March 13th meeting of CUPE 3902

2015-03-13

in Canada, Economics, Toronto

This afternoon, the members of CUPE 3902 met to discuss a possible bargaining position.

The union’s bargaining team had worked out a way to reorganize the offer last made by the university, the rejection of which began the strike. As re-organized, the deal would raise the funding package from $15,000 to $17,500. It would also halve tuition for Phd students in their fifth and sixth years, regardless of whether they are domestic or international students.

The big gain – if the university accepts this proposal – is getting tuition and the funding package explicitly incorporated into the collective agreement, opening them as topics of negotiation in all further bargaining.

The meeting was scheduled from 3:30pm to 6:30, with a strict end time. Most of the meeting was taken up with the bargaining team and strike team presenting this potential deal and then answering questions on it. In the last half hour, a motion to approve the deal and have the bargaining team present it to the university was hastily debated.

The final vote at 6:36 went 280 in favour, 251 opposed. I voted against it, as I don’t see it as an adequate response to the problems faced by TAs at U of T, and I think we could have pushed successfully for something better. (At the same time, I recognize that getting something better might have required more dedication than CUPE 3902 members collectively possess.)

Regardless of the merits and drawbacks of the deal, I don’t think too highly of this decision-making process. People had to consider a deal which they hadn’t seen before the meeting, an inadequate amount of time was allowed for debate, and the system where any whoever happens to be at the microphone when the appropriate part of the meeting begins produces the motion that then becomes the main subject for debate and voting has potentially very random results.

We will see how the administration replies to the offer. In one sense, they may see it as a cheap way of ending the strike. After all, the union is mostly proposing to shift the precise way in which previously-offered funds will be spent. Alternatively, the administration may be wary of incorporating tuition and the funding package into the collective agreement, and so resist accepting this deal.

Regardless, I have my last picket duty of this week tomorrow. Then, I can turn my attention to trying to organize and execute the completion of the brief update and my PhD proposal.

Report a typo or inaccuracy

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

GP March 13, 2015 at 8:58 pm

I’m sure the university administration is thankful for you live tweeting and blogging about the entire strategy meeting. Doesn’t exactly help put your side’s bargaining team in a strong position.

ME March 13, 2015 at 9:12 pm

This post should be titled “Boundless stupidity” for revealing privileged information, preempting the bargaining committee, and weakening CUPE’s position.

Brandy March 13, 2015 at 9:17 pm

I couldn’t make it to the meeting, but am really dedicated to the strike effort. Is the $17.5k stipend across th board for everyone? What areas of money were pulled from to go into the funding package? You can email me if you have time and it’s easier than responding here. Thanks!

Milan March 13, 2015 at 9:47 pm

As the media liaison said at the meeting, what happened there isn’t a secret.

Furthermore, the 90% or so of CUPE 3902 members who did not attend the meeting have a legitimate interest in knowing what happened – as does the rest of the U of T community.

ME March 13, 2015 at 10:01 pm

The meeting details were indeed not a secret in the strictest sense; that is, we weren’t sworn to secrecy. But the media liaison wasn’t suggesting that we ought therefore to advertise the details in full online. Discretion is needed.

Furthermore, CUPE 3902 members will be informed via official channels (list-servs). Twitter or blogs are not the venue for this privileged information. Members should be informed, but informed in a way that does not weaken our bargaining position. It’s not, therefore, your job to go blabbing about the details before UofT has even met with the bargaining team or, for that matter, even spoken with the provincial mediator.

Brian March 13, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Please take down your tweets and posts. Members who need to know will find out via our own communication channels. Releasing this information publicly commits us to actions, allows the employer time to prepare a counter, and the VOTE COUNT in particular is OBVIOUSLY SENSITIVE.

There is NOTHING to gain from publishing this information publicly before the bargaining teams meet!

Brian March 13, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Come to the FB group if you want to discuss this, but please, just take it down for now. You can always put them back up later. Please.

No problem here... March 13, 2015 at 10:20 pm

I strongly disagree with the other commentators.

