Mar 30 2015

York U Strike in Context

York strikers show the way — now let’s build a truly public university

Protracted labour dispute raises questions of post-secondary governance and funding

by Justin Podhur

(excerpted from Ricochet)

The strikes at York University, the University of Toronto, and elsewhere have opened a long overdue debate about student debt, precarious labour in the academy, rising tuition, and, to a lesser extent, university governance. The York University strike offers an opportunity to argue for the continuing relevance of universities as public institutions. The importance of the public in the public university is especially true for York, which, if it embraced its role as such, could tackle a new list of issues and lead the way for other educational institutions.

Precarity, debt, and defensive struggle

York’s contract faculty are the precarious academic labourers whose difficulties have been brought into some public light by the York strike and other labour actions in North America. The contract faculty settled earlier in March. The teaching assistants and graduate assistants had to battle on until the end of the month to win their objectives.

To read the rest of this article, click here.


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Jan 13 2011

CUPE 3903 Unit 2 Proposal and Related Documents

Category: Discussion,Meetings,ProposalsBob Hanke @ 3:41 pm

Unit 2 Working Group Proposal

At the Unit 2 meeting held on March 9, 2010, members in attendance voted for the formation of a Unit 2 Working Group, to examine the particular concerns and interests of contract faculty in our local and whether or not the current structure of CUPE 3903 adequately addresses Unit 2’s needs.

The recommendations and report generated by the working group, as well as communications that have subsquently been sent to Lynn MacDougall (CUPE 3903 Administrator), Paul Moist (CUPE National President) , and the CUPE 3903 Bylaws Committee, and a notice of motion for the January 21st CUPE GMM, prepared by the Unit 2 Working Group, are available for viewing through the following links:

14 November Unit 2 Proposal

21 December Letter to MacDougall and Moist

9 January comments sent to bylaw committee

bylaw comments attachment 1

bylaw comments attachment 2

Jan 10 Notice of Motion for Jaunuary 21st gmm

If you have any difficulty opening these pdf documents, please contact the Unit 2 Working Group at: and we will email the documents to you in a Word document format.

The Unit 2 Working Group welcomes comments on the proposal from Unit 2 membera. Contract Faculty members can post their comments to the website or in confidence to:


Jan 18 2010

TSoC&I Event: Labour Struggles in the Edu-factory

Category: Books and Articles,DiscussionBob Hanke @ 12:01 pm

A Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry Event

In collaboration with Edu-factory and Autonomedia Labour Struggles in the Edu-factory: Discussion and book launch for Toward a Global Autonomous University, edited by the Edu-factory collective

Tuesday, January 26
Toronto Free Gallery
1277 Bloor Street West (by Lansdowne Ave)

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Jul 10 2009

The Silence of Contingent Faculty

Category: DiscussionBob Hanke @ 3:46 pm

The Silence of the Grads
Academe has its own version of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ when it comes to adjunct faculty members

by Steve Street (excerpted from the The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 9, 2009)

I wore red to class on April 30, in honor of the first New Faculty Majority Day called by the National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity. I had on my red T-shirt from a previous union rally over a checkered oxford — obviously a statement not of the fashion kind. But I didn’t explain the red shirt, and no students asked, and in a way, that was good for education: My classes were about my classes.

But in another way, that silence illustrated something about the presence of so many contingent faculty members in academe — something less quantifiable about their effect than the graduation rates or other criteria that have been used to assess quality. Education is ultimately an inner experience, but schools are its communal interface, and when they create more silence than talk, less education is going on.

Not that I would have introduced my own working conditions into the classroom (although telling one’s students about contingency is not really like involving children in a dispute between parents, as a colleague’s false analogy put it, because the parents are equal partners). Faculty working conditions are indeed student learning conditions. But the economy, the culture, and life itself already provide too many distractions in the classroom; the last thing students need is another passion getting between them and what they are supposed to be learning.

One colleague, however, likens a teacher’s decision not to mention his or her adjunct status to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuality. Of course that policy is no real solution to anything, whether it be gay rights or any of the issues arising from the two-tiered faculty system. So contingent faculty members who want to consider their teaching jobs a career or a livelihood, albeit one at a quarter of the salary of their tenure-track colleagues, can’t. They must either constantly protest their inadequate working conditions or be tacitly complicit in the very system that exploits them.

To read the rest of this column, click here.


Jun 09 2009

Debating the Longest Strike

Category: Post-strike Discussion (2009)Bob Hanke @ 11:36 am

York University’s get out of jail free card

Rewards and consequences of bad-faith bargaining

by Tyler Shipley (Canadian Dimension, April 23, 2009)

To read the complete article, click here.

Tough union, tough lessons

Learning from the CUPE 3903 strike defeat at York University

23, 2009)

To read the complete article, click here.


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