Welcome to the CUPE 3903 Strike online HQ. This is intended to be a place to find all relevant information about the CUPE 3903 strike at York University.

We’re still working on getting everything set up so check back regularly as we will be adding more content soon

Why, yes, we are still on strike.

By Matthew Dunleavy

“What, you’re still on strike? I thought it ended last month,” a friend recently said to me as I was sharing with them the difficulties of remediating in August a course that began in September 2017. With the disingenuous PR statements by York University and the anything-but-objective news coverage the CUPE 3903 strike has received, it is not surprising this friend had assumed classes had resumed and the strike was over. However, two of the three striking units of CUPE 3903 are still on strike and are still fighting for a new, fair collective agreement.

Back at the end of April I wrote a short post reflecting on whether units 1 and 3 would be on strike if unit 2 did not exist. Now we are in July, I would say it is worth rereading that post to better understand a couple of the issues at stake for the two remaining units: claw backs and the “no work commitment” language advertised by York.
In addition to that post, I wanted to write a little something to answer a question that I have heard uttered numerous times since Doug Ford won the provincial election and, more importantly, since a minority of unit 2 signed a Motion of Settlement and ratified an offer with the University: if back-to-work legislation is coming, why not settle?

Before I begin, let me just state that I am not a bargaining team members for CUPE 3903, I am not on the executive, in fact, I am not even on the strike committee, so these views are solely my own as a rank and file member of this union.

York has already made it clear that in-class remediation for courses will only begin on July 23rd. Therefore, any claim that units 1 and 3 need to ratify York’s terrible offer right now to “get students back to the classroom” has been revealed as the empty rhetoric it truly is.

Throughout negotiations (both before and after the strike began) the CUPE 3903 bargaining team, sometimes to the dismay of some members, have amended and dropped many of our bargaining positions, as is par for the course for collective bargaining negotiations. This was justified to the membership as an attempt to try our hardest to reach an agreement with York for a new collective agreement and return to work. York stubbornly dug its heels in the ground and refused to budge (give or take the odd slight movement to pretend they were bargaining in good faith). If we voluntarily opted to go to arbitration now we would go there in this weak position, whereby many of our demands have been so diluted that the university would easily get what it wants and they would be rewarded for the obstinance. Should we be legislated back to work, many of those dilutions will have timed out and we will enter arbitration closer to where we started in March.

Speaking of back-to-work legislation. Since the strike began, no government has placed any pressure on York to reach an agreement with CUPE 3903: the Liberals failed to do so and the Conservatives definitely haven’t. Back in 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada, in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, held up the right to strike under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This case clearly acknowledged “the deep inequalities that structure the relationship between employers and employees, and the vulnerability of employees in this context” and the need for fair collective bargaining and the right to strike should bargaining be unsuccessful. CUPE 3903 voted to go on strike when our employer refused to bargain in good faith (i.e. decline to make any effort to reach a middle ground between the employer and their vulnerable employees). Should back to work legislation be unfairly wielded against us and, therefore, support York’s intransigence, I would hope that CUPE 3903, CUPE Ontario, CUPE National, and all rank-and-file members of the union will be ready to fight that legislation.

York has done everything in its power to villainize CUPE 3903 and its members while simultaneously doing nothing to resolve this labour dispute. The Conservative government is hilariously calling themselves the “Government of the People” to disingenuously pretend they are working for the poor and working classes. Should this “government of the people” look at an institute of higher education that pulls high tuition rates from tax-paying students while paying their workers a below living wage, yet paying disproportionately high salaries to administrators and wasting money on union-busting lawyers, and decide to side with the institution, then it is very clear exactly which “people” this government privileges.


Reflecting on Mental Health and Well-Being on Campus

By Sasan Issari

As the strike hits its 19th week, there are serious concerns over how the strike has impacted the mental health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. The duration and intensity of this labor dispute has impacted the well-being of York community members in various ways. Whether it is the financial strain that students and contract faculty experience, or the uncertainty of future employment, there are real stressors. The rise of precarious employment in Universities across Canada impacts the mental health and well-being of everyone in academia, including students, staff, and faculty.

So where can students and community members go for supports when they feel hopeless, anxious, stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and depressed? There is a list resources below that can help. This is just a small list of supports in the community, as there are other supports that are tailored to the unique needs of individuals in our communities. It is important to connect with the right supports that fits for you. It takes bravery to reach out and ask for help, as no one should suffer in silence. This strike has been very stressful for several reasons, and it is critical to reach out if you need to talk to someone.


Good2Talk is a free, confidential helpline providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to post-secondary students in Ontario, 24/7/365. – 1-866-925-5454

Toronto Distress Line – this centre is run by volunteers and offers help through either their phone line, online chat, or text chat options. The 24- hour line is available at 416-408-4357. The online chat or texting service is available between 2pm and 2am. To chat online, go to: https://www.torontodistresscentre.com/ontx. To text, simply send your first text message 741741.

Gerstein Centre. Located downtown, this community mental health crisis centre also boasts a crisis line and a mobile team. – Crisis line: 416-929-5200 – http://gersteincentre.org/

York Support Services Network: 1-855-310-COPE (2673); 1-866-323-7785 (TTY). If you, or someone you care about, are depressed, distressed, lonely, anxious, scared or angry, you can call York Support Services 24/7. They have been serving York Region for over 15 years and have now expanded their telephone support to include North York.

Online Counselling:

If you don’t feel like going for formal counselling, there are online resources that might be of service. 7cups.com is an online free one-on-one chat with trained listeners and also offers inexpensive therapy options. betterhelp.com is another online, phone, or text relatively inexpensive therapy.


CUPE 3903 Member of Senate, Devin Clancy’s June 14th Statement to Senate

The Senate adjourned while I was speaking because they were offended by the following:

Fourth statement in the senate


Sorry I couldn’t make it to the last senate meeting, but if past experience is any indication, I’m sure I didn’t miss anything and no one was held accountable for running this university into the ground by destroying any semblance of academic integrity.

While this administration’s provisional grades scheme is sold as a benefit to our students, other university graduate programs have already started rejecting them.

In attempts to keep business running without the majority of actual teachers, the university’s priorities are as transparent as ever: contain student anger for stealing their tuition money by slapping fake grades on their transcript in order to keep exploiting the most precarious educators that do the actual teaching.

If indeed York University teaches anything, it’s that a small group of overpaid administrators can erode the public good of education for their own benefit.

You’ve never cared about students, and you’ve never cared about the concerns of your most vulnerable workers Rhonda, all you’ve cared about is your illegitimate career as a detestable administrator rising to the top of a heartless institution.

But as much as you may try to hide it, the fact is you’ve lost any legitimacy as a leader, any respect as a colleague, and any integrity as an academic. The wave of non-confidence in you and Rick Waugh’s Board of Governors is clear for all to see. And while you may be able to slip through this undoubtedly embarrassing chapter in the history of university leadership, this has less to do with your deluded ability to weather the storm, and everything to do with the absolute loss of accountability in the university as a whole.

This couldn’t be clearer than in the highest decision making bodies of York, these Senate chambers and the corporate Board of Governors. Both bodies are meant to be open and accountable to our community, but have routinely been closed sessions with no adequate student witness or representation.

And when students are barred from accessing the only public forum available to hold the administration accountable, they feel helpless, lied to and cheated, disenfranchised from the very institution they’ve invested so much in.

President Lenton, you’ve said that you and your administration respects “civil and respectful debate or dissent.”

What debate?

When has there ever been space for dialogue or discussion? All you’ve done is cut students and workers out of the conversation.

You’ve used security to intimidate and assault students and bar them from the Senate. And again students were physically barred from accessing the May 1st Board of Governors meeting despite the purported dedication to openness.

And, most egregious of all, in 102 days of strike your bargaining team has met with CUPE 3903 twice.

That’s 100 days your administration refused to acknowledge a debate, refused to engage in dialogue with your most vulnerable and precarious teachers.

100 days you’ve tried to forget our existence.

100 days you’ve continued to collect your pay cheque while thousands of students and union members are pushed further into poverty.

And yet, you insist that York is a social justice university.

