Fidgeting While York Burns

Hampton’s NDPs sure were talking tough today.  Fighting words.  All defiant.  All 8 of them.

Guided by Hampton’s tone and fiery rhetoric, NDP stalwards will likely delay the Liberal bill more than a couple days.  More like a couple weeks.  They can’t stop it, though.  However fiery the NDP rhetoric, it amounts to fidgeting while York burns.

And once we 3903s finally do get legislated back to work — then what?  Will we just lie down for it?  Get our routed drooping backsides back to work in full spirits of civil obedience?

Hard to say.  Due to how furious we seem to be right now.  As if it had been York refusing to realistically bargain these past 3 months.  Rather than us 3903s bragging demanding everything impossible so that nobody — including mediators — could conceive sitting across from us.  So that this academic year would get so jeopardized, York would have no option but capitulating every impossibility we demanded in the first place.

As if demanding the impossible, refusing to bargain, returning to asking the impossible and, only when threatened by legislation, bargaining at the last split second could ever mean it was York refusing to bargain.  Hell.  Even threatened by legislation at that final split second — our bargaining team still wasn’t authorized to bargain.  Our bargaining team was supposed to backtrack.  Track all the way back to November 5th.  The day before the strike.

That’s why we expect the Supreme Court to rescue us.  Since, to our way of thinking?  Pretending to bargain for a split second after we’d already lost means it was York refusing to bargain.  It means the deadlock was faked.  It means employers will generally begin using government to legislate unions back to work — just by being intransigent.

Let’s get real.  York did not refuse to bargain.  York merely refused to have its time wasted.  Even the original mediator refused to have more time wasted.  It was only in the scowling face of our intransigence that nobody could imagine bargaining.  And, under circumstances so uniquely instigated by our loco 3903 local — no legislated initiative can be considered a general measure against more conventional organized labour.  Lest we forget — there’s plenty evidence even CUPE national has had too much of us.

However, seeking to challenge the Liberals’ bill legally is the least some of us 3903s intend to do.  Because some of us are that ideologically committed.  It doesn’t matter how no government or institution practices “neo-liberalism” in this day and age.  It doesn’t matter how, in fact, we are the closest there is to a neo-liberal youth movement.  Striking out as a leisure ruling-elite to better exploit the fruits of student labour — the very means of student productivity.  None of that matters.  Our most committed 3903 ideologues will continue striking out — regardless how defeated and humiliated.

So what, though?  Will the general membership follow our formerly beloved ideologues?  Sure — we general members turned out to follow 3903 ideological leadership when they had us and themselves convinced what winners they were.  But now?  After such spectacular public spanking?  Not so likely.  Because now all that ideological committment comes across charming as loser sores.  Not appetizing.  And that’s why cracks beween our ideological leadership and our more general membership begin to gape.  As the following exchange attests.

More general member:

I want to lend my support to what [nameless1] is saying.  We are being legislated back.  There is little chance of stopping that now, although we can try to influence the contract that results.  I think extending an olive branch would be a better strategy than poking people in the eye.

Once we are sent back it would be unwise and irresponsible (and illegal!) for the executive to counsel individual members to defy this legislation and risk the fines ($2,000 per day, per person – strict individual liability, which means you pay and the union cannot reimburse you); it would be equally unwise and irresponsible for exec to bankrupt this union by subjecting it to fines ($25,000 per day) and to completely ruin its reputation.  It was nice to read in this morning’s Star that Tyler Shipley has said the executive will not be endorsing any wildcat strike.  I assume that the Executive will hold to that and that the gates, trucks, signs, flags, and cash flow to strike actions will disappear.  I also assume that the Executive will actively tell members who wildcat to return to work – as the law dictates it must.

But, hey, if you want to disobey the law and pay the fines and suffer the jail time as an individual, then I think there’s a line forming behind [nameless2] and [nameless3].  I assume they’ll be going first.

