenure track appointments and challenged you to explain to us why the evaluations you speak of would be insufficient after 10+ years of being contract faculty (teaching evaluations) and another 5 years of tenure track evaluations as well as the final evaluation on whether or not to actually give them tenure. You affirmed that this was indeed sufficient time to conduct evaluations. You then ask, why should some of them be priveleged to CUPE members – a question that I have already answered, but I’ll rephrase my answer and expand on it since you seem to have missed it the first time:

    The administration is unwilling to introduce the necessary number of new tenure track positions. YUFA is unable to pressure the university sufficiently to do so. CUPE has the power to withdraw its labour, but, as even the administration would agree, does not have the power to mandate open field tenure track positions that are not initially drawn from CUPE contracts — after all, the admin and CUPE are negotiating CUPE contracts. So, take your pick — convert a number of CUPE contract faculty who have over 10 years of teaching experience and who would then undergo 5 years of tenure track evaluations on all those qualities you’re concerned about, OR, have no increase in tenure-track positions at all (unless you can honestly say that the administration is suddenly going to declare a miracle in the availability of more tenure track positions).

    Also, I find it odd that you acknowledge to me that there is indeed at least 5 years of evaluation for non-teaching responsibilities in the tenure track, and then in the very same post but in reply to “Moving On” you ignore such evaluations in favour of suggesting that those given tenure would have only been evaluated on their teaching experience (and only from their years as contract faculty?). I find this to be selective and misrepresentational reasoning.

    Last, I also find it interesting that your handle is ‘demarche’ yet you don’t tow the official line of the group to which you are member (YUFA), but instead tow the line of the administration. Reminds me of those up and coming capitalists in 19th century England who so desperately wanted to be aristocrats…

  63. Thanks For Making My Degree A Joke

    Hey CUPE Members

    I just heard that Carleton’s TAs voted AGAINST striking during negotiations with the university, with the ongoing York strike being cited as a factor in the vote.

    This, coupled with the complete and total lack of public support for CUPE 3903, the failure of the grad student unionization drive at Queen’s and the tepid response at UofT on their strike vote shows that your little experiment in “demanding the impossible” shows that is doing a better job in destroying organized labour’s reputation at a university than any Pinkerton Agency Detective or NEOLIBERAL MEDIA CONSPIRACY ever could!

    It will be WICKED to see the province step in and force CUPE to take the university’s offer next month and effectively cripple the whinny, overprivileged & overthinking grads students who have hijacked an entire school year for 50000 people because they read a Naomi Klein book during undergrad and IT OPENED MY EYES, MAN

    Have you considered the fact that the CUPE exec. may be a bunch of agent provocateurs for the university? Maybe when they go on their fancy-pants vacations they are really drinking Dom and eating oysters with mean ol’ President Shokuir!

    PS though it is irrelevant, the salary figures for Shokuir being put out by CUPE are all wrong. Shokuir gets a government salary which is about 150k a year. You are counting bonuses, benefits and expense accounts in this stupid 300k figure. If that is the calculus you intend to use, then I can say that CUPE members make $63 an hour. Fair is fair here people.

  64. Jimmy

    Dear CUPE:

    I hope you like snow, because more is on the way.

    I will kick back, and watch is settle down and bury you. Then there is also the windchill 😀


  65. demarche

    @ cupe mother with child

    Well, I think there is more to be said on this topic, and I would be happy to discuss it. But if you’re starting in on the self-rightous rhetoric and insults that you seem to favour, on anonymous blogs anyway, then I’m not interested, and we’ll have to leave it at that.

  66. M.


    I am an undergrad, not a CUPE member, YUFA member – and I just wanted to say that I am in complete agreement with your arguments about contract faculty being moved in to tenure positions. If a contract teacher has been teaching at York for 10 years, it would be very nearly impossible that no tenured positions have opened up in their faculty in the 10 year period. With teaching experience at York, and a background of research and publishing to supplement their work history, why aren’t these contract professors applying and competing for these jobs along with everyone else who fulfills the necessary job requirements? I personally have been taught by two contract professors who became tenure track in the last two years (in two separate faculties) in that way.
    It just seems that moving teachers from CUPE to YUFA without any competition is negating the importance of national/international competition when filling a tenured professors position. All the teaching experience in the world does not bring assurance that research/publication is happening and that these CUPE members are on the top of their game outside of the university.
    CMWC seems incapable of arguing this point with anything approaching rational thinking, and without using CUPE rhetoric to back her up.

