Open Letter to Minister Hunter 2

March 19, 2018

Honourable Mitzie Hunter
Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development
Government of Ontario

Dear Minister Hunter,

The Ministry should be aware that the present Board of Governors of York University is operating outside its By-laws and the York University Act. To all intents and purposes, a small group of people exclusively from the banking and big business sector have taken over control of the Board, usurped powers granted to the Senate under the York University Act, and are seeking to impose their own views and agenda at the expense of York University’s legitimate educational goals and responsibilities as a publicly-funded institution.

It is clear that the current Board of Governors does not have the legitimacy and credibility to carry out its functions of oversight with respect to York University. Dominated by big business and big finance to the exclusion of vast segments of our society, it has adopted a brutal corporate-driven managerialism that is impervious to the educational needs of York’s students, including the fundamental right to safety on campus, and dismissive of the vital role of a university to contribute to the conservation, communication and creation of knowledge.

Rather than nurture students, staff and faculty in a dynamic, forward-looking educational process, this Board has demonstrated a persistent underlying anti-intellectualism and hostility to women and other equity-seeking groups that is preventing York University from realizing its full potential in program development and innovation. Quite literally, by its outmoded macho authoritarianism, it is choking the creative forces of York University.

I have been a professor at York University for almost 28 years. I came to York University in 1990, after teaching 10 years at Queen’s University. During the academic year 1993-1994 I served as Chair of the Selection Committee for a New Principal of Glendon College. I also chaired the Glendon Policy and Planning Committee from 1993 to 1995, as well as the School of Translation.  I am a full professor with an excellent record of external research grants, an active international research profile, and an exemplary teaching record. My student evaluations are routinely above 4.7 on a scale of 5, and last year, students in a fourth-year course even gave me a perfect score of 5.

I have also had the great privilege of holding the Seagram Chair in Canadian Studies at McGill University, and the bilingual Joint Chair in Women’s Studies at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, and being a visiting professor at the University of Bologna and the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. I have served as President for two mandates of the Canadian Association for Translation Studies. I founded and direct a respected international peer-reviewed publication series, Vita Traductiva.

York University is the second largest university in Ontario and the third largest university in Canada. According to the statistics given on its website, York University has 46,400 undergraduate students and 5,900 graduate students, and 7,000 faculty and staff (http://about.yorku.ca/). It is an important institution of higher education, funded in large part by the government of Ontario.

It is extremely distressing for me to witness York University being hijacked by private interests to the detriment of its students, staff and faculty, and its amazing potential to make a dynamic and productive contribution to the future of our society.

  1. The Board’s composition does not respect the broad community representation set out in its By-laws

Ontario universities have a moral and legal obligation to be accountable to the public and to work for the collective good. Boards of Governors fulfil an essential function in ensuring the public accountability of a university but to do so, they must represent a broad cross-section of citizens who can bring to the University a rich and diverse range of perspectives.

This is far from the case at York University. The York University Board is comprised of 29 members, including three ex officio members (the President, Chancellor and University Secretary), six members from York University (two students, two staff and two faculty members) and 20 external members.

External members clearly dominate the Board, but these external members are exclusively from big business and big banking. There are no external representatives from the non-profit sector, no representatives from blue and white collar unions across the province, no members from the small business sector, no representatives from the health and social services sector, no social workers, no nurses, no teachers, no fire workers, no representatives from seniors’ associations, in other words, no representation from the community at large.

Yet this very principle of community diversity is enshrined in the By-laws governing the composition of the external members of the Board of Governors at York University:

The Governance and Human Resources Committee will have the responsibility of proposing candidates for election to the Board as external members who will best serve the needs and interests of the University and who broadly represent the public community. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing such candidates shall be reflective of the Arts, Business, Industry, Labour, Professions, Sciences and the community at large. (Article VII, 1(c) ii at http://secretariat.info.yorku.ca/board-of-governors/board-by-laws/)

Already in November 2016 during the Presidential Search I advised the York University Board of Governors that the Board’s composition was far from complying with its By-laws.

At that time, based on the biographies of Board members presented on the York University website (http://secretariat.info.yorku.ca/board-of-governors/), all 21 external Board members came from the world of big finance (57%) and big business (43%).

In fact, 18 (86%) members of the Board were at the time or previously, Presidents or CEOs, and of the remaining three (14%), one was a senior partner in a corporate law firm, one a senior Vice-President of a financial institution, and one the spouse of a CEO in a pharmaceutical company.

This appalling situation is not representative of Canadian university Boards. While under-funding has led universities to search for financing in the private sector and generally increased big business representation on their Boards disproportionately, a 2016 study by Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) found that the ‘business world make up 49.1% of the membership of the boards of governors at Canada’s 15 research universities.’ (http://www.caut.ca/bulletin/articles/2016/09/do-you-know-who-sits-on-your-board). At York University, it is 100%.

Furthermore, the gender gap on the Board boggles the mind. Of the 21 external Board positions filled at that time, incomprehensively only 6 (28%) were held by women and 15 (72%) or almost three-quarters by men. In the 21st century, such an imbalance is highly suggestive of gender bias within the Board. The Board is responsible for safety policy on campus. Certainly, this male-dominated Board has repeatedly failed to engage fully to prevent the frequent and persistent incidents of violence against women (including rapes and armed assaults) on campus, for many of which the aggressor has never been identified or punished.

The 2011 census shows that women outnumber men in Ontario, by a ratio of 95.1 men for every 100 women overall.

Statistics available on the Common University Data Ontario (CUDO) website show that from 2006 to 2015, women consistently composed more than 55% of university students (http://cudo.info.yorku.ca/report/2015-a-general-information-2/).

In 2015, women constituted 58% and men 42% of full-time undergraduate students at York University (http://cudo.info.yorku.ca/report/2015-a-general-information-2/).

How can the Board of a university predominantly frequented by women justify that almost three-quarters of its Board members are men?

  1. The Board stubbornly refuses to bring its composition into compliance with its By-laws and Ontario legislation on gender equity

To my knowledge, the Board has not taken any action since 2016 to change its composition to comply with its By-laws.

An analysis of the current composition of the Board based on information on its website shows appallingly that all of the now 20 external members of the Board continue to come from the big finance (40%) and big business (60%) sectors.

In terms of professional rank, 17 (85%) hold President, CEO or senior executive positions, and the remaining senior partner positions in the corporate law sector. Such a Board can in no way be seen to “broadly represent the public community.”

Moreover, despite current Ontario legislation to improve gender equality on corporate boards, the Board’s gender gap is still unacceptable. Of the 20 external Board members, 14 (65%) are men and only 7 (35%) are women.

In reality, women are even more under-represented on the Board than this already unacceptable statistic would suggest.

The Board has seven committees, only one of which, the External Relations Committee, responsible for fund-raising and out-reach, is chaired by a woman. Seen from this committee perspective, men control 86% of the Board’s activities.

The key committees of Governance and Human Resources, Academic Resources, Finance and Audit, Land and Property, Investment, are all controlled by men. Since the Executive Committee is composed of the Chairs of the other committees, it has only one woman memberWomen constitute only 14% of the Executive Committee.

In other words, at the second-largest university in Ontario where your government is working so hard to prevent violence against women and to promote gender equality, York University’s Executive Committee, arguably the most important committee of the Board since it can act for the Board as a whole, is 86% composed of men.

The Board is responsible for appointing its members and is therefore directly responsible for this non-respect of its own By-laws. The closed, internal nature of this process allows an unscrupulous Board, in defiance of its own By-laws, to define and perpetuate itself through controlled co-optation. It is clearly an old boy’s closed shop.

Current Board members must be aware of Board By-laws, but they have chosen nonetheless to co-opt members from a very narrow range of professional networks, and they have done this in defiance of a basic rule of university governance: the need to respect the By-laws set up to ensure that the university be accountable, not just to a small elite, but to the community as a whole.

  1. The Board’s composition skewed to favour of faculties representing only 5% of undergraduate student enrollments

But this is not all. The Board is out of kilter in other ways that also gravely undermine its legitimacy.

Of the 20 external members of the Board, 10 (8 men and 2 women) hold MBAs (one holds an equivalent business management degree) and 7 (6 men and 1 woman) LLBs. Of these 15 Board members (two hold both an MBA and an LLB), 12 hold one or other of these degrees from York University.

In other words, 75% of Board members are coming from an MBA or LLB background and 60% are graduates of only two of the 11 faculties at York University: Osgoode Hall Law Faculty and the Schulich School of Business.

Indeed, five (25%) Board members sit concurrently on advisory Boards of Schulich, including the Chair of the Board and the chairs of three important committees: the Executive Committee, the Investment Committee and the Land and Property Committee.

These unacceptable incestuous links between the Board and one York faculty mean that one faculty can unduly the influence the Board and unfairly advance its perspective and needs at the expense of the other 10 faculties at the university.

This imbalance aggravates the serious infringement of the By-laws calling for a broad public representation on the Board. Seen in the context of student enrollments at York University, however, it is even more troubling.

Statistics on enrollments by faculty at York University are not easy to obtain. The most recent statistics I found on the university website come from a White Paper produced by then Vice-President Academic Patrick Monaghan. That paper shows that for the year 2009-2010, and there is no reason to think that the general situation has varied substantially since then, undergraduate enrollments at Schulich and Osgoode Hall represented only 2.64% and 2.22% of all undergraduate student enrolments at York.