Generic ideologue:

If you read the history of Canadian resistance you will understand that laws tend to be (a) flexible, (b) subject to change through resistance and legal challenges, and (c) subject to enforceability. When enforcement officials have decided it is in their best interest to proceed with charges they have been constrained by their ability to lay charges and proceed through the courts system to achieve convictions. In short, the historical precedent is that a few visible leaders usually get nailed with charges that may or may not stick. The capacity to prosecute large numbers of rank-and-file members does not exist.

More general member:

My view is that for civil disobedience to successfully defy a Canadian law it requires:

(a) A cause that the public and the participants feel is just.

The right to strike for 90 days and to fiddle about at negotiations by ‘waiting until they just give us everything’ isn’t a just cause, sorry – not in the public’s view, not in mine.

(b) Wide-scale action and allies.

I doubt we would be able to find 100 members willing to defy legislation.  We might not even find 50.  I won’t be joining you.  We’re dreaming if we think any CUPE local is coming to our aid, not after the way we have consistently pissed on National in this strike.

(c)  Time.

Our lawyer tells us that a SCC challenge on the BC Health case took 5 years to wend its way through the courts.  A Court challenge does not stay the back to work legislation.  Court challenge or not, we have to go back.  (If you don’t believe me, ask our lawyer – who apparently you don’t believe either.)

(d)  Money.

We don’t have any.  I don’t have any.  Do you?

However, I won’t be participating in any civil disobedience this time around – especially not to cover the asses of the CUPE 3903 aristocracy who have made bad decision, after bad decision, after bad decision.  The mediator, our lawyer, CUPE National, and goodly number of people on hand Friday night told the Exec/BT to wrap up a deal or expect back to work legislation the next morning.  As usual, the BT/Exec knew better than all these people.  The  BT/Exec decided that all these people were wrong, that there was little chance of BTWL. Guess what?  It didn’t work.  It cost us a few bucks too.  You lost what little was left of my confidence with that incredibly ill-advised move.



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53 responses to “Fidgeting While York Burns

  1. york sucks

    First comment.!!! lol r u really expecting me to read all that?

  2. York is not U

    York is money

    York ❤ money

  3. lion

    guyz… this strike is not going anywhere!!!

  4. ..its over

    Its over. We’re back by Monday feb. 2 for sure, and we will work like animals with no breaks until June.

  5. Sshmr

    “The mediator, our lawyer, CUPE National, and goodly number of people on hand Friday night told the Exec/BT to wrap up a deal or expect back to work legislation the next morning. As usual, the BT/Exec knew better than all these people. The BT/Exec decided that all these people were wrong, that there was little chance of BTWL. Guess what? It didn’t work. It cost us a few bucks too. You lost what little was left of my confidence with that incredibly ill-advised move.”

    And that neatly sums up the entire strike.

  6. Jeff

    Just a quick correction, a lawsuit COULD stop legislation is an injunction is granted: (Look at comment 5 by Mr. Doorey)

  7. TRUTH

    Arise, you prisoners of starvation!
    Arise, you wretched of the earth!
    For justice thunders condemnation:
    A better world’s in birth!
    No more tradition’s chains shall bind us,
    Arise you slaves, no more in thrall!
    The earth shall rise on new foundations:
    We have been nought, we shall be all!
    ‘Tis the final conflict,
    Let each stand in his place.
    The international soviet
    Shall be the human race
    ‘Tis the final conflict,
    Let each stand in his place.
    The international working class
    Shall be the human race

    We want no condescending saviors
    To rule us from their judgment hall,
    We workers ask not for their favors
    Let us consult for all:
    To make the thief disgorge his booty
    To free the spirit from its cell,
    We must ourselves decide our duty,
    We must decide, and do it well.
    ‘Tis the final conflict,
    Let each stand in his place.
    The international soviet
    Shall be the human race
    ‘Tis the final conflict,
    Let each stand in his place.
    The international working class
    Shall be the human race

    No saviour from on high delivers,
    No faith have we in prince or peer.
    Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
    Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
    E’er the thieves will out with their booty,
    And to all give a happier lot.
    Each at his forge must do their duty,
    And we’ll strike the iron while it’s hot.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race.
    So comrades, come rally,
    And the last fight let us face.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race

    Solidarity Forever!

