It is difficult to avoid the impression that our employer is trying to provoke a strike of our members after two years of a pandemic and despite the extraordinary efforts of YUFA members to support our students as well as to fulfill our service and research obligations without decisive leadership or adequate institutional support.
You know that our Employer has said NO to the Bargaining Team's efforts to negotiate modest proposals to support our teaching and working conditions. Our proposals are not excessive or controversial, they are in line with the contracts achieved by other faculty associations across Ontario. The Employer’s Bargaining Team, headed by a Bay St. lawyer, has delayed and delayed our negotiations and finally pushed YUFA to call a strike vote supported by 72% of our colleagues in an overwhelming turnout and show of support.
The Employer’s legal representative now claims in a public relations move to be surprised that YUFA is filing for a no-board report (see YFile). This move is a disservice to our members. In 2018, YUFA’s bargaining team applied for both mediation and conciliation. In 2022, our progress in bargaining has been much more difficult. The parties had their first meeting with the third-party mediator on February 28,2022, before requesting a no board report on Tuesday, March 1st. Requesting a no-board report is very common, even routine in labour relations bargaining contexts at this stage when other attempts to reach a settlement have failed.
And why would this be surprising? The employer knows very well that unions commonly request a no-board in these circumstances. In fact, the mediator told our bargaining team that the employer was concerned that's what we would do.
We held a strike mandate vote. It passed. One cannot go on strike in Ontario without a no-board. There is no point in delaying this process until July.
Our employer’s bargaining team is misleading the York community. In all this time, they have not met us anywhere near halfway, when they have met with us at all.
YUFA deplores the Employer's deliberate mischaracterization of the process to members and the university community. Given the way the employer has been negotiating, there would be no chance of a successful mediation without a credible strike threat. Our own Bargaining Team remains fervently positive and proactive despite being met with unprecedented stonewalling. We ask the Employer’s team to come back to the table THIS weekend to continue negotiation in our shared goal of creating a better York.
Negotiations continue and next set of mediation dates are March 8, March 10, March 22.