This proposal is literally going to be proposed to the university, it isn’t some big secret. The vast majority of the membership didn’t attend the meeting and should be able to know what happened and discuss it. AFter the emails about this go out, are you guys planing on shame policing every instance on social media where a union member dares – DARES – to discuss the proposal that is going to stop being a “secret” the second it is proposed to the university?

Brian March 13, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Hey, you mean how lawyers don’t ANNOUNCE their defense strategy before they get into court? YEAH.

Nobody’s saying the membership can’t discuss it and talk amongst themselves about it. But shit, don’t POST it publicly. There is NO gain from this. Only loss. (And the VOTE COUNT TOO?)

ME March 13, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Social media is awesome, but we should be using it to mobilize and share stories about our efforts rather than release information before the mediator has even heard about it. We understand that not everyone could be at the meeting–fair enough; people are busy, and many have children and other jobs–but they’ll be informed as soon as possible via OFFICIAL channels.

Members should definitely talk about the meeting and its gains; I went for beers after with members from my department and chatted about the details. But we should keep discussions for now between members. Call it what you will — “shaming” — but insisting this post needs to be taken down is in the best interest of the union.

No problem here... March 13, 2015 at 10:40 pm

That analogy doesn’t make any sense. This is a proposal, not a strategy. The university is going to be told the two key sentences about the proposal in this post, what possible advantage is there in preventing them knowing it until they are told it? Hoping that the big surprise is going to magically make them change their position? Just don’t see any way this hurts.

And I would say an engaged and informed debate among members is a pretty big gain. In today’s world, that debate is going to occur on social media like twitter and blogs and whatever else. So unless there is some identifiable benefit of not having the university know what they are about to be told by the bargaining team, it seems perfectly fine. Even if you could argue it wasn’t fine, what is your plan for preventing the much larger union membership from discussing the proposal on social media after the email goes out tomorrow?

Brian March 13, 2015 at 10:50 pm

Honestly, I’m not sure you have any knowledge or experience of how labour bargaining works. For example, now that the information is publicly available, it can be brought up at the table, whereas otherwise, the university would have to admit it infiltrated our meeting to acquire that information, or acquired emails not intended for them, or some such. Putting words in PRINT for public consumption meets a higher legal standard.

Talk about it as much as you want on (private) social media! I wasn’t at the meeting either and I learned all about it from friends who were. But this is just recklessly irresponsible. Your argument that the university would receive the information anyways also applies to members.

And if I’m wrong, then the info can come back up. There’s no taking this back. Please, take it down, and let me confirm it with union leadership. There is NO harm to be had for waiting.

AH March 13, 2015 at 11:05 pm

A proposal in a bargaining position IS strategy!!!!!

Why is it important we not air this information online??

Because by disclosing what the members voted on, the university is able to prepare their position. What that means is they can come to the table with their position strengthened by knowing how our members feel – as you have just posted! Labour bargaining is a complicated and delicate process. There is a reason we have a bargaining TEAM who represents the membership. It is for THEM and only THEM to present the information in a CONTROLLED and carefully worded manner to the university. Anything else undermines our position.

The union similarly will send out the appropriate information to the membership in a proper fashion. The listserv means the membership gets this information, social media is not the platform for this!

And finally, Yes we need to have a debate among our members. That’s what meetings are for, what the picket line allows and the gathering space at HQ provides.

This debate should NOT be aired to those against whom we fight!!! .

Victor March 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm

I just want to add my voice to those asking you to please consider taking this down until we at least have a statement from the union exec. Speaking too early can only hurt our position.

No problem here... March 13, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Clearly I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think any of the arguments presented have merit, sorry. One at a time:

“For example, now that the information is publicly available, it can be brought up at the table” – Of course, but since the proposal is going to be brought up at the bargaining table (that’s what a proposal is, something to be brought up) they are going to know it anyways. What is the difference?

“A proposal in a bargaining position IS strategy!!!!!” – Then the university is going to know our strategy because we are going to tell them it regardless. What is the difference? Like am I missing something where the strategy is to wait weeks and put the university through all sorts of hoops with secret nonproposals and whatever else before we tell them the real proposal?