In other words, while 75% of external Board members come from law and business degrees, these two faculties account for less than 5% of the 46,400 undergraduate student enrollments at the University.

Nor is this disproportion attenuated by York alumni representation on the Board.

The Board’s website does not indicate clearly which members are serving as representatives of York alumni. Nonetheless the biographies of Board members show that two hold executive positions in the York Alumni Association. Not surprisingly one is a graduate of Schulich and the other of Osgoode.

While the Board website provides guidelines for the election of student, staff and faculty members to the Board (together these categories only represent 6 internal Board members), there is no indication that the Alumni Association provides for an election.

Finally, the narrow composition of the Board is exacerbated by other examples of undue professional concentrations. One can ask:

Why on such as small Board there should be two members who were senior executives at the same financial institution (Scotia Bank);

Why three out of 20 (15%) Board members have connections to the Ontario energy sector;

Why of the four members of the Board with a science background, three were trained as engineers (In 2015, engineering accounted for 499 or 1% of overall full-time undergraduate enrolments at York University and of these 499 engineering students only 79 or 15%, were women; http://cudo.info.yorku.ca/report/2015-a-general-information-2/); and

Why one of these engineer Board members should serve concurrently on the Board and on the family Foundation whose donation led to the creation of the School of Engineering at York University, allowing a university donor to exert undue influence over the university.

  1. A Board in defiance of its By-laws does not have the legitimacy and credibility to oversee the well-being of York University as an institution of higher learning

According to the York University Act, the Ontario legislation that created York University, the “objects and purposes of York University are

(a) the advancement of learning and the dissemination of knowledge; and

(b) the intellectual, spiritual, social, moral and physical development of its members and the betterment of society.” (http://secretariat.info.yorku.ca/governance-documents/york-university-act-1965/)

It is evident that the present Board is in no position to ensure, and indeed has shown no interest in ensuring that these objects and purposes are not only respected but nurtured.

A Board that represents the professional and educational interests of less than 6% of the York University’s undergraduate students cannot make informed decisions affecting the academic needs of the other over 94% of York’s 46,400 undergraduate students and the programs, research, staff and faculty upon which they depend.

The vision of such an imbalanced Board is inevitably skewed by the interests of two (or three if engineering is counted) faculties accounting for less than 6% of undergraduate student enrollments, and by the attitudes and practices from the business and banking world that are inappropriate in the context of a public institution of higher learning.

York University cannot present itself as a progressive institution respectful of diversity, as it does on its website, when its own Board comes exclusively from big business and big finance and only 35% of its members are women, relegated to secondary roles.

The Board has direct oversight on a number of issues with important gender implications, including questions of safety, the prevention of sexual violence.

Given the gender imbalance in the composition of its Board, it is not surprising that York University has an abysmal record in terms of the prevention of violence against women.

But the gender imbalance of the Board has other far-reaching consequences.

Women still hold only 40% of faculty positions at Canadian universities  (https://www.univcan.ca/media-room/media-releases/percentage-female-faculty-canadian-universities-growing-statistics-canada/). If the Board is not even committed to having equal numbers of women and men among its members, how can it contribute to reducing the gender gap among faculty?

Statistics compiled by the Ontario Confederation of Faculty Associations (OCUFA) for the Ontario Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee show that there has been an increasing trend to precarious academic jobs and that women far more than men are trapped in such low-paying and insecure academic work:

“59.5% of contract faculty respondents were female, compared with 33.3% men (the remainder chose not to indicate their gender). Moreover, women were more likely to be among the ranks of precarious contract faculty (i.e. contract faculty who earn their main income from sessional instruction and aspire to have a full-time academic career) than

men, whereas men were more likely to find themselves among the ranks of classic contract faculty (i.e. retirees and professionals who engage in sessional instruction as a supplement to a separate career)” (https://ocufa.on.ca/assets/OCUFA-Submission-on-the-Gender-Wage-Gap-FINAL.pdf). Again, how can a Board that is not even to committed to ensuring its own gender balance equity be committed to reducing the gender gap caused by the precarization of academic work?

Finally and of great concern, the exclusively corporate background of Board members has led to sustained pressures to change the administrative culture at York University from the open, transparent and democratic culture required for public accountability to a narrow, opaque and outdated authoritarian culture not even effective anymore in business contexts. The Board is seeking to control the University as though it were the CEO, and the university, its company.

This is approach is leading to other important infringements of the York University Act. In the last Presidential Search, the Board usurped the power granted to the Senate under Article 12 of the York University Act to “make recommendations as to the appointment of the Chancellor and the President.”

Instead, it carried out a closed search, with little input from students, staff and faculty, under a Search Committee inappropriately chaired by the Board Chair, and unilaterally imposed the appointment of a candidate garnishing only 11% support from York’s faculty members (https://www.yufa.ca/yufa-poll-results-on-presidential-search/)

  1. Should the Ministry consider placing York University under supervision?

I do not believe that a public institution of higher learning such as a university should be run like a profit-making business, all the more so in the present context where businesses too often put short-term profit goals ahead of responsible citizenship.

A university has broad responsibilities to society to support a vibrant democracy and to ensure the development of a lively and diverse range of knowledge, responsibilities that cannot be contained in a profit-based perspective.

Universities offer students an environment for personal and professional growth, beyond the contents of specific courses.

University professors fulfil, on a voluntary basis, important social functions through informed comments in the public space on topics of public interest and concern, through key contributions to professional associations that regulate professional accreditation in the interest of the public, and through the public dissemination of scientific knowledge.

The current Board has persisted in its defiance of the By-laws requiring a broad community representation. It has not diminished its ruthless and unscrupulous efforts to impose an authoritarian control over the York University at the expense of recognised general social goals, such as gender equity and women’s safety, and in contravention of the York University Act. It is clearly unwilling and unable to commit to any significant reform.

For that reason, I see no other option than to request that your ministry consider placing York University temporarily under government supervision, disbanding the current illegitimate Board of Governors, annulling its appointment of Dr. Rhonda Lenton as President, and appointing an interim Chairperson of the Board of Governors.

The first tasked of the interim Chair should be to oversee a transparent process for the appointment of a new Board respectful of the rules set out in the York University Act (1965) and the By-laws of the Board of Governors. The first task of the new, duly constituted Board should be the conduct of an open search for a new President.

Your government has undertaken important measures to prevent violence against women, to improve gender equity and to assist Ontario universities to develop their excellence. I hope that the present plea will be well received.For ease of reading, I have also attached a PDF version.

Yours respectfully,
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://yfile.news.yorku.ca/2012/02/13/english-prof-launches-new-translation-studies-series/
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

 

To Convert or Not To Convert, That is the Question: The CUPE 3903 Strike and Precarious Academic Labour 1

March 20, 2018

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

A Discussion Paper

Lykke de la Cour
Department of Social Science
York University

In the on-going labour dispute at York University, the administration insists that its offer to CUPE 3903 contract faculty adequately addresses the problem of precarious academic employment at York. The employer has offered two tenure-track conversions plus six Special Renewable Contracts (SRCs) per year, for a total of 24 appointments to positions within the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) over the next three years.

York’s administration maintains that this proposal is not concessionary, that it effectively addresses the concerns of contract faculty with respect to employment stabilization, and that their offer strikes “the right balance” in terms of meeting both the needs of contractualized faculty and the academic needs of faculties and departments.  According  York’s President, Rhonda Lenton, CUPE 3903’s Conversion Program is “unprecedented”  in the university sector and, thus, the union should be more “reasonable” in its demands by adhering to “norms” in the post-secondary institutions in the province and within CUPE 3903 Unit 2’s “own history.” [1]

In what follows, I lay out the history of the CUPE 3903 Unit 2Conversion Program, including an overview of the number of contract faculty converted to tenure-stream positions over the thirty-year existence of this program. These figures demonstrate that the university’s current offer is indeed concessionary. This history provokes, however, questions about whether or not the the concerns and the needs of contract faculty, the university and York undergraduate and graduate students are really met even when CUPE 3903 Unit 2 has been able to successfully negotiate higher numbers of conversion appointments. I conclude by arguing that thirty years after the creation of CUPE 3903’s exemplary conversion program and after four major strikes by CUPE 3903 from 2000 to 2018, where employment precarity figured centrally in each labour dispute, this is the moment for York’s administration to start ‘doin’ the right thing’ and meaningfully deal with the problem of precarious academic labour at our university.

A History of the Conversion Program at York University

This spring marks the 30th anniversary of the first appointments made under CUPE 3903 Unit 2’s Affirmative Action Program, more commonly known as the CUPE 3903 Conversion Program.

On July 1, 1988, eight long-service Unit 2 members – 6 women and 2 men – became the first contract faculty at York University to be appointed to probationary tenure-track positions under the provisions of the Affirmative Action Program.[2] Negotiated in 1987, this program was established in response to demands for greater job security raised by contract faculty and graduate students in two major strikes at York, in 1981 and 1984. In these strikes, contract faculty advanced proposals for transferring contractualized academic instructors with ten years or more seniority into probationary tenure-stream positions.[3] Framed as shifting “part-time” faculty into “full-time” status, the reality then (as it is now) was that much of the work in Unit 2t was neither part-time nor temporary.  Many contract faculty had taught for decades at a level minimally equivalent to (but more often significantly higher than) the teaching workloads of “full-time” tenured faculty, and did so over twelve months of the year through combinations of back-to-back four- and eight-month contracts, contracts which they had to apply for each and every year.