    Demand the Impossible

    Viva la Revolution
    Go CUPE Go

  8. Finally

    Lets just have one BIG laugh out loud at CUPE 3903’s expense.

    Ready, on the count of three:


    Fail of the decade. Fail of the century. Dare i say, Fail of the millennium?

    They wasted 3 months of their lives, out in the blistering cold, picketing, not getting paid. And all for nothing. Hahaha OWNED bitch, OWNED!!

  9. LOL

    Lol u know, i was just going to ask where the hell TRUTH was, to make another hilarious, radical post (complete with inspirational quotes and all); AND THERE HE IS!!

    3 cheers for truth, for keeping us entertained with his ridiculous comments!!!

    Hip hip, HOORAY
    Hip hip, HOORAY
    Hip hip, HOORAY

  10. Let it burn...

    …With everything students have put up with (even before the strike) and being ‘Yorked’

  11. I agree

    We were ‘Yorked’ before the strike
    We were ‘CUPEd’ during the strike
    We will continue to be ‘Forked’ after the strike
    Let it all go…it’s what u get for going to York. *sigh*

  12. TRUTH

    Here I am, the same TRUTH. Let me say it again in case you failed to mention, CUPE will fight this hideous imperialist legislation and CUPE will defeat the capitalist monster. We will not surrender comrades. Our strong lines of solidarity will continue to embarrass the imperialist ultra right wing monsters and their agenda

    This is a video to boost moral and make us even stronger. This video shows our strength, goal and determination

    Solidarity Forever

    Viva la Revolution
    Go Cupe Go

  13. UnderGrad Int'l

    Just go back to school and study. Gee. “York” all the education you can get.

  14. Let it burn...

    Yeah, studying’s going to mean a lot when you have those four little letters on your diploma. York it, I should have just switched in first year (word to the wise, youngsters)

  15. jacky

    so are we still sure we will be back on the 2nd? or cupe will do something about it? to get what they want

  16. I like your commentary, but I have to say…’s looking unlikely this will take a couple of weeks.

  17. Reasonable Person


  18. JWC

    After reading this article its good to see that some Cupe Member’s are accepting the ending of this strike with some class and dignity.

    On the other hand, theres always members that are willing throw dignity out the window… (ahem… TRUTH)

  19. Yorkie

    When do debates and so on start tomorrow? 1 o’clock again?

  20. caitron

    why is there a variable/questionable amount of time for BTWL to go through? i don’t understand why some people are saying it could take a couple days and some are saying up to a couple weeks. i know the NDP is voting against it, but what are the factors that determine the amount of time it will take to go through? does anyone know? thanks!

  21. Yorkie

    It depends on how long the NDP wants to debate the issue. So it could take long as 2 weeks, could be sooner.

  22. ram

    NDP is the only one looking out for us. The students should be all happy.

    YorkU = Sh*t School

  23. Disaffected Yufite


    The variable: how long eight NDP politicians intend to talk.

    If Hampton said three days, then assume he and his colleagues plan to register objections during the second and third reading.

    Hopefully they won’t put us through any more than that, and we might all be back to school Thurs.

  24. ram

    you mean monday.

  25. Toe Nails

    I can’t believe we’re going to be working like dogs for the next couple of months. No breaks, just intense studying. This is going to drive us crazy!!! What was the purpose of a reading week again?? So that we can get a break from studying! Who actually reads during reading week?

    I hope you stocked up on your redbulls. Deactivated your facebook accounts. Suspend your cellphone service. Quit your jobs (or requested less shifts). Say bye to your friends and HELLO to the library.

    Good luck to us all.

  26. Confused and Exasperated

    @Toe Nails
    OMG… after all this time off we’re going to have to get the education we paid for! Considering most undergrads do they’re assignments the day before anyway, it probably isn’t gonna change all that much, lets be honest here.

  27. Iris

    Prof just emailed me, she said we would most probably be back by this wednesday, as she says NDP is too weak etc etc. Be prepared!

  28. Iris

    Am I the only one who thinks a 24 hr notice is too short and inconvenient?

  29. Yorkie

    24 hrs is definitely not enough.