“What that means is they can come to the table with their position strengthened by knowing how our members feel” – Well the position of one member, at least. Just as AFTER the email goes out, they will know the position of anyone that posts publicly on twitter or blogs about this and so on.

“This debate should NOT be aired to those against whom we fight!!! .” – Perhaps I am missing something: is this information not being sent out by mass mailer, probably tomorrow? In which case everyone in the union knows? And everyone in the union can go on social media and talk about they feel about it and then the union knows how they feel. If it has gotten to the point where not only is anyone allowed to convey the facts but not even convey how they feel anywhere that the university might see it this is completely untenable.

ME March 13, 2015 at 11:43 pm

Of course the university is going to find out. That’s not at issue here. At issue is HOW they find out, WHO they find out from, and HOW our position is phrased. When bargaining you control the flow of information. Part of the bargaining team’s leverage comes from its privileged insight into how its constituency feels about x, y, or z. The key is to keep this information privileged, so that the team can maintain leverage. Simply put, if you’re playing cards you don’t inform your opponents what your hand looks like in advance (even though they will eventually find out) — you play the round and reveal your cards only when it’s time.

DM March 14, 2015 at 12:07 am

Just take it down, man, what is the big deal? You are saying what the difference is if it’s public or not, so if there’s no difference in your opinion, please be “democratic” and honour the majority of us who feel this should not yet be public and take it down for a few hours/days, until the negotiating teams meet and all is official. I presume you don’t have experience in this kind of negotiation, so try maybe to consider the fact that keeping certain info off the public channels might be a useful tool in one way or another for our bargaining team, ways that you or I can’t think of because we simply don’t know how the thing really works.

No problem here... March 14, 2015 at 12:10 am

Is there really a special way to inform them about the 17,500 number given by this blog that changes the proposal they accept? Like if they find it out tonight by reading this blog opposed to hearing the same number either through the mediator or the team, does it really make a difference? The team is going to do all their framing and phrasing and negotiating and whatever else. I just don’t see how it affects this.

Maybe you guys can keep a lid on this until the email comes out tomorrow and people start commenting. Maybe you can shame this person into taking down their post. But you almost certainly won’t manage to keep it prevented from any of the 6k members after the email goes out. If this was going to make a huge difference in how the negotiations played out, I might share the outrage, but I just don’t see it.

Whatever one thinks about telling the facts ahead of time, the continued comments about preventing to the university from knowing how members feels makes me an order of magnitude more uncomfortable. In a world where discussions happen on social media and to have an engaged and active adversarial process requires that some of this happens on social media, there is going to be a publicly view-able debate. Unless we are going around shaming every single instance where someone says anything negative at all, the university will be able to find out that people think negative things online. There simply is no good way to have an informed and active group of thousands of people will complete secrecy from the outside world…and even if there was I still haven’t seen a meaningful argument about why the secrecy is even necessary.

DM March 14, 2015 at 12:19 am

“Like if they find it out tonight by reading this blog opposed to hearing the same number either through the mediator or the team, does it really make a difference?”
–I guess a blunter way to say what I already said above is that you, like the rest of us, don’t know everything, and should keep that in mind. It might really make a difference, in which case you might be undermining your own bargaining team. While you are right that the admin is probably able to find things out regardless, the wise short-term way to proceed would be to remove any possibility of undermining your own bargaining team.

“The team is going to do all their framing and phrasing and negotiating and whatever else. I just don’t see how it affects this.”
–Well said. You don’t see. But if you don’t see it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist (to say it awkwardly). And please understand, I mean no disrespect, I do not mean to shame you, and you do have valid points — but refer back to the previous point…

DM March 14, 2015 at 12:24 am

The crucial thing here is not the principles of group secrecy or internet era information diffusion or any other larger issue, but the current priority of making sure our present struggle is as concerted as possible and that we remove any risk we possibly can of inadvertently weakening our bargaining team’s position.

No problem here... March 14, 2015 at 12:27 am

Well I can’t argue against the claim that there might be an argument that neither you nor I can think of. I can only say that I am unconvinced by the arguments presented here, and am very uncomfortable with the idea that members should not be allowed to discuss their views on social media.