CUEW picketers at Glendon. Source: Pro tem 30 Oct. 1981.

The end result of the two 1980s strikes was the creation of the Conversion Program, enshrined in Article 23 “Affirmative Action Program” in the CUPE 3903 Unit 2 collective agreement. The fundamental principle of this program is embedded in the preamble to Article 23:

In  recognition  of  the  substantial  contribution  to  the  University  community  made  by  long-term  employees,  and  of  the  obstacles  that  have  faced  these employees  in  their  attempts  to  find  academic  employment,  the  parties  have  agreed to establish an Affirmative Action Program … The parties agree that this Program is an ongoing commitment .

To be in the AA Pool, a Unit 2 member has to have taught at least 5 years within the bargaining unit, have at least one course directorship in each of the preceding four years prior to their entry into the pool, and have had a total of 12 course directorships (or equivalencies) over those four years – essentially an average corresponding to a teaching workload of 3.0 courses per year. Employment equity provisions were subsequently added to the conversion program language, permitting a slight reconfiguration in the distribution of course directorships and equivalencies over the four years for employment equity groups. In the mid-2000s, a requirement was added that one of the recommendations for a conversion appointment also had to be from one or more of the designated employment equity groups, which are aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and women. LGBTQ was also added to this list as a result of CUPE 3903’s 2015 month-long strike and settlement. During the 2015round of bargaining, the Unit 2 bargaining team also managed to successfully negotiate the targeted number of employment equity appointments up to six.[4]

Under the Conversion program, the administration provides “incentive” funding to hiring units that support an AA pool member for a tenure-stream position within their unit. This funding essentially covers the differential between the starting salary of a tenure stream appointment and the cost of three full course directorships. Unit 2 members in the AA pool can apply either through departments (normally those they regularly teach in) or directly to the Dean/Principal who then consults with relevant hiring units to determine if there is support for the application. Hiring units can also ask for a “special search” of eligible contract faculty in the AA pool to support for conversion to their unit.

Regardless of the process used, conversion candidates are required to assemble an application file that is reviewed and ranked by the relevant hiring units and Faculty Deans, and then submitted to the Vice-President Academic and Provost for appraisal and selection. As York’s administration considers conversions to be “strategic” appointments, the university’s hiring priorities, the quality of the candidate, and the “fit between the two” are supposed to guide the VP Academic’s decision-making in selecting who should be converted.[5] What also, of course, figures centrally in decision-making around conversions is the number of conversions that CUPE 3903 Unit 2 manages to negotiate in each round of bargaining.

Conversions and the “Numbers” Game  

In the period immediately following the negotiation of the Conversion Program, York’s administration appears to have lived up to its commitment over the first four years of the program’s inception, the period from 1987 to 1991, and converted twenty-six contract faculty to probationary tenure-stream positions.[6] These appointments spanned a range of departments, such as Humanities, Political Science, History, English, Sociology, Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Social Science, the Center for Academic Writing, and Psychology.

Starting in 1992, however, the number of conversion appointments to probationary tenure stream positions began to plummet, largely displaced from 1993 to 2001 by a much weaker CLA Conversion Program that simply shifted a limited number of Unit 2 contract faculty from one form of precarious contractualized teaching to another, under the guise of potentially converting Unit 2 faculty from these CLA appointments. As Table 1 illustrates, the number of direct conversion appointments to tenure stream positions for Unit 2 fell to one or two per year over the next ten years, with three or four appointments occasionally in a given year. From 1993 to 2001, the university “converted” twelve Unit 2 contract faculty to CLA positions and, of these twelve, six were eventually converted from their CLAs to probationary tenure stream positions.  So, in sum, while CUPE 3903 conversion appointments averaged 6.5 per year from 1988 to 1991, from 1992 to 2001 this average plunged to 2.9 per year. However, even at its lowest point, from 1992-2001, the number of CUPE 3903 conversions averaged more than what the administration is currently offering.

Table 1: Conversion Appointments 1988-2017

(These figures include only conversions to probationary tenure-stream positions and not the CLA conversions from 1992-2001)

Year # Conversions Year # Conversions Year # Conversions
1988 8 1998 1 2008 6
1989 6 1999 3 2009 2
1990 6 2000 4 2010 2
1991 6 2001 2 2011 2
1992 1 2002 5 2012 2
1993 1 2003 6 2013 3
1994 2 2004 3 2014 2
1995 3 2005 4 2015 8
1996 4 2006 8 2016 8
1997 2 2007 6 2017 8

Table 1 shows the ebb and flow of the number of conversion appointments at the university over the history of the program, with higher numbers periodically negotiated for 2002, 2003, and 2006 to 2008. 2015 to 2017 represents the highest number achieved for Unit 2 over a three year collective agreement. The 2015 CUPE 3903 Unit 2 settlement, however, included for the first time specifications around conversion numbers by stream, i.e. to either Professorial or Alternate Stream positions. A minimum of six recommendations out of the total twenty-four conversions negotiated for 2015-17 were to be to the professorial stream. In the end, eight Unit 2 members were converted by the university to professorial positions and sixteen to the Alternate Stream over the three year period.

Prior to Unit 2’s 2015 settlement, Alternate Stream conversions were individually negotiated by Unit 2 members during their application for conversion, provided they taught in one of the cognate units where Alternate Stream ranks were permitted under the terms of the YUFA collective agreement. Up until 2012, these units/departments included: Nursing, Kinesiology and Health Science in the Faculty of Health, the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, the Center for Academic Writing, the Department of French Studies in LAPS, and the French Language Training Programme at Glendon. In 2012, YUFA’s negotiated settlement expanded the Alternate Stream to all departments at the university. A number of these departments, however, have subsequently refused to accept Alternate Stream appointments within their units, while some departments agreed to accept Alternate Stream faculty only with respect to CUPE 3903 conversions.

Over the thirty years that the conversion program has operated at York, a total of 124 CUPE 3903 Unit 2 members have been converted to probationary tenure stream positions, 98 to the professorial stream, and 10 to the pre-2012 and 16 to the post-2012 Alternate Stream. This translates into an average of 4.1 conversions per year.  Of these conversions, 55% were women and 45% men. Fifteen percent of the initial 1988-1991 conversion cohort were racialized contractual faculty, a majority of who were women. After 1990 and up to 2003, no racialized faculty appear to have been converted. But from 2003 onwards, racialized faculty constituted eight percent overall of all conversion appointments, most of these conversion candidates were black males and Asian women. From the available data on conversions from 1988 to 2017, it is impossible to assess how many (or if any) conversions involved Indigenous, disabled or LGBTQ contract faculty.

York contract faculty who are converted to either a Professorial or an Alternate Stream position must meet the bar for Tenure and Promotion (as set out by Senate, Hiring Unit, and YUFA documents) like all other regular hires. Only two faculty appointed through the conversion program, one in the late 1980s and the other in the early 2000s, failed to obtain tenure.[7] Outside of the recent conversions who are currently going through the T&P process, the remainder of contract faculty appointed through the conversion process (roughly just under 100) have successfully met the criteria for tenure and promotion and many have gone on to have quite illustrious careers at York, academically as well as in terms of contributing in major ways to service at the university. Faculty appointed through the conversion program have served as departmental Chairs, UPDs, and GPDs, as chairs and co-chairs of Faculty and Senate committees, as Associate Deans, and as College Masters. They have headed major research networks. Many have won both York and provincial teaching awards. The “pool” of tenured faculty at York who obtained their positions through the conversion program also boasts a Grammy Award winner.

University Sector ‘Norms’ and Precarious Academic Labour

CUPE 3903’s Conversion Program certainly does stand out in the university sector as a unique program for shifting long-term contractualized faculty into probationary tenure stream positions.  Although Queen’s University Faculty Association does vaunt one of the few other conversion programs in the province, conversion appointments under the QUAF collective agreement are to non-tenured “continuing” positions (Continuing Adjunct Appointments). Contract faculty at Queen’s can apply for conversion to such a position after six years of consecutive service as a “Term Adjunct” and once they have completed a specific cumulative total of full-course equivalents.[8] Carlton University also has a provision that permits the transfer of long-term Instructor Employees to the ranks of tenured faculty in “exceptional circumstances.”[9]

President Lenton’s claim that CUPE 3903’s Conversion Program is “unprecedented” in the sector is true in the sense that this program provides opportunities for long-service contract faculty to transfer into, not contractual or “continuing” appointments, but probationary tenure-stream positions. However, in her March 13th “Memorandum on a Path Forward,” the President essentially troubles rather than praises the uniqueness of this program, insisting that CUPE 3903 should be “reasonable” and adhere to “norms” of the sector.

What we all should all be asking here is what are these “norms” and why is she arguing this?

Over the past three decades, ‘normativity’ in the delivery of post-secondary education in Ontario, as elsewhere, has come to mean fewer tenure-stream faculty appointments and an ever-growing reliance on precariously employed contract faculty in order to accommodate enrollment growth within a context of declining investments in academic and faculty resources.  Significant pedagogic transformations, such as increased class sizes, a greater use of unpaid “peer” mentoring, on-line instruction, and the erosion of graduate education, etc., have also come to be defining hallmarks in the sector, for the same reasons.

