We are writing to urge you to vote YES to the strike vote.
This communique summarizes the bargaining issues that are in dispute in these long-delayed contract negotiations.
It also addresses members’ concerns about financial issues arising from a strike.
Our Bargaining Team is deeply concerned about the employer’s refusal to listen to reasonable arguments and bargain in good faith. To date the employer has simply refused to negotiate on all the proposals that members say are most important to them. This has created immense frustration on the part of the Bargaining Team and YUFA Executive Committee. We urge you to give your support to these proposals.
Over the years the Dispute Resolution Committee has been a useful and valuable mechanism for resolving issues between faculty and administration. The administration has proposed to eliminate it. The DRC is an effective body comprised of elected representatives that has helped countless members to resolve disputes in a non-adversarial manner. Why eliminate it now?
We also want YUFA members to have the right to maintain their YUFA membership while serving as elected representatives to the Board of Governors, as with other campus unions and most universities.
Our proposals include calls for meaningful recruitment and retention of racialized, Black and Indigenous colleagues; an effective and respectful accommodations process; and equity and diversity training for administrators. At a time when the employer seeks to enhance its reputation in terms of equity, it is refusing to meet our hiring quotas and to adequately resource our BIPOC colleagues who are frequently called upon to serve as experts for students, faculty, and the employer.
Our present workload calculations fail to account for the extra work involved with dual mode / hyflex course arrangements. Our Bargaining Team wants compensation and workload adjustment for the extra work involved in disruptions during and post a pandemic or other events, so that we can better serve our students; Improved criteria for classification of academic administrative positions (to reflect workload); and the right of academic units to have a say in workload.
We have once again proposed and are being refused a 3.0 workload for Teaching Stream and 2.0 for Professorial faculty.
Members have a right to privacy including protection from electronic surveillance of our emails and websites.
Our proposals outline improvements to our health benefits, such as adding psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and social workers to existing mental healthcare, and increasing our vision care coverage.
Increases to PER and funds that support our work (link to CPI)
We have proposed phased in retirement and opposed the employer’s proposed cuts to our pensions.
The bargaining team takes issue with the employer’s restrictive and non-normative interpretation of Bill 124 as it applies to compensation increases.
They contend that any cost in the CA is subject to the compensation restrictions in Bill 124, including Professional Expense Reimbursements (PER) or computer costs that YUFA is bargaining. The Employer further claims that the annual Progress through the Ranks (PTR) amounts of $2750 as set out in the collective agreement cannot increase by 1%, even though it is a compensation cost for the employer and Bill 124 allows increases up to the 1% cap. This PTR has been frozen in 11 of the last 12 years and this would lead to a increment freeze of 14 of 15 years throughout our tenure as academics.
So far, the administration has not offered any increases to base salary AND they have chosen to exclude PTR from increases to salary, offering members’ salary increases that are far below what is legislatively possible through Bill 124.
For more details, please see this PTR and Bill 124 bargaining backgrounder.
Financial implications of a strike
Members have expressed understandable concerns about the financial implications of going on strike.
It is routine in labour relations for the employer to cease paying members’ salaries and benefits for the duration of the strike. However, there are a number of things that the union will do, including negotiating a strike protocol and a return-to-work protocol with the Employer. These are normal and routine negotiations in the event of labour action. For details on benefits; mortgage relief; hardship fund; retroactive salary and strike pay, go to this link here.
Implications for students
Faculty strikes never involve the loss of a term for students. It has never happened at York or at any other Canadian faculty strikes. Our professors will ensure that any back to work plans involve full remediation of courses for students.
If we do go on strike, students can help ensure that the strike is of short duration and that we are able to negotiate a contract quickly, by expressing strong support for their professors. The university needs to know it cannot continue to bully its faculty and students.
We also encourage members and supporters to:
- Send and share this email to York University's senior administration
- Share and apply these Zoom backgrounds in support of YUFA's bargaining team
- Read our strike vote, strikes & lockout FAQs
- Read our FAQs for students & community members