AH March 14, 2015 at 12:39 am

I agree with DM. The issue is not that because you don’t see something it isn’t there.

Maybe thinking of it this way will help: There is a reason why the employer cannot spy on union activities. Union meetings are to be done in confidence (without the employer being able to hear the information) so that each team can go to the table without knowing what the cards the other team has. If it was an open process we would know exactly what the employer was willing to offer us. We’d have those numbers that they’ve crunched. We don’t. So they shouldn’t have ours.

DM March 14, 2015 at 12:44 am

Ok, there’s not much else I can add to what I said previously. I would also be uncomfortable with the idea that we can’t discuss this on social media, but for two things: (1) the withholding from discussion in *public* is a very temporary request; (2) and we are actually discussing our views as we speak, only in *private* groups and conversations — even if they monitor these private groups (say on fb), this prevents the employer’s bargaining team from using this information in their official position against our team. So I guess it’s this public-private distinction that is key here, and only temporarily. Anyways, good night to you, and solidarity — we are in the same pickle in any case, but I do hope you sincerely consider these points (since they were also raised in sincerity, not any kind of malice).

Milan March 14, 2015 at 12:50 am

I have put this question to a couple of friends who are also CUPE 3902 members and who have a lot more experience with union bargaining than I do: specifically, whether public discussion of the details of the meeting really does threaten the bargaining position of the union in the period before they meet with the administration.

I haven’t yet heard back from them.

As a temporary measure, the post has been much improved.

No problem here... March 14, 2015 at 12:50 am

“So they shouldn’t have ours.”……but we are going to tell them! That 17500 number is going to be told to them! It isn’t some big secret that they will find out after months of back and forth negotiations that our “real” number is 17,500. We are going to propose this (or perhaps it is the mediator who signals it but no matter). I feel like I must be missing something in this given the pushback I am getting, is the plan not to clearly present the proposal the members agreed for the bargaining team to propose?

I would get the poker analogy if it was something like we proposed an artificially high number, keeping the 17500 secret, only after extensive negotiations we can pretend to negotiate down to the real number. If this was the strategy, I would understand the complaint. But that isn’t my understand of what is going to happen here, it is that the 17,500 proposal is just going to be made outright. In which case it doesn’t seem like it matters if it comes out tonight vs tomorrow (when the email is sent and all members start discussing it online) vs whenever they sit down or get passed on via the mediator.

No problem here... March 14, 2015 at 12:54 am

edit: Copy and pasting the above post with the number Xed out given Milan’s action. While the blog post was up it made no difference. But no point editing the original post without editing or deleting my posts that copy the same number. Obviously the above post should then be deleted.

“So they shouldn’t have ours.”……but we are going to tell them! That X number is going to be told to them! It isn’t some big secret that they will find out after months of back and forth negotiations that our “real” number is X. We are going to propose this (or perhaps it is the mediator who signals it but no matter). I feel like I must be missing something in this given the pushback I am getting, is the plan not to clearly present the proposal the members agreed for the bargaining team to propose?

I would get the poker analogy if it was something like we proposed an artificially high number, keeping the X secret, only after extensive negotiations we can pretend to negotiate down to the real number. If this was the strategy, I would understand the complaint. But that isn’t my understand of what is going to happen here, it is that the X proposal is just going to be made outright. In which case it doesn’t seem like it matters if it comes out tonight vs tomorrow (when the email is sent and all members start discussing it online) vs whenever they sit down or get passed on via the mediator.

JW March 14, 2015 at 2:03 am

‘No Problem Here…’ You are an embarrassment to the union and anybody with an ounce of common sense. Your comments are both rash and idiotic. Unfortunately, it is because of your naivity and selfishness that we lack leverage. You might as well become a self serving scab or flip coats. You are a POS.

No problem here... March 14, 2015 at 2:11 am

Personally, I would be far more embarrassed to make comments like yours. People can reasonably disagree on issues and argue their positions, but there is little need to lower yourself to the name calling.

ME March 14, 2015 at 6:13 am

The original post was already cached by Google (I just checked), so regardless of whether he alters or deletes the post it stays accessible online.

