Dear President Lenton,
In your recent message to the York community (“Two days of mediation produce no settlement“), you claim that the CUPE conversion program remains a “fundamental issue” in the current labour dispute. You state that the University’s proposal of two conversion appointments (which falls below CUPE’s previous contract and the historical average) enjoys the “public support of many full-time faculty in the York University Faculty Association.” You add that “Academics support University’s position on conversions.”
It is incumbent upon your office to provide evidence for such statements about the opinions of our members. This letter did not disclose that your claim of “public support” refers to a petition you received from 152 members of YUFA who have organized a special group to discuss issues such as conversion appointments and the CUPE strike. Everyone is aware, including yourself, that among the more than 1,500 members of YUFA there are diverse views on the conversion program. The program has nonetheless been approved in every YUFA collective agreement voted upon by our members in the last thirty years.
It is disingenuous in this context that you failed to consult with YUFA before claiming that academics support the bargaining position of the York administration in this strike. By misrepresenting the views of YUFA members, your statement appears calculated to drive a wedge between YUFA members and our colleagues in CUPE 3903 upon their return to work. We ask therefore that you issue a correction, making it clear that you are in receipt of the signed petition of approximately 10% of our membership, but that you are not able to make a reliable claim about the opinion of YUFA members on the issue of the conversion program in the current negotiations.
York University Faculty Association