Bargaining updates are available here for RFA members. Members must be logged in to view bargaining updates.

RFA Letter to President of York Re: CUPE 3903 Strike

Rhonda L. Lenton
President and Vice Chancellor,
York University.

Dear Rhonda L. Lenton,

We are writing on behalf of Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA) to convey our concerns regarding the recent developments at York University. The RFA stands in solidarity with Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903 that was forced to go strike on March 5, 2018. We urge you to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair contract with CUPE 3903 as soon as possible.

CUPE 3903, which represents Contract Faculty, Teaching Assistants, Graduate Assistants, Part-time Librarians and Archivists, has been attempting to negotiate a fair collective agreement with York University for several months, but the University has tried to impose concessions that are totally unacceptable and would definitely weaken the CUPE contract. We strongly support the key areas of bargaining for CUPE 3903, which include job security for contract faculty, better funding for graduate students, employment equity and other important areas. The RFA supports CUPE 3903’s concern that “since 2000, the number of tenured Professors at York has increased by 20% while the number of Contract Faculty has increased by 121%” (CUPE 3903). Furthermore, despite teaching increasingly more courses at York University, Contract Faculty remain precariously employed. The administration’s offer will reduce existing opportunities for a limited number of conversions for long-serving contract faculty to full-time appointments. We support CUPE 3903 in defending existing conversions and to find ways for contract faculty to secure full-time positions.

We are also disturbed by the fact that the administration attempted to challenge the faculty members who tried to reschedule their classes during the strike. We support York University Faculty Association’s (YUFA) position that “individual faculty are in the best position to determine whether the academic integrity of their courses can be preserved; therefore, such decisions are not subject to the approval of [the] Dean/Principal” (YUFA). The individual faculty member has the right to make the decision to continue classes or to suspend them.

We share YUFA’s concern that the “climate for labour relations at York University, including for YUFA” as it enters into its “own round of bargaining, will be set by the actions the Employer takes with CUPE”. Therefore, YUFA, which has been highly supportive of CUPE 3903, has called on “the Employer to return to the bargaining table with CUPE as quickly as possible and to respect the processes of collegial governance that allow the University to function”. RFA is highly disturbed by the divisive tactics used by York University’s administration.

The forced ratification vote held between April 6-9 was rejected by an overwhelming majority by all three units. All three units of CUPE 3903 on strike, representing Teaching Assistants (Unit 1), Contract Faculty (Unit 2), and Graduate Assistants (Unit 3) rejected the employer’s offer by large margins (CUPE 3903).

The Ministry of Labour has appointed an industrial inquiry commission to investigate the strike and produce a report for the Minister. CUPE 3903 has stated that it “will cooperate fully with the Ministry’s fact-finding mission,” but, at the same time, CUPE 3903 “had hoped for a more meaningful intervention by the government”. We fully support CUPE 3903’s position that: “As a public institution, York University should be held accountable” for creating this situation. CUPE 3903 is rightly concerned that displacing “this conflict to another semester is not good for students, for whom the uncertainty and anxiety would only be prolonged” (CUPE 3903).

The RFA strongly urges York University’s Administration to give up on its concessionary demands and negotiate a fair and equitable collective agreement with CUPE 3903 at the earliest possible.

Sincerely,

Peter Danziger – President (RFA)
Rahul Sapra – Vice President External (RFA).

Read More »

April 17: Solidarity Picket York University

To All RFA Members,

Please consider joining us on Tuesday, April 17 for a solidarity action in support of striking lecturers and teaching assistants from CUPE 3903 at York University.  A Ryerson contingent will be meeting at 11am on Tuesday in front of the bookstore on Gould and Victoria.  We will head up to York where we will be meeting faculty members at the York subway station at noon. From there we will join workers on the picket lines. We hope some of you can come out.

Thank you,

RFA Equity Issues Committee

Read More »

Re: Training Program for Officers of the Toronto Police Service

March 2, 2018

 

Dr. Marie Bountrogianni

Dean, The Chang School of Continuing Education

 

Dear Dean Bountrogianni:

Re: Training Program for Officers of the Toronto Police Service

A news article entitled “Toronto police partner with Ryerson University for training program” has recently come to our attention.  The article may be found online at:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/toronto-police-partner-with-ryerson-university-for-training-program-1.3770578

In light of a long and contentious history between the Toronto Police Service and members of diverse communities, particularly Black and Indigenous peoples, who have been adversely impacted by policing in this city, we have a number of questions and serious concerns about this training program.

 

As you are aware, Ryerson’s Academic Plan speaks of “City Building + Social Justice” and the university has taken several measures to promote values of equity and community inclusion. The announcement of this police training program came as a surprise to many in the Ryerson community and the city at-large.  From some quarters, it has already elicited condemnation, cynicism, discomfort, apprehension and dismay.

 

Our questions include the following:

 

  1. Why is Ryerson being used as a training ground for police officers as opposed to the Toronto Police College?

 

  1. Were Indigenous, Black, Muslim, Queer, Trans* and people of colour communities consulted about this partnership between Ryerson and the police? Were organizations advocating against poverty and homelessness and organizations for persons with disabilities consulted? If so, which individuals and/or organizations were consulted and when?

 

  1. The CTV News article of January 22, 2018 states:

 

“Police said the connection to Ryerson will ensure that existing police courses meet the standards of the “broader community” and facilitate research opportunities for both the university and the police service.”