ME March 14, 2015 at 6:43 am

I’d also like to insist that the poster take a look at the following message brought to us by the postmodern sage known as Arnold Schwarzenegger:
http://media3.giphy.com/media/AT631VU1Fw208/giphy.gif

Saturday Night March 14, 2015 at 11:50 am

It’s too late, someone already posted and reposted on UofT’s reddit website. People are already tweeting it to CUPE and the UofT Provost…

Milan March 14, 2015 at 8:34 pm

Thank you all for your thoughts (fewer thanks for jerks who felt calling me over and over again was an appropriate behaviour).

I talked this over with some friends and co-workers on the picket lines and have restored the original content of the post. For those who miss it, the live bulldog puppy cam is here.

For the record, I didn’t write this because I disliked the proposal and wanted to vent anger. If I had been 100% supportive of the proposal (or if the meeting had been for information only with no decisions taken) I would still have written up an account of it for the benefit of other members of CUPE 3902, students at U of T, etc.

On the question of secrecy, the people who I have discussed this with generally agree that the brief tactical benefit that may arise from keeping information like this secret is outweighed by the importance of democracy and communication within the union. The members of CUPE 3902 need access to information relevant to the strike, and there is a broad perception that the union has failed to do a good job of this so far. In personal discussions and in the informal meeting after today’s picket, many people expressed the view that they didn’t know what yesterday’s meeting was for, and felt surprised and frustrated when they learned the magnitude of what was decided. Keeping what happened at the meeting secret primarily has the effect of keeping absent CUPE 3902 members in the dark – not of improving our bargaining position with the administration.

The biggest problem with yesterday’s meeting was the procedural flaws. The chair said early in the meeting that it would be possible to extend time for discussion, and then told us 45 minutes before the end that 6:30pm was actually a firm deadline. It’s quite problematic to try to compress the entire decision-making portion of the meeting into half an hour. It’s also unfair to expect the members present at a meeting to consider a proposal carefully and come to a mature conclusion about it when they only see it (in part) during the same meeting where a decision is being taken.

One last point – it seems quite naive to me when people suggest that Facebook, of all places, is a private venue for discussion. A university administration that has hired private investigators to film picket lines knows what’s happening on Facebook – a corporate platform with a terrible privacy policy.

Secrecy has a seductive quality for those who think they are being strategic. When it comes to popular movements confronting the entrenched power of the status quo, however, I don’t think enforced silence is a strong approach. Addressing the problems with the strike requires that TAs who don’t know one another already be in a position to talk about the substantive issues. We also need to be able to hold the executive members of the union to account, which requires members to know what they have been up to.

Cheryl R. March 14, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Thanks for your honesty, Milan, and for keeping the UofT community in the know about what’s going on.

anon March 14, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Those who missed the rich satire in the last comment should know that Cheryl Regehr is a much derided administrator.

alena March 15, 2015 at 1:04 am

Well expressed Milan; you put a lot of time and work into what you do. Name calling and irate judgement by some of the respondents are not arguments and do not advance the cause of transparency and communication.

. March 15, 2015 at 11:06 am

Friends,

See below the following updates regarding the strike. In Solidarity, –Ryan

UPDATE FROM THE BARGAINING TEAM, RE: LAST NIGHT’S MEETING

We want to thank the 600 members of unit 1 who attended our membership meeting on Friday March 13 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Members of the Strike Committee provided a report about our first 2 weeks of the strike.

The Bargaining Team presented a proposal which it believed, if endorsed by the membership meeting, would bring the Employer back to the bargaining table. The proposal was presented without a recommendation for membership consideration and discussion.

The proposal was to amend our bargaining position to provide collective agreement entitlements as follows:

1) An increase in the guaranteed minimum funding commitment to $17,500 for all Unit 1 members as a per-member entitlement in our Collective Agreement (through the allocation of per-member bursaries available to members in the funded cohort whose minimum guaranteed funding is between $15,000 and $17,500);

2) tuition reduction per member to 50% domestic tuition owing for both domestic and international students who are members of Unit 1, who are unfunded in years 5 and 6 of the PhD or year 2 of a Master’s, and who have fallen out of a funded cohort. For clarity, both domestic and international students would only pay $3,557.50.

