Apr 16 2012

What will Happen if we Vote No?

Category: CUPE U2 VP ReportsBob Hanke @ 1:11 am

by Sharon Davidson
CUPE 3903 Unit 2 Vice President

The ratification vote will take place from April 16- 20 in the Vari Hall link on the Keele campus and outside the cafeteria on the Glendon campus from 11 a.m to 3:00 p.m.

In my previous post, I explained why I am voting ‘No’ not only as your Unit 2 VP but also as a member of the local. Many Unit 2 members may believe that voting ‘No’ means that we may be on strike a week from Monday. They do not want to entertain a scenario that takes them back to 2008-2009 – a concern that I completely understand. To address these concerns, I want to put forth various scenarios that position us in a very different situation than 2008.

By voting ‘No,’ we would give the union leverage to go back to the bargaining table and get an agreement that moves the Unit 2 Collective Agreement forward in meaningful ways in this round and not some future round of collective bargaining. We would go back to the bargaining table with a small list of demands with a specific timeframe. This was what happened in 2001. Of course, we would have to be prepared to strike to get this extra time at the bargaining table but we could agree to give the bargaining team one more opportunity to negotiate with the employer without striking. We could also agree to have the outstanding issues sent to binding arbitration instead of going out on strike.

How is our situation different from 2008? First, we are negotiating at a different time in the academic year and are better positioned to have a short, effective strike. York cannot afford to have another labour disruption for so many reasons. Many summer courses are directed by Unit 2 members and many of us still have not submitted our grades for the fall/winter and winter sessions. It is much easier for us to set up picket lines in warm, spring weather than in the cold days of November and December. The union is prepared to mount a strike both logistically and financially; in fact, the purpose of the special levy was exactly for this circumstance. Also, the earliest a possible strike would take place is after the week-long ratification vote, so members will receive the bulk of their pay for April before going out.

Would we be legislated back to work?  No. First, First, we would not be out long enough to make such legislation necessary. Second, the provincial Liberals have a minority government and the NDP, now in a much stronger place than it was in 2009, would not allow such legislation to pass. Third,  the McGuinty government made it quite clear last time that York could not ask the government to solve its labour problems again.

The absence of many Unit 2 members on the lines in 2008 and 2009 makes it clear that if we are to be taken seriously and if our demands are to be taken seriously by the employer and our colleagues in Units 1 and 3, we have to be prepared to show signs of solidarity and strength as a bargaining unit and not rely upon other members in the local to defend and to advance our rights.  We have the collective agreement we have because those among us and before us have done this in the past. Does anyone want to go on strike? No.

But simply saying that we can build demands for equity and security at some point in the future loses sight of what is possible right now.

The current settlement offer is a bad deal. Even the union’s legal counsel advised the Bargaining Team against recommending the provisions put forth in the offer, which stunts the LSTA program by placing limits on the numbers of these types of appointments. This should be an evergreen program that grows and to which members automatically become eligible after completing the specified years of teaching service.

Please be sure to make your voice heard this week. Come out and vote down this settlement offer.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. Login now.