One gain that CUPE 3903 Unit 2 has managed to achieve in this context – albeit through several major strikes – are a modicum of measures that buttress against the downward drift at York towards sector norms around precarious academic employment, i.e. the “McJobs” that have increasingly come to characterize work in the college and university sector where the majority of faculty are hired on last-minute contracts of four or eight month duration and for which they must apply for every year. With respect to contract faculty at York, the issue is not – nor has it been for several decades now – about wages and benefits, but rather about greater employment stabilization that would ultimately benefit not only contract faculty but also undergraduate student education by having a stabilized cadre of instructors. As contract faculty across the province have long maintained, their working conditions are students’ learning conditions.

York’s administration seems to have lost sight of the fact that the ‘normativity’ which has come to characterize colleges and universities in Ontario – i.e. plummeting numbers of tenured faculty and a concomitant increased reliance on precariously employed contract faculty, occurring alongside exorbitant tuition fee rises that have exceeded national standards – is currently under attack from a broad range of constituents (or “stakeholders” the term more commonly used in this corporatized era): contract and tenured faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, unionized faculty associations, umbrella organizations (such as the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), CUPE National’s Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC), and its sibling in the U.S. (the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor.(COCAL)), student organizations (such as the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and our own York Federation of Students (YFS)), as well as a multitude of international scholars and student and faculty associations in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, who are deranging the neoliberal “norms” associated with teaching, learning, and working in post-secondary institutions today. Blogs and posts to websites associated with the Chronical of Higher Education and The Guardian show that the “norm” which President Lenton is referring to, is, in fact, under siege.

In 2010, the American Association of University Professors’ Committee on Contingency and the Profession published a seminal report about university sector “norms” in the U.S. and suggestions for creative bargaining proposals to address the situation. This report can be accessed at:   https://www.aaup.org/report/tenure-and-teaching-intensive-appointments. For the sake of expediency, go to “Section I: The Collapsing Faculty Infrastructure” and “Section III: Conversion to Tenure Is the Best Way to Stabilize the Faculty.” While the AAUP did not reference York University in their report, given that CUPE 3903’s conversion program started in the late 1980s, one can only surmise that they probably do know about York’s program and are now trying to emulate it, otherwise why the reference to “conversions”?

Collapsing or Already Collapsed?: The Faculty Infrastructure at York

The failure to deal with CUPE 3903 Unit 2 employment precarity has propelled four major strikes at York over the past eighteen years – in 2000/1,  2008/9, 2015 and now again in 2018.

The public and the media are quite rightly asking: why?

While York is certainly not the lone post-secondary institution in the province to experience labour strife – several strikes have occurred in recent years, at the University of Toronto, Laurentian University, Carleton University and ,of course, the five-week strike at Ontario’s Colleges last fall – the situation here is nevertheless distinctive in that, compared to other universities in the province, York has historically over-relied on contract faculty in the delivery of its undergraduate education.

This point has been repeatedly highlighted in numerous reports, including The “Other” University Teachers: Non-Full-Time Instructors at Ontario Universities, released by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario in 2014. In this report, the authors note that the “growth in the number of sessional instructor assignments at York University has far outpaced the growth in the number of full-time faculty appointments.”[10] Figures contained in HEQCO’s study also show York as an outlier in the Ontario university sector in that the number of contract faculty employed at the university exceed that of full-time faculty, and have for most of the institution’s 50+ year history.

In 1990, there were 1,237 faculty in YUFA, but 1,449 contract faculty at York. By 2009, the figures were: 1,465 in YUFA/1,582 contract faculty. The number of faculty in YUFA did go up, in 2015, to 1,548 compared to 1,306 contract faculty.  But what YUFA’s numbers mask is the dramatic increase that transpired, from 2013 to the present, in Contractually Limited Appointments (CLAs) within YUFA. There were 98 CLA appointments in YUFA in 2012/13. This jumped to 134 (2013-14), 155 (2014-15), 186 (2015-16) and 172 (2016-17).  When these positions are taken into account, probationary tenure-stream and tenured faculty in YUFA actually numbered only 1,362 in 2015, while faculty working on contracts (either within YUFA, CUPE 3903, or CUPE-Exempt positions in Administrative Studies, Osgoode, Schulich, and Continuing Education) totaled 1,492. Since 2015, York’s tenure-stream complement has, overall, increased by only 29 faculty.[11]

York’s historic over-reliance on contract faculty, coupled with significant declines in new tenure-stream positions across the university sector generally, has resulted in a large build-up of Unit 2 members in CUPE 3903’s Affirmative Action Pool. In December 1987, the conversion pool totaled 64 Unit 2 members. By 2007, the pool had increased to 83 members. It now currently stands at roughly 220 members.[12] This dramatic increase over the past ten years coincides with what the AAUP describes as the “collapsing” tenured faculty infrastructure, but it also appears to be highly connected to York University’s historic and ongoing failure to invest in faculty resources thereby perpetuating an enduring reliance on precariously situated contractualized academic faculty.

Who are the Unit 2 members in the Conversion Pool? As Table 2 indicates, most (96%) have been employed at York for ten or more years, generally teaching at an intensity equal to or more than double what tenure-stream faculty teach. Fifty-five percent of the AA pool is female (compared to 44.3% of tenured faculty). Overall, eleven percent are racialized or Indigenous contract faculty, the majority of whom (92%) have ten or more years of service at the university. Among the higher seniority AA pool members, with 15+ years of service,  the percentage of racialized and Indigenous Unit 2 members is higher (12%). The Conversion Pool also includes six faculty who were “returned” to Unit 2 as a result of the cancellation of the SRC program (Special Renewable Contracts) in YUFA in 2012. Two more SRCs are expected to return to the bargaining unit this summer once their YUFA contracts end.[13]

Table 2: 2017 Conversion Pool Years of Service Profile

Years of Service No. %
40yrs+ 5 2.2%
30yrs-39 25 11.4%
20yrs-29 49 22.3%
10yrs-19 132 60.0%
5yrs -10 9 4.1%
Total 220 100%

 One of the central conundrums at the heart of the current labour dispute, with respect to Unit 2, is that the bulk of the AA pool are contract faculty teaching in programs and faculties  at York where the full-time faculty complement is “collapsing.” Seventy-three percent of Unit 2 members in the conversion pool teach in liberal arts programs at Glendon and Keele campuses, while contract faculty in the Faculty of Health, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, and the Faculty of Science constitute respectively 12%, 11% and 4% of the pool membership. But as Table 3 shows, these are precisely the faculties that are shrinking or stagnating in terms of York’s full-time faculty complement.

Table 3: York University TT Faculty Complement 2008-17 (Changes)

Faculty 2008/9 2015/6 (2008-2016) 2016/17 (2016-17)
AMPD 133 117 -16 109 -18
ENVS 44 40 -4 44 +4
GLENDON 99 95 -4 96 +1
HEALTH 178 197 +19 196 -1
Arts/Atkinson/LAPS 667 611 -56 601 -10
LASS 77 111 +34 121 +10
OSGOODE 60 67 +7 67 n/c
SCHULICH 87 92 +5 87 -5
SCIENCE 212 168 -44 187 +19

The “shrinkage” of YUFA faculty will no doubt continue, given YUFA retirements and given that, according to its Multi-Year Budget Plan, York University’s administration forecasts a net increase to the tenure-stream faculty ranks of only 27 in 2018-19 and 28 in 2019-20.[14] This is despite the fact that the report predicts undergraduate enrolments at York will reach 45,000 students (domestic and international) by 2018-19, “surpassing,” as they note, “the 2012-13 levels of 44,300.”[15]

Interestingly, undergraduate enrollments at the university, in 2015, were largely the same as they were in 2008/9:  46,496 versus 46,079.[16] So given the decline in the tenure-stream faculty complement noted above, whom then is going to do the teaching?  York will either have to move towards downloading more teaching (and service) onto fewer tenure-stream faculty, by increasing class sizes and insisting that only classes that meet enrollment targets will run (i.e. more rigid class cancellation policies around courses that don’t meet targeted enrollment numbers), or will have to continue relying on a large cadre of Unit 2 employees. The latter solution is problematic as it is precisely this over-reliance on contractualized faculty that have led to critiques of York from organizations such as the the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.

In their 2014 report, HEQCO noted of the significant upsurge of contractualized academic labour at York which had transpired over the first decade of the 2000s when the number of contract faculty increased from 791 in 2002-3 to 1,774 by 2013-14. But embedded in their comments about this expansion was an implicit critique of tenured faculty at York and their “underperformance” with respect to undergraduate teaching. The report’s authors wrote:

The percentage increase in sessional instructor assignments at York University far exceeded the increase in students during the same time period. Student enrolment increased by 30% between 2002-2003 and 2004-2005 and remained relatively steady in subsequent years, increasing only 1-3% yearly until 2012-2013. In contrast, the number of sessional instructor assignments grew at an annual rate of between 10 and 15% during the 2005-2013 period [17]

‘Doin’ the Right Thing’: Conversions and Special Renewable Contracts (SRCs)

President Lenton’s argument – i.e. that stabilizing Unit 2 contract faculty beyond what the university has already offered   (two conversion and six SRCs appointments per year )  would run contrary to “open” collegial search processes that are the “hallmark” of universities across the country – rings somewhat hallow given the collapsed/collapsing faculty infrastructure at York University. The majority of new hires over the past ten years have been directed to the Lassonde School of Engineering, and even these numbers appear to be now tapering off.

We are in the midst of a fundamental crisis at York where something major needs to be done about the buildup of Unit 2 contract faculty in the AA pool.

