At the Special General Membership Meeting held on February 3, 2022, YUFA membership discussed the protracted timeline, lack of ANY movement with contract negotiations, and the impact of failed bargaining on members’ most pressing concerns. Hundreds of members in attendance voted overwhelmingly to encourage executive to hold a strike vote in the absence of significant progress.
In response to a February 3rd SGMM motion authorizing the YUFA Executive to call a strike vote if necessary, YUFA Executive is organizing an online strike mandate vote.
A Special Membership meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 22, 1:00 pm to 3:00pm. An electronic strike mandate vote will be held from 3:00 pm, February 22 to 4:00 pm, February 28.
YUFA members have been without a contract since May 1, 2021. Negotiations between YUFA and York University for a new contract began in August 2021. The Bargaining Team have held 17 meetings with York’s’ senior administration to date. There has been NO movement from our employer on ANY issues directly impacting our members’ work. YUFA Executive filed for conciliation on February 4th. The parties are preparing to engage in mediation.
Why is YUFA calling a strike mandate vote?
YUFA has not called for a strike mandate vote since 1997. Had the employer not refused to engage in meaningful negotiations, we would have a settlement by now. The Employer is in every position to settle today. York enjoys a healthy surplus of $77.5 million greater than planned in 2020-21, despite a transfer to the capital reserves of faculties by $32.7 million and a 15% rise in some senior administrative salaries, due in part to a savings of $38.4 million in salaries and benefits.
York’s liquid capital and cash balances were at an all-time high in 2021. Major capital projects planned, undertaken and funded by the university’s capital reserves or by individual faculties are evidence of this. Furthermore, the university plans for and is already benefitting from increased enrollments of domestic and visa students as reflected in budgeted increases in total student fees from $762 million in 2021-2022 to $914 million in 2023-2024.
Given this rosy financial picture, YUFA’s Bargaining team’s proposed remuneration package, which falls within the constraints of Bill 124, is more than reasonable. Instead, the current administration has chosen to earmark the university’s sizable, accumulated carry-forwards for “strategic investments for future growth and success.” Inexplicably, reasonable salaries, benefits and working conditions for YUFA members do not feature in these future-oriented plans.
A strong strike mandate vote gives the Bargaining team the leverage they need to send a clear message about our members’ overwhelming support for YUFA's Bargaining Proposals (see also here and here) and to achieve a fair and much deserved deal.
Compensation & Benefits
Despite current inflation rates exceeding 4% and sky-high housing costs in Toronto, York University’s senior administration has chosen to take a narrow interpretation of Bill 124 (the Protecting Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019). This is in stark contrast to other Ontario universities where faculty associations achieved maximum salary increases permissible under the wage-restraint legislation. York’s position hurts all YUFA members, especially younger colleagues.
- The employer says NO to increasing our Progress-Through-the-Ranks (PTR) increments; this means members’ salary growth falls below 1%. This will have a significant cumulative effect on member salaries, especially for colleagues in the early stages of their career, for whom lost income could easily reach $30,000 or more.
- The employer says NO to expanding psychological service providers and vision care.
Workload & Working Conditions
YUFA members have shouldered unprecedented and extraordinary increases to workload in providing the support their students need in the context of an ongoing global pandemic.
- The employer says NO to unit and member autonomy in the decision to switch to alternative modes of delivery, and rejects member rights to preserve pedagogic and academic goals in the context of public health and safety concerns.
- The employer says NO to additional workload-related recognition of Hyflex teaching and dual modes of delivery.
- The employer says NO to accommodating extenuating circumstances of long-term disruptions to members’ workload and rejects inclusion of remedies such as tenure and promotion stop-outs, optional teaching evaluations, sabbatical deferrals and course releases in the collective agreement.
- The employer says NO to YUFA’s proposal on reducing teaching loads of professorial and teaching stream colleagues to make them consistent with those of other universities despite mounting workload concerns.
While our workload increased overall, our equity-seeking members have experienced additional and disproportionate workload burdens. YUFA has advanced concrete proposals to support our equity-seeking members and York students but has gotten nowhere. The employer expresses support for equity in general without making the necessary investment and policy changes to support equity in practice.
- The employer says NO to compensating the disproportionate Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)-related service work of Black, Indigenous, and racialized colleagues with a course release program.
- The employer says NO to the proposal to increase the number of faculty and librarians/archivists hired under the Indigenous and Black faculty and librarian/archivists Programs for Recruitment.
- The employer says NO to YUFA proposals to secure timely, responsive, and effective accommodation processes that preserve the dignity of members with disabilities, or medical and care-giving needs.
YUFA members are deeply concerned about the erosion of collegial decision-making, which has been a cornerstone of the University’s shared governance model.
- The employer says NO to members’ rights to privacy in communication and data storage.
- The employer says NO to the prevention of electronic monitoring of YUFA members without reasonable grounds communicated in writing.
- The employer says NO to permitting YUFA members who are serving on the Board of Governors to retain their YUFA membership; no other employee at York is required to give up their union membership in order to serve on the Board.
Despite the increased incursions in workplace and human rights complaints across the university, the Employer says a resounding NO to continuing the Dispute Resolution Committee. This would abolish an efficient, cost-effective body for resolving internal disputes.
YUFA members have one of the weakest pension and retiree benefits packages in the sector and many members are postponing retirement as a result. While YUFA has advanced proposals that address retirement provisions appropriate to members’ long years of service, the Employer says NO to improved retirement incentives and a phased-in program comparable to other Ontario Universities, such as Ryerson, Queen’s and UofT.
The Employer refuses to give serious consideration to YUFA members’ priorities.
A strike mandate vote will demand that they take negotiations seriously through a show of unity amongst our membership.