Based on the actual data which we finally received from the Employer, the Bargaining Team believes these gains can be met by a combination of reallocated funds in the previously rejected tentative agreement and new money produced by the Employer.

Following an hour and twenty minutes of questions and discussions, a motion came from the floor to endorse the proposal. This motion was amended unanimously from the floor to provide for additional financial assistance for DMA students (who fall outside of the funding package altogether).

Following discussion, the amended motion was passed by the membership in the room by way of a “standing vote” count.

A Collective Agreement which includes the above gains will be historic and would not have been possible without a strike. That is certain.

Importantly: it is still far from certain that we can achieve this. Such structural gains, which would permanently strengthen our bargaining position with the Employer, will be won only in the context of continued and growing pressure.

We still have to strike and strike hard until we have an agreement. The next week will be an extremely important time to run as strong a strike as possible.

Please redouble your efforts to support the strike by refusing to do your work, participating in assigned strike duties by the Strike Committee, talking to students and faculty and friends and alumnae and donors and politicians about our need to increase the minimum funding package and provide tuition relief. See you on the line!

STRIKE PAY CHEQUES

Strike pay cheques for the first week of the strike will be ready for pick up at the strike HQ (GSU – 16 Bancroft Ave) on Monday March 16, 2015 10 am – 7 pm. These cheques will be sorted alphabetically and a form has to be signed to acknowledge you have received the cheque.

This building has stairs at the entrance; for those unable to use stairs, please go the second HQ at the OPIRG office, and your cheque will be delivered to you there.

If you are unable to pick up your cheque on Monday March 16, the cheques will be available at the CUPE 3902 Office (180 Bloor West, Suite 803) during business hours.

Please email strike@cupe3902.org if you have any questions.

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

. March 15, 2015 at 8:07 pm

Dear Members,

We have been doing a great job over the past two weeks building strength and engaging with others in the university community. This week, we crank it up.

We want to thank all the weekend picketers: our numbers and energy over the past two days have been incredible. We are looking forward to an exciting and strong week ahead.

We want to remind everyone that it is crucial that we get the maximum number of folks out to the lines this week. We are looking to step things up and really put the pressure on, and we need as many people as we can, for as much time as is possible. This means putting in extra time on the lines, and looking out for your fellow members and helping them be as hyped up and as engaged as possible.

There will be events every day. Tuesday and Thursday in particular will be days of action where we will make our presence felt at both UTM and UTSC. We look forward to a fun week that also reminds the administration that it is not “business as usual.”

Let’s do this. See you tomorrow.

Solidarity,

Abe Singer and Kiran Banerjee, on behalf of the Strike Committee

. March 16, 2015 at 4:43 pm

Friends,

See below today’s strike announcements. In Solidarity. –Ryan

PICKET LINE BULLETIN

Please read today’s Picket Line Bulletin (attached) for the latest news and strike events for this week. Thanks to those who’ve worked hard to put this together!

BARGAINING UPDATE

After Friday’s membership meeting, the Unit 1 Bargaining Team sent a new proposal to the Employer through the mediator. We are awaiting their response. This makes striking hard this week all the more significant.

STRIKE PAY CHEQUES

Strike pay cheques for the first week of the strike can be picked up today from the Strike Headquarters in the GSU Building. We now have a ramp for use by members who cannot use stairs. The ramp is on the east side of the building. In case the door at the top of the ramp is closed, please simply ring the doorbell or call the number posted on the door.

Please bring a form of ID with you.

After today, the cheques will be available in the CUPE 3902 office (180 Bloor St. West, 8th Floor).

LOANS FOR FINANCIAL HARDSHIP

For members experience a loss pay greater than the full strike pay can cover, we offer no-interest loans to get you through until the strike is over. The forms for these loans are available here: http://cupe3902.org/2015/01/strike-information-for-members//

Q & A and STRATEGY DISCUSSIONS

This week, we will hold open discussions regarding bargaining and the strike each day at the Strike HQ. Please drop by between 12 and 2, or 4 and 6, each day. Members of the Bargaining Team, the Executive and the Strike Committee will be there. Most importantly, your fellow members will be there. We hope this will be a good venue for information-sharing and strategizing.

