Important links regarding the CUPE 3903 strike

SIGN NOW! Online petition: President Lenton: Settle with CUPE 3903!

Official sites:

Labour Updates (official York University website)

CUPE 3903 website

CUPE 3903 Strike Bulletin Issue #1

CUPE 3903 Strike Bulletin Issue #2

CUPE 3903 Strike Bulletin Issue #3

CUPE 3903 Strike Bulletin Issue #4

CUPE 3903 Strike Bulletin Issue #5

Passed motions:

Motion of non-confidence by the YFS, May 10, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the FGS Council, May 10, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the Development Studies Graduate Student Association, May 9, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the YUGSA Council, April 30, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the LA&PS Faculty Council, April 30, 2018

Two motions by the Department of Social Science, April 30, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the ComCult Graduate Student Association, April 27, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the Faculty of Education Faculty Council, April 25, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the Department of Sociology at LA&PS, April 25, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the Science & Technology Studies Graduate Student Association, April 21, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the Glendon Faculty Council, April 20, 2018

Motion of non-confidence by the Department of English at LA&PS, April 18, 2018

Two motions by the Department of Humanities, March 14, 2018

Two motions by the Glendon Faculty Council, March 2, 2018

Statements and open letters:

Statement to York’s Senate – Senator Ricardo Grinspun, June 14, 2018

An Open Letter to Kathleen Wynne, May 16, 2018

Statement by YUGSA: Kaplan’s Report Misses the Mark on GA Cuts, May 7, 2018

Statement by YUFA: York U admin faces mounting criticism as summer term threatened by strike, May 2, 2018

Statement by CUPE 3903 Member, Devin Clancy, at Senate Meeting, April 26, 2018

Statement by Ricardo Grinspun at Senate Meeting, April 26, 2018

Statement from the Department of Cinema and Media Arts, AMPD, April 25, 2018

Open letter to President Lenton by YUFA Executive Committee, April 20, 2018

YUFA members and remediation: Our rights, extra remuneration, and more, April 19, 2018

Statement by Justin Podur, YUFA Chief Negotiator, April 18, 2018

Statement by CUPE 3903 Member, Devin Clancy, at Senate Meeting, April 12, 2018

Second open letter to Minister Hunter, April 10, 2018

Letter to our Students from colleagues at the Faculty of Education, April 9, 2018

VOTE NO! YUGSA recommends its CUPE members reject York’s latest offer, March 30, 2018

Open letter from Osgoode Strike Support Committee, March 28, 2018

Letter to President Lenton by The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, March 27, 2018

Statement by YUGSA: York must bargain a fair deal with all units of CUPE 3903, March 21, 2018

Statement by the School of Human Resource Management, March 20, 2018

Statement by the Department of Psychology, March 20, 2018

Open letter to Minister Hunter, March 19, 2018

Open letter to President Lenton in support of Conversion Program, March 19, 2018

Statement by the Faculty of Cinema and Media Arts, March 18, 2018

FES Faculty members statement concerning GAs (CUPE 3903 Unit 3), March 15, 2018

Open letter from STS graduate students and alumni, March 14, 2018

YFS statement regarding the CUPE 3903 Strike, March 14, 2018

Statement to York’s Senate by Senators, March 12, 2018

Open letter to York History re: continuation of classes, March 12, 2018

Critical Disability Studies students and alumni response to the CUPE 3903 strike, March 8, 2018

An open letter to FES Dean by Master’s students, March 7, 2018

Open letter to colleagues from the Faculty of Education, March 7, 2018

Honorific professors issue open letter to York admin, March 7, 2018

OCUFA issues open letter to York University President Rhonda Lenton, March 6, 2018

E-mail to students from Glendon POLS Chair, March 5, 2018

YUFA statement on Employer’s ‘SRC’ bargaining proposal, March 3, 2018

Cross-Campus Alliance to York admin: ‘It’s time to negotiate a fair deal with CUPE 3903’, February 28, 2018

Discussion papers:

On the Matter of “Open” Searches, Academic Excellence, and Student Success: A Radical Proposal, April 2, 2018

To Convert or Not To Convert, That is the Question: The CUPE 3903 Strike and Precarious Academic Labour, March 20, 2018

Media:

NDP thwarts government’s two attempts to pass back-to-work legislation for striking York University staff (Toronto Star), May 7, 2018

Ontario government introduces legislation that would end York University strike (CP24), May 7, 2018

York students do deserve better – That’s why instructors are on strike, April 23, 2018

The rising cost of high-income administrators at York (Excalibur), April 20, 2018

Corporate Canada now controls more than one-third of all seats on university boards across Ontario (PressProgress), April 16, 2018

York University’s 50,000 students are trapped in a time warp
(Toronto Star), April 13, 2018

Striking contract workers vote no to latest York University offer, union says (CBC Toronto), April 9 ,2018

Striking York U staff reject university’s latest offer (CTV Toronto), April 9, 2018

York University strike: three big sticking points (Now Toronto), April 4, 2018

Union for full-time faculty at York U accuses school of deliberately misleading public (CP24), March 29, 2018

Union says forced ratification vote is ‘shameful,’ calls on York U to return to table (CP24), March 28, 2018

Is York University really running as usual? (YUFA via Newswire) March 27, 2018

York University Strike: Was the school right to continue classes? (Maclean’s), March 24, 2018

York University students stage occupation to force labour talks (Toronto Star), March 23, 2018

Talks collapse; no end in sight to strike by York University (Canadian Press), March 21, 2018

Minister urges York University, union to try to reach deal on strike (Toronto Star), March 21, 2018

Strike by 3,000 CUPE 3903 academic workers to continue after York University refuses to continue bargaining (NewsWire), March 20, 2018

Students confused, frustrated as York University strike enters third week (Toronto Star), March 16, 2018

Striking to win (Jacobin), March 15, 2018

Striking contract faculty at York accuse university of ‘needlessly prolonging’ work stoppage (CP24), March 14, 2018

Man gets blocked from crossing York U picket line after receiving emergency call to pick up girlfriend (Global News), March 12, 2018

University vice-chancellors are paid far more than public sector peers (Guardian), March 11, 2018

York University on strike: Why it keeps happening again and again (Maclean’s), March 9, 2018

York University Special Senate Meeting – What the hell happened? (Medium), March 9, 2018

York University rejects counter-offer from CUPE, strike continues (CBC), March 6, 2018

Contract staff represented by CUPE begin strike at York University
(Canadian Press), March 5, 2018

An Open Letter to Premier Wynne Reply

May 16, 2018

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario

Dear Premier Wynne,

I am aware that you are in an election campaign but I don’t believe this should prevent you from acting, on the contrary.

Ontario’s second largest university, York University, is in a profound crisis, as I have already written to you and the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

A self-appointed, unrepresentative and imbalanced Board of Governors, overwhelmingly rejected by students, staff and faculty, is abusing its power in an attempt to bust a legitimate union. Their tactics are the equivalent of a disguised lock-out, and they are willing to destroy the university in the process.

When can we expect to see you and the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development at York University to confront this illegitimate and abusive Board?

A disguised lock-out

Other governments are able to assume their responsibilities and intervene. Faced with a similar abuse of power by senior administration at the Université du Québec àTrois-Rivières (UQTR), the Quebec Liberal government held a cabinet meeting and the Minister of Higher Education, Hélène David, immediately presented the President of UQTR with an ultimatum to end the lockout and get back to the negotiating table.

This is a very good example of what could be done. It is not too late for you to act. We have been waiting already 10 weeks for your government to act meaningfully.

We cannot wait weeks and weeks again until after the elections are over.

Associations representing 56,000 York students have lost confidence in the Board and the President

The situation at York University is much more serious than the one at UQTR. The York University Graduate Student Association (YUGSA) representing all of York’s almost 6,000 graduate students and the York Federation of Students (YFS) representing approximately 50,000 students at York have passed votes of non-confidence in the Board of Governors and President Lenton.

Five faculty councils (Glendon, Education, Environmental Studies, Graduate Studies and Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and numerous departments and departmental student associations have adopted votes of non-confidence in the Board of Governors and the senior administration.

This wave of rejection is unprecedented. The message is loud and clear: the only way to move forward is to replace the Board and the President.

Your government is responsible for ensuring that public funds are used respectfully

Your government funds York University on a per-student basis, from hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development oversees Ontario universities to ensure that, in return for this funding, they deliver quality courses to their students.

The Board of Governors and administration are demeaning York courses and degrees by offering full course credit for only 60-70% of coursework. They are shamelessly intimidating instructors to comply. As professors, we cannot in good conscience be complicit with this kind of educational fraud. It goes against all our principles as teachers, and all the educational values of a university.

