Thursday, April 9, 2009

3903 Settles: 3-year deal

Avoiding an arbitrated settlement, CUPE 3903 has settled with York University for a three-year deal. So it's official: 3903 will be on the sidelines for 2010.

I'll post the full details of the settlement once I find them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

University of Guelph threatens closure, says Sid Ryan

Sid Ryan:
It seems the University of Guelph is taking a page out of the Chrylser play-book by blackmailing employees and threatening closure if they don't open up collective agreements and give concessions.
Guelph prez Alastair Summerlee responds:

"I haven't made such a threat," Summerlee said yesterday. "I wouldn't make such a threat." ... The [university's] proposed recovery plan [to deal with pension shortfalls] "has a four-year plan associated with it, so none of that sounds to me like a threat to close."
Summerlee continues: "I assume (CUPE) has an agenda and they're trying to move that agenda in a particular way." (In other words, he's calling Ryan a big liar.)

What agenda might CUPE be pushing? Well, Summerlee's "threat" was first reported by OUWCC chair Janice Folk-Dawson.
You will remember that Guelph's CUPE 3913 settled for a one-year deal this past December, so they would be gearing up once again to negotiate with the university. Maybe this is an effort to rally the base leading up to 2010 -- but if so, it reminds the public that universities are in some serious financial trouble over their pension deficits.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CUPE's vision of the university: Part 2 of an occasional series

From a source at York, disturbing news of possible reprisals against professors who spoke out against CUPE 3903's strike action. Background and full details are below. If you ever wondered why I remain anonymous, this is why!

I intended (and still intend) for my "series" on CUPE's vision of the university to discuss more philosophical concerns. However, as long as outrageous stunts like this (and the earlier Israel motion fiasco [1, 2]) continue to happen, I will obligingly post them.

First some background: During the York strike, two letters were signed by York tenure-track professors opposing the 3903 strike. The first letter, signed by around 150 faculty, was addressed to the faculty union leadership, asking them to remain neutral in the dispute. The second letter, signed by around 250 faculty, was addressed to CUPE members, and encouraged them to accept the university's offer.

Earlier, a group called YorkIsUs posted this page, apparently encouraging the anonymous email harassment of the signatories of the first letter. This group, while independent of CUPE, is sufficiently supported and encouraged by CUPE 3903 to have been prominently mentioned on their official strike web site (also with a link from the home page, under "links").

And now we have this. It is a resolution from the York Sociology Graduate Association (YSGA), again not directly affiliated with CUPE. However, it is certainly being circulated by CUPE members: the signature block, which I have removed, indicated that the message was forwarded by a senior 3903 executive. (One can speculate that the 3903 executive was forwarding the message to drum up opposition against it, but this seems unlikely.) Read it in all its ludicrously over-the-top glory:

Forced Ratification Open Letter Signatories
-A few Sociology faculty members signed the open letter that urged students to accept the employers offer during the forced ratification vote.
-[Redacted] put forth a motion to respond to this issue. [Redacted] put forth alternative language to amend the motion.
-After much discussion and debate, the following amended motion was passed, based on an omnibus vote:
YSGA Motion on Sociology Faculty Open Letter Signatories
WHEREAS: During the lead up to the forced ratification vote, a group of faculty members circulated an open letter appealing to CUPE 3903 members to accept the employer's offer,
AND WHEREAS: Some of the signatories to the letter were associated with the Department of Sociology,
AND WHEREAS: The letter was not only a misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the demands for which CUPE 3903 was striking,
AND WHEREAS: The signatories also abused their power as teachers, academic committee members, and supervisors of CUPE 3903 members,
AND WHEREAS: In abusing their power, these signatories undermined the collegiality and respect required for a department and a scholarly discipline to function,
BIRT: The YSGA, comprised of graduate students, CUPE 3903 members, and future faculty members, stand in opposition to this letter and its signatories.
BIFRT: In order to do this, we shall:
1) Issue a formal and public statement indicating that, because of their gross breach of collegiality, we the YSGA no longer recognize those persons affiliated with our department who signed the open letter to be members of our Department or our discipline,
2) Circulate this statement to other department-level GSAs to encourage them to pass similar resolutions in their own departments,
3) Never organize, promote, or attend an event at which these signatories are scheduled to speak or present their work,
4) Never enroll in a course these signatories are instructing or approach them to serve on a committee,
5) Make plain, as a matter of policy, our reasons for doing the above so that all incoming YSGA members will know how to act and the important reasons for doing so.
6) Call upon the Department of Sociology, and the Graduate Program in Sociology, to formally acknowledge the implicit and explicit power relations, authority and standards of collegiality involved in student/faculty relationships, and institute guidelines prohibiting such abuses in the future.
BIFRT: The YSGA will support its members in finding appropriate substitutes should they choose, for reasons outlined in the preamble to this motion, to drop a signatory to the open letter from an already constituted academic committee.

For junior faculty members, teaching courses, speaking at academic meetings, and serving on committees are key requirements to achieve tenure and obtain promotion. So make no mistake that this is a reprisal, and the movers of the motion are seeking to damage careers for the crime of disagreeing with CUPE.

Friday, March 6, 2009

OUWCC Conference Report 2009

Here it is. I'll take some time to digest this and write some commentary next week.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CUPE National weighs in

Paul Moist still hates the watered-down Israel resolution.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bargaining update, OUWCC conference, Israel motion

CUPE 4600 at Carleton, after rejecting a strike mandate last month, has nonetheless settled for a contract expiring on August 31, 2010.

OUWCC held their 2009 conference this past weekend in Windsor, Ontario. I'm looking forward to reading any proceedings from this conference, as the we all remember the famous document that came out of their 2008 conference. If you were there, feel free to contact me with any details.

By now we have all heard that CUPE Ontario passed a motion calling on an academic boycott of Israeli universities. I've covered this before, and although I'm still very uncomfortable with any academic boycott, I'm at least happy to see that the motion has been significantly watered down as compared to earlier versions. Torontoist has a brief history of the changes to the motion, so let's do a little before-and-after on CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan's comments, all emphasis mine:

Before (a since redacted CUPE press release, archived here):

"In response to an appeal from the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, we are ready to say Israeli academics should not be on our campuses unless they explicitly condemn the university bombing and the assault on Gaza in general," said Sid Ryan ...

After (CUPE press release, February 23):

[Sid] Ryan noted that CUPE members voted democratically at their 2006 convention to support a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli state for its maltreatment of Palestinians. The campaign was not and is not directed against individual Jews. Ryan decries the deliberate misrepresentation of CUPE's intent in discussing Middle Eastern issues.
Sid Ryan lying? Computer says yes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm still here

Not much news on the CUPE front these days. I'm working on some longer-form stuff for later. Watch this space.