UTM and UTSC DAYS OF ACTION THIS WEEK

A message from the Strike Committee about UTM and UTSC events this week:

Dear CUPE3902 picketers and supporters!

According to the University of Toronto Mississauga campus website, “The University of Toronto Mississauga is open, and classes, exams, events, and community programs are proceeding as normal.”

We want to make it crystal clear to the University administration that we have chosen to proceed without causing major disruptions to undergraduate teaching, thereby avoiding placing undergrads at an even greater disadvantage.

The reality is that it is not business as usual, and classes, labs, tutorials, etc. are cancelled. However, if the University WANTS us to show that we CAN CAUSE MAJOR DISRUPTION, THEN WE WILL!

Let’s make it clear to the administration that despite their best efforts, they cannot ignore our strike!

We are asking EVERYONE to come out in full force on TUESDAY March 17!

That means not just Unit 1 members, but anyone and everyone who wants to show their support!

We will have buses running all day from St. George campus to UTM.

Please sign up in advance for picket shifts so that we can coordinate the numbers of buses, food and drinks. We particularly need a strong showing for the early shifts.

To sign up for the rally, please click here:
https://utm_mass_picket.youcanbook.me/

Buses will start leaving St. George campus at 7:30 AM, and will continue throughout the day. We may be sending some of our St. George lines on some of those buses, but ensure that they will be back within their four-hour shift.

STAY TUNED FOR A UTSC SPECIAL EVENTS ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON!

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

. March 16, 2015 at 4:44 pm
. March 16, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Friends,

See below an important message from the Unit 1 Bargaining Team and notice of our next Unit 1 Membership Meeting:

—-

After Friday’s meeting, and with members’ endorsement, the Bargaining Team tabled an offer to the Employer. The offer, via a reallocation of existing money combined with new money from the Employer, would do the following:

a) Guarantee a minimum funding level of no less than $17,500 for each funded member of Unit 1;
b) Guarantee that unfunded members in years 5 and 6 of the PhD and year 2 of the Master’s would owe no more than 50% domestic tuition.

The Bargaining Team was called by the mediator to the Ministry of Labour today. We were asked to receive a document from the Employer containing a revised bargaining position.

The document we received rejected all of what we proposed. They were not willing to convert lump-sum funds to guaranteed per-member credits.

They did offer to increase the amount of the lump-sum funds; however, they did this solely by reallocating existing money without offering any new money. In fact, the proposal would cost the employer $22,500 less than the tentative agreement rejected on Feb. 27.

The Bargaining Team voted unanimously to reject this offer.

At this point, our offer to continue negotiations stands. But we are focused on the strike efforts and committed to helping make the strike stronger every day. We believe this week remains *critical*. Please, everyone, find every way you can find to come out and support the strike.

We will see you at the daily strategy sessions at CUPE Strike Headquarters. And we will see you on the line.

Together, we’re still going to win this strike!

In Solidarity.

—–

MEMBERSHIP MEETING/BARGAINING VACANCY

The next Unit 1 membership meeting will take place on Monday, March 23, from 12 to 3 p.m. An agenda will be sent out in advance of the meeting. Locations is TBD but will be communicated as soon as possible.

Mary Yoshinari has done outstanding work as a member of the Unit 1 Bargaining Team. Mary has had to leave the team in order to do field research. We want to thank Mary for her tireless Union service. She’s been a great friend and colleague to all of us on the team.

There is therefore a vacancy on the Unit 1 Bargaining Team. The vacancy must be filled by a member who works in Division 1 (Humanities) or Division 2 (Social Sciences). Nominations may be submitted to our Chief Returning Officer at cro@cupe3902.org. There will also be a call for nominations at the meeting. Voting will be by secret ballot.

