Items in this message:
- YUFA memo re. course suspensions and individual faculty members
- OCUFA open letter to Rhonda Lenton on CUPE 3903 strike
- Special Senate meeting on the CUPE 3903 strike
- Employer stonewalls YUFA on notice to bargain
- YUFA Special General Membership Meeting
- YUFA strike office location
- Other important sources of information
1. YUFA memo re. course suspensions and individual faculty members
As the CUPE 3903 strike enters its second day, YUFA has been made aware of a growing number of cases in which members have been challenged by the office of their Deans/Principal after making the determination to suspend courses based on academic integrity considerations.
Once again, it is clear that, in the absence of a higher level declaration to suspend classes, Senate policy authorizes the individual course director to determine the extent to which their courses can continue or may need to be rescheduled. If a course director believes rescheduling classes is necessary to preserve the academic integrity of a course, then the course director has not only a right but an obligation under the policy to do so. The same decision-making authority and responsibility apply to course directors who decide to continue their courses.
As YUFA has already asserted here and here, individual faculty are in the best position to determine whether the academic integrity of their courses can be preserved; therefore, such decisions are not subject to the approval of your Dean/Principal.
Indeed, this statement by the Senate Executive, issued on the first day of the strike, validates YUFA’s perspective that only individual course directors are authorized, and not the Deans/Principal, to determine whether their courses can continue or may need to rescheduled. Remarkably, this statement has only been shared with Senators, and not the entire York community. We call on the Employer to explain this policy to the Deans/Principal and request that they cease questioning the academic judgment of individual course directors.
YUFA will defend any member who has been challenged by their Dean/Principal in exercising their responsibilities in safeguarding the academic integrity of their courses, whether that involves a decision to continue classes or suspend them.
We believe a refusal by the Deans/Principal to accept your decision or to challenge your rationale may be grounds for a grievance. We invite members to contact us about your experiences to help us determine such grounds, and if you require representation or need advice in responding to your Dean/Principal. Please email YUFA at [email protected].
2. OCUFA open letter to Rhonda Lenton on CUPE 3903 strike
The Ontario Confederation of Faculty Associations (OCUFA) has issued this open letter to York University President Rhonda Lenton in response to the CUPE 3903 strike. OCUFA’s letter includes a criticism of the administration’s demand for concessions from CUPE 3903, as well as a statement of concern about the way some faculty members have been arbitrarily challenged in their attempt to suspend their classes to protect academic integrity.
3. Special Senate meeting on the CUPE 3903 strike
A special Meeting of Senate has been called for Thursday, March 8, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Senate Chambers, N940 Ross Building. The topic is the role of Senate during the strike and a motion has been proposed to suspend classes across the University. There are indications that the Senate Executive is threatening to rule this motion out of order.
Senate meetings are open to members of the York University community, but only Senators may vote. YUFA encourages all interested members to attend.
4. Employer stonewalls YUFA on notice to bargain
Three weeks ago, members at a YUFA General Membership Meeting approved the primary negotiating positions for our next round of collective bargaining to deal with key issues of compensation, teaching load, equity, pensions, University collegial governance, benefits, and so on.
Our Collective Agreement expires in fewer than eight weeks, yet the Employer has not properly acknowledged YUFA’s notice to bargain. YUFA served notice on February 2, 2018, more than a month before the CUPE 3903 strike, and with the expectation that CUPE bargaining would have been completed by now. According to the Ontario Labour Relations Act, the parties must meet within 15 days of such notice.
The Employer has not even named a bargaining team for negotiations with YUFA, nor has it offered any negotiation dates. We believe that the Employer’s increasingly hard line approach to negotiations is responsible for the impasse in the current CUPE 3903 strike. Regardless of whether we agree with all of CUPE’s bargaining demands, YUFA has every interest in ensuring that CUPE’s right to collective bargaining is respected and that the Employer does not take advantage of the strike to ride roughshod over the processes of collegial governance.
The climate for labour relations at York University, including for YUFA as we enter into our own round of bargaining, will be set by the actions the Employer takes with CUPE. We therefore call on the Employer to return to the bargaining table with CUPE as quickly as possible and to respect the processes of collegial governance that allow the University to function.
5. YUFA Special General Membership Meeting
The YUFA Executive Committee has called a Special General Membership Meeting, in response to members’ growing concern and anger about the Employer’s handling of the CUPE 3903 strike and the ensuing chaos and confusion for students, staff, and faculty.
A tentative agenda will be posted soon on the YUFA website.
6. YUFA strike office location
For the duration of the strike, the YUFA office located in York Lanes will be closed. Instead, all YUFA operations will be conducted from a special strike office, which is located at 1315 Finch Avenue West, Suite 400 (TTC: Finch West). The special strike office is accessible.
The office will be staffed during normal business hours. We encourage members to email YUFA at [email protected] if they would like to set up a meeting. Due to the increased workload that is the result of the strike, we advise you that response times might be longer than usual. Thank you for your understanding.
For more information, please email [email protected].
7. Other important sources of information
You can find current information from the Employer about courses that are active and suspended on this page (requires Passport York login). Unfortunately, this list may not be up to date.
YUFA has centralized all its advisories and communiqués regarding the CUPE 3903 strike on this page.
In addition, we encourage members to keep themselves apprised of Senate statements and policies, which are available on this page.