I’m sure it’s been a while since you’ve stepped foot inside a classroom, but students at this social justice university are taught to stand up to injustice. Students are taught that when the most powerful and privileged try to trample over the most vulnerable there is an ethical responsibility to push back, to disobey, and to disrupt.

They’re taught that when they are systematically silenced in supposedly democratic spaces, it’s time to shut these spaces down.

If we cannot be in the Senate, if we cannot be in the Board of Governors meetings then they have no legitimacy, they do not represent us, and they should not be taking up space on our campus.

This is the meaning of civil disobedience, you may find it uncomfortable, but you’re supposed to find it uncomfortable. You’re supposed to be shaken out of your privileged position, and you’re supposed to think twice when you systematically shutout the very community you’re supposed to represent.

Being a social justice president does not mean congratulating Doug Ford on his election victory. And it certainly doesn’t mean congratulating that anti-queer, anti-trans politician with a pride flag in your twitter profile picture.

It also doesn’t mean wielding the student code of conduct to threaten and pursue sanctions against students that criticize you for this disgusting display of support for the most reactionary and damaging figure in Ontario politics.

But it’s not surprising that the administration hides behind the language of respectability while actively pursuing attacks on students and workers. I’ve witnessed this myself when York security threatened Reclaim students with calling the police, only for the official York twitter to deny that these threats were even issued. I heard the threats; I was there, yet a remote administrator felt entitled to use the account of a leading institution to lie to the public.

Lies, deceit and violations of charter rights seem to be the norm of this administration’s approach to the ethical and moral actions of outraged and disenfranchised students and workers. So much so that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has had to repeatedly call on York to back down from its draconian attempts to quell debate and dissent.

The student code of conduct has never been about protecting the civil rights of students on campus. From its origins in Lorna Marsden’s presidency through to the current regime, it has always been a tool used by the powerful to assert their will over student protestors.

But this will never stop our collective resistance to your neoliberal, managerial administration. This is about more than fighting your sad administration; it’s about the future of education and the soul of this university.

So I ask you senator Lenton, will you immediately withdraw any complaint you’ve filed against your own students and refrain from unjustly wielding the code of conduct to threaten and punish dissent?

Reflecting on the Corporatization of Education

By Sasan Issari

As the strike at York University enters its 15th week, there is a growing possibility that the strike may end soon. After all, the Conservative party has officially become the majority government in Ontario. If history tells us anything, it tells us that neoliberalism and the corporatization of education have become the new norm in Canada. After all, it was Doug Ford who said after he got elected that the only victims of the strike at York University were the students. This statement needs to be problematized, since it erases the reasons why teaching assistants, contract faculty, and staff are asking for fairer working conditions across campuses in Canada. And yes, many of them are students as well.

The corporatization of education means that academic labor, student life, institutional governance, and university research are dictated by dollars, not on the value of critical thinking, innovation, social justice, and higher learning. This is precisely why the Board of Governors at York University are comprised mostly of bankers and corporate heads. This is precisely why the number of casual academic positions at York University has increased by more than five times the amount compared to tenured professor positions since 2000. In the neoliberal and corporate climate of academia, none of these issues really matter. The bottom line is profit, not the social conditions in academia that impact the well-being of teachers, students, and staff.

Students are drowning in student debts, and workers in academia are getting fed up with ‘business as usual.’ Students do not have the privilege to freely enjoy their academic journeys, as they face growing pressures to find a job after graduation. Workers, many of whom are graduate students with families to support, are tired of their working conditions and want job security and a decent salary to live. The fact is that education was commodified years ago in Canada. The question remains: Where do we go from here? Firstly, I want to us to not lose hope. It may sound cliché, but it is understandable to feel exhausted, angry, and defeated. But it is inspiring to witness and be a part of a critical mass of people who are advocating for fairer working conditions across campuses in Canada, and it is time to listen to their voices.


Open Letter to York University and the Board of Governors from 320 Full Time Professors & Staff

*Edited to reflect the current number of signatures*
We, the undersigned current and former full-time professors, librarians and archivists at York University, are deeply concerned with the unilateral and unproductive approach taken by York’s central administration and Board of Governors to the CUPE 3903 strike. This approach has had serious, detrimental effects on learning, teaching, academic decision-making, and job security for a range of workers at York University. And it undermines public trust in our university. 
Months before the strike began, York University’s President and Provost issued calls for binding arbitration. These actions signaled their refusal to bargain with CUPE on major, qualitative bargaining issues such as job security, employment and graduate funding (which arbitrators often deemphasize).  During the strike, central administrators have dedicated their efforts to ending the strike by force, without bargaining; they pushed a forced ratification vote on CUPE members, convinced the province to send a special commissioner, and lobbied for back-to-work legislation.  Each of these efforts failed but wasted weeks of potential bargaining time.  At the same time, York University’s Central Administration has conducted an intense public relations campaign, blaming the union for lack of movement. The Administration’s inept approach has paralyzed talks and created confusion and consternation among students and other members of the University. 
As of May 10, the councils of five faculties, ten departments, and more than fifteen graduate and undergraduate student associations, passed motions of non-confidence in President Rhonda Lenton and York’s Board of Governors chaired by Rick Waugh. Comprising programs that represent more than 50% of York’s full-time faculty members and over 70% of undergraduate and graduate students, these motions condemn the Administrations’ refusal to negotiate with CUPE 3903 and its inability to engage in sound and collegial decision-making. For example, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the York Federation of Students also passed motions of non-confidence. The significance of motions made by these two bodies cannot be under-estimated. The motions indicate that an overwhelming majority of graduate and undergraduate students have no confidence in the present Administration. 
Crucially, York University’s Central Administration has also undermined the collegial authority of Senate on academic matters. In doing so the Central Administration risks betraying its fiduciary duties, undermining academic integrity and circumventing the York Act.  Now, in the 12th week of the CUPE 3903 strike, the Central Administration canceled summer term courses taught by members of CUPE 3903, which leaves students few options but to take courses at other universities. At the same time, the Administration has started to assign grades to graduating students based on their grade average, not based on work done in the winter courses that were suspended by the strike. These decisions, which are taken to put pressure on CUPE and YUFA (York University Faculty Association), are deeply troubling and put the educational reputation of the University at risk. 
In light of widespread concerns about the future of our university, we seek an immediate end to the labour dispute. We call on the York University Administration and the Board of Governors to (1) respect collegial governance processes, including the role of Senate; and act in the University’s best interest by (2) return to the bargaining table with CUPE 3903 to reach a settlement. 

Gamal Abdel-Shehid, School of Kinesiology and Health Science

Greg Albo, Department of Politics

Steve Alsop, Facuty of Education

Philipp Sebastian Angermeyer, Department of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics

Pat Armstrong, PhD, FRSC, Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology

Marie-Christine Aubin, School of Translation, Glendon College

Aimé Avolonto, French department, Glendon

Harjeet Kaur Badwall, School of Social Work

Steve Bailey, Department of Humanities and Graduate Program in Communication and Culture

Alison Bain, Department of Geography

Isabella Bakker, Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, York Research Chair, Distinguished Research Professor

Ian Balfour, Department of English

Himani Bannerji, Professor Emerita, Senior Scholar, Sociology

Deb Barndt, Professor Emerita, Environmental Studies

Amélie Barras, Department of Social Science

Tereza Barta, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Ranu Basu, Department of Geography

Jon Peter Baturin, Professor Emeritus, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design

Paul Baxter, Department of Social Science

Barbara Beardwood, Senior Scholar, Department of Social Science

Shannon Bell, Department of Politics

Richard Bello, Department of Geography

Jody Berland, Department of Humanities

Faisal Bhabha,  Osgoode Hall Law School

Amar Bhatia, Osgoode Hall Law School

Katherine Bischoping, Department of Sociology

Malcolm Blincow, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology

Marcus Boon, Department of English

Philippe Bourdin, French Studies and Lingusitic Program, Glendon

Rob Bowman, Department of Music

Martin Breaugh, Department of Politics

Linda Briskin, Department/School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Deborah Brock, Department of Sociology