    The NDP may be weak in numbers but they certainly can talk. I wouldn’t count on Wednesday. Would be pretty stupid to debate it one day then totally change the next day.

  30. Ms Don

    Wed? fine w/ me. And Im just wondering if my Cupe TA will give me a proper turtorial as before.

    Can anyone tell me if we still have a summer term provided we are going back to school mid this wk?


  31. Yorkie

    They haven’t cancelled anything. Read the latest Senate policy.

  32. Ms Don

    @ Toe Nails,

    i dont know what to say, yea its gonna be tough. but everyone tends to come up w a nice-n-neat solution in these difficult times. stay strong n dont be panic.

  33. ram

    As I said before, once I go back, I am expecting my TA to give me a blow job.

    This is too much. I have had enough.

  34. Iris


    As disrespectful and crude that sounded, I actually laughed.

  35. ram

    24 hours is too short of notice.

    I mean, for people who live in Toronto and the GTA, this MAY be inconvenient, but it is doable at least.

    However, I don’t understand why any international student would go back home. I mean, if you live in the US and can find a cheap flight, sure why not? However, if you live in India, China, Europe, or Australia et cetera, you should realize that no matter when school was set to start, it would be very likely that you would not make it on time. For example, flight delays, lack of flights leaving host country, or other logistical reasons…So the 24 hour notice will be of little to no value, for those under such circumstances. However, I don’t see why anyone would NEED to pay for a plane ticket home. To stay at home and complain to your family? To add another expense? I mean, if you have an apartment or rez room, then live there…I don’t see why you need to go home…

    (For those, who left the country during christmas holidays and didn’t return…I think your decision was reasonable)

    Anyways, it will affect those who have had P/T jobs etc….Employers will have to deal with it. School ALWAYS COMES FIRST. Too bad!

  36. Flying J

    Hey CUPE 3903,

    I haven’t witnessed a beating this bad since Reginald Denny. HAHAHA. Justice is bitter sweet. I hope the craziest of you crazies actually do go to jail. Less crazy people on the street is a good thing!

  37. Sshmr

    @ ram

    The school being on strike was not supposed to be an excuse for anyone to leave. Everyone was supposed to remain on call – after all, a resolution technically could have reached at any time. Besides, any international student who kept up with the news would have booked a flight as soon as McGuinty called for BTWL on Saturday, and if school starts Thursday, that’s a good 5 days notice.

    Besides, an extra day taken here is one extra day into the summer.

  38. Haiden


    So, let’s recap…

    After all that striking and whining and crying and tantrum throwing… you’re being dragged back to work and are probably going to still be in the same position you were when the strike started…. wow

    (standing ovation)
    CUPE you guys are either riding the small school bus to work (the one with all the special kids in it)
    have nothing better to do

  39. Haiden

    @ TRUTH

    Get your hippie ass back to work

  40. scared

    anyone know whats gona happen next??

  41. More dialogue tidbits from CUPE, posted in response to one of the messages above

    When we lowered our demands to 8.3% and took off non-monetary stuff
    like whistleblower protection, we did so in the context of
    “bargaining”, where bargaining means that your last action is not
    your final action. Our very act of lowering demands was a message
    (one that was also stated very explicitly by the BT to the mediators
    at the time) that we want to end the strike with a dialogue rather
    than with a bottom line or ultimatum. Even the so-called ‘radicals’
    that you and others like to cariacature wrote difficult messages
    expressing support for this movement. The employer’s non-response,
    and the wave of genuine disappointment felt by our members, was
    documented on this list by the minute.

    Bargaining is deal making, dialogue, and compromise, and I really do
    believe that our union was willing to bargain even after we dropped
    crucial demands like offset language and came down to 8.3.%. But with
    no movement from the employer on the last day, no face to face
    communication, no message telling us that if we do X it will do Y, I
    do not understand how you can possibly think that there was a
    dialogue going on and that it was us who failed to live up to it.