To not do anything with respect to this group of faculty will simply perpetuate a continued reliance upon and an exploitation of their labour in working conditions that are deleterious to the mission of  undergraduate education at York and, I would argue, injurious to the interests of York’s diminishing TT faculty complement who are facing mounting pressures around increased class-size, higher levels of service, and the erosion of the workload protections enshrined in YUFA’s collective agreement. This is already happening, and it will continue to ensue unless the moment is seized here to “do the right thing” and stabilize the work of those contract faculty who are essentially the permanent “full time” employees within Unit 2 and have been for decades – the AA pool.

Not dealing with the AA pool furthermore runs contrary to York’s reputation as a university committed to social justice. Indeed, it fundamentally contradicts this image of York. As already noted, there are significant equity dimensions associated with the AA pool, given the over-representation of female, racialized and Indigenous contractualized employees in this group. It is highly likely that there is an over-representation of other employment equity categories as well in the conversion pool

The language of Article 23 in CUPE 3903’s Unit 2 collective agreement quite purposefully references “Affirmative Action,” reflecting the political spirit of  the late 1980s so as to shine a spotlight on the troubling “class” hierarchy that operated then and continues to operate within universities, and especially at York – i.e. the deep social and economic divisions that operate between an intentionally subordinated and disadvantaged group of contractualized faculty and their more privileged tenured faculty colleagues, and the injustice of this.

Thirty years later, after four major CUPE 3903strikes, from 2000 to 2018, this injustice remains. It is time to start ‘doin’ the right thing’ here which means dealing with the Affirmative Action pool in a meaningful and concrete way.

 

[1] York U’s memo to CUPE 3903, provided through the Ministry of Labour  Mediator Tue, 13 Mar 2018 19:01:42 -0400 (EDT) http://labour.yorku.ca/2018/03/13/memorandum-on-a-path-forward/; March 9, 2018 letter to Professor Phillips, from Rhonda L. Lenton, President & Vice-Chancellor, http://labour.yorku.ca/yorks-response-to-open-letters-from-ocufa-york-community/.

[2] CUEW Local 3 Executive, “Memorandum on Affirmative Action for Long-Service, High-intensity Part Timers,” January 14, 1988.

[3] Sterling Taylor, “New strike hits York University as 1,500 go out,” Toronto Star 18 October 1984, p. A17.

[4] Article 23.01 CUPE 3903 Unit 2 Collective Agreement, 2014-17, p. 77

[5] Alice Pitt, Vice-Provost Academic Memorandum to Deans, Faculties of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, Education, Environmental Studies, AMPD, Health, Lassonde, Science, and Principal, Glendon College on 2016-17 CUPE 3903 Affirmative Action (“Conversion”) Program, November 30, 2016.

[6] Faculty Relations, York University, “CUPE Conversion Appointments.”

[7] Email communication from Sheila Embleton, Chief Steward, YUFA, March 18, 2018.

[8] Article 25.1.3.2, 2015-2019 Queen’s University – QUFA Collective Agreement.

[9] Article 9.8 Instructor Employees, 2014-17 Carlton University Academic Staff Association Collective Agreement.

[10] Field, C. C., Jones, G. A., Karram Stephenson, G., & Khoyetsyan, A. (2014). The “Other” University Teachers: Non-Full-Time Instructors at Ontario Universities. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, p.28.

[11] These figures are taken from York  University Factbook and Quick Facts http://oipa.info.yorku.ca/data-hub/quick-facts/

[12]CUPE 3903 Conversion List 2015-16

[13] Ibid.; CUPE 3903 Seniority List 2018.

[14] York University, Multi Year Budget Plan 2017-18 to 2019-20, p. 98.

[15] Ibid., p. 101.

[16] York University Factbook.

[17] Field, et al., p. 27.

Open letter to President Lenton in support of Conversion Program 1

March 19, 2018

Dear President Lenton, York University

Open Letter to York University,

We the undersigned, YUFA convertee faculty members, urge the York administration to improve conditions for contract faculty members and reaffirm its support of York’s “conversion” program.  In particular, we urge the employer to maintain the number of conversion appointments it made in the past contract. This program, prized by many in the university sector, has produced numerous dedicated tenure and tenure-track faculty that have taken on important administrative positions, are active in research and publishing, and comprise a myriad of York’s award-winning teachers. This program is unique in its support of contract faculty, has enhanced York’s reputation, and contributes meaningfully to the experience of York’s students. In the most robust years of the program, it has also served as a genuine demonstration of York’s commitment to social justice, equity and diversity.

Sincerely,

Dr. Andrea O’Reilly, Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, FGS and LA&PS.
Dr. Jacinthe Michaud, Associate Professor and Chair, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies LA&PS.
Dr. Allyson Mitchell, Associate Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, LA&PS.
Dr. John Simoulidis, Assistant Lecturer, Department of Social Science, LA&PS.
Professor Hernán E. Humaña, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, Faculty of Health.
Dr. Marlene Bernholtz, Assistant Lecturer, Writing Department, LA&PS.
Dr. Richard Wellen, Associate Professor, Department of Social Science, LA&PS.
Dr. Lykke de la Cour, Assistant Lecturer, Department of Social Science, LA&PS.
Dr. Robert Aaron Kenedy, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, LA&PS.
Dr. Alison Halsall, Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities, LA&PS.
Dr. Esteve Morera, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Department of Politics, LA&PS.
Dr. Julie McDonough Dolmaya, PhD, C.Tr. (ATIO), Assistant Professor | Professeure adjointe, School of Translation | École de traduction, York University, Glendon Campus | Université York, Campus Glendon
Dr. Terry Maley, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, LA&PS.
Dr. Elicia Clements, Associate Professor, Cross-Appointed to the Departments of Humanities and English, LA&PS.
Dr. Andrea Medovarski, Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Transition Year Program, LA&PS.
Byron E. Wall, Senior Scholar, Senior Lecturer Emeritus, Departments of Mathematics & Statistics and Science & Technology Studies, LA&PS.
Teresa Holmes, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, LA&PS.
Dr. Ruby Newman, Associate Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, LA&PS.
Jon Caulfield, Associate Professor (retired, converted 1991), Department of Social Science – Urban Studies Program, Department of Geography – Graduate Program in Geography, LA&PS.
Audrey Pyee, Associate Lecturer, Department of History, Glendon College.
Elizabeth S. Cohen, Professor, Dept of History
Scott Forsyth, Retired, Cinema & Media Arts/Politics, AMPD, former Chair, Department of Film, former Graduate Director, Cinema and Media Studies.
Bruce Smardon, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, LA&PS.
Jon Sufrin, PhD, Assistant Lecturer, Writing Department, LA&PS.
Jon Caulfield, Associate Professor (retired, 2014), Department of Social Science (Urban Studies Program), LA&PS.
Kerry Doyle, Undergraduate Program Director, Writing Department, LA&PS.
Diana Cooper-Clark, Associate Professor, English and Humanities (former Master of Atkinson), LA&PS.
Daphne Winland, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, LA&PS.
Naomi Couto, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, LA&PS.
Marcia Blumberg, Associate Professor, English, LA&PS.
Deborah Davidson, PhD, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Sociology, LA&PS.
Rob Heynen, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Communication Studies, LA&PS.
Brett Zimmerman, Associate Professor, English Department, LA&PS.
Jean Saindon, SRC, Special Assistant Professor, retired, Cross-appointed: Philosophy, Faculty of Liberal and Applied Sciences, Natural Science & Science, Technology and Society.
Maggie Quirt, Assistant Lecturer, Chair, Committee on Curriculum, Curricular Policy, and Standards (CCPS), Department of Equity Studies, LA&PS.
Dr. Kym Bird, Associate Professor, Department of the Humanities, Graduate Programme Director, Interdisciplinary Studies, FGS AND LA&PS.
Dr. Frances Latchford, Associate Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, LA&PS.
Dr. Gail Vanstone, Associate Professor, Coordinator, Culture & Expression Program, Department of Humanities.
Dr. Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston, Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director, Theatre & Performance Studies.

 

Statement by the faculty of Cinema and Media Arts 1

March 18, 2018

The YUFA members of the Department of Cinema and Media Arts have considerable concerns around the academic integrity of courses during a labour disruption. We will respect the picket line and are suspending all classes during the CUPE 3903 strike.

We have taken this decision collectively on March 3, 2018  for the following reasons:

The academic integrity of our undergraduate and graduate programs would be compromised if courses were not to be suspended, because some students will attend while others will not, because teaching assistants are integral to many of our courses, and because CUPE course directors offer essential teaching services in the Department.

•       Many of our CUPE colleagues are also our students who face constantly increasing costs, eroding living conditions and uncertain futures.  Forcing them to cross their own picket lines is senseless.

•       Past and very recent experiences on the picket lines suggest that inconsistencies about which courses are resuming contribute to dangerous incidents.

•       The brunt of the work resulting from having some classes operate while others do not falls disproportionately to our YUSA colleagues, who must deal with questions, concerns, frustrations, and anger in ways that undermine the quality of their workplace.

We recognize that the strike has put students in a difficult situation, creating uncertainty for many.  We believe that by suspending courses, we can create clarity for students in our department.  We also believe that this will create a space for CUPE and the employer to focus on arriving at a fair and equitable settlement to this strike as rapidly as possible.  We are committed to a fair and equitable process of remediation after the strike.