Heather Campbell, Department of English

Nergis Canefe, Department of Politics and Public Policy and Administration

Eduardo Canel, Department of Social Science

Tuan Cao-Huu, MDS Department, Itec/Computer Science, Glendon

Marc Cauchi, Department of Humanities

Jon Caulfield, Senior Scholar, Division of Social Science

Sheila Cavanagh, Department of Sociology

David Cecchetto, Depeartment of Humanities

Chris Chapman, School of Social Work

Soma Chatterjee, School of Social Work

Claudia Chaufan, School of Health Policy and Management

James Check, Department of Psychology

Lily Cho, Department of English

Sylwia Chrostowska, Department of Humanities

Matthew Clark, Department of Humanities

Colin Coates, Canadian Studies, Glendon College

Elaine Coburn, International Studies, Glendon

Derek Cohen, Senior Scholar, English Department

Sheila Colla, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Bruce Connell, Linguistics and Language, Glendon

Diana Cooper-Clark, Departments of English and Humanities

Marc Couroux, Department of Visual Art and Art History

Cheryl Cowdy, Department of Humanities

Warren Crichlow, Faculty of Education

Alison Crosby, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Raju J Das, Department of Geography

Tania Das Gupta, Department of Equity Studies

Elizabeth Dauphinee, Department of Politics

Megan Davies, Department of Social Science

Nancy Viva Davis Halifax, Faculty of Health

Lykke de la Cour, Social Science

Kathryn Denning, Department of Anthropology

William Denton, York University Libraries

Gene Desfor, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Susan Dion,Faculty of Education

Mario DiPaolantonio, Faculty of Education

Dr Nombuso Dlamini, Director, Youth in Politics (#Yip), Faculty of Education

David Doorey, School of Human Resource Management

Susan Driver, Communication Studies

Lisa Drummond, Department of Social Science

Christo El Morr, School of Health Policy and Management

Denielle Elliott, Department of Social Science and Social Anthropology

Lorna Erwin, Sociology

Barbara Evans, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Geoffrey Ewen, Canadian Studies and History, Glendon

Sarah Flicker, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Honor Ford-Smith, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Scott Forsyth, Senior Scholar, Cinema and Media Arts/Politics

Jennifer Foster, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Gail Fraser, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Soren Frederiksen, School of Public Policy and Administration

Amber Gazso, Department of Sociology

Liette Gilbert, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Wenona Giles, Professor, Anthropology

Stephen Gill, FRSC, Distinguished Research Professor of Politics, Department of Politics

Rosalind Gill, Senior Scholar, School of Translation, Glendon

Amanda Glasbeek, Department of Social Science

Harry Glasbeek, Professor Emeritus, Osgoode Law School

Luin Goldring, Department of Sociology

Mark Goodman, Sociology

Andil Gosine, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Ted Goossen, Department of Humanities

Laurence Green, Cinema & Media Arts

John Greyson, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Ricardo Grinspun, Department of Economics

Shubhra Gururani, Department of Anthropology

Ratiba Hadj-Moussa, Department of Sociology

Jan Hadlaw, School of the Arts, Media, Performance, & Design

Laam Hae, Department of Politics

Alison Halsall, Department of Humanities

Barbara Hanson, Department of Sociology

Eve Haque, Department of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics

Jin Haritaworn, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Phillip Harland, Department of Humanities

Douglas Hay FRSC, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Osgoode Hall Law School and Department of History

Sharon Hayashi, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Lyse Hébert, PhD, School of Translation, Glendon

Judy Hellman, Professor Emerita, Social Science and Politics Departments

Stephen Hellman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Politics

Craig Heron, Professor Emeritus, Department of History

Rob Heynen, Department of Communication Studies

Philip Hoffman, Cinema and Media Arts

Teresa Holmes, Department of Anthropology

Jennifer Hyndman, Department of Geography

Pablo Idahosa, Department of Social Science

Susan Ingram, Department of Humanites

Merle A. Jacobs, Equity Studies

Stanley Jeffers, Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics and Astronomy

William Jenkins, Department of Geography

Jennifer Jenson, Faculty of Education

Sherry Johnson, Department of Music

Jan Kainer, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Hong Kal, Department of Visual Art and Art History

Ilan Kapoor, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Eva C. Karpinski, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

Ali Kazimi, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston, Program in Theatre and Peformance Studies

Peggy Keall, Dept of Social Science

Patricia Keeney, English, Theatre and Performance Studies (FGS)

Joseph Keeping, Departmetns of Humanities, History

Roger Keil, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Phillip Kelly, Department of Geography

Kamala Kempadoo, Department of Social Science

Didi Khayatt, Faculty of Education

Sean Kheraj, Department of History

Isabel Killoran, Faculty of Education

Stefan Kipfer, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Christina Kraenzle, German Studies

Avron Kulak, Department of Humanities

Abidin Kusno, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Hannes Lacher, Deparment of Politics

Larry Lam, Department of Sociology

Paul Lampert, Department of Theatre

Sam Lanfranco, Professor Emeritus, Economics

Ganaele Langlois, Department of Communication Studies

Suzanne Langlois, Department of History, Glendon College

Nick Lary, Senior Scholar and professor emeritus of Humanities and Graduate English

Frances Latchford, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Yam Lau, Department of Visual Art and Art History

Bonita Lawrence, Department of Equity Studies

Marie-Elaine Lebel, Language training centre for studies in French

Becky Lee, Professor Emerita, Department of Humanities

Louis Lefeber, Professor Emeritus, Economics and Social and Political Thought

David Lidov, Department of Music, Senior Scholar

Carla Lipsig-Mumme, Department of Social Science

Kenneth Little, Department of Anthropology

Jaime Llambias-Wolff, Senior Scholar, Dept. of Social Science

Brenda Longfellow, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Libby Lunstrum, Department of Geography

Meg Luxton, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Willem Maas, Political Science, Glendon

Marcia Macaulay, English, Glendon

Robert MacDermid, Senior Scholar, Department of Political Science

Heather MacRae, Department of Politics

Edelgard Mahant, Professor emerita, Glendon

Terry Maley, Department of Politics

Guida Man, Department of Sociology

Nancy Mandell, Department of Sociology

Joy Mannette, Faculty of Education

Janine Marchessault, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Jocelyn Martel, Biology, Multidisciplinary Studies, Glendon

Ian Martin, English Department, Glendon

Atsuko Matsuoka, School of Social Work

John Mayberry, Department of Theatre

Patricia Mazepa, Department of Communication Studies

Carlota McAllister, Department of Anthroplogy

Patricia McDermott, Department of Social Science

Gillian McGillivray, History, Glendon

Wendy McKeen, Department of Social Work

David T. McNab, Department of Equity Studies/Humanities

David McNally, Department of Politics

Andrea Medovarski, Department of Humanities

Merouan Mekouar, Department of Social Science

Gertrude Mianda, School of GSWS and GWST program, Glendon College

Jacinthe Michaud, School of GSWS

Aparna Mishra Tarc, Faculty of Education

Allyson Mitchell, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Radhika Mongia, Department of Sociology

Jean Michel Montsion, Canadian Studies, Glendon College

Esteve Morera, Department of Philosophy, Department of Politics

Brian Morgan, Department of English, Glendon

Marina Morrow, Chair, School of Health Policy and Management

Mary Jane Mossman, Professor Emerita, Osgoode Hall Law School

Georges Moyal, Department of Philosophy, Glendon

Arun Mukherjee, Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Nick Mulé, School of Social Work

David Murray, Department of Anthropology

Karen Bridget Murray, Department of Politics

Marcelo Musto, Department of Sociology

Natasha Myers, Department of Anthropology

Eric Mykhalovskiy, Department of Sociology

Taien Ng-Chan, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Michael Nijhawan, Department of Sociology

Jonathan Nitzan, Department of Politics, Social and Political Thought

Naomi Norquay, Faculty of Education

Liisa North, Professor Emeritus

Anne O’Connell, School of Social Work

Andrea O’Reilly, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Michael Ornstein, Department of Sociology

Deborah Orr, Department of Humanities

Laurence Packer, Department of Biology

Leo Panitch, Professor Emeritus

Hyun ok Park, Department of Sociology

Viviana Patroni, Department of Social Science

Mark Peacock, Department of Social Science

Linda Peake, Department of Social Science, Director,The City Institute

Muriel Péguret, Dépt. d’études françaises et Faculté d’éducation, Glendon

Elizabeth Pentland, Department of English

Roberto Perin, Department of History, Glendon

Patricia E. (Ellie) Perkins, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Nalini Persram, Department of Social Science