York University has been given full funding; it cannot be allowed to deliver 60-70% of its course content. The Ministry cannot allow York University to undermine with impunity the academic quality of its courses.

Your government must hold the York University Board and administration accountable for their misuse of public funds.

We need a new Board and administration

This Board and administration have lost contact with the educational purpose of a university. They are not elected and see themselves as accountable to no one.

Rather than resign in the face of these massive votes of non-confidence, they are brazenly seeking to intimidate students and instructors and impose senseless measures that make a mockery of academic integrity. They are allowing the situation to rot, with no end in sight.

Why have you, as Premier, following Québec Minister David’s example, not convoked a meeting with York University’s Board and President, and gone yourself as Premier to York University with your Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, to present them with an ultimatum. At UQTR, professors and students formed a guard of honour to welcome Minister David.

I implore you as Premier to help us put York University back together again as a functioning and harmonious educational institution.

This Board and administration have deliberately created confrontation and in their arrogance they are willing to wreak havoc with students’ lives and destroy the whole university. They must be stopped.

I implore you as Premier to help us remove this illegitimate, unrepresentative, disconnected, imbalanced, sexist and heartless Board and senior administration, so that we can put in place a new Board and a new administration, and build together a university that truly reflects our shared values of social justice.

When can we expect you at York University? It’s not too late for you to take action and regain the esteem of the university community and the public.

Sincerely, Agnes Whitfield, Ph.D., c. tran.
Professor/Professeure titulaire, Department of English/Département d’études anglaises York University/Université York, Toronto (Canada) http://people.laps.yorku.ca/people.nsf/researcherprofile?readform&shortname=agnesw Founding Director/Directrice fondatrice, Vita Traductiva http://vitatraductiva.blog.yorku.ca/ Visiting Professor/Professeure invitee, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 2017 Bilingual Joint Chair in Women’s Studies, Carleton University, University of Ottawa/Chaire conjointe bilingue en études des femmes, Université Carleton, Université d’Ottawa, 2009-2010 Virtual Scholar, Heritage Canada/Chercheure virtuelle, Patrimoine canadien, 2006-2007 Seagram Visiting Chair in Canadian Studies, McGill University/Chaire d’invité Seagram en études canadiennes, Université McGill, 2003-2004 Présidente, Association canadienne de traductologie /President, Canadian Association for Translation Studies, 1995-1999

Motion of non-confidence by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Council Reply

May, 10, 2018

The Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies overwhelmingly passed a motion of non-confidence with the following language:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies expresses non-confidence in the senior administration of York University, defined as the President, the Vice-President Academic & Provost, and other Vice-Presidents, and in the Board of Governors.

Motion of non-confidence by the Development Studies Graduate Student Association Reply

The following motion was passed on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.

Motion:
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Development Studies Graduate Student Association expresses non-confidence in the senior administration of York University led by President Rhonda Lenton and in the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.

Rationale:
With the strike now in its tenth week, York’s administration continues to refuse to bargain with CUPE Local 3903 to resolve outstanding issues in a timely fashion. The approach of the Senate Executive Committee to remediation while the strike is ongoing has created confusion and chaos within York’s community, intensifying the anxiety and stress of students, faculty and staff, as well as undermining the academic integrity of courses and therefore York’s reputation. T

he York University senior administration and Board of Governors appear to be disconnected from the York University community, demonstrating their refusal to establish meaningful dialogue with all university stakeholders. York’s President and Board of Governors, with the support of Senate Executive, have deviated from a just and fair interpretation and application of The York University Act, 1965, thereby undermining collegial governance at York.

Given these considerations, the Development Studies Graduate Student Association can no longer express confidence in the leadership of President Rhonda Lenton or Chair of the Board of Governors Rick Waugh.

Furthermore
The Development Studies Graduate Student Association calls upon other organizations, associations, councils, and bodies within the greater York University community to pass similar motions of non-confidence in the senior administration and condemn ongoing attempts to undermine collegial governance at York University.

Two motions by the Department of Social Science Reply

April 30, 2018

The Department of Social Science passed the following motions at its meeting on April 30, 2018:

 SOSC MOTION OF NON-CONFIDENCE

The actions of the York University Board of Governors and Senior Administration in relation to the ongoing strike are doing incalculable damage to the reputation of York University, to our ability to serve our current students and attract students, and to our financial situation. The Department of Social Science in the LA&PS Faculty therefore expresses no confidence in the senior administration led by President Rhonda Lenton and the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.