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

. March 17, 2015 at 2:34 pm

A message from UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

To: University of Toronto Students

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost; Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity

At the invitation of the provincially appointed Mediator, the parties resumed mediated discussions last week that intensified over the course of the weekend and into this week. Earlier today, the University provided CUPE 3902 Unit 1 with a comprehensive revised offer for settlement. The revisions to the agreement were responsive to changes proposed by the Union.

Unfortunately, CUPE rejected this offer without taking it to the full membership vote and chose instead to remain on strike.

The University remains in close contact with the Mediator and we hope to continue to work towards a resolution.

With only three weeks remaining, our priority must be to ensure our students complete the term.

We wish to provide each of you with the assurance that we are actively working with divisions and Faculties to identify concrete options for those courses that have been affected by striking CUPE 3902 instructors. We are particularly aware of the needs of students intending to graduate this term.

Departments offering affected courses are committed to providing you with updated information regarding suspended classes over the next few days.

We are fully committed to our students’ academic success and every effort will be made on your behalf.

. March 17, 2015 at 3:25 pm

In term of spending in 2015 the deal looked pretty minor: it didn’t increase the university’s liability by much. What it did was tie funding to student enrolment and tuition increases.

All proposals made by the university have proposed aggregate funds to cover upper-year tuition relief. The bargaining team proposed that students who no longer receive funding only be liable for $3,500 in tuition per year. This would mean two things: the university effectively could not raise tuition for unfunded students, and it could not decrease per-student relief payments as the student population grows larger.

Per-student guarantees are unacceptable to the university administration because their plan is to massively increase graduate enrolment while keeping the total fund for tuition relief constant. How do I know that? Because they wrote about it in 2008.

https://devereuxbros.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/cutback-to-the-future/

. March 18, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Friends,

We had a wonderful day of action and support yesterday! See below for details.

PICKET LINE UPDATE

The UTM DAY of ACTION was a huge success! With the amazing effort and dedication of our members and supporters, we were able to effectively block traffic in and out of the UTM campus from the early morning until 5 PM, making clear to the Administration that they cannot ignore us when we stand together!

This Thursday, let’s make sure the Administration hears us loud and clear at UTSC during our major Day of Action! Please sign up here: https://utsc_mass_picket.youcanbook.me/

FACULTY OUTREACH UPDATE

We also had great success in our efforts to reach out to faculty!

We’ve emailed all faculty members across the University, updating them on the latest round of bargaining and calling for their support!

Through their own efforts, our faculty, emeriti and librarians took out a full page advertisement in the Toronto Star that you can see here.

The University of Toronto Faculty Association also sent an update to its members, clarifying that “[t]he blunt truth is that changing your course or taking on struck work means taking sides against the union, and the union also represents students.”

SOLIDARITY WALKOUT

Today, undergraduate students at the St. George campus performed a campus-wide walkout at noon calling for a tuition refund, an end to the strike, and to tell the Administration that it’s TIME TO PUT STUDENTS FIRST.

In solidarity,

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

. March 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm

Dear Members

A tentative agreement has been reached between Unit 1 of CUPE3902 and the University of Toronto. Voting on whether to ratify this agreement opened on Friday March 20th and will continue until Sunday, March 22nd at 4:00pm. This is a very important vote because the results will determine whether strike action will continue. CUPE 3902’s bargaining team is recommending that you vote “yes” to this agreement.

We encourage all bargaining unit members to come out and vote. Every vote matters when we are on strike. If your name does not appear on the voters’ list for this ballot, you will be asked to complete an affidavit which indicates your employment information. We will verify this information with the Employer before your ballot will be eligible to be counted. In the meantime, affidavit ballots are segregated from the ballot box.
The ratification vote will continue Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm at the following locations:

UTM area: Glen Erin Inn & Spa (1695 The Collegeway)
UTSC area: Holiday Inn Express (50 Estate Drive), Suite 245, First Floor
Downtown:

Union office, 180 Bloor Street West, 8th floor
Victoria University Goldring Students Centre West Foyer, 150 Charles St. West
St. Michael’s College – Carr Hall Lobby, 100 St. Joseph Street

Dr. Erin Black | Chair | CUPE 3902

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