CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Lakehead University Still on Strike

These folks have been out on strike for some time. Read about it.

We have been Busy since our last posting

Picture of Sid Ryan on the Podium on Saturday Morning 28 May 2005
We have been at the Ontario Division Convention in Niagara Falls. Watch for our regular frequency of posting in the next few days.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

George Loveless and Thomas Stanfield: Tolpuddle Martyrs

Local links to the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

Starting from the TUC website and following the links to the origins of the UK Labour Movement one can follow the history of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Four of the Martyrs emigrated to Canada.

George Loveless was reported to have settled in Siloam, although the website is slim on the location within Canada a quick search only points to one settlement in Canada by that name in the top hits. Siloam is located north east of Toronto. It is a small settlement west of Uxbridge.
Siloam is currently a bedroom community with a substantial Golf facility, but it also has a bit of infamy from a 1970's Canadian horror flick shown in drive-ins of that era the reference in this website may refer to Richmond Hill, but portions of it may in fact be in Siloam which is not very far either.

Link to information on area cemetaries that would probably contain info on George's burial. Assuming he was buried near his adoptive home. Note that Siloam had two cemetaries one on the 2nd Concession and the other on the 3rd Concession.

Thomas Stanfield was the other Tolpuddle Martyr to be buried in Siloam Cemetary.

There are many sites that will link to added information there are far too many that would all be relevent, but use search engines and you too can get to them. The Loveless clan have written books available on-line on their history in Canada.

TUC Urges College to Resolve Dispute

The Northern TUC has today called upon the Region’s largest College to use ACAS to end its current dispute with lecturer’s union NATFHE.

Lecturers have participated in a number of strike days with more planned in the weeks ahead in a dispute with the College over pay. Newcastle College is refusing to implement nationally agreed pay rises without stringent changes to the working conditions of lecturers.

Northern TUC Regional Secretary, Kevin Rowan, said:

'In relative terms lecturers pay has fallen while teachers’ pay has risen dramatically. It is right that we value those providing education for our children, we should also value those giving education and training to adults, old and young, too. This region has a phenomenal adult skills challenge and it is critical that we have well paid, well treated, well supported lecturers to meet that challenge.

'The pay rise and changes to the pay structure were agreed amicably at a national level, it is hugely disappointing that Newcastle College, one of the more well-resourced colleges in the region hasn’t implemented the deal in full, without any tinkering.

'What is particularly concerning for all is the damage this dispute is doing to the reputation of the college and unions are angry, disappointed and confused at the college’s refusal to bring in ACAS to help settle the strike. It would appear that the management of the college are not genuinely interested in finding a resolution.'

The Future of US Organized Labor

Read Ralph Nader's article.

Many serious concerns are raised for those in the US.
The current US leadership is leading like-minded groups and governments in a race to the bottom. The race has been run for a long time, but is accelerating beyond the US physical borders.

Elect Your Non-Academic Employee Representative to the Board of Governors

balloting for the Non-Academic Employee Nominee to the Board of Governors is now open and continues until Friday, May 20th. Ballots have been mailed to all full-time non-academic employees. Completed ballots must be received back by the University Secretariat no later