SOSC MOTION REGARDING SENATE AUTHORITY

The Department of Social Science in the Faculty of LA&PS condemns the attempts made by the York University Board of Governors and Senior Administration to weaken the autonomy and undermine the authority of Senate over academic matters, as enshrined in the York University Act.

Motion of non-confidence by the LA&PS Faculty Council Reply

April 30, 2018

LA&PS Faculty Council expresses non-confidence in the senior administration of York University led by President Rhonda Lenton and in the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.

Rationale

With the strike in its eight week, the Administration of York University, led by President Rhonda Lenton, continues to refuse to bargain with CUPE 3903 to resolve outstanding issues. Although it welcomed the appointment of Commissioner William Kaplan, the Administration still publicly refuses to negotiate. The positions of Administration remain deeply contradictory. On the one hand, the Administration has stated that CUPE 3903’s positions “continue to be well outside the range of anything the university can ever agree to.” On the other hand, the Administration calls for CUPE 3903 “to allow an independent third party to decide what’s fair and impose a settlement that binds both sides.” The Administration claims that the proposals are outside what they can ever agree to, but supports a process of binding arbitration that might lead to those very same outcomes. This strategy has nothing to do with negotiating a contract and everything to do with bypassing negotiations altogether.

Because of its refusal to bargain, the winter semester is in chaos. Now the Administration has announced the imminent cancellation of summer semesters. This announcement once again usurps the authority of Senate and Senate Executive to make decisions on class suspension due to a labour disruption. It demonstrates a “scorched earth” approach to contract negotiations placing the business-driven interests of the Board of Governors over the academic reputation of the institution and the education, mental health and future of our students. The Senate Executive Committee has managed remediation in full deference to this administrative approach. It has created chaos and dysfunction within York. It has intensified the anxiety and stress of students, faculty and staff, and undermined the academic integrity of courses and York’s standing with students, families and the public.

The April 2 letter from Rick Waugh, Chair of the Board of Governors, to Lesley Beagrie, Chair of Senate, is a frontal attack on collegial governance at York. It states that “oversight and accountability for the operations of the University rest with the Board of Governors.” This misleading statement fails to acknowledge the exception clause from the York Act: “Except, as to such matters by this Act specifically assigned to the Senate” (article 10). “The Senate is responsible for the academic policy of the University” (article 12). The Board’s usurpation of Senate’s authority for academic governance during a labour disruption violates the legal framework that established York University and the Board’s fiduciary responsibility for “collegial self-governance” (York Mission Statement).

Given these considerations, LA&PS Faculty Council can no longer express confidence in the leadership of President Rhonda Lenton or Chair of the Board of Governors Rick Waugh.

Motion of non-confidence by ComCult Graduate Student Association Reply

On Friday April 27, the Communication & Culture Graduate Student Association, made up of students, research assistants, teaching assistants and graduate assistants in the Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture at York University and Ryerson University, unanimously passed a motion expressing non-confidence in the senior administration at York University. This motion and rationale draw language and sentiment from the many statements of non-confidence issued by faculty, student and staff associations across York’s community.

Motion:
Be it resolved that the ComCult GSA expresses non-confidence in the senior administration of York University led by President Rhonda Lenton and in the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.

Rationale:
With the conclusion of the eighth week of the strike, York’s administration continues to refuse to bargain with CUPE 3903. The Senate Executive Committee has failed to provide clear remediation throughout the strike leading to confusion and chaos within York’s community, intensifying the anxiety and stress of students, faculty and staff, as well as undermining the academic integrity of courses and therefore York’s reputation.

York’s President and Board of Governors, with the support of Senate Executive, have
undermined the historic interpretation and application of The York University Act, 1965, thereby undermining collegial governance at York. Given these considerations, the Communication & Culture Graduate Students’ Association cannot express confidence in the leadership of President Rhonda Lenton or Chair of the Board of Governors Rick Waugh.

This expression of non-confidence is not grounded in the disparity between the demands of the Union and the offer of the Employer – rather, this statement is based in the failure of senior administration to uphold academic integrity as well as their actions in the erosion of said integrity through their continued strategic efforts to undermine the process of collective bargaining. Beyond undermining the Union’s constitutional right to collective bargaining, the Administration’s unwavering commitment to punishing CUPE 3903 for dismissing binding arbitration has clearly demonstrated their priority to cut operating costs at any cost to their own students.