Barbara Evans
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Cinema and Media Arts

FES faculty members statement concerning GAs (CUPE 3903 Unit 3) 1

March 15, 2018

We, faculty members of FES, support CUPE 3903’s demands, and specifically want to emphasize the importance of their demand to restore the eight hundred (800) Unit 3 Graduate Assistantships, which York cut two years ago. Historically, Graduate Assistants have played a critical role in the Faculty of Environmental Studies where experiential learning is a key principle behind our pedagogy. Students are attracted to FES precisely because of its commitment to experiential learning. Our graduate program is one of the largest at York and our graduate students gained valuable educational experiences as Graduate Assistants by taking creative and administrative roles in facilities within the Faculty. Apart from assisting with tasks such as conference coordination for our planning program and seminar series, students worked as curators of our two arts spaces. They were active in program design for all our resource centres (media, arts workshop, organic garden). They offered skills-based workshops for our media centre; wrote, edited and published our student journal, collected data and created and monitored websites for research projects, worked with community organisations on collaborative research projects and offered curricular opportunities for community/university connections. They assisted with providing accommodations for students with special needs. They assisted with research applications, learning how SSHRC application and other processes work and they also assisted and collaborated on research publications.

In sum, the loss of GAs has undermined the unique and highly respected experiential component of student learning, and the collective pedagogical model employed, in our MES program. It has compromised our own ability as university teachers to build equitable connections with community-based partner organizations into graduate education. The withdrawal of the GAships reduces direct participation of students in research projects and has undermined the competitiveness of our TriCouncil grant applications, in which GA support and training formed a key part of the Faculty’s contribution. GA involvement was in fact a central feature of our research activities and research creation.

The creation of the new funding model has had a significant, negative impact on the research and pedagogical system at the university and should not have been undertaken without faculty consultation and consensus. Instead, there was no notice or academic discussion. The decision to largely do away with the GA funding model was taken and implemented with minimal notice and in a process that actively debilitated the collegial decision-making process. Indeed, in a university that prioritizes research excellence, this shift in graduate funding makes no logical sense. It is comprehensible only as a union-busting manoeuvre. We therefore support CUPE 3903’s position in defense of GAships and against what is a drastic change in the terms and conditions of our work, and reduction in support for our work.

Anna Zalik
Traci Warkentin
Peter Timmerman
Laura Taylor
Martha Stiegmann
Luisa Sotomayor
Anders Sandberg
Cate Sandilands
Ray Rogers
Justin Podur
Ellie Perkins
Lisa Myers
Felipe Montoya
Ute Lehrer
Abidin Kusno
Stefan Kipfer
Roger Keil
Ilan Kapoor
Christina Hoicka
Jin Haritaworn
Liette Gilbert
Gail Fraser
Jenny Foster
Honor Ford-Smith
Sarah Flicker
Sheila Colla

YFS Statement Regarding the CUPE 3903 Strike Reply

March 14, 2018

We have entered the second week of the CUPE 3903 strike and the York Administration has declined all offers from CUPE 3903 to continue bargaining and reach an agreement. We are incredibly disappointed in this decision, as we believe that if the University bargains in good faith, and offers a fair and affordable package, without setting up pre-conditions, this strike can end. Our paramount concern has been for our members; the undergraduate students, and the impact this strike is having on them, and therefore we strongly encourage York University Administration to continue bargaining with the urgency it requires, as opposed to forcing students to cross picket lines.

Our continued stance is that education is a right, not a privilege. Many of our members work precarious jobs with little, and in the case of un-paid internships: no pay, with zero job security. Even as they work long and hard hours, while balancing classes and completing schoolwork, they live well below the poverty line. Consequently, the YFS supports CUPE 3903 as they demand that their members don’t have to live below the poverty line, that hard work is rewarded with job security, equity and justice in the workplace, and that workers are fairly compensated and not ruthlessly exploited. Workers Rights and Student Rights are Human Rights.

In accordance with York University’s Senate Policy, section 2.2 Fairness to Students, while CUPE 3903 remains on strike, undergraduate students have the right to refuse to cross picket lines without facing any penalties. The York Administration has shown a complete disregard to the plight of undergraduate students by choosing to continue courses, despite the fact that 60 percent of the teaching staff are on strike. The YFS further condemns the ongoing divisive tactics employed by the York University Administration amongst undergraduate students and their instructors: students should not be pitted against themselves and their educators, bullied and threatened to complete course work, nor should they be forced into crossing the picket lines.

The York Federation of Students (YFS) has been a leading advocate for affordable post-secondary education: fighting for lower tuition fees, more grants and greater fairness for international students. Therefore, the York Federation of Students remains undivided in solidarity with Teachers Assistants, Contract Faculty, Graduate Assistants and Research Assistants who have been treated unfairly by the York University Administration, as they continue to fight for a fair, accessible and affordable educational environment.

The York Federation of Students represents over 50,000 undergraduate students at York University and will continue to mobilize for more affordable, accessible education not just for undergraduates, but for all students.

For more information please contact:

Rawan Habib, President, York Federation of Students president@yfs.ca or

Murtaza Ghulam, Executive Director, York Federation of Students, executivedirector@yfs.ca

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

Open letter from STS graduate students and alumni 1

March 14, 2018

Re: Current labour disruptions and the need to suspend classes

Dear professors:

As current and former students of the Department of Science and Technology Studies, we are writing to ask that classes within the STS Graduate Program, STS Undergraduate Program, and Division of Natural Sciences (NATS) be suspended for the duration of the current CUPE 3903 labour disruption, following the example of numerous other academic departments across campus.

We are disheartened by the lack of public support expressed by the Departmental and Graduate Program Executives and the conscious decision to allow classes to continue to be held. Inaction in this circumstance does not reflect a position of neutrality, but instead displays an alignment not with your CUPE 3903 colleagues and students, but with the York University senior administration. Allowing classes to continue causes both graduate and undergraduate students to feel unfairly pressured to cross both electronic and physical picket lines, putting them in compromising situations as students and as TAs. This pressure has exacerbated the chaos and frustration felt by the broader York community, which directly affects those of us on the picket lines, as we are confronted by verbal and physical violence on a daily basis. Therefore, in the interest of safety, the academic integrity of all STS and NATS courses, the minimization of chaos, and the facilitation of remediation once the labour disruption is resolved, it is essential that all classes within the Department of Science and Technology Studies be suspended immediately.

The Division of Natural Science, which provides general education courses to undergraduate students that embody the supposed interdisciplinary and liberal arts mandate of York University, depend on the labour of STS graduate students in order to function. Our research and pedagogical expertise, which dwell at the intersection of science, technology, and medicine on one hand, and the social sciences and humanities on the other, ensure that our undergraduate students and peers enjoy a robust and contemporarily relevant education. Whether it is at incoming student orientations, meetings of the program executive, end-of-year program retreats, or Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) council meetings, graduate students are regularly reminded that we are the largest body of researchers and educational workers on campus, and those that interact closest with undergraduate students. Yet, together with contract faculty, those of us who provide 60% of the teaching labour at York have been forced to withdraw our labour and collectively fight for increased job security, predictable and protected graduate funding, the restoration of over 800 graduate assistant positions, and greater support for victims of sexual violence and racial discrimination.

In taking the decision to suspend classes, you will be following the lead of the Schools of Social Work and Translation (Glendon) and the Departments of Sociology; Politics; Politics (Glendon); Equity Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; Anthropology; Social Sciences; Cinema and Media Studies; and Communication Studies. Such academic departments have argued that “the suspension of all classes for the duration of the strike will minimise the chances of dangerous incidents on the picket lines, which have occurred in previous strikes” and that they “cannot in good faith provide education which is inconsistent and lacking in integrity, where some students are being taught, albeit without the kind of curriculum and pedagogy they were promised, while others are being deprived outright because of the conviction of their conscience.” In addition, the Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS) Faculty Council has recently passed a motion calling on the York University Senate to suspend all courses across the University without delay in order to preserve academic integrity. Such concerns must also exist within the Departmental and Graduate Programs Executives and the only means through which to remedy this is through the suspension of all classes.

Lastly, this academic year has proven unique in the history of STS at York. In light of the recent Cyclical Program Review (CPR), graduate students displayed that their united voice was capable of spurring on structural reforms and changes within York’s institutional framework. We did this, not solely for ourselves, but due to our shared belief in the strength and value of our (inter)discipline within York University and the greater academy. Where we saw flaws and injustice, whether directed at graduate students or faculty members, we demanded change. Our current labour disruption mirrors our attempts to renew our program, ensuring that future graduate students enjoy a program and University greater than we can even now envision and absent of disciplinary divisions. Thus, as we stood shoulder to shoulder with faculty members who felt disillusioned and alienated by recent structural changes, we ask that they stand with us and support our current struggle. So, again, we ask that you suspend all STS and NATS classes, join the growing collective voice currently petitioning the York University Senate to suspend classes university-wide for the duration of the labour disruption, and encourage York University to return to the bargaining table.