Randolph Peters, Department of Music

Kelly Pike, School of Human Resource Management

Dennis Pilon, Department of Politics

Sergei Plekhanov, Department of Politics

Justin Podur, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Brayton Polka, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Humanities

Ann Porter, Department of Politics

Anna Pratt, Department of Social Science

Valerie Preston, Department of Geography

Norene Pupo, Department of Sociology

Audrey Pyee, Department of History, Glendon College

Roberto Quinlan, Department of Biology

Indhu Rajagopal, Department of Social Science

Dennis Raphael, School of Health Policy and Management

Art Redding, English

Markus Reisenleitner, Department of Humanities

Geoffrey Reaume, Critical Disabilty Studies

Marie Rickard, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

André Robert, Department of Geography

Joanna Robinson, Department of Sociology, Glendon

Ray Rogers, Faculty of Enviromental Studies

Nick Rogers, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus

Wade Rowland, Department of Communications

Don Rubin, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Dept of Theatre

  1. Anders Sandberg, Faculty of Environmental Science

Cate Sandilands, Environmental Studies

John. S. Saul, Professor Emeritus, Social Science and Politics

Rachel Schlesinger, Senior Scholar, Dept. of Social Science

Ellen G. Schraa, School of Health Policy & Management

Dayna Scott, Osgoode Hall Law School

Jamie Scott, Department of Humanities

Shirin Shahrokni, Department of Sociology, Glendon

Theresa Shanahan, Faculty of Education

Victor Shea, Department of Humanities

Joel Shore, Department of Biology

Marlene Shore, Department of History

Nicola Short, Department of Politics

John Simoulidis, Department of Social Science

Brian Singer, Sociology, Glendon

David Skinner, Communication Studies

Lisa Sloniowski, York University Libraries

Bruce Smardon, Department of Political Science

Ian Smith, Assoc. Prof. Emeritus, Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

Brenda Spotton Visano, Department of Economics, School of Public Policy and Administration

Glenn Stalker, Department of Sociology

Jennifer Stephen, Department of History

Penny Stewart, Department of Sociology

Karen Swift, Social Work, Professor Emerita

David Szablowski, Department of Social Science

Laura Taylor, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Patrick Taylor,  Department of Humanities

Thomas Teo, Department of Psychology

Mark Thomas, Department of Sociology

Ozgun Topak, Department of Social Science

Robert Tordoff, Associate Professor, Humanities.

Temenuga Trifonova, Associate Professor, Dept of Cinema and Media Arts

Roopa Desai Trilokekar, Faculty of Education

Eric Tucker, Professor Emeritus, Osgoode Hall Law School

Steven Tufts, Department of Geography

Unnamed (12)

Dorin Uritescu, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, French Studies, Glendon

Karen Valihora, Department of English

Peter Vandergeest, Department of Geography

Gail Vanstone Department of Humanities

Jim Vernon, Department of Philosophy

Livy Visano, Professor, Department of Equity Studies

Usha Viswanathan, Glendon

Colleen Wagner, Department of Cinema & Media Arts

Philip Walsh, Department of Sociology

Andy Weaver, Department of English

Richard Weisman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Social Science

Fredric Weizmann, Senior Scholar, Department of Psychology

Richard Wellen, Social Science

Kimberley White, Department of Social Science

Walter Whiteley, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

David L. Wiesenthal, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Department of Psychology

Daphne Winland, Anthropology

Ted Winslow, Department of Social Science

Howard Wiseman, Department of Cinema and Media Arts

Lesley Wood, Department of Sociology

Patricia Wood, Department of Geography

Jenny Wüstenberg, Department of Politics

Douglas Young, Department of Social Science

Lélia Young, Department of French Studies

Anna Zalik, Faculty of Environmental Studies

About those “Concerned Profs”

As I am writing this post, 228 faculty members have signed a statement under the label “concernedprofs” an extension of “Profs4Change,” a collection of self-proclaimed “moderates” who support York’s attempt to gut the CUPE Unit 2 conversion program (a program that has successfully been in place for decades and has resulted in providing full-time employment to dedicated, renowned professors).

This website, hosted on a York University server, contains a statement from the group calling upon unions and the institution to “negotiate non-strike clauses in their collective agreements” because they believe this is the only way to avoid the “collateral damage to our students.” Although the group presents itself a apolitical (they are not “taking sides in any labour disputes,” something which is undermined by their support for the gutting of the conversion program, as outlined above) the fact that this statement is released right now, during the lengthy CUPE 3903 strike, clearly shows an anti-CUPE sentiment. It is also misleading to suggest that they are not “taking sides” when their statement is anti-union and not anti-capitalist or, at the very least, offering any criticism towards the way the current York administration has handled labour relations since Rhonda Lenton was named President (after many factions of York spoke out against the promotion).

While I agree that it is awful and heartbreaking that students are left in limbo and struggling during this strike, suggesting that unions at York, especially unions made up of front-line workers like CUPE 3903, should lose one of their primary ways to fight against a management that holds all the power, shows very little understanding of working-class struggles and the legitimacy of strike action.

What is most disconcerting with this group is the very privileged position they write from. Of the 228 members currently on the list, salary information is   available for 197 of them in 2017 (the information has been copied below). Of the 31 with no salary information available, 16 are retired professors who are reaping the benefits of pensions that were fought for in a YUFA strike in 1997. The other remaining 15 are new hires for 2017 or part-time lecturers who enjoy careers outside of the university.
The 197 that we can account for have a mean salary of $168,720.56 and a median salary of $158,967.84. I do not bring up these salaries to suggest that they do not deserve them (most are well accomplished educators and researchers), but simply to illustrate the position of comfort they write from. This punching down to early career researchers and teachers is an awful abuse of the power they have as full-time, tenured faculty members; they should be using these positions of power to demand accountability from Rhonda Lenton and the Board of Directors and joining the cacophony of voices across campus asking for the governance crisis at York to be addressed.

York University sits on the edge of Toronto and York. In 2015, the median income for the York region was $103,009 and the median income for Toronto was $65,829, placing the average for these professors $50,000 – $100,000 better off than the average household that surrounds our campus. As members of CUPE 3903 struggle to make ends meet each year, I would suggest these “concerned profs” consider their socio-economic realities before they continue to punch down in the future.