    Your anger that we could have moved on unit 2 demands is misdirected
    and it skirts the issue: once again, our 8.3% offer was not presented
    as our final position, but as one step in a process that requires
    dialogue and compromise from both sides. The painful fact that you
    seem reluctant to acknowledge is that it was the employer who
    constructed our pass as our final position by neither reciprocating
    movement nor indicating that it was willing to move higher than its
    Jan 7th offer. It was not us who slammed the door, but our invited

    You pointed out the colossal cost of the strike. But you do not
    acknowledge how much of this cost was spent waiting for the employer
    to bargain with us. You suggestion that we should give up collective
    bargaining so that we can do activism for “a real campaign to
    change…the neoliberal university” doesn’t make sense to me. We are
    a union insofar as we defend the collective bargaining process with
    every resource we can muster. It is true that the smallest resistance
    is dwarfed by the time, energy and resources required to mount it.
    But that does not mean the resistance is futile and wasteful. We are
    defending our membership from concessions, addressing problems our
    members face, and trying to defend the collective bargaining process
    that is essential to a democratic society.

  42. ram

    @ all.
    Above posts under my name are FAKE. I am a person that tries to maintain ethical and civilized standards in the comments that i write here.
    @ whoever impersonates me
    PLEASE, I request to stop this abominable gesture. This is certainly not funny.

  43. TRUTH

    (I’m just impersonating TRUTH)

    Can you trust *anything* that’s written on this site? Anything at all? There is complete anonymity and zero accountability.

    You can’t even be sure of Cupe Doll’s posts! Is he revealing a clear picture of internal cupe or just the part that he likes to pick on?

  44. fed up

    24 hours is an ample amount of time. If people were stupid enough to leave town indefinitely, they should have been paying attention, at least for the past week or so. It’s obvious that this is getting close to a time when a return to class will occur. People have had fair warning. For those who are late, there’s absolutely no excuse.

  45. iatis

    i’m an international student… i’m stilll overseas, i had no intentions of sitting around waitin for claases to start! 24 hours isn’t enough for a university with so many international students.

    who knows for sure if its actually gonna start on feb 2nd?

  46. iatis

    secondly why should i waste time sitting around doing nothing, and spending money on rent?

    what if its the only chance per year that i get to see my family?

    its been almosy three months thats 1650 for my rent…
    i’m not getting a refund from york for that!!!

    are you honsetly saying that i should have been sat in my room from november 5th in the off chance that classes would start?

  47. scared

    what does “royal assent” mean?

  48. joe

    Technically, it means that it needs to be approved by the Queen.

    In reality, it just means that the lieutenant governor has to sign the bill for it to officially become law after 3rd reading. It shouldn’t take any extra time after the bill has been passed.

  49. E

    I will not be voting Liberal in the next provincial election as they took too long to do anything, even sending their top mediator wasnt done until things look bleak.

    I will not be voting NDP, because for all the stuff they say about helping students, they were exposed for the bullshit politicians they are. I feel bad for the contract faculty (not TAs, but the lecturers) that have not resolved anything. But blame your union leaders as well as York Admin for that. The time has passed and the students are the only ones suffering now.

    I will not be voting Conservative, because i dont believe in some of their other issues, but more importantly they have historically shown no love at all towards students and post-secondary education in general.

    So who’s left???
    Some independent party will be getting my vote in the next provincial election.
    And i urge you all to do the same and show Mr. McGuinty, Mr. Hampton and Mr. Tory that they have failed as public servants and deserve to lose their jobs.

  50. disappointed

    it seems that people here are more immature than i thought…is this what university is all about?

  51. ram

    Well, just because you are away from your apt or whatever, it doesn’t mean you are rent free. Be warned, that you are still liable for rent. Rent just doesn’t go away if you aren’t living at the residence for an extended period of time. So, you still have to pay.

    My point is, do not complain that you can’t get back to Canada within 24 hours. Too bad. You should have chosen to go to U of T, McGill or a good school in your home country. YorkU is not a tier-1 school. Don’t expect to get good treatment.

  52. fed up

    iatis, it’s been clear for the past week to ten days that this is reaching a conclusion, one way or the other. You should have been making plans to return. If you haven’t done so, it’s your own stupid fault. And seriously, how are you not paying your rent simply because you went home overseas?? You still owe that $$.

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