> In this email:


> A. Letter from the Chairperson: Why should YUFA support CUPE?


> B. Guidelines for members leading up to and in the event of a strike


> C. Senate policy 008 protects students


> D. Information flyer from CUPE 3903 to undergraduates (for classroom use)



> A. Letter from the Chairperson


> Why should YUFA support CUPE?


> Once again, the Employer has brought us to the brink of a strike.


> CUPE 3903, the union representing Teaching Assistants, contract faculty,

> and Graduate & Research Assistants received a strong strike mandate from

> their membership last week and could be on strike on Thursday morning,

> October 26th.


> The YUFA Executive has been meeting regularly with CUPE to discuss ways in

> which YUFA can support CUPE's efforts to obtain a fair settlement. Why?


> Education and educational labour are being restructured right in front of

> us. The key issue in this dispute is "tuition indexation", the tying of

> Teaching Assistants wages to tuition rates set by the Board of Governors.

> What is at stake here is nothing less than the accessibility of graduate

> education, keeping the "public" in public education. The Employer is

> buckling to pressure from other universities and the Harris government to

> remove from CUPE 3903's contract one of the last effective barriers to

> total deregulation of graduate education in Ontario.


> There are other issues, many critically important, between the parties in

> this negotiation - wages, job security, class sizes. To read about these,

> see part 4 of this email. I think you'll agree that YUFA stands beside

> CUPE on each of their key demands.


> Next week, we may be called upon to support our colleagues on the picket

> lines. Many of you will remember that CUPE members risked their wages and

> job security to walk beside YUFA members.


> At our meeting this week, the YUFA Executive voted to:

> * offer to cover the expenses of a shared strike headquarters with CUPE

> * publicize YUFA's support for CUPE

> * initially provide up to $10 000 in strike support

> * offer CUPE a strike loan as per YUFA By-law s.2(a)


> Please read on for other important information, including the YUFA

> Executive's advice to members in the lead-up to a strike.


> Penni Stewart

> YUFA Chairperson



> B. Guidelines for members leading up to and in the event of a strike


> The YUFA Executive Committee is committed to ongoing solidarity with other

> campus unions. Communication and co-operation among the five unions

> strengthens all University employees in their relations with York

> management. The recent overwhelming strike mandate given to CUPE 3903

> negotiators means that YUFA members may face a job action by TAs, contract

> faculty, and GAs/RAs as soon as Thursday, the 26th of October. The YUFA

> Executive has agreed on the following guidelines for YUFA members in

> relation to the CUPE situation.


> Leading up to a strike:


> 1. As soon as possible, YUFA members should speak to their students and

> other members of the community about CUPE’s issues (see "CUPE 3903

> bargaining for today & tomorrow" below and CUPE 3903's excellent website

> http://3903.cupe.ca). You can tell your students:

> * what you plan to do in the event of a strike;

> * that no academic penalties are to be levied on them if they refuse to

> cross picket lines (see ‘Senate policy 008' below);

> * the importance of respecting picket lines;

> * that you do not wish them to cross CUPE picket lines to come to class;

> * that they may join CUPE picket lines.


> 2. YUFA members should write to the President. Let her know you support

> CUPE's fight for the ongoing accessibility of publicly funded graduate

> education.


> 3. YUFA members are encouraged to join picket lines individually or as a

> group. Please follow the instructions of the picket captain on duty at the

> time. The YUFA Executive is organising support pickets. To join:

> * stop at the CUPE table in the Vari link, where YUFA picket sign-up

> sheets are available

> * Email yufa@yorku.ca or telephone 736 5236


> In the event of a strike:


> 1. YUFA members must be absolutely scrupulous in not carrying out any of

> the work normally done by CUPE members. This is known as ‘scabbing’ or

> ‘strike-breaking’. Do not conduct tutorials or labs, provide advice, do

> marking or perform any other activity normally done by a CUPE member. You

> cannot be legally required to do any of these activities. If you are

> requested or ordered to perform any duties normally undertaken by members

> of CUPE 3903, you should immediately contact YUFA.


> 2. YUFA members should note that holding classes during a strike pressures

> students to cross picket lines, possibly against their consciences.

> Furthermore, conducting classes without the normal tutorials may threaten

> the academic integrity of courses. Finally, YUFA members should give

> serious thought to the fairness - to students who choose to respect picket

> lines - of presenting new material in class during a strike. YUFA members

> should acquaint themselves with the rights of students and the

> responsibilities of faculty members under Senate Policy 008, "Academic

> Implications of Disruptions or Cessations of University Business Due to

> Labour Disputes or Other Causes" (see below).


> 3. Ontario labour law prevents a union from calling for the withdrawal of

> its members’ services in order to support another union’s strike, unless

> the sympathetic union is itself in a strike position (YUFA is not). YUFA

> cannot therefore advise members not to cross picket lines of another

> campus union.


> 4. YUFA members should, however, give serious consideration to their

> decision whether or not to respect CUPE picket lines.


> 5. YUFA members are not required to work: where there is reason to believe

> that the physical condition of the workplace is likely to be dangerous; or

> when ill.


> 6. Refusal to cross other unions’ picket lines could conceivably expose

> you to discipline with sanctions. If members who choose not to cross lines

> are subjected to penalties, YUFA will do its utmost to assist them under

> the ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause of 11.01(a).


> 7. To Chairs: As members of YUFA, you are not responsible for reporting

> the presence or absence of colleagues in the workplace.


> 8. Consult YUFA before you communicate to your Dean, Principal, or

> University Librarian any information about what you plan to do in the

> event of a strike.



> C. Senate policy protects students


> YUFA members are urged to talk with their students in advance about the

> implications of a CUPE strike for completing course work, deadlines,

> making up classes etc. It is important that your discussion include

> information about faculty expectations and students rights and obligations

> during job action.


> Faculty members should consult Senate Policy (008) “On the Academic

> Implications of Disruptions or Cessations of University Business Due to

> Labour Disputes or Other Causes”, which can found on the York web site at

> http://www.yorku.ca/secretariat/legislation/senate/dsrptcls.htm.


> Especially relevant is clause 2.2 “Fairness to students”. This clause (see

> below) provides that students who do not cross picket lines are entitled

> to accommodation in terms of deadlines and access to course materials. In

> the interests of fairness and accessibility, it is important that we

> understand and honour the principle of this policy.


> 2.2     Fairness to Students


> 2 2.1 Students who do not participate in academic activities because:


> a) they are unable to do so owing to a Disruption, or

> b) they choose not to participate in academic activities owing to a strike

> or lock-out on campus


> are entitled to immunity from penalty, to reasonable alternative access to

> materials covered in their absence, to reasonable extensions of deadlines

> and to other such remedy as Senate deems necessary and consistent with the

> principle of academic integrity.


> 2.2.2 Such remedies shall not alter the academic standards associated with

> the missed activity, not shall it relieve the students of the

> responsibility for mastering the materials covered.


> 2.2.3 The availability of a remedy under this policy does not guarantee

> students the same learning experience that they would have

> received in the absence of a Disruption.



> D. Information flyer from CUPE 3903 to undergraduates (for classroom use)




> The University administration may force CUPE 3903 to take strike action to

> help defend the quality of education at York and make Graduate School

> affordable - Read on to find out why …


> Affordability

> Have you ever thought about doing a Masters degree in Economics,

> Sociology, Psychology, Biology or any of the other disciplines at York?

> Have you thought about some day getting a Ph D to teach as a Professor? In

> 1995, changes made by the administration reduced our accessibility to

> these opportunities. The University administration decided to raise

> tuition by 50% by making all graduate students pay for full fees for the

> Summer term when there are next to no courses to take and many of the

> facilities are closed. What that means today is graduate students must pay

> over $5 000 per year ($1 700 for each term). In the same year, the

> administration also charged full rather than partial fees for Ph D

> students (who make up the majority of the 1 000 TAs at York) even after

> they finished all of their courses (called post-residency fees)! It has

> meant that rather than paying a nominal fee in the last four years of

> their programs, they now pay the full $5 000+! These days it is not

> uncommon for Ph D students to graduate with $40 000 in student debt.

> What we did about it

> In 1996 the Union negotiated a tuition rebate to soften the blow of

> tuition increases. In 1998 we increased the rebate to about $400 per term

> and instituted the very important concept of indexation to the rebate.

> Indexation meant that for every dollar graduate tuition went up, the

> rebate went up by the same amount. We felt that the only way to ensure

> some measure of income security for our present members and accessibility

> for future members was to negotiate the indexed tuition rebate.

> So Why a Possible Strike?

> The University administration wants to give indexation only to present TAs

> (what they call a grandparenting clause) but not to incoming TAs from this

> year forward. That means that any new graduate students will not have the

> benefit of indexation. It is a cynical move to divide our present members

> from our future members (potentially you!). The University has also denied

> all efforts to extend the indexed tuition rebate to our newly unionized

> members, the Graduate and Research Assistants, who are predominantly

> Masters students. What that means for you and our Masters students is that

> Graduate School will be less affordable and less accessible. We don’t

> think that’s fair, and we’re ready to defend our right to both maintain

> the indexed tuition rebate for TAs in the present and the future and

> extend indexation to our GA/RAs.

> We feel that after doubling the cost of a Ph D over the 1990s and making

> all graduate students pay Summer fees for little or no services, enough is

> enough. We have had tuition increases to last us a generation.

> page 2



> Class Sizes

> Our local is proud to be at the forefront of the fight for smaller class

> sizes. In the past two years we have negotiated a reduction of class sizes

> in Foundations courses as well as  imposing an incentive to the

> administration against over-enrolling tutorials. And while our members

> remain very committed to defending in-class instruction, we also

> negotiated lower class sizes (a 40% reduction!) for Internet and

> Correspondence courses so that undergraduates could get the support and

> feedback they needed to make these courses worthwhile. This year, we are

> again proposing new and wide-ranging class size reductions but the York

> administration to date has not even seen fit to have any meaningful

> discussion about this.

> Job Security

> Did you know that many of the people who are Course Directors at York have

> no job security? They lecture in courses just like other Professors, but

> unlike Professors who are represented by Faculty Association (YUFA), they

> must apply to teach every year. CUPE 3903 represents these Contract

> Faculty. Many teach a lot more than tenured faculty to make ends meet. And

> many Contract Faculty have been doing so for almost a decade or more.

> Since the University will have to replace hundreds of Professors over the

> next several years, what we want is for the University to promote Contract

> Faculty to some of those full time positions. This will allow the people

> who teach your courses to have a reduced course load so that they better

> plan their courses for you. The promotion of our Contract Faculty into the

> tenure-stream will improve the quality of education by allowing them the

> time, support and resources to do more research, innovate their courses

> and give more time to their students. But rather than improve the

> promotion programs for Contract Faculty, the University administration has

> proposed to substantially alter them to make it more difficult for our

> Contract Faculty to get promoted.

> Wages

> How would you like to work in a place where the employer gives you very

> little or no pay increases? Would it effect the quality of your work

> eventually? Would you be less enthusiastic about your job? While all of

> our members are committed to teaching, the lack of pay increases have

> understandably effected our morale. Our Contract Faculty are more

> qualified but on average make far less than even High School teachers. Our

> best funded TAs have less than $700 a month to live on after tuition and

> deductions. Our GA/RAs have much less than that! The Union is asking for a

> 5% wage increase this year and the University administration is only

> offering 1%. Why do we want 5%? In all but one year in the 1990s our

> members lost real income due to increases to the cost of living. Because

> of low wage increases or wage freezes in 1990s, our members have lost well

> over 10% to rising cost of living. In fact, for six years there was a

> virtual wage freeze. In every year of that wage freeze there were

> increases to undergraduate tuition-so your money clearly wasn’t coming to

> us! The University administration and the Government does have money, they

> are voting for salary increases for themselves to make up for lost ground.

> In fact, the highest paid University President in the country Lorna

> Marsden, just got another $4 000 raise to make her salary $239 000. While

> the University pays her almost $700 a day, many of our members have to

> live on less than that per month.