In solidarity with CUPE 3903 and academic workers worldwide,

Michael Laurentius, Graduate Student (President, STSGSA)
Erin Grosjean, Graduate Student (Secretary-Treasurer, STSGSA; PhD Rep. STS Exec)
Callum C. J. Sutherland, Graduate Student
André Williams, Graduate Student
Aadita Chaudhury, Graduate Student
Nancy Guo, Graduate Student
Peggy Chiappetta, Graduate Student
Steven Umbrello, Graduate Student
Josh Lalonde, Graduate Student
Sabrina Scott, Graduate Student
Cath Duchastel de Montrouge, Graduate Student
Melissa Banyard, Graduate Student
Alex Gatien, Alumni
Nox Dineen-Porter, Graduate Student
Jason Grier, Graduate Student
Angela Cope, Graduate Student
Muddassir Younus, Alumni
Drew Danielle Belsky, Graduate Student
Madelaine Khan, Alumni
Eleanor Louson, Graduate Student
Travis Hnidan, Graduate Student
Yana Boeva, Graduate Student
Madelaine Ley, Graduate Student
Aftab Mirzaei, Graduate Student
Merle Davis, Graduate Student
Tyler Hnatuk, Graduate Student
Jeffrey Wajsberg, Graduate Student
Lina Pinto García, Graduate Student
Ryan Collis, Undergraduate Student
Paul Toro, Graduate Student
Mariam Hassan, Alumni
Roula Faraj, Alumni
Matthew Burns, Graduate Student
Anna Artyushina, Graduate Student
Serena Naim, Alumni
Mustafa Ebrahem, Alumni
Yousif Hassan, Graduate Student
Lindsay Small, Alumni
Kasey Coholan, Graduate Student
Raymond Huynh, Alumni
Kelly Ladd, Graduate Student
Einar Engström, Graduate Student
Elyse Watkins, Alumni
Anita Buragohain, Graduate Student
Emily Simmonds, Graduate Student
Bernard Isopp, Graduate Student
Julia Gruson-Wood, Graduate Student
Ben Mitchell, Alumni & Sessional Faculty
Bretton Fosbrook, Alumni

 

Two motions from the Department of Humanities 1

The Department of Humanities held an emergency department meeting on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, to discuss the CUPE strike and its impact. Below are the Department statement on the strike and a motion to the Senate Executive, both of which passed unanimously at the meeting:

1. Department Statement

The Department of Humanities supports the motion passed at LA&PS Faculty Council on March 12, 2014:

Be it resolved that

The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies take the decision to call upon Senate to suspend all classes within LAPS for the duration of the CUPE 3903 Strike without delay.

We reaffirm our commitment to our CUPE colleagues and recognize their indispensable contributions to teaching in Humanities. TAs and CUPE instructors are integral to our programs and without their contribution, the integrity of our courses cannot be maintained. Like other departments have done, we encourage the university to work with CUPE 3903 to arrive at a fair and equitable agreement as quickly as possible.

We also support our students  rights, under York University Senate Policy, not to participate in academic activities, including their right to refuse to cross a virtual or actual picket line without being penalized for whatever reason. In addition, we recognize that many of our CUPE colleagues are also our students who face constantly increasing costs, eroding living conditions and uncertain futures.

As our CUPE colleagues state in their March 11 letter to the Department: the strike has put students in a difficult situation, creating uncertainty for many. Suspending classes would help create some clarity for students. Suspending classes will also facilitate CUPE and the employer to focus on arriving at a fair and equitable settlement to this strike as quickly as possible.

2. Motion to Senate Executive

The Department also unanimously approved the following motion to the Senate Executive:

Following the outcome of the March 8 Senate meeting, the Department of Humanities protests the Senate executive current interpretation of the York Act. In its written presentation to that meeting and in subsequent statements, Senate executive states that decisions regarding the business and affairs of the University are vested in the Board even where they may have an impact on academic policy.

The Department of Humanities asks the Senate Executive to assume its proper authority in all academic matters including the decision to suspend classes for the duration of the CUPE strike.

Open letter to York History Re: continuation of classes 1

March 12, 2018

Dear York University History Chair Thabit Abdullah, Graduate History Chair Jeremy Trevett, Undergraduate History Chair Deborah Neill, and all sitting members of the University Senate:

We are writing as a response to the letter posted here.

As your past and current York University Graduate History students we urgently request that you:

  1. Immediately suspend all classes that continue to be held in your respective programs and
  2. Pressure the University Senate and the Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Faculty Council to immediately suspend all classes that continue to be run at York University both on campus and online for the duration of the CUPE 3903 strike.

York University History is known internationally as a centre for social, cultural and intellectual history and has produced some of Canada’s finest scholars in labour, gender, environmental and Indigenous history. As scholars in these fields we have contributed to marginalised histories: the working class; women; the LGBTQ2S community; Indigenous peoples. How can we claim to teach the experiences of those without power and then turn around and ask our undergraduate students to cross picket lines and ignore the working conditions of our Unit 2 colleagues and graduate students? It is unfathomable.

CUPE 3903 has had a direct impact on the success of the History Department, attracting some of the top scholars and training many of us for careers in labour. CUPE 3903 members have gone on to lead faculty unions across Canada. York University is not alone in its struggles with labour disruption. Strikes at York, University of Toronto, Laurentian, University of Manitoba, Carleton, University of Northern British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the historic 2017 strike of Ontario’s Colleges all took place in the last five years.

We believe that the continuation of classes is not in the best interest of students, and does not promote academic integrity. The university administration is aware of this, and its intention is to undermine the union and put its members in a precarious position. During the last strike in 2015, union members in the History Department received death threats on the picket lines, and other members of the union were hit by vehicles. This strike has already, in the first week, put our members in danger from extremely aggressive drivers. Last week an aggressive driver at Chimneystack Road (where History performs picketing duties) drove beside, and then into, the picket line area. His excuse – he was “late to class.” A driver at the Northwest Gate assaulted the picketers because he had a midterm – was it one of ours? Failing to cancel classes directly threatens our members’ health and safety – members of not only CUPE 3903, but also members of the History Department. Heavier traffic coming into campus puts our bodies in danger. Considering this very real threat to our members and colleagues, we earnestly implore history faculty to consider our safety and not conduct their classes during the strike.

Other departments, faculties, and student groups have already requested the immediate suspension of classes during the strike in solidarity with CUPE 3903, including: Faculty of Environmental Science graduate students; the York Federation of Students Access Centre; the College President’s Association; and the Departments of Social Science; Sociology; Political Science; Gender; Feminist & Women’s Studies; the School of Translation; Cinema and Media Arts; Equity Studies; Communication Studies; FES; Social Work, and Anthropology.

We ask you to reconsider your position.

