In a recent communiqué, YUFA alerted members to a bargaining proposal that the Employer made during negotiations with CUPE 3903 that would require major revisions to the YUFA Collective Agreement. At that time, YUFA expressed serious concerns that the Employer, while negotiating with another bargaining unit, had not consulted YUFA about revisions that would require its consent.
The Employer’s proposal was to revive the Special Renewable Contract (SRC) program in Article 12.32 of the YUFA Collective Agreement, which would involve transferring some long-serving contract faculty members from CUPE 3903 into renewable term YUFA appointments. An earlier version of this program was in place from 1999 to 2013.
According to the proposal, there would be six SRC appointments per year. Unfortunately, compared to the previous program in place since 1999, holders of these YUFA appointments would have a higher teaching load, no sabbatical, tougher conditions of renewal, and lower salaries than most other YUFA members.
When YUFA first learned of the proposal, we immediately requested a meeting to discuss it, before the Employer pursued it any further in negotiations with CUPE 3903. The Employer refused to meet with YUFA until yesterday (March 27)—two hours after requesting a supervised (“forced”) ratification vote on its latest offer to CUPE 3903. According to the Ontario Labour Relations Act, an Employer may request such a vote on one occasion during a labour dispute as an alternative to continued negotiations. If the members of any CUPE bargaining unit vote to accept the offer, then they will no longer be on strike.
We do not know when this vote will take place, but we do know that CUPE 3903 members will be voting on whether to accept the contested version of the Employer’s SRC program. Even if CUPE accepts this proposal, it still requires YUFA’s consent.
In our meeting with the Employer yesterday, and in response to YUFA members’ concerns, YUFA indicated that we would not agree to the current proposal and would only consider an SRC program based on the existing language to ensure that the working conditions of this group of future YUFA members align with those of their colleagues. YUFA’s position is that a revived SRC program should be based on preserving the superior provisions that have been in place since 1999 and are still enshrined in the YUFA Collective Agreement.
In short, the Employer is poised to force CUPE members to vote on a major settlement offer to introduce a new SRC program that would require significant amendments to the YUFA Collective Agreement, which YUFA has already indicated it will not accept.