Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

Since York University requested a forced vote supervised by the Ontario government on Monday, the striking contract faculty union has criticized the move as a waste of time. 

The local 3903 Canadian Union of Public Employees, which makes up for 60 per cent of teaching faculty at the university, has been on strike since Mar. 5 after the two sides failed to secure a collective bargaining agreement.

In labour disputes, the Ministry of Labour can be brought in once for a forced vote by the employer in an attempt to end the strike.

It takes some 10 to 12 days for the ministry to carry out a “supervised vote”, where every member of CUPE 3903 will have the opportunity to vote on accepting York’s latest offer via secret ballot.

“By doing so, the York administration continues to reject the process of bargaining constructively with CUPE 3903,” the union said in a statement.

CUPE has called on its members to vote against the offer that they say is “largely the same disapointing and unacceptable offer that York proposed before the strike.”

Union leaders said they are “confident that once our membership again rejects this offer, a better settlement can be reached through collective bargaining.”

Three units of the union are engaged in the bargaining for a new agreement: One is made up of those with teaching contracts, the second contains teaching contract or assistants that are not full-time graduate students, and number three withholds graduate or research assistants that are full-time graduate students.

Each unit operates somewhat independently within the union and each vote to strike and to ratify tentative agreements.


Other union concerned

The York University Faculty Union said on Tuesday that they are concerned about the university’s approach to contract negotiations as they enter bargaining to renegotiate their own collective agreement.

YUFA, and the York University Staff Association, are the other two faculty unions on the campuses of York.

YUFA said “the tactics used against CUPE 3903, including delayed bargaining, intense public relations, a focred ratification vote and heightened, possibly illegal security measures, may well be employed against other campus unions”.

The faculty union said “the constant dissemination of aggressive administration messaging” combined with “chaos” during the academic term “has become extremely stressful and divisive” for those at York,  particularly students.

YUFA on Wednesday noted that the forced vote includes a settlement offer that would reinstate an old program that saw “long -serving CUPE 3903 members transferred to renewable term YUFA appointments.”

Essentially, 3903 members would be voting on an issue that would bring major changes to the current YUFA Collective Agreement, which the union said it would not accept.

YUFA made this clear to York on Tuesday.


More details to follow. Image of the picketers from BlogTO.  

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Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a journalism student at the University of Guelph-Humber and a senior correspondent for multiple independent publications including, but not limited to, The Anon Journal, Berning Media Network and the Ribbon. Find out more at eliridder.ca

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