April 12, 2018
I’m Devin Clancy, a student, teaching assistant, and senate representative for CUPE 3903.
First, I’d just like to express my gratitude to the Senate Executive for booking a room that can accommodate the public. It’s too bad that it took a student reclamation of the senate chambers in order for these meetings to even be open and accessible, but I’m nonetheless glad I don’t have to fight off a headlock from security to be here today.
I have a question for President Lenton and the executive, but it requires a little bit of context so bear with me.
While Rhonda has been expensing luxury headphones and first class accommodations, this institution has been under attack, an attack that is painted by the executive as “business as usual.”
But what is “business as usual” for York University?
Recent history suggests that it means cutting 800 GA jobs without warning, and unilaterally tearing $5,400 of TA funding out of our protected Collective Agreement.
It means offering an incoming MA student a unionized job with health benefits, only to deny it once they’ve accepted. It means this student is forced to drop out because of uncovered health costs, and it means that FGS now demands this student payback their fellowship.
It means denying students’ summer pay.
It means empowering a Bargaining Team who doesn’t understand that 2 conversions is less than 8.
It means a final offer that is full of concessions.
It means systematically failing to meet with our union’s health and safety committee and an accessibility office at Glendon that isn’t wheelchair accessible.
It means taking four weeks to respond to complaints of asbestos in our workplace.
It means failing to notify the community of bomb threats and hate graffiti.
It means inviting a dozen toronto police onto campus to violently detain someone using rubber bullets.
It means kicking someone out of Ross in the dead of night in winter for trying to sleep in a sheltered space.
It means a library roof that has leaked for years, a mouse and cockroach problem in Vari Hall, and an unpaid water bill.
It means an administration that spends hundreds of thousands on anything but bargaining in good faith with CUPE 3903.
It means meeting with the crisis management PR firm Navigator to mislead the public and tarnish CUPE 3903’s reputation.
It means purchasing radio ads that misrepresent our union’s bargaining positions and it means buying the back page of Excalibur for months.
It means charging CUPE3903.com to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, a website currently under investigation by the ministry of labour for redirecting web traffic to York’s own labour webpage.
It means spending thousands of dollars on private security to surveil and intimidate striking workers, and students that have reclaimed the senate. So much so, that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association reached out to President Lenton, imploring her to end these tactics immediately.
It means trying to ban metal gates and firebarrels on the picket lines, instruments that are essential to ensuring the safety of our members as they exercise their legal right to strike.
It means reinterpreting the York Act to disempower collegial governing bodies, and it means transforming the Senate Executive into a hollow mouthpiece for an unrepresentative corporate Board of Governors.
It means hiring Hicks Morley, a union busting law firm that gives lectures to employers on how to avoid liability in cases of critical injury or death of workers.
It means forcing workers out in the cold on strike for 40 days. And it means only coming back to the bargaining table for 1 day, only to walk away and force a bogus ratification vote.
And it means providing the ministry of labour with fake employee emails and incomplete membership rolls.
To be honest, I didn’t even know a president could be so corrupt and incompetent.
But let me tell you, workers are fed up with a profit driven corporation that uses “academic integrity” as a rhetorical shield while deepening academic precarity and exploitation.
And we’re fed up with a University that appropriates the language of social justice as a marketing tool, only to entrench unjust working conditions on 60% of the educational workers at York.
This union destroyed your bad offer, and voted 85% to reject the administration’s attempt to impose neoliberal austerity measures on our membership.
And now the Liberal government has abandoned your desire to impose back-to-work legislation.
You’ve lost Rhonda.
You’ve lost the strike, you’ve lost the confidence of the community, and you’ve lost the Senate, literally.
Don’t be foolish enough to lose the summer semester too.
So I ask: President Lenton, when will York University return to the bargaining table?