Name Department Department Salary (2017)
1 Ali Abdul Sater Assistant Professor Kinesiology and Health Science 112,566.68
2 Ola Adegoke Associate Professor Kinesiology 142,374.72
3 Scott Adler Associate Professor Psychology 142,916.94
4 Nirupama Agrawal Associate Professor Disaster and Emergency Management 166,480.92
5 Ahmet Akyol Associate Professor Economics 165,011.68
6 John Amanatides Associate Professor EECS 194,245.04
7 Lynne Angus Full Professor Psychology 180,694.64
8 Marcia Annisette Associate Professor Schulich School of Business 257,850.20
9 Elie Appelbaum Professor Economics 251,410.96
10 Costas Armenakis Associate Professor Earth & Space Science & Engineering / Lassonde School of Engineering 140,082.76
11 Mary Armour Associate Lecturer Faculty of Science N/A
12 Ali Asgary Associate Professor SAS 157,813.68
13 Gerald Audette Associate Professor Chemistry / Centre for Research on Biomolecular Interactions 136,400.08
14 Preet Aulakh Professor Schulich School of Business 306,602.32
15 peter backx professor biology 269,339.92
16 Kee-Hong Bae Professor Schulich School of Business 351,750.64
17 Joe Baker Professor Kinesiology and Health Science 137,706.59
18 Alena Barysevich CLA Glendon N/A
19 Thomas Baumgartner Professor Chemistry N/A
20 Mark Bayfield Associate Professor Biology 129,454.52
21 John Beare Associate Professor Economics 205,750.48
22 Danielle Beausoleil Assoc. Lecturer French Studies – LA&PS 147,436.60
23 James Bebko Professor Psychology 186,534.64
24 Jacob Beck Associate Professor Philosophy 110,784.32
25 Nantel Bergeron Professor Mathematics and Statistics 205,912.28
26 Christopher Bergevin Assoc. Prof. Physics & Astronomy, York University 111,450.70
27 S bhadra Professor Physis 135,700.92
28 Markus Biehl Associate Professor Schulich 294,555.44
29 Sunil Bisnath Associate Professor Earth and Space Science and Engineering 140,551.60
30 Michael Boni Assistant Lecturer Kinesiology 102,499.96
31 Deborah Britzman Distinguished Research Professor and York Research Chair Faculty of Education 193,181.88
32 Shirley Ann Brown Professor Emerita and Senior Scholar Humanities and Art History N/A
33 Marcus Brubaker Assistant Professor EECS 112,566.68
34 Mat Brzozowski Associate Professor Economics 143,671.72
35 Neil Buckley Undergraduate Program Director Economics 170,024.88
36 Sam Bucovetsky Professor LAPS/Economics 182,003.98
37 Martin Bunch Professor Faculty of Environmental Studies 145,188.60
38 Ed Burns Adjunct Professor Schulich N/A
39 Alexandra Campbell Associate Professor /Marketing Dept, Schulich Business School, 216,328.20
40 Ada Chan Associate Professor Mathematics and Statistics 140,238.68
41 Jennifer Chen Chemistry 104,680.72
42 Shin-Hwan Chiang Professor Economics 207,487.60
43 Charles Cho Professor Schulich School of Business 213,750.00
44 Avi Cohen Professor Economics, LA&PS 181,132.38
45 Jennifer Connolly Professor Psychology 189,577.02
46 Michael Connor Associate Professor Kinesiology & Health Science 157,989.06
47 Wade Cook Professor Emeritus Schulich School of Business 130,524.84
48 Matias Cortes Assistant Professor Economics N/A
49 Julia Creet Associate Professor Department of English 135,726.98
50 Robert Cribbie Professor Psychology 158,509.64
51 Anne Crozier Associate Lecturer Nursing 146,615.30
52 Michael Daly Associate Professor Earth and Space Science and Engineering 150,802.84
53 Peter Darke Professor Schulich School of Business 265,220.68
54 Fay Dastjerdi Associate Professor Faculty of Health, School of Nursing 146,605.14
55 Michael De Robertis Professor Physics and Astronomy / Faculty of Science 176,058.02
56 Xavier de Vanssay Professor Economics/Glendon 175,217.28
57 Paul Delaney Senior Lecturer Physics and Astronomy 161,399.60
58 Minoo Derayeh Associate Professor DES 165,355.00
59 Joseph DeSouza Associate Prof Psych 148,017.42
60 Mary Desrocher Associate Professor Psychology 142,981.24
61 Adam Diamant Assistant Professor Schulich 157,816.32
62 Susan Dion Associate Professor Education 146,014.64
63 Igor Djordjevic Associate Professor English, Glendon College 132,971.26
64 Dale Domian Professor School of Administrative Studies 196,028.40
65 Logan Donaldson Professor Biology 155,383.56
66 Janessa Drake Associate Professor Kinesiology and Health Science 131,532.92
67 Walter Dyba Senior Lecturer Kinesiology 153,790.04
68 John Eastwood Associate Professor Department of Psychology 137,980.60
69 Heather Edgell Assistant Professor Kinesiology and Health Sciences 109,518.70
70 Carl S. Ehrlich Professor History and Humanities 178,943.18
71 Kate Ellis Sessional Lecturer Schulich School of Business N/A
72 Can Erutku Associate Professor Economics/Glendon 164,727.44
73 Berta Esteve-Volart Associate Professor Department of Economics 164,705.76
74 David Etkin Associate Professor Disaster & Emergency Management 162,685.64
75 George Fallis University Professor Economics and Social Science, LA&PS 201,690.40
76 Ilijas Farah Professor Mathematics and Statistics 181,240.24
77 Margarita Feliciano Retired Glendon College N/A
78 Ida Ferrara Associate Professor Economics 174,990.04
79 Eileen Fischer Full Schulich 297,089.60
80 Alex Fisher Schulich School of Business N/A
81 David Flora Associate Professor Psychology 138,228.22
82 Joshua Fogel Canada Research Professor, Tier One History 257,128.00
83 Rene Fournier Professor Chemistry 161,725.08
84 Mary Fox Associate Professor Nursing 157,133.76
85 Jessica Fraser-Thomas Associate Professor School of Kinesiology and Health Science 125,451.12
86 Ed Furman Assoc Prof Math and Stats 142,959.52
87 David Gelb Associate Professor Design 116,845.65
88 George Georgopoulos Associate Professor Economics 180,092.36
89 Markus Giesler AssociateProfessor Schulich School of Business 258,478.68
90 Joel Goldberg Chair & Associate Professor Psychology Department 186,770.23
91 Dasantila Golemi-Kotra Associate Professor Biology 134,343.92
92 John Goodings Professor Emeritus Chemistry N/A
93 Cameron Graham Professor Schulich School of Business 249,221.66
94 Bryn Greer-Wootten Professor Emeritus Geography and Environmental Studies N/A
95 Rebecca Gunter Associate Professor School of Kinesiology and Health Science 113,453.78
96 Tara Haas Professor Kinesiology and Health Science 155,013.20
97 Ernst Hamm Associate Professor Science & Technology Studies 159,746.60
98 Laurence Harris Professor Psychology 196,225.50
99 Jagdish Hattiangadi Professor Philosophy 180,706.74
100 Lyndsay Hayhurst Assistant Professor School of Kinesiology and Health Science 110,553.36
101 Terrence Heinrichs Associate Professor Political Science, Glendon 127,769.32
102 Irene Henriques Professor Schulich School of Business 228,620.72
103 Denise Henriques Professor Kinesiology and Health Science 144,713.20
104 Vincent Hildebrand Associate Professor Economics/Glendon 171,358.24
105 Wai-Ming Ho Associate Professor AP/Economics 172,992.24
106 Louis-Philippe Hodgson Associate Professor Philosophy, Glendon 136,072.18
107 Marko Horbatsch Professor Physics and Astronomy 176,047.66
108 Shelley Hornstein Professor Visual Art and Art History (VAAH) 106,536.40
109 Loriann Hynes Assistant Professor School of Kinesiology & Health Science 109,801.54
110 Rchard Irving Associate professor Schulich 211,258.48
111 Neita Israelite Assoc Professor Emeritus Education N/A
112 Derek Jackson Assistant Lecturer Chemistry N/A
113 Joann Jasiak Professor Economics 227,251.32
114 Janet Jeffrey Associate Professor Nursing 163,288.04
115 Matthew Johnson Associate Professor Physics and Astronomy 111,450.70
116 Christine Jonas-Simpson Associate Professor Faculty of Health, School of Nursing 148,666.96
117 Joanne Jones Associate Professor School of Administrative Studies 186,637.24
118 David Jopling Professor Department of Philosophy 165,285.00
119 Mark Kamstra Professor Schulich School of Business 246,537.96
120 Tsvetanka Karagyozova Sessional Assistant Professor Economics N/A
121 Kerry Kawakami Professor Psychology 175,947.92
122 Tamara Kelly Associate Lecturer Biology 124,617.20
123 Stanislav KIRSCHBAUM Professor International Studies/Glendon 179,071.92
124 Thomas Klassen Full Professor Politics – LAPS 158,967.84
125 Aurelia Klimkiewicz Associate Professor School of Translation (Glendon) 130,638.72
126 Ying Kong Associate Professor Economics 117,117.67
127 Hila Cohen Instructor Schulich N/A
128 Murat Kristal Associate Professor Schulich School of Business 288,335.97
129 Jennifer Kuk Associate Professor School of Kinesiology and Health Science 140,415.68
130 Alexey Kuznetsov Associate Professor Mathematics and Statistics 130,140.54
131 Nils-Petter Lagerlöf Associate Professor Economics 169,856.12
132 Linda Lakats Instructor Schulich 163,606.50
133 Patricia Lakin-Thomas Associate Professor Biology 153,532.92
134 Gino Lavoie Professor Chemistry 154,872.88
135 Fred Lazar Associate Professor Economics, Schulich School of Business 198,089.54
136 Bernard Lebrun Associate professor Economics 183,314.80
137 Jodi Letkiewicz Assistant Professor School of Administrative Studies 129,328.24
138 Alfred Lever Professor Emeritus Chemistry N/A
139 Zhepeng Li Assistant Professor Schulich School of Business 189,942.20
140 Bernard Lightman Professor Humanities 197,750.40
141 Martin Lockshin University Professor Emeritus Humanities/DLLL N/A
142 Heather Lotherington Professor Education 159,947.74
143 Suzanne MacDonald University Professor Department of Psychology 148,341.66
144 Joanne Magee Associate Professor Administrative Studies, Public Policy and Administration 212,765.46
145 Gajindra Maharaj Faculty Accounting/LA&PS 102,499.96
146 Ilo-Katryn Maimets Science/Health Librarian Steacie Science and Engineering Library 120,674.91
147 Sadia Malik Sessional Assistant Professor Economics 114,931.36
148 Claire Mallette Associate Professor School of Nursing, Faculty of Health 184,597.88
149 Alex Manafu Assistant Lecturer Philosophy N/A
150 Andrew Maxwell Associate Professor Lassonde School of Engineering 147,317.72
151 Marshall McCall Professor Physics and Astronomy 180,869.60
152 James McKellar Professor Schulich School of Business 259,716.20
153 Scott Menary Professor Physics & Astronomy 161,720.53
154 Robin Metcalfe Assistant Lecturer Science and Technology Studies N/A
155 Moshe Arye Milevsky Professor of Finance Schulich School of Business 264,701.36
156 Jennifer Mills Associate Professor Psychology 140,283.28
157 Gail Mitchell Professor Nursing 185,452.88
158 Seyed Moghadas Associate Professor Math and Stat/ Faculty of Science 127,524.09
159 Lewis Molot Professor FES 157,323.82
160 Louise Morrison Associate Lecturer French Studies, LAPS 116,175.36
161 Merv Mosher Senior Lecturer Kinesiology & Health Science 173,824.72
162 Amy Muise Assistant Professor Psychology N/A
163 Gerard Naddaf Professor Philosophy 176,171.44
164 Lilian Ng Full Professor Schulich School of Business 369,550.84
165 Laura Nicholson Assistant Professor School of Nursing 126,066.88
166 Arturo Orellana Associate Professor Chemistry 126,813.04
167 Jonathan Ostroff Professor Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science/LSE 212,349.64
168 Ron Owston Professor Education 170,371.16
169 Spiros Pagiatakis Professor Lassonde School of Engineering – ESSE 186,243.08
170 Ronald Pearlman Univresity Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar Biology N/A
171 Daniel Perlin Associate Librarian Law Library 132,339.84
172 Adrienne Perry Professor Psychology 175,188.92
173 Christopher Perry Associate Professor School of Kinesiology and health Science 116,586.50
174 Beryl Pilkington Associate Professor Nursing 171,300.30
175 Celia Popovic Director Education 147,140.96
176 Pierre Potvin Professor Chemistry 175,491.63
177 Jill Rich Associate Professor Psychology (Health) 155,856.60
178 Nicolette Richardson Assistant lecturer Kinesiology and Health Science N/A
179 Paul Rilstone Professor Economics 194,326.96
180 Josee Rivest Associate Professor Psychology, Glendon 156,631.64
181 Shayna Rosenbaum Professor Psychology 157,610.86
182 Michael Rotondi Associate Professor School of Kinesiology and Health Science 134,003.12
183 Ben Sand Associate Professor Economics 141,861.72
184 Nancy Sangiuliano Associate Director Health 166,764.59
185 Ron Sheese Associate Professor Psychology and Writing 188,835.84
186 Willow Sheremata Associate Professor Schulich School of Business 252,235.40
187 Ahouva Shulman Associate Professor DLLL 164,177.20
188 Pauline Shum Nolan Professor Schulich School of Business 252,824.80
189 Mina Singh Professor Nursing 161,174.54
190 John Smithin Professor Economics 101,024.14
191 Adriano Solis Associate Professor School of Administrative Studies 194,184.80
192 Ted Spence Professor Emeritus FES N/A
193 Rose Steele Professor Nursing 183,444.16
194 Georgios Stefanidis Assistant Professor Economics/ LAPS N/A
195 Juris Steprans Professor Mathematics and Statistics 171,668.48
196 Andrey Stoyanov Associate Professor Economics/York 148,621.88
197 Noel Sturgeon Professor Faculty of Environmental Studies 224,368.52
198 Bridget Stutchbury Professor Biology 165,433.26
199 Paul Szeptycki Professor Mathematics and Statistics 176,203.08
200 Wendy Taylor Professor Physics and Astronomy 134,192.34
201 Peter Taylor Professor Earth and Space Science and Engineering 127,861.80
202 Walter Tholen Professor Mathematics and Statistics 197,294.12
203 Mark Thomas Itinerant Professor SSB OMIS 139,448.80
204 Linda Thorne Professor Schulich 247,635.68
205 Christine Till Associate Professor Psychology 133,037.46
206 Maggie Toplak Associate Professor Psychology 125,355.44
207 George Tourlakis Professor EECS 228,278.72
208 Fuminori Toyasaki Associate Professor School of Administrative Studies 148,915.48
209 Cheryl van Daalen Smith Associate Professor Nursing/Gender,sexuality & Women’s Studies/Children’s Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies 158,712.14
210 Brandon Vickerd Chair, Department of Art and Art History 146,692.26
211 George Vukovich Professor Lassonde School of Engineering 145,195.38
212 James Walker Professor Languages, Literatures and Linguistics N/A
213 Jing Wang Associate Professor SHRM 132,120.72
214 Nelson Waweru Associate Prof School of Administrative Studies 164,359.00
215 Rodney Webb Professor Emeritus Biology N/A
216 Jonathan Weiss Associate Professor Psychology 130,743.36
217 Laurie Wilcox Professor Psychology 154,993.38
218 Frances Wilkinson Professor emerita Psychology N/A
219 Paul Wilkinson University Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus Faculty of Environmental Studies N/A
220 Carol Wilson Senior Lecturer Emeritus Kinesiology and Health Science N/A
221 Hugh Wilson Professor Emeritus Centre for Vision Research N/A
222 Melody Wiseheart Professor Psychology 142,127.24
223 Diane Woody Associate Professor French Studies, LA&PS 157,441.60
224 Xueqing Xu Associate Professor DLLL 141,030.52
225 Mike Zabrocki Professor Mathematics & Statistics 148,770.92
226 Farrokh Zandi Associate Director Undergrads Schulich 153,975.44
227 Cynthia Zimmerman Professor Emerita English dept., Glendon College N/A
228 Georg Zoidl Professor Science & Health 208,479.72


