CUPE strike day 3

2015-03-04

in Canada, Economics, Politics, Toronto

Today’s 1pm – 5pm picket shift was good fun. We occupied the Munk Centre, where President Gertler was meant to be taking part in an event:

Then we marched all over campus: to the administration offices at Simcoe Hall, over to Queen’s Park, through University College, around Robarts, and back to Munk:

The university has not yet accepted the union’s offer to resume negotiations.

Twitter is probably one of the best places to watch the strike. Search CUPE3902 and #WeAreUofT.

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. March 4, 2015 at 10:50 pm

Friends,

See below important recent updates regarding bargaining, the strike, and strike pay/protocol. I apologize for the length of this message. There is a lot to convey during a strike.

1) NEGOTIATIONS

Many members of the Union and the public have asked about the state of negotiations with the U of T administration. Here is the answer: The Union has alerted the Employer that we are on call to meet them anytime, anywhere, including on short notice. We want to resolve this labour dispute as soon as possible. The Employer has responded that they have no plans to meet with us or to negotiate further—now or in the foreseeable future. We contrast this with the statements of the York University President this morning that his administration proposes to resume talks with the Union at York immediately.

Beginning tomorrow, the Union will inform the Employer of a location where our Bargaining Team will sit each day until the strike is resolved. We invite them to meet us there immediately. We will be there. We are ready to negotiate. We need funding increases and tuition relief. We want a contract.

2) STRIKE PAY

Members have requested clarification around the Union’s policy for strike pay and the requirement for 20 hours of strike duty. See the below points:

a) We ask and expect that everyone who can even conceivably do the full 20 hours please do so. This will entail sacrifices. This is a strike. The Employer is playing a hard, cold hand. They are testing our resolve and our commitment, as we knew they would. We absolutely have to have to strong, consistent, effective picket lines as well as a well-oiled logistical machine run by those who can’t physically picket and need alternate duties. Yesterday, I picketed with members with newborn babies in slings. We shared stories about the hit on our research this strike will entail. We are trying to improve our situations together, and we won’t do it by refusing to alter our daily routines during the strike. I’m inspired by our members, and I trust that everyone will find ways to do everything they can.

b) If you are choosing between crossing the picket line and working under the 20 hours, do NOT cross the picket line. We want you to do the 20 hours, but if you cannot, we will schedule you in day shifts of 4 hours per shift and pay you a day rate of $60. We would rather have you for some time than working for the Employer for any time.

3) STRIKE BREAKING

a) We have explain the ways in which strikebreaking actively harms your friends and colleagues who are on strike. In addition to a small number of members considering strikebreaking, we know that some faculty are threatening to do our work for free. It is shameful for people making a great salary who have absolute job security to take on without pay the work of people living in poverty who have no job security.

Those who work for the Employer are NOT neutral in this dispute. They are siding against friends and colleagues and working at crosspurposes to them. Such antagonism does not go unnoticed, or unforgotten. It’s not worth poisoning relations in your department and within our Union. The University Faculty Association will be advising faculty of the same points.

b) Even if you have already submitted the Employer’s strikebreaking form and even if you have already worked, you may also still walk away from your job and join the strike. It is legal for you to quit this work at any time with impunity. We invite you at any point to contribute to our efforts. You will be warmly welcomed!

c) If you know of classes, tutorials or labs being taught by strikebreakers, please inform the Union. We would like to know this information. We may picket these specific classes, and we will certainly bring them to the attention of the administration (they have assured us they will not ask anyone to take on our work) and the Faculty Association (they have advised faculty not to take on our work). You will kept absolutely anonymous as the person providing us this important information. We will not make a complaint or take an action without consulting with you. We know it’s sensitive, but we also must be responsive. At a minimum, we need to know the range of things happening. Send this information to comms@cupe3902.org.

d) We are hearing reports of threats from the Employer to reduce hours or terminate the contracts of people exercising their legal strike rights. Obviously, this is intimidating. Let us know when this is happening. An affidavit form for such complaints will be available and distributed to members within the day.

The Union Bargaining Team wants to assure you that in any Back-to-Work Protocol we negotiate with the Employer, we will insist that members who have been terminated or had their hours eliminated or reduced will be reinstated retroactively and paid in full for their unworked hours. The Union’s first priority at all times is to protect members from abuse and harassment by the Employer

4) CONCLUSION AND SOLIDARITY

All that said, the first day of our strike was incredible! I was energized and inspired on the picket line, as was everyone I’ve spoken with. Our support is growing. CUPE 3903 at York is joining us on strike beginning today. We can do this—we are doing this! Thank you for your continuing commitment.

In Solidarity,
–Ryan

Ryan Culpepper
Vice-Chair, Unit 1 and Unit 2
CUPE 3902

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