In Solidarity with 3903 and our other faculty unions across Canada,

  • Aaron Armstrong, PhD Student, York University; CUPE 3903
  • Aaron Miedema,  BA Carleton University, BFA York University; MA Royal Military College of Canada,PhD (ABD) York University
  • Abril Liberatori, PhD York University
  • Adrian Gamble, PhD candidate, ABD, York University
  • Aitana Guia, PhD York University, Assistant Professor, California State University Fullerton
  • Alan Corbiere, Ph. D candidate, York University
  • Alban Bargain, PhD York University; Contract Faculty at York
  • Alex Gagne, PhD Student, York University; CUPE 3903
  • Amanda Robinson, BA, MA (York University), PhD Candidate, ABD (York University), Course Director, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Andrew Watson, PhD York University; Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan
  • Angela Rooke, BA University of Waterloo; MA, PhD York University
  • Angela Zhang, BA University of Toronto; MA Queen’s University; PhD; CUPE 3903
  • Anne Toews, PhD (ABD) York University; Instructor, Langara College; Langara Faculty Association
  • Ashlee Barwell HBA, MA, PhD (ABD), York University
  • Avram Heisler, BA (Specialized Honours), MA, PhD (ABD), York University – current CUPE 3903 Steward, Department of History
  • Barbara Molas, BA Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain), MA Freie Universitat Berlin (Germany) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain), PhD candidate, York University
  • Barry Torch, BA, Wilfrid Laurier University, MA, PhD (ABD), York University; CUPE 3903
  • Brad Meredith, BA, MA, PhD (ABD)
  • Brittany Luby, PhD York University; Assistant Professor, University of Guelph
  • Brooke Sales-Lee, BA University of California Berkeley, MA York University
  • Bruce Douville, PhD York University — Part-time faculty member in History at Algoma University
  • Carly Murdoch, BA York University, MA University of Western Ontario, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Carly Naismith, BA, MA, PhD (ABD), York University, CUPE 3903 (Unit 1)
  • Carly Simpson, BA, MA Western University; PhD (ABD) York University; Partial Load Faculty Conestoga College; OPSEU 237
  • Caroline Butt, BA (Hons), Memorial University, MA, Dalhousie University, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Chelsea Bauer CUPE 3903 Unit 1 Bargaining Team
  • Christine Grandy, PhD, York University; Senior Lecturer, University of Lincoln; British Academy Mid-Career Fellow
  • Christine McLaughlin, BA, MA, Trent University, PhD (ABD) York University, Executive Director, UOIT Faculty Association
  • Christopher Frank, PhD,York University; Associate Professor of History, University of Manitoba
  • Christopher Grafos, PhD, Research Associate, York University
  • Christopher Kshyk, BA (Hons.), University of Winnipeg; MA, York University
  • Chris Vogel, BA Western University, MA, PhD York University, CUPE 3903 Member
  • Cristiana Conti, BA, Tor Vergata University, Rome (Italy), MA, PhD (ABD), York University
  • Cynthia Loch-Drake, PhD, York University, Contract Faculty, Schulich School of Business (CUPE 3903-exempt)
  • Dagomar Degroot, PhD York University; Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
  • Dan Horner, BA, McGill University; MA, PhD, York University; Assistant Professor, Ryerson University
  • Daniel Ross, MA, PhD York University; Assistant Professor, UQÀM
  • Daniel Xie, BA, University of Toronto; MA, York University
  • Dave Hazzan, BA, University of Victoria; MA, Athabasca University; PhD student, York University; CUPE 3903 Member
  • Dave Smith, PhD, York University, Professor, Durham College, OPSEU 354 member
  • David Molenhuis, BA, University of Western Ontario; MA, York University
  • Della Roussin, BA, MA-UBC, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Douglas Hunter, PhD, York University
  • Elaine Naylor, Ph.D, York University, Associate Professor, Mount Allison University
  • Elizabeth O’Gorek, Capital Community News (Washington DC), BA University of Winnipeg, MA University of Waterloo, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Émilie Pigeon, PhD; Lab Coordinator, Métis Family and Community Research Lab, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies University of Ottawa; APTPUO
  • Emily Vey, BA York; MA Laurentian;  PhD Candidate York University
  • Enrico Moretto, BA, University of Toronto; MA, PhD Student, York University
  • Erica McCloskey, BA, MA, PhD (ABD), York University; CUPE 3903
  • Erin Dolmage, BA, MA, University of British Columbia; PhD (ABD) York University; Professor Seneca College; OPSEU 560
  • Evelyn Hielkema, MA York University, PhD Candidate, York University, CUPE 3903
  • Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert, PhD (ABD) York University, Filmmaker
  • Funke Aladejebi, PhD York University, MA York University, Assistant Professor (limited term), Gender and Women’s Studies Department, Trent University.
  • Geoff Read, PhD (York University), Associate Professor of History, Huron University College
  • Gilberto Fernandes, PhD, York University; Postdoctoral Visitor, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies; Course Director (YUFA), HIST4530, Department of History, York University
  • Gillian Poulter, BA, BEd, MA, PhD (York University), Associate Professor, Acadia University
  • Golaleh P., PhD (ABD) York University
  • Graeme Melcher, BA (Hons.), Queen’s University, MA, York University; JD, Dalhousie
  • Haley Gienow-McConnell, Brock University, BA, MA History; York University, PhD ABD History
  • Harrison Forsyth, BA, York; MA, University of Alberta; PhD (ABD) York; CUPE 3903
  • Ian Mosby, PhD, York University
  • Jaclyn Mika, BA, Ryerson University, MA student York University
  • James Muir, PhD, York University; Associate Professor of History and Law, University of Alberta.
  • James Naylor, PhD, York University; Professor Brandon University
  • Janice Matsumura, PhD (York University), Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University
  • Jarett Henderson, PhD, York University; Associate Professor, Mount Royal University
  • Jarvis Brownlie, Professor, University of Manitoba
  • Jason Chartrand, BA (Hons.) King’s University College at Western University; MA, PhD Student, York University, GHSA Co-President, CUPE 3903 (Unit 1)
  • Jay Young, PhD York University, AMAPCEO
  • Jesse Thistle BA; MA; PhD Student, York University; Resident Scholar of Indigenous Homelessness The Homeless Hub
  • Jen Hassum, BA, MA, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Jim Clifford, PhD, York University; Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan.
  • Joanna L. Pearce, BA, MA, PhD (ABD), York University; CUPE 3903
  • Jodi Burkett, BA (Hons) University of Toronto, MA McGill, PhD York, Principal Lecturer and Subject Leader for History University of Portsmouth UK
  • Johanna Lewis, BSc, University of Toronto; MA, PhD Student, York University; CUPE 3903
  • Joseph Tohill, PhD York University
  • Julia Pyryeskina, BA, York University; MA, York University (History); YUSA member
  • Karen Macfarlane, PhD, York University (History)
  • Karlee Sapoznik Evans, BAH, MA, PhD York University; Research and Policy Advisor, Government of Manitoba.
  • Kate Barker, BA (Hons), Queen’s University; BAA, Ryerson University; MA, PhD (ABD) York University; part-time instructor Ryerson School of Journalism; CUPE 3904
  • Katharine Bausch, PhD (York University), Assistant Professor, Carleton University
  • Kathryn Magee Labelle, PhD; Associate Professor University of Saskatchewan
  • Kevin Burris, BA (Hons), Simon Fraser University; MA, PhD (ABD) York University; CUPE 3903
  • Kevin Chrisman, PhD Candidate, York University
  • Kristin Burnett, PhD, York University; Assistant Professor, Department of Indigenous Learning, Lakehead University;
  • Kristine Alexander, PhD York University, Canada Research Chair & Assistant Professor of History, the University of Lethbridge
  • Kristopher Radford PhD, PhD York University
  • Kyle Prochnow, BA, Saint Mary’s College of California; MA, Boston College; PhD (ABD) York University; CUPE 3903
  • Lee Slinger, MA PhD York University; Editor, The Dance Current
  • Lisa Chilton, PhD York University, Associate Professor, History Dept, UPEI
  • Luke Hagemann, BA, UNC Chapel Hill; MA, York University; PhD Student, Emory University
  • Lydia Wytenbroek, BA, MA, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Lynne Marks, PhD York University, Professor, History Department, University of Victoria
  • Lynn MacKay, BA, MA, PhD (York University), Professor, Brandon University
  • Madeleine Chartrand, BA, University of Manitoba; MA, PhD York University
  • Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D (York University), Executive Director, Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
  • Marlee Couling, BAHon, Brandon University; MA, PhD (ABD) York University; CUPE 3903
  • Maryann Buri, BA, Brandon University; MA, PhD (ABD) York University; CUPE 3903
  • Mary Franks, BA, University of California Santa Cruz, MA University of Kansas, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Mathieu Brûlé, BA, MA, University of Ottawa; PHD York University (ABD); Negotiator, Public Service Alliance of Canada; member Unifor 2025
  • Matthew Poggi, PhD (ABD) York; CUPE 3903 (Unit 1)
  • Matthew Robertshaw, BA, MA University of Guelph; PhD student York University; CUPE 3903 Unit 1 Member
  • Maximilian Smith, BA, University of Toronto; MA, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Michael Ainsworth, BA, Laurier; BEd, York University; MA, York University; PhD (ABD), York University
  • Michael Akladios, BA (Spec. Hons.), MA, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Natasha Henry, PhD Student, York University
  • Nathan Ince, BA Carleton University, MA York University PhD (ABD) McGill University
  • Nelson Marques, BA, MA, York University; MA; PhD (ABD) University of Miami.
  • Noa Nahmias, PhD (ABD) York University, CUPE 3903 member
  • Olya Murphy, PhD (ABD) York University, CUPE 3903 member
  • Pamela J. Fuentes, PhD York University, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Pace University-NYC
  • Patrice Allen, PhD Student York University, CUPE 3903 member
  • Paul Aikenhead, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Raluca Andrei, BA, BEd, MA, York University; OCT
  • Reut Ullman, BA, MA (York University); former CUPE 3903 Unit 3 member; PhD candidate at Columbia University
  • Richard Aronson, CPA,CMA, BComm Concordia University; BA, MA, PhD(ABD) York University
  • Rob Kristofferson, PhD (York), Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Ronald Morris, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Ruth Frager, PhD, York University; Associate Professor, McMaster University
  • Ryan Targa, PhD (ABD), York University, Course Director, CUPE 3903 Member
  • Samantha Desroches, BA, Western University; MA, York University, PhD (ABD) Western University
  • Samantha Rohrig, BA, University of Manitoba; MA, Brock University; PhD Student, York University; CUPE 3903
  • Sara Farhan, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Sarah Elvins, MA, York University; PhD, York University; Associate Professor University of Manitoba
  • Sara Howdle, BA, UofM; MA; PhD (ABD) York, Coordinator for the Indigenous Women’s  Resilience Project, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta
  • Sara Muscat, BA, Carleton University; MA, Queen’s University; PhD (ABD), York University
  • Serge Miville, PhD York University; Professeur adjoint, Chaire de recherche en histoire de l’Ontario français, Université Laurentienne; LUFAPPUL
  • Shannon Stettner, PhD (York University), Contract Faculty, University of Waterloo
  • Sheila McManus, PhD York University 2001, Professor of History, University of Lethbridge
  • Stacy Nation-Knapper, PhD York University; Postdoctoral Fellow, Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster University
  • Stuart Henderson, PhD
  • Susan Roy, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo, former York postdoc
  • Tarah Brookfield, PhD, York University; Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Thomas Peace, PhD (York University); Assistant Professor, Huron University College
  • Tom Hooper, PhD York University, CSSP York History. BA, MA University of Guelph
  • Tommaso Leoni, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Travis Hay, PhD (ABD) York University; MA Lakehead University; Sessional Instructor in Departments of Indigenous Learning and Political Science, Lakehead University
  • Tristan Ellis, MA York University. High School Teacher, Kuwait City. OCT.
  • Valentina Capurri, PhD (York University)
  • Valerie Deacon, PhD (York University), Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU Shanghai
  • Vanessa S. Oliveira, PhD York University; Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto
  • Victoria Jackson, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Will Baker, PhD (ABD), York;  former steward, CUPE, Local 3903
  • Will Fysh, MA (York University), PhD candidate (University of Toronto)
  • William Gleberzon PhD MED, York University, History and Humanities Department
  • William Goldbloom, BA, University of British Columbia; MA, York University (History); JD, University of Toronto
  • Zachary Consitt, BA, BEd, MA, PhD Candidate, York University; CUPE 3903