Reflecting on the Association between Precarious Employment and Mental Health Challenges on Campuses

By Sasan Issari

As the strike at York University continues, there is the growing possibility that this may end up being the longest University strike in Canadian history. There is a growing wave of Torontonians who are questioning why any instructor at York University would support such a strike, knowing that so many of their students are negatively impacted by it. What is lost in this narrative is that there is a growing number of academics who are stuck in low paid, contract-based, and insecure forms of employment. The reality is that precarious employment is on the rise in Canada and worldwide. The rise in insecure forms of employment impacts the mental health and well-being of everyone in academia, including students.

There is extensive research documenting that there is an association between precarious employment and mental health challenges on campus. The United Way and McMaster University conducted research and found that precarious workers are twice as likely to develop mental health and well-being challenges, compared to employees in secure positions. So how does this impact the strike, and the students at York University? Well, many of the students at York are taught by instructors who are in precarious and insecure working conditions. Many of these instructors do not know if they will have the same course load the following term/year, and this can impact their overall well-being. When teachers are not feeling secure in their employment conditions, this impacts the overall quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. Furthermore, when teachers feel insecure in their employment conditions, this impacts the level of confidence instructors, students, and the general public have of education in Canada.

So where do we go from here? Well, we first need to be honest with ourselves about the rise of precarious employment in academia, and work on realistic and practical solutions to create a more equitable and inclusive environment. This needs to go beyond lip service, but real steps to foster a learning environment that values students, staff, and instructors. The cliché saying that ‘we are all in this together’ is true when we discuss the well-being and mental health of academics and students. So, this is the time to address the inconvenient truth, and work past our discomfort to build alliances across all interest groups on campus. This is not about ‘CUPE 3903’ vs ‘York University’, but about the mental health and well-being of our present and future students, staff, and faculty.