How would a connection to Ryerson ensure that existing police courses meet the standards of the “broader community”?  How is the “broader community” defined?

 

  1. What is the difference between mandatory courses dealing with diversity being taught at Toronto Police College and the non-mandatory courses which Ryerson is proposing?

 

  1. How would non-mandatory courses in ‘bias avoidance’ offered to self-selected police officers benefit members of the community who are most affected by systemic discrimination and excessive use of force by police services?

 

  1. Is this a pilot project?

 

  1. Who assesses the validity or effectiveness of this training program?

 

  1. Are the proposed ‘diversity/avoidance of bias’ courses being offered free of charge to police officers?

 

  1. Who will be providing the proposed training and how were the instructors selected?

 

  1. How is this program being funded?

 

  1. Has Ryerson University or any of its associated institutes, labs or research centres, received funds from the Toronto Police Service for research and/or for this partnership? Please provide the names of said entities, any memorandum of understanding and a complete financial accounting of these agreements.

 

In a spirit of transparency, we believe it is vital that a public meeting concerning the training program be called to address these questions and community concerns.

 

We request that your office convene such a meeting, with accessibility accommodations, in March, 2018 (preferably March 13, 14, 15 commencing at 5:30pm) in a location on campus that can hold at least 100 persons.

 

Please contact Professor Anne-Marie Singh at [email protected] for further follow up and coordination of the proposed meeting.

 

Sincerely,

Kikélola Roach, Unifor Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy

 

Anne-Marie Singh, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology

 

Shiri Pasternak, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology

 

Cathy Crowe, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration

 

Pamela Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance, Associate Professor Dep’t of Politics

 

Leanne Simpson, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Arts

 

Grace-Edward Galabuzi, Associate Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration

 

Alan Sears, Professor, Department of Sociology

 

Myer Siemiatycki, Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration

 

Lila Pine, Professor, RTA School of Media

 

Jenny Carson, Associate Professor, Department of History

 

Rachel Berman, Associate Professor, School of Early Childhood Studies

 

Rob Teigrob, Associate Professor, Department of History

 

Nicole Neverson, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

 

Sedef Arat-Koç, Associate Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration

 

Ken Moffatt, Jack Layton Chair for Social Justice

 

Annette Bailey, Associate Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing

 

Alok Mukherjee, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Criminology

 

OmiSoore Dryden, Visiting Professor, School of Social Work

 

Amina Jamal, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

 

Mark Campbell, Adjunct Professor, RTA School of Media

 

Brett Story, Assistant Professor, School of Image Arts

 

Emily van der Meulen, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology

 

The School of Social Work at Ryerson University

 

The RFA Equity Committee

 

Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR)

 

Black Liberation Collective at Ryerson University

 

Criminology Student Union at Ryerson University

 

Anti-Black Racism Network

 

 

 

 

CC:

President Mohamed Lachemi

Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion, Denise O’Neil Green

Provost, Vice-President Academic, Michael Benarroch

 

 

Read More »

Letter of Support for Striking OPSEU College Faculty

To The Members of the College Employer Council,

The Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA) is writing to express its strongest support to the striking OPSEU members. More than 12,000 Ontario public college faculty are on the picket line rather than in their classrooms after the College Employer Council has rejected to negotiate a fair collective agreement with OPSEU.

J.P Hornick, Chair of the Union Bargaining team (OPSEU) has stated that: “On October 14, we presented Council with a streamlined offer that represented what faculty consider to be the bare minimum we need to ensure quality education for students and treat contract faculty fairly”. The RFA fully supports the Union’s offer that is built around three critical proposals to improve education quality for students and treat faculty fairly:

  • a 50:50 ratio of full-time to contract faculty, which currently sits at over 70% contract faculty;
  • increased job security for partial-load faculty, who currently work on one-semester contracts; and
  • academic freedom to give faculty a stronger voice in academic decision-making.

The RFA endorses Hornick’s position that: “This is a fair and reasonable offer that addresses the top concerns of faculty across the province while taking into account the employer’s concerns about costs.” “Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom,” she said. And “this leaves us (OPSEU) with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously.” Hornick added that the Council is committed to a “Walmart model of education” based on reducing the role of full-time faculty and exploiting underpaid contract workers who have no job security beyond one semester. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called the current impasse “regrettable.”

OPSEU represents professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians working at 24 public colleges across Ontario. It is regrettable that the Council has forced such an outcome, which is adversely affecting both students and faculty. The Council’s heavy-handed approach undermines the principles of collective bargaining process that is the foundation of labour relations across Canada. We strongly urge you to return to the bargaining table to reach a negotiated settlement with OPSEU.

Sincerely,

Peter Danziger, RFA President
Rahul Sapra, RFA Vice President (External)

Cc:
Peter McKeracher, College Employer Council
Sonia Del Missier, College Employer Council
Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development
Hon. Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour
MPP Peggy Sattler, NDP Critic for Advanced Education, Skills and Development
MPP Lorne Coe, PC Critic for Post-Secondary Education
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

RM Kennedy, Chair of Ontario College Faculty Division, and JP Hornick, Chair of Ontario College Faculty Bargaining Team

Gyllian Phillips, OCUFA President

Read More »