Read their official statement.

Statement by CUPE 3903 Member, Devin Clancy at Senate Meeting, April 26, 2018 1

April 26, 2018

I’m Devin Clancy and in case anyone in this administration has forgotten, I am a member of this community. After being forced to picket outside for 8 weeks, in the cold, the wind, and freezing rain, you start to wonder if anyone at the top making six figures actually cares about those of us that do the work of this university. So to be clear, I am a student, teaching assistant, and CUPE 3903’s representative in the senate.

Two weeks ago on April 12 the senate passed this motion:

“Senate urges both sides in the labour disruption to immediately return to the bargaining table and take the necessary steps to settle the dispute as soon as possible”

As we all saw when entering the meeting today, CUPE 3903’s democratically elected bargaining team is sitting outside these doors as we speak, waiting for York to come to the table.

Where is Kathryn McPherson?

Where is Rob Lawson? If you know, please let our health and safety committee know, we’ve been waiting for his response to our Vari Hall inspection since December.

Where is Noura Shaw?

Where is Barry Miller?

And where is York’s union busting lawyer Simon Mortimer?

Lyndon Martin, Senator Martin, why are you not outside right now sitting at that table? Why are you not calling everyone on your team to join you?

Senator Martin, you have been directed by the most senior collegial decision making body of this university to “immediately return to the bargaining table” and “settle the dispute as soon as possible.”

What gives you the right to disregard your colleges’ direction? What gives you the right to refuse the direction of the senate? What empowers you to abdicate your responsibility to bargain?

Have you, like 800 graduate assistants, also been “liberated from work obligation” by the Board of Governors and the corrupt executive of the senate?

For two weeks now, York and CUPE have been involved in a process of mediation and inquiry. Our union’s bargaining team met with commissioner Kaplan, revised our proposals, and clearly showed a desire to negotiate a deal to end this strike.

Yet, even before the mediation period ended, York emailed the entire community to brazenly state the university would never negotiate. And it said this despite being expressly directed by the senate to do so. This is, without a doubt, a crisis of collegial governance, but it is also a crisis of the values and principles of York University.

How can anyone in this administration honestly believe that York’s actions in this strike represent a commitment to “social justice”?

What hollow notion of justice do you pretend to hold Rhonda? Is your justice always brought to us by TD bank? Does it rely on investing in arms and occupation? Does your justice depend on investing in TransCanada pipelines?

The only social justice at this university comes from students and workers on the ground who stand up against corporate interests and fight for the generations of students and workers to come.

For our local, social justice is not an exercise in branding, but a lived reality. It’s embedded in our union’s commitment to the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, to Jane and Finch Action Against Poverty, to supporting Indigenous struggles for self-determination.

And it is embedded in our union’s commitment to direct democratic representation of its members in the collective bargaining process.

Yet, in York’s submission to the Industrial Inquiry, our model of democratic organizing and open bargaining—which is an active practice of social justice—has been directly attacked. And Simon Mortimer used our members’ written academic work in order to attack it.

This is an assault on our members’ academic freedom. Our own critical analysis of York University is being used against us in a legal process to break our union.

What new era of bargaining does the Lenton regime want to normalize here? Clearly it involves as little bargaining as possible, and as much security, fake websites, and bogus PR that money can buy.

This administration does not care about students. This administration does not care about academic integrity or academic freedom. This administration does not care about its own reputation. And it certainly doesn’t care about its workers.

All this “social justice” university cares about is breaking CUPE 3903, by any means necessary. Even if that means destroying the summer semester and losing millions of dollars in the hope that next provincial government will introduce unconstitutional back-to-work legislation in June.

Rhonda Lenton, “social justice” president, are you really hoping for the next government to fulfill your wishes?

That’s a direct question, but I don’t expect a truthful answer. And I don’t think anyone does anymore. York University’s “social justice” president lacks integrity. And your sorry excuse of leadership is falling apart.

A growing list of student groups, departments, and faculties are passing motions of non-confidence in the senior administration, President Rhonda Lenton and in the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.

Rhonda, our own department of sociology has expressed its loss of confidence in you.

So I ask: President Lenton, will you stop destroying everything this university stands for and resign immediately?