What’s an Impasse Between Friends?

By Matthew Dunleavy

Okay, fair enough, the title of this post is a little disingenuous. First of all, President Rhonda Lenton and the York Board of Governors are anything but “friendly” to CUPE 3903 (based on the vast amount of non-confidence votes at the university, I am not sure they have many friends left). Secondly, and more importantly, we are definitely not at an impasse.

Starting with the decimation of Unit 3 in 2015, continuing in bargaining sessions where York’s lawyer, Simon Mortimer of Hicks Morley, would show up late or walk out early if things did not go his way, and reiterated in every PR statement or open letter by Mortimer, Lenton, or Provost Lisa Philipps, York has had one goal: present the bargaining teams as being at an impasse and move to arbitration, voluntarily or forced. As Dr Agnes Whitfield has rightly pointed out, this tactic is simply a “disguised lockout.”
This tactic was successful for the College Employer Council (CEC) last year. After the CEC refused to negotiate in good faith, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) went on strike and was sadly forced back to work and into interest arbitration. Two of the key connections between their struggle and CUPE 3903’s current fight with York University are Hicks Morley and William Kaplan. Hicks Morley represented the CEC and Kaplan was the arbitrator: a law firm and an arbitrator that are helping employers by-pass bargaining and force unions into undesirable contracts. Following the arbitration process, JP Hornick, chair of the OPSEU college faculty bargaining team reflected that, “with any reasonable amount of cooperation from the colleges, there would never have been a strike, students would not have had to worry about losing their semester, and faculty would never have lost five weeks’ pay.” This sounds eerily similar to our current position with York, while they release empty statements to the public about having the best interests of students in mind, even just a “reasonable amount of cooperation” in bargaining could have avoided this strike. However, they would rather continue being stubborn and attempt to place blame on our union.

After members rejected the employer’s initial offer (and, thus, beginning the strike) and then overwhelming voted “no” to their forced ratification vote, York waited for back-to-work legislation to send the union involuntarily into arbitration. As Law Professor David Doorey has reflected, these votes were, “no lose propositions for York: if accepted, great. If hugely voted down, evidence of impasse justifying back to work leg[islation].” York and Hicks Morley knew these offers would be rejected (they had barely budged in six months of bargaining) but it would provide proof of their insistance that we have reached an “impasse.”

Here’s the thing, the CUPE 3903 bargaining team has removed and amended proposals consistently during the bargaining process. It is entirely unfair and fraudulent for York to continue with its narrative of the two teams continuing to be “far apart.” It is also unprofessional for major new outlets (Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, etc.) to continue to regurgitate this information, passing it off as a fact, without actually investigating the positions. York cannot keep claiming that we are at an impasse when they have not returned to the bargaining table and refuse any movement on their proposals: bargaining involves both parties making a concentrated effort to reach an agreement. CUPE 3903 is doing that, York is not.
The little movement on York’s side recently (offering a $5,000 claw-back protection, for example) shows that the employer does have the capability to move. They just need to fire their legal counsel, abandon bargaining in the media, and engage in actual face-to-face bargaining.

I would also recommend anyone who signed up for Hick Morley’s “Bargaining with CUPE” workshop to ask for your money back, because they clearly have no idea what they are doing.


Remaining Bargaining Issues

On Monday, May 14th, the CUPE 3903 bargaining team sent another letter to Lenton and the Board of Governors asking them to return to the bargaining table. In it, the bargaining team clearly outlined how we are not at an impasse even with the most contentious issue between the two parties. Their appendix explaining our relative positions is copied below:

“All Unit Sexual Assault Survivor Fund

In light of the #MeToo movement, the university has finally recognized the need for a fund that members can access. CUPE 3903 proposed a Sexual Assault Survivor Fund which would allow our members to access resources independent of the Sexual Violence Response Office (SVRO). Our members have identified the SVRO as both limiting and problematic, particularly because it removes a member’s agency when reporting. Throughout and following the SVRO creation process we have brought members concerns regarding the office to York’s attention. These concerns have not been addressed, leaving survivors within our community with few other resources. Therefore we must maintain a level of autonomy over how the funds are distributed to our members. As the university has agreed to an amount of $50,000 it is now clear that the dispute is not over the amount but rather, how the funds should be allocated. This suggests that the two parties are indeed, not far apart. The union is confident that a fair compromise, which protects survivors in our community, can be reached at the bargaining table.

Unit 1 Clawback Protection

A major issue identified by Unit 1 members was the lack of clarity on how merit-based scholarships and/or awards are clawed back. The union is pleased to see that there was movement by the administration on May 7th, albeit a minor one. This indicates what we have said all along – that there is no impasse between the two parties. Unfortunately, an amount merely protecting $5000 is inadequate, as it continues to mean that one-third of awards such as the Ontario Graduate scholarship (OGS) are clawed back from members. This has been an area of dispute that members have repeatedly identified during the length of the collective agreement and was brought to the bargaining table in October of 2017.

Unit 2 Job Security

On two of our key Unit 2 job security proposals, Conversions and Long-Service Teaching Appointments (LSTAs), we are asking for the status quo in terms of numbers of appointments per year. We are seeking 8 Conversions per year (or 10% of Tenure-Track hires per year). That is the same number as in the past Collective Agreement. The vast majority of Tenure-Track hires would not be Conversions. We are seeking 7 LSTAs per year, the same as in the past Collective Agreement. The Employer has agreed to continuing the LSTA program at this level. Some details about the program remain to be discussed. Similarly, we are seeking the return of the Special Renewable Contracts program. The Employer has presented a counter on SRCs, and therefore they do not seem to have any objection in principle to the program. The two sides differ only on some of the specific terms of the program and the gap in appointments per year is only 3. York was offering 5 per year, CUPE 3903 recently proposed 8. We are also asking for some protections to ensure posted qualifications are reasonable for positions and we are seeking improvements to the Continuing Sessional Standing Program (CSSP). Overall, we don’t think these are controversial proposals or proposals that conflict with the stated values of York University.

Unit 3 Graduate Assistant Commitment

A key issue that triggered the current labour dispute was the unilateral devastation of over 700 Graduate Assistantships (GAships). As the university themselves admit, these jobs have not been “lost” per se, but rather, transformed into fellowships. The union wants the university to re-commit to offering job opportunities for graduate students, as was the practice up until 2016. This is not a novel demand that is out of scope, but merely an ask for a process that already existed. When introducing the fellowship model York arbitrarily introduced institutional barriers to the hiring of GAs. The union wants all institutional barriers removed that inhibit principle investigators from hiring GAs – the barriers that, up until 2016, did not exist. Unfortunately, the administration did not address this issue until the end of February – shortly before the first “final offer” vote. Their response, at the very last minute, has been to propose a small Graduate Assistant Training (GAT) fund that PI’s can access to “incentivize” the hiring of GAs. CUPE 3903 continues to believe that a small fund without protection from institutional barriers will be inadequate and fail to incentivize the hiring of GAs. The union remains committed, however, in its flexibility to find a creative solution.”

Agnes Whitfield Again Implores Kathleen Wynne to Intervene in the Governance Crisis at York

May 16, 2018

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

Dear Premier Wynne,

I am aware that you are in an election campaign but I don’t believe this should prevent you from acting, on the contrary.

Ontario’s second largest university, York University, is in a profound crisis, as I have already written to you and the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

A self-appointed, unrepresentative and imbalanced Board of Governors, overwhelmingly rejected by York students, staff and faculty, is abusing its power in an attempt to bust a legitimate union. Their tactics are the equivalent of a disguised lock-out, and they are willing to destroy the university in the process.

When can we expect to see you and the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development at York University to confront this illegitimate and abusive Board?

A disguised lock-out

Other governments are able to assume their responsibilities and intervene. Faced with a similar abuse of power by senior administration at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), the Quebec Liberal government held a cabinet meeting and the Minister of Higher Education, Hélène David, immediately presented the President of UQTR with an ultimatum to end the lock-out and get back to the negotiating table.

This is a very good example of what could be done. It is not too late for you to act. We have been waiting already 10 weeks for your government to act meaningfully.

We cannot wait weeks and weeks again until after the elections are over.

