An Open Letter to the York University community from the Provost

chart outlining facts of the offer to CUPE 3903

March 13, 2015

Since the start of the labour disruption by CUPE 3903, the University has recognized the concerns of students about their studies and we have been working hard to get our students back to class as quickly as possible. Our aim was to have the labour disruption resolved before it became necessary to resume classes, however, it has not been possible to do so and we must now make efforts to respond to our students who are asking to resume their classes. Our students deserve certainty so they can plan for summer jobs and they can graduate on time.

While a new contract has been reached with contract faculty, full-time graduate students working part-time as teaching assistants (Unit 1) and graduate assistants (Unit 3) remain on strike.

We remain in contact with the provincially appointed mediator who will advise the parties when he believes there is a basis to resume negotiations.

York values the significant contributions its teaching assistants and graduate assistants provide to the university. We are committed to reaching fair and competitive settlements that continue to position them as among the best compensated in Canada. That commitment is reflected in the offers we put forward.

We feel it is important that the members of our community are fully aware of and understand key elements of the offers made to CUPE 3903.

Highlights of the offers include:

  • Wage increase: 4.5 per cent over three years (1.5 per cent per year);
  • Graduate Financial Assistance (GFA) increase: 10 per cent for domestic students and 30 to 40 per cent for international students;
  • Summer Assistance increase: 28 per cent ($500);
  • Minimum pay for teaching assistants (Unit 1): $62/hour for domestic students and up to $69/hour for international students;
  • Minimum pay for graduate assistants (Unit 3): $52/hour for domestic students and up to $57/hour for international students;
  • New childcare fund: $200,000 per year, on top of existing $117,000 per year (agreeing to CUPE’s proposal);
  • Tuition freeze: over the life of the agreement, in addition to the protection already provided by existing Letters of Intent;
  • Equity: an agreement on six equity-related provisions, including CUPE’s revised LGBTQ proposal;
  • Health benefits fund increase: $30,000;
  • Extension of healthcare: coverage that continues after contract completion;
  • Additional Fund Increases: $10,000 to Trans Fund and $30,000 to Ways & Means Fund.

York University has one of the highest levels of graduate support in Canada. These offers place CUPE 3903 in an extremely competitive position, and we believe reflects our ongoing commitment to our graduate students, who are recognized worldwide for their excellence in research and their commitment to education.

We look forward to welcoming all members of our community back to campus soon, so that students can continue their studies and complete their terms.

Rhonda Lenton
Vice-President Academic & Provost