2 email items worth telling landed in my inbox Saturday night. The first was a shout-out for unit2s to rock the YES vote. Yay! Clearly, us contract faculty are not entirely without hearts, minds — or guts.
Dear Unit 2 Colleagues,
As you know, a supervised vote has been arranged by the Ministry of Labour in an effort to end the 3 month long CUPE 3903 strike at York University . Members of CUPE 3903 are being asked to vote on a settlement offer tabled recently by York University .
As Unit 2 members and contract faculty teaching colleagues at York , we are writing to ask your support by voting “yes” to the settlement offer. Only a “yes” vote will end the strike.
There are many urgent reasons to vote “yes” to the settlement offer.
Only a “yes” vote will secure the terms of the current offer, including a 9.25% pay increase, 17 new “teaching stream” appointments at a salary of $70,000, 5 tenure-track conversions, improvements to funds and paid leaves, and a significant expansion of our health benefits program. It is vital to lock in these gains now during a time of economic unertainty. While many other workers face wage cuts and layoffs amid prospects of economic deflation and depression, the 10.7% increase in the value of our copllective agreement will keep us the best paid in our sector.
Only a “yes” vote will return our students to the classroom in time to salvage the academic year. If the strike continues, irreparable damage will be done
to the academic year and will soon result in the cancellation of the summer term — and further job losses for the many Unit 2 members who rely on income
generated by summer teaching.
Only a “yes” vote will enable us to recover 90% of the income we have lost during the strike, as part of the back-to-work protocol included in the settlement offer. If the strike continues we will not be able to recover this lost income. A longer strike will also result in lost EI benefits for many members who rely on them because they will not have worked enough hours to qualify.
The union executive has told members that rejecting the offer will help us get a better deal, but this is not the case. It will only prolong the strike.
The executive tells members that the supervised vote has interrupted a round of tremendously productive bargaining, that a settlement was near and that if we reject the offer we will have another opportunity to resume and equitably conclude bargaining at the table. This is not the case. Instead, in the past week the strike organizers have directed the bargaining team to backtrack on all progress and all agreements made during bargaining and revert to a set of demands dating to November 5th — before the strike began. This directive, in favour of impossible demands, means that a rejection of the settlement offer will undo everything gained at the table — and will also expose us to serious charges of bad faith bargaining. Rejecting the settlement offer will put us further from a settlement than before the strike started.
Only a “yes” vote will end the strike and secure the gains we have made to our collective agreements.
It is not necessary for all three bargaining units to vote “yes”. Even one unit voting “yes” will end the strike, just as it did during the 2000-01 strike, when a “yes” vote from Unit 2 members forced the sides to reach a negotiated solution within 48 hours.
Only a “yes” vote will help mitigate damage already done to York ‘s reputation and our teaching careers. Only a “yes” vote will save the academic year and prevent the damage to our students from escalating beyond repair. Only a “yes” vote will help turn the tide on the the 15% drop in undergraduate applications to York for next year, reported widely in the media — a frightening prospect given that declining enrolment will result in Unit 2 job losses. Only a “yes” vote will secure the gains made to our collective agreements. Only a “yes” vote will end the strike.
As Unit 2 members it is vital that we make our voices heard. Voting “yes” is not only in our best interest — it is also a genuine rescue mission for our students. But we can accomplish this only if we come out and vote in numbers large enough to make a difference. Every “yes” vote counts urgently — for the sake of our students and our collective agreements.
Let’s do the right thing. Vote “yes” to save the academic year and end the strike.
Please forward widely.
RATIFICATION VOTE DATES AND LOCATION:
DATES: Monday January 19, 2009 and Tuesday January 20, 2009. Voting both days from 9-1 and 3-7.
LOCATION: The Novotel Hotel at the North York Civic Centre ( 3 Park Home Ave. just north of Yonge and Sheppard)
Voting is by SECRET BALLOT and is conducted by the Ministry of Labour.
The second item, on the other hand, saddened me. It was an email from a fellow contract faculty whom I’ve come to thinking highly of. Long story short, this contract faculty revealed intentions to vote YES — and was told not to expect working at York next year. Consequently, this one contract faculty has had enough and will no longer apply at York. Begs questions how many other contract faculty have already had it, won’t even wait to lose their jobs due to declining enrollment expected next year — and won’t be bothered voting this Monday.