Associations representing 56,000 York students have lost confidence in the Board and the President

The situation at York University is much more serious than the one at UQTR. The York University Graduate Student Association (YUGSA) representing all of York’s almost 6,000 graduate students and the York Federation of Students (YFS) representing approximately 50,000 students at York have passed votes of non-confidence in the Board of Governors and President Lenton.

Four faculty councils (Glendon, Education, Environmental Studies and Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and numerous departments and departmental student associations have adopted votes of non-confidence in the Board of Governors and the senior administration.

This wave of rejection is unprecedented. The message is loud and clear: the only way to move forward is to replace the Board and the President.

Your government, by its misguided attempt to legislation back-to-work-inaction and now by its inaction, has directly supported this illegitimate Board and administration and allowed the situation to deteriorate to the detriment of some 56,000 students and York University’s functioning as an educational institution.

Your government is responsible for ensuring that public funds are used respectfully

Your government funds York University on a per-student basis, from hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development oversees Ontario universities to ensure that, in return for this funding, they deliver quality courses to their students.

The Board of Governors and administration are demeaning York courses and degrees by offering full course credit for only 60-70% of coursework. They are shamelessly intimidating instructors to comply. As professors, we cannot in good conscience be complicit with this kind of educational fraud. It goes against all our principles as teachers, and all the educational values of a university.

York University has been given full funding; it cannot be allowed to deliver 60-70% of its course content. The Ministry cannot allow York University to undermine with impunity the academic quality of its courses.

Your government must hold the York University Board and administration accountable for their misuse of public funds.

We need a new Board and administration

This Board and administration have lost contact with the educational purpose of a university. They are not elected and see themselves as accountable to no one.

Rather than resign in the face of these massive votes of non-confidence, they are brazenly seeking to intimidate students and instructors and impose senseless measures that make a mockery of academic integrity. They are allowing the situation to rot, with no end in sight.

Why have you, as Premier, following Québec Minister David’s example, not convoked a meeting with York University’s Board and President, and gone yourself as Premier to York University with your Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, to present them with an ultimatum. At UQTR, professors and students formed a guard of honour to welcome Minister David.

I implore you as Premier to help us put York University back together again as a functioning and harmonious educational institution.

This Board and administration have deliberately created confrontation and in their arrogance they are willing to wreak havoc with students’ lives and destroy the whole university. They must be stopped.

I implore you as Premier to help us remove this illegitimate, unrepresentative, disconnected, imbalanced, sexist and heartless Board and senior administration, so that we can put in place a new Board and a new administration, and build together a university that truly reflects our shared values of social justice.

When can we expect you at York University? It’s not too late for you to take action and regain the esteem of the university community and the public.


Agnes Whitfield, Ph.D., c. tran.
Professor/Professeure titulaire,
Department of English/Département d’études anglaises
York University/Université York, Toronto (Canada)
Founding Director/Directrice fondatrice, Vita Traductiva
Visiting Professor/Professeure invitee, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 2017
Bilingual Joint Chair in Women’s Studies, Carleton University, University of Ottawa/Chaire conjointe bilingue en études des femmes, Université Carleton, Université d’Ottawa, 2009-2010

Virtual Scholar, Heritage Canada/Chercheure virtuelle, Patrimoine canadien, 2006-2007
Seagram Visiting Chair in Canadian Studies, McGill University/Chaire d’invité Seagram en études canadiennes, Université McGill, 2003-2004

Présidente, Association canadienne de traductologie /President, Canadian Association for Translation Studies, 1995-1999

A Member’s Response to the Kaplan Report

This has been adapted with permission from a Twitter thread by Billy Markham. The original can be found here.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s leave aside the absolutely ridiculous gap in logic that informs Kaplan’s report (“York didn’t bargain because the sides are too far apart/the union is too democratic and, look, the strike happened so they were totally right”). This self-fulfilling prophecy is only proof of the employer’s intransigence, and his naivety here is staggeringly ridiculous/partisan in ignoring that failure to bargain (in good faith or at all) results in strikes. If the strike is really at an impasse over conversions (debatable – more on this below), how is this a conflict over values/principles given that the dispute is about the number of conversions and not conversions themselves?

Of course, I’m following the employer in being disingenuous: York is now claiming that conversions are a problem, but this is also a 30 year old program that they lauded as “historic” and “successful” after the last contract. This shows not a conflict over values, but a fundamental shift in values by the employer. So, this isn’t about one side needing to change its values to solve the impasse, but about one side having already changed their values to create an impasse, something the report ignores entirely – because apparently only the “culture” of the union matters, not the culture of the employer (a culture now under fire by governance bodies representing the majority of campus).

Perhaps we need to do a discourse analysis of the emails of York’s presidents over the last 15 years to see what their approach has been? Or maybe the proof is in the pudding and we can just look at the concessionary offer being made (and since Lenton apparently can’t count, a math lesson: 2 is less than 8; 4 years is less than 6 years). Perhaps we need to look at the culture of the law firm representing York – the one that was also behind the prolonged labour dispute with college instructors in the fall, which was solved by back to work legislation? The same law firm that is hosting an event for higher education administrators that includes a section on “negotiating with CUPE”? To save those administrators money, here’s what they will tell you: stonewall and wait for back to work legislation (reputation and education be damned)!

But back to the new critique of conversion, which is predicated on an abject misrepresentation of the program. As with every assault on “affirmative action,” conversion is now being portrayed as a program that rewards those without qualification and undermines meritocracy – meritocracy being the great myth of academia. Shall I pierce the veneer and name names? Like the York tenure-track hires who had friends, or relations, on hiring committees? Or the chairs who tailored job ads to specific candidates? Or the number of hires that were made because someone was friend’s with someone’s supervisor? None of that is meritocracy. Nor can you claim to be a top notch institution while claiming that those that do 60% of your teaching are unqualified.

Many CUPE members who get converted already have the qualifications for tenure when converted, and the rest are on track to achieve them, which is exactly what “tenure-track” means. And not having these qualifications is the main reason people are turned down for conversions – there are qualifications for attaining it, in-line with industry hiring procedures. Moreover, the conversion system – particularly with teaching stream positions – is a way to properly remunerate people who are already doing more work than full time faculty members (if you teach at the CUPE cap, you’d be teaching just shy of 3 times what a YUFA member teaches, and be paid significantly less).

But let’s come back to this idea that issues over conversion are the sole reason for the impasse, which is categorically false. The other issues that Kaplan’s report and the employer ignore and/or misrepresent are Unit 1 and Unit 3 issues. The employer’s line is that “there are no Unit 1 and 3 issues,” which must be shocking to those Unit 1s and 3s on strike. The employer unilaterally cut 800 jobs AFTER the last round of negotiations. The report mentions nothing about this despite the fact that the union has demanded that these jobs be reinstated; the employer claims this is not up for negotiation (because union busting only happens between bargaining rounds, not during?).

Then there’s the attempt to entirely remodel the Unit 1 funding package, though the employer claims there are no Unit 1 issues. The union sees this as a major issue, which is again informed by a change in the culture of the employer: after the last contract was signed, they started to change the structure of funding. Notice that every time the employer does something, it is after a contract has been signed and it is outside the parameters of the contract? Weird, no? Perhaps it’s because they have no interest in collectively bargaining, or engaging with workers, and simply want to unilaterally impose work conditions on CUPE members.

More to the point, the employer offered an identical contract to the 2015 contract on the major/substantive issues around Unit 1 funding, Unit 2 job security and Unit 3 jobs, and didn’t renege on these issues after the contract was signed…and legitimately bargained in good faith around the “other” issues that – allegedly – aren’t a conflict of values (the sexual assault survivors fund, etc)…maybe a strike wouldn’t have happened in the first place. But, again, this is a concessionary offer, which has been pretty standard in bargaining rounds where there have been strikes. And we have an “industry leading” contract because we have continually fought against such concessions. Perhaps Kaplan could have looked at the constant attempts to roll back the benefits of the most precarious employees on campus (y’know: why CUPE 3903 goes on strike), before simply looking at the number of strikes and saying in his best Scooby Doo villain’s voice, “I’ll get those dastardly kids and their democratic practices!” Apparently “dissent matters,” but critical thinking does not.