  67. M.

    You have been really misleading readers of this blog about what YUFA’s position is by quoting the YUFA Executive Committee and ignoring the fact that many YUFA members have publicly and loudly denounced the committee’s position. You should be a little clearer about where the YUFA statements you refer to are actually coming from.

  68. suck my ballsack YORK!

    @ YS

    lmao, true that! VOTE NO!!! HAHAhaa.

  69. Pally Wally

    No one wants to say this but – maybe ‘tenure’ is the problem.

    If you really want to think big picture and you hate the union; then you must also hate YUFA, tenure and the ivory tower. In short: abolish university altogether. At least as we know it.

  70. AndrewB

    @ M

    She can’t argue it, because if she said “Yes, they should have to apply like everyone else” she would be going against her unions agenda.

    Thing is, as a prof said earlier, if a contract member hasn’t become a tenure prof, or at least on the road to one, within 8 years, chances are best they are never going to get it.

    Plus I don’t get how hard this is to understand (for cupe). Teaching is 40% of the job. York does not look at grant getting, admin work or graduate study in contract faculty, they look at simple teaching.

    Funny thing is, she keeps going on about bringing in better teachers and a better deal will bring in better teachers, yet she is perfectly fine with CUPE members being given full time tenure jobs, rather then applying for it with other qualified members. That says to me, they know these people won’t get the job, so they are finding a way for them to.

  71. AndrewB

    Pally, you really need to get off this “get rid of University” shit, take off you tin hat and keep quiet. For someone who hates University so much, you sure are spending a hell of a lot of time in it.

  72. Pally Wally

    Andrew B,

    You need to get off your ‘posting on the internet makes a difference’ tip. Clearly you lack a fundamental grasp of power and politics; and what is more disappointing – a sense of play. If you don’t care for my opinion fine, but don’t act as though you’re somehow any better.

    Especially when the issue of ‘tenure’ being as ‘outdated’ as the ‘union’ is perfectly legitimate. Whither the university, son.

  73. Moving on

    Thank you Demarche and CMWC for your responses. However, I have a follow up inquiry:
    demarche, you stated that contract faculty “don’t have the same degree of access [to resources]. It is difficult for a contract instructor to maintain a top-level research program. I’ve been told that some do manage it, and if so, then all credit to them.”

    Seeing the trend of increasing casualization of labor, how are contract faculty expected to improve their credentials when they lack the support structures and resources to conduct research and improve their credentials? It seems like a lose-lose situation to me….

  74. Curious Yorkie

    Ok, I was just talking to a colleague of mine, and we were contemplating what will happen with this ratification and beyond.
    In our opinion, if Unit Two were to vote yes, the strike would still not end, because the other two units are most likely going to vote no, and classes cannot restart without the other two units agreeing. This is different from the last strike because back then the senate had NOT officially cancelled the classes like they have done this time around. So, even if Unit Two votes yes then York would have to strike a deal with the other two before ending the strike. Unit two voting Yes would just give York a stronger hold in the upcoming negotiations.
    If all three units vote no, then chances are that the strike will prolong till binding arbitration comes into play. York is not a fool to give in to the union’s demand for a 2 year contract. A binding arbitration would most likely represent a win on this particular front.

    My gut says we wont be back to school this week. Does anyone else feel that?

  75. demarche

    @ moving on

    – “Seeing the trend of increasing casualization of labor, how are contract faculty expected to improve their credentials when they lack the support structures and resources to conduct research and improve their credentials? It seems like a lose-lose situation to me….”

    I agree that increasing casualization is a real problem. If CUPE was demanding more tenure-track positions, open to all applicants, I would be 100% behind them.

    To answer your question, though: contract teaching positions are not meant to make people more qualified for tenure-track positions. If someone who has just gotten their Ph.D. doesn’t get a tenure-track job right out of graduate school (as is usually the case), and if they are serious about eventually getting a tenure-track job, then they go and get more experience at another university, for example in a postdoctoral position, which is a paid, 100% research position working with a professor, usually for one to four years. These positions are much easier to get than tenure-track positions. Or, in some fields you can get research positions in industry or government.

    Of course this often involves moving to a new city, working for less pay than a full-time contract instructor (but still, around $40K/year in a postdoctoral position, so not bad), and so on, so some people don’t do it. But that’s the career path you have to take if you want a real chance at getting a tenure-track position.

