Thursday, November 13, 2008

Children's space @ strike HQ

We have created a fun children's space at the Strike HQ complete with blankets, toys, games, videos, food and more. Members passing through, visiting and working in the office are encouraged to bring their children, however caregivers must remain on site with them.

The union is also continuing to administer our child-care subsidy. Please visit HQ for child-care expense forms for reimbursement.

For more information, please contact Maria Wallis, Unit 2 VP, at

What’s up with binding arbitration?!!!

... and what is York’s real position?

York University continues to focus on binding arbitration as if it’s in the best interests of students and everybody …. But is this true?

In past statements on binding arbitration, York U representatives have said:
“[B]inding arbitration risks handing over the future of the institution to a third party who cannot possibly appreciate the subtleties and complexities of a university such as York.”[1]

“Arbitration is not a solution to the difficult issues that divide us. It effectively acknowledges the incapacity of the parties to reach what is needed - a mutually agreed upon settlement - and substitutes a decision that neither party owns.”[2]

“Arbitration, in effect, places the academic future of York in the hands of an individual who has no continuing interest in, or commitment to, the University. The administration does not consider this to be a responsible way of resolving the dispute.”[3]

So why exactly is the University reversing its official position on binding arbitration when it comes to negotiating with CUPE 3903?

Is CUPE 3903 unreasonable to refuse binding arbitration as a “solution?”

The administration itself has said that it “does not consider this to be a responsible way of resolving the dispute.” CUPE 3903 is NOT opposed to meeting with a third party negotiator. In fact, we have been in communication with a mediator appointed by the Ministry of Labour for over one month. The University’s continued calls for “binding arbitration” simply demonstrate their unwillingness to address the real issues and concerns of CUPE 3903.

Why haven’t the two sides met until now?

Mediation requires BOTH sides to negotiate. The University’s administration has wasted a valuable week of negotiating time by continuing to press for binding arbitration despite its OWN clear opposition to it in the past. Until today (Thurs. Nov. 13) they have refused to meet with CUPE 3903’s representatives and the government appointed negotiator to work out a settlement.

If York’s administration is as committed to students’ concerns as they claim to be, why have they waited an entire week to come back to the table?

Binding arbitration...
It was a bad idea then, and it’s a worse idea now.

[1][2][3] Quoted from the York University archive on past negotiations with the York University Faculty Association (YUFA). To see the original, click here.

Hardship Fund for CUPE 3903 Members


CUPE 3903 recognizes that members will experience hardship due to the loss of
wages during the strike and therefore has set up a system for adding to the
strike pay. A strike hardship fund committee has been set up to disburse needs
based bursaries as well as interest free loans in the event that the strike
continues into the next scheduled pay period.

Q. Who is eligible?
A. All CUPE 3903 members who actively support the strike through picketing or
through alternative picket duties and who experience hardship as a result of
the strike are encouraged to apply. Those who are unable to picket and have
not already done so are encouraged to enquire about alternative picket duties

Q. What is the difference between the bursary and the interest free loan?
A. CUPE 3903 will be able to offer members bursaries to alleviate hardship
during the strike. If after receiving bursary funds members still experience
hardship they will be able to apply for an interest free loan. This loan will
be owed to CUPE 3903 and will become payable at the end of the strike and only
after members have started to receive their wages. The strike benefits
committee will bring forward a proposal at an upcoming GMM for the membership’s
approval that will suggest bursary amounts to be disbursed and to be set aside
for loans.

Q. What if I experience hardship before the next pay date?
A. The CUPE 3903 Ways and Means Committee will continue to process applications
until November 17th and members are encouraged to apply to this committee.

Q. How can I apply?
A. Applications for bursaries and interest free loans will be available on the
CUPE 3903 website, at the CUPE 3903 temporary office at 635 Petrolia Road (East of the York U Campus) and at picket lines as early as November 17th 2008.

Q. How are the funds disbursed?
A. The Strike Benefits committee will be meeting on a regular basis after November
17th 2008 to adjudicate and disburse funds and process interest free loans.
Once the funds are ready for pick up the applicants will be notified.

Q. Is this a confidential process?
A. Yes. Committee members maintain the strictest possible confidence regarding

Q. What do I need to apply?
A. Similar to CUPE 3903’s Ways and Means fund, members will only be asked to
offer a minimal amount of details concerning their financial status and needs.
The committee’s priority is to fund members through this process in an
equitable manner, with as little delay as possible.

Q. Is there a limit on how many times I can apply?
A. NO. Unlike the Ways and Means Funds, members are able to apply for these
funds as needed. Receiving funds in November will NOT make you ineligible to
receive funds the following month.

Q. What about Childcare?
A. CUPE 3903 will maintain its childcare fund and therefore members who have to
incur childcare expense due to the strike will be able to request funds for
this purpose. To enquire about alternative picket duties and child friendly
picket lines please contact

Q. What about transportation costs?
A. Bursary funds will be disbursed based on need and transportation is one of
the many reasons that members may apply to the hardship fund.

Q. What about my regular CUPE 3903 Health Benefits?
A. The CUPE 3903 Executive announced on November 5th that they will ensure our
members’ benefits continue during the strike.

If you have any other questions please direct them to: