Jan 31 2011

CUPE Bylaws, Unit 2 Proposals and the February 3 Vote

Category: Events,Meetings,NewsBob Hanke @ 11:48 am

The present moment is critical for Local 3903 and, more-so, for Unit 2.  The terminus of Administration is fast approaching.  Structural choices to be made during the next several weeks will define future conditions of Unit 2 within Local 3903.

The Unit 2 Working Group has been working vigorously and diligently since Summer, 2010, to secure more recognition and autonomy pertaining to our distinctive Unit 2 issues.  In order to ensure that the membership of Unit 2 is properly informed and adequately prepared to mobilize as need be, there can be no further delay circulating this, the first issue of Unit 2 News.

Draft Bylaws

At the bequest of Local 3903 Administrator Lynn McDougall, The Unit 2 Working Group (U2WG) completed a full set of draft bylaws that would reflect some of the changes called for by members at Unit 2 meetings. These draft bylaws were completed and given to the Administrator in September, 2010, several months prior to the work produced by the Bylaw Committee. Unfortunately, the U2WG’s bylaws draft was ignored by the Administrator and not forwarded to the Bylaw Committee.

On January 21st, 2011, 3903 Administrator Lynn McDougall tabled new bylaws prepared by the Bylaw Committee for the Local. The original draft of these bylaws was developed absent any consultation with Unit 2 members or the U2WG.  Although the U2WG submitted a lengthy and detailed commentary on the drafted bylaws on January 9th (these documents can be viewed at:  http://cupe3903unit2.cupe.ca/. ) few of the recommended changes were incorporated into the bylaws tabled on January 21st.  These bylaws will be voted on at an all-units GMM on February 3rd,; the bylaws and amendments approved at that meeting will govern our Local after administration ends on March 18th.

As they currently stand, these new bylaws pose numerous difficulties for Unit 2.  Contrary to every assurance given to the U2WG by the Administrator, the most important Unit 2 issues and concerns – reflecting months of careful prior work by the U2WG – have been relegated to mere amendment suggestions.

Unit 2 issues and concerns should have been addressed and included in the bylaws ratification process from start to finish.  This would have been in keeping with the prior work of the U2WG and the assurances of the Administrator.  But instead?  There has been no consultation.  There has been no negotiation.  The Administrator has effectively shut critical Unit 2 issues and concerns out of the bylaws ratification process.

Unit 2 cannot and will not continue to be shut out in the future.  The U2WG has designed the Unit 2 Proposal in order that Unit 2 issues and concerns be addressed.

Action Item: Please attend the February 3rd GMM when the bylaws ratification vote will take place.  At this critical juncture every U2 member in attendance will make a tangible difference to us all.  There will be no opportunity to vote on these bylaws other than at this critical February 3rd meeting.

The Unit 2 Proposal

Response to the Unit 2  email campaign which called for the Unit 2 Proposal to be mailed out has proven tremendous with 100% of those responding in support of a mail-in vote on the proposal.

At the January 21st GMM, U2WG and other Unit 2 members demanded to know why the Unit 2 Proposal had not yet been mailed out.  Following spirited and only occasionally acrimonious debate, the Administrator once again promised it would be.  So long, that is, as the U2WG does the actual mailing.

An individual member inquired from the floor how, after so long, after so many promises and reassurances, could the Unit 2 membership trust the administrator to hold a Unit 2 vote?  Was the Administrator prepared to offer any surety?  In reply, the Administrator made it quite clear there can be no surety – but reiterated her support for a Unit 2 vote.

The U2WG will do everything in our power to ensure that the Unit 2 membership has the opportunity to vote on the Unit 2 Proposal. If all goes as planned (we’ve got all our fingers, toes and eyes crossed) you will shortly receive your Unit 2 Proposal and ballot in the mail.  The return envelope is already postage paid.  Please: vote! If ever there was an instance where your vote can make a real impact and tangible differencethis is it!

January 31st GMM

IMPORTANT: Please note the change in time and venue for the Monday January 31st GMM:

102 Accolade East, 5:30 PM-8:30 PM

CUPE National President Paul Moist will chair, and the auditor, David Burkes, will be there to present the results and take questions.


Sep 08 2010

The Remains of the University

Category: EventsBob Hanke @ 6:42 pm

The Remains of the University: Thoughts on the Future of Critical Theory and the Humanities

Culture Speak Speakers Series 2010/11 – Inaugural Panel

Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George St. Room 100A
Thursday, December 9, 2010 4:00pm to 6:30pm

Convened by Ricky Varghese & Christopher Smith

Culture Speak is a series of moments, brought about by a set of provocations. Informed by the generative insights that have emanated from or about the space of critical theory and the field of cultural studies, these sessions seek to provide an opportunity for scholars at various levels in their professional life to engage in focused conversations about pressing themes within the realms of media, culture and politics.

To set the tone for what will be a stellar set of sessions in the coming year, we shall begin with a panel discussing the precarious state of the Humanities at University of Toronto and abroad. This panel, following an informal and conversational style, as convened by Christopher Smith and Ricky Varghese will address a wide-spanning set of concerns that those of us engaged within critical theory have to face in regards to the future of critical thought on the contemporary university campus. One of the aims, among many others, might be to gain insight into how we might situate rigorous theoretical work within the present university space, while maintaining an ongoing commitment to building upon the continued need for socio-political, economic, and historical critique within the various intellectual communities that we find ourselves to be in.

Moderated by Roger Simon Professor Emeritus, Sociology & Equity Studies in Education, OISE/University of Toronto

Rinaldo Walcott, Associate Professor, Sociology & Equity Studies in Education, OISE/University of Toronto

Megan Boler Associate Professor, History & Philosophy of Education, OISE/University of Toronto

Ken Kawashima Associate Professor, East Asian Studies, University of Toronto

Tanya Titchkosky Associate Professor, Sociology & Equity Studies in Education, OISE/University of Toronto

Eric Cazdyn, Associate Professor, Centre for Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies, University of Toronto

Paul Hamel, Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Director of Health Studies, University of Toronto

This event is wheel-chair accessible.


Feb 24 2010

Annex Live Event: Exploring the Precarious Margins of Labour

Category: Books and Articles,EventsBob Hanke @ 6:37 pm

Book Launch

(excerpted from Y-File, February 24, 2010).

York political science Professor Leah Vosko, Canada Research Chair in Feminist Political Economy, explores the precarious margins of contemporary labour markets in her new book, Managing the Margins: Gender, Citizenship, and the International Regulation of Precarious Employment, being launched tomorrow.

The launch for Managing the Margins (Oxford University Press, 2010) will take place Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:30pm at The Annex Live, 296 Brunswick Ave. at Bloor Street in Toronto. The launch will feature remarks by Deena Ladd of Workers’ Action Centre, Professor Kiran Mirchandani of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, York sociology Professor Mark Thomas and Laurell Ritchie of the Canadian Auto Workers union, as well as a performance by jazz musicians Kye Marshall and Dan Ionescu and a display of photographic artworks by Susana Reisman.

The book looks at how over the last few decades there has been much discussion of a shift from full-time permanent jobs to higher levels of part-time and temporary employment and self-employment, and the result that despite such attention, regulatory approaches have not adapted accordingly. Instead, in the absence of genuine alternatives, old regulatory models are applied to new labour market realities, leaving the most precarious forms of employment intact.

The book places this disjuncture in historical context and focuses on its implications for workers most likely to be at the margins, particularly women and migrants, using illustrations from Australia, the United States and Canada, as well as member states of the European Union.

Managing the Margins provides a rigorous analysis of national and international regulatory approaches, drawing on original and extensive qualitative and quantitative material. It analyzes the historical and contemporary interplay of employment norms, gender relations and citizenship boundaries.

Sep 10 2009

Collective Walkout in Defense of Public Education

Category: Events,News,University FinanceBob Hanke @ 10:00 am

(Excerpted in solidarity with the faculty, staff and students of the University of California system who are self-organizing to collectively walk out).

Under the cover of the summer months, UC administration has pushed through a program of tuition hikes, enrollment cuts, layoffs, furloughs, and increased class sizes that harms students and jeopardizes the livelihoods of the most vulnerable university employees. These decisions fundamentally compromise the mission of the University of California. They are complicit with the privatization of public education, and they have been made in a manner that flouts the principle of shared governance at the core of the UC faculty’s capacity to guide the future of the University in accordance with its mission.

On September 24, in solidarity with UC staff and students, faculty throughout the University of California system will walk out in defense of public education.

To read the open letter to UC faculty and the call for a systemwide walk out, click here.


Apr 04 2009

Calling Artists, Activists, Artivists, Hacktivists…

Category: EventsBob Hanke @ 9:38 am

What does standing at a bus stop suggest to the body that waits, and what are the mechanisms that ‘convince’ us to do nothing but wait? What are the links between waiting for a streetcar and boredom? Can boredom be transformed via random encounters among bodies in transit? Can our inactivity and passivity towards our current precarious life conditions be transformed into the space and time to address our vulnerability to economic crises? What are the links between Mayday, precarious life conditions, the current crisis, streetcars, waiting, habit and boredom? We don’t know yet, but we would like to create them with you!

Another Mayday is approaching and the Precarious Workers, the Unemployed, Immigrants, Indigenous People, Antiracist, Anti-homophobia and Feminist Groups, Prisoner Rights organization, and many more “life contortionists” of the world are organising to protest and celebrate this historical anniversary, with an eye on the current crisis. Protest and celebrate because we need to raise our voices against exploitation and exclusion but we also need to think creatively about new strategies of solidarity and friendship, of social redistribution and self-emancipation. That is, we need to think joyfully and creatively within the “Great Recession” if we want to survive any economic bailouts, future crises and general depressions.

In this spirit, Interference Project: Wait! is looking for artists interested in engaging the above questions for an experiment in the active re-composition of spaces at streetcar and bus shelters around the city of Toronto, with a strong emphasis on precarity. As an interference, rather than an intervention, the project aims at playful stimulations of possible relations between (or among) commuters waiting for public transport, the feeling of boredom, and any other term mentioned above.

We call for artivists whose work explores relational, affective, soft, subtle, fugitive, tactical, high-tech, low-tech, no-tech, invisible and non-confrontational political interferences to join us in the occupation of bus shelters for any specified time on Mayday 2009.

Please send your Mayday interference proposal and artist statement to interference.wait@gmail.com by April 18th 2009 or contact us for further information.

For more information about this project and for the general artist call see: http://interferencewait.wordpress.com

For more information about the precarity movement see: http://precarityto.wordpress.com/

For more information see: http://www.senselab.ca/society%20of%20molecules.html


About An Interference* Project: Wait

This project has as its starting point one wait too many for a streetcar that never comes, and a fairytale about rats. In this story, mean scientists perform scientific studies on the rats. The endearing rodents are randomly fed treats in an experiment to see how they would behave in the absence of a predictable pattern of controlled rewards. The rats quickly habituate themselves to the random stimulus by doing nothing but waiting; they become “body-bored.”

Wait, this is an interference!: The rat-like wait of Toronto’s commuters for never-coming (or always-coming) streetcars is a good starting point for interference, for cutting into our habituated re/actions in public spaces while we wait for the random treat. Why can we not be just like those experimenting scientists, re-pattern habits, yet strike at the single desire for a treat and intensify, multiply it, or even better derail it (the desire, not the street car)? Although it may seem unimaginable, there are more flows to cut into than broken streetcars at the TTC depot: flows of bodies in transit, flows of stories, information, memories, flows of monologues that can turn into conversations…

Proposed interferences:

a. Treats: a displacement of habits can take place through the creation of unforeseen connections. This “autonomous rodent experiment” rejects treats as a medium and instead focuses on creating the opportunity for everyone to assemble-experiment with arrangements of ingredients and creatively mix them ourselves. The call for artists encourages different forms of semi-improvisational interference, turning the body-bored waiting at the bus shelter into a nourishing foraging ground.

b. Viruses: Viruses are important elements in any serious experiment with rodents – let’s spread virally to other sites (e.g. by giving things to drop off at other stops, inviting those who are interested to forget the tram, call a friend to come play with us, invoke situations where we can continue to interact while waiting on other days, etc.) and hopefully to other experiments!

c. Relational performance at bus stops. Examples may include: DIY shadow puppet shows, film projections, live projections of bus shelter actions in other parts of the city, making a bus stop into a salon or living room, folders available with readings stuck on the inside of a shelter (poetry, snippets of dialogue, excerpts, jokes etc.), crafting i.e. knitting, sewing, quilting with materials made available inside the shelters, etc.

d. Anomalous pacts: Much of our body-bored habits deriving from contemporary economic conditions have to do with an increasing displacement of stable patterns of work/unemployment and leisure. This creates a conflict between our desires and the conditions of our lives: some (good) European scientists call this condition “precarity.” In the hope to turn this oppressive state into the basis for new modes of more ethical, generous and joyous interaction, many European rats invade the streets on May 1st, alleviating their boredom and celebrating the potential for social change. In connection with World Mayday 2009 (www.euromayday.org) we will link our project with this cosmic and material (worker’s rights) celebration by calling for ‘artivistic’ bus stop actions that help develop a taste for precarity-based ingredients.

Ultimately, we are aware that, as is the case with scientific progress, we will not be able to provide incontestable results from these experiments. Even less, will we be able to provide the ultimate fair-traded, ethical recipe for body-boredom-interference. However, what we do hope to provide is a sketch, a set of granny’s secret tricks to always be able to assemble our own treats from what is available, turning any time of wait and boredom into one of creative encounter…

This project was initiated as part of a broader micro-political art initiative called “Society of Molecules: A distributed aesthetico-political event”. Events other than Wait! will take place simultaneously in different countries ranging from Brazil to Australia and from North America to Europe.

* A project of interference is one that strikes (ferir ‘to strike’) rather than interrupts. Interfere and boredom etymologically reference each other, sharing the cognate borian ‘to bore,’ meaning both to cut and to make a hole. A cut, a slicing, or the making of holes inevitably precede any interruption of already existing habits and e/motions.


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