    If one of my graduate students told me that he or she wanted to be a professor, and planned to do this by taking on as much contract teaching as possible at York after graduation, and sticking at that until a tenure-track position came up, I would tell them that they were insane. That is just not how things go, because contract teaching adds nothing to your research skills, and so it does very little to make you a better applicant for tenure-track positions. And surely contract instructors know this.

  76. fenn

    No M., you have been doing the misleading (not CMWC) – YUFA exec’s motions reflect the many motions of support for CUPE passed at two special general member’s meetings which YUFA had before the holidays (and which were very well attended by engaged YUFA members on all sides of the debate) – furthermore, YUFA exec. was supported by YUFA steward’s council this past Friday (which represents YUFA members directly) to release these 3 motions to the media to counterbalance the (second)Lightman letter which is a representation of only a subset of YUFA members (and NOT the official YUFA position as lightman himself has said) – also, this letter is also signed by retired faculty who are NOT affected in any way by this strike and many Shulich faculty (a part of York which has no CUPE members) therefore, this letter is even more unrepresentative of the almost 1400 YUFA members. Get your facts straight before you publically discipline other posters – CMWC’s information is official. Since you are an undergrad, let me as a YUFA faculty member tell you that before you demand ‘research’ skills in contract faculty, you should begin by developing your own research skills and make sure your information is correct before you publically take on other posters.

    January 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm
    You have been really misleading readers of this blog about what YUFA’s position is by quoting the YUFA Executive Committee and ignoring the fact that many YUFA members have publicly and loudly denounced the committee’s position. You should be a little clearer about where the YUFA statements you refer to are actually coming from.

  77. demarche

    @ fenn

    In M’s defense, CMWC has written things like this:

    “YUFA recently unanimously voted in favour of a resolution calling on their members not to attempt to influence the votes of CUPE members. Did you attend this meeting? …. If you did attend, and the vote count is correct, why did you vote in favour and then come on here and do the opposite?”

    To anyone who doesn’t know that she’s talking about an executive meeting of around 10 people, this is misleading. I doubt that that was her intent. Evidently either she thinks I’m a member of the executive, or she doesn’t know it was an executive meeting. Presumably the latter.

    Also, at the recent well-attended YUFA general membership meeting where there was a vote on whether to remain neutral about the strike, according to the minutes the vote was 57 for neutrality, 78 against. So it’s fair to say that there is significant division (41%/59%) about the strike within the general membership of YUFA.

    Also, “let me as a YUFA faculty member tell you” that even on an anonymous blog, there’s no real need to try to smack down undergraduates expressing their opinions. Well done.

  78. fenn

    demarche – my “smacking down” finds no equal in the continual smacking down cupe members (as graduate students and contract faculty) have been experiencing in the patronizing tone and specious meritocratic argumentation of your continual postings here (as one example, see the exchage between you and the cupe members in this thread)- I’ll back off and leave the blog to its primary function of providing students a space to express their opinions if you will (and I’m happy to do so) – you do not speak for all YUFA members here and my post is to inject some diversity of YUFA opinion here – if undergrads feel free to express erroneous information, it is precisely because they are being fed misinformation by faculty members.

  79. demarche

    On the contrary, what I’m trying to do in my posts is provide information that undergraduates and maybe even some CUPE members can benefit from when evaluating the issues.

    In a previous post on this thread, for example, I explained that the usual career path to a tenure-track position is not loading up on contract teaching, but going to other universities for postdoctoral research positions or similar positions. Surely such things are relevant and informative, not “speciously meritocratic”.

    Anyway, my posts seem to be appreciated by many of the other readers, so one fenn is fine with me.

  80. fenn

    …and I suppose you, in your great tenured wisdom, are in a position to decide what information they all need and can benefit from – such great condescension – if you were really the great font of all such wisdom, then you would do a better job of representing such wisdom eg. your failure to mention that not all disciplines use the postdoctoral route to tenure track jobs and may in fact have very few postdocs – therefore, contract and sessional teaching does become the route to tenure track jobs across a variety of disciplines – anyway – I’m happy that you can fill some personal lack with your anonymous ‘informative’ and much ‘appreciated’ posts – just don’t imply that you represent the full complement of YUFA faculty opinion – especially if you can’t be bothered to come out to our meetings.

  81. demarche

    Well, there’s lots more to be said, but if this is your idea of a conversation, then farewell, my dear fenn!

  82. AndrewB

    CUPE members just don’t like being told that no matter how much work they do as part of CUPE, it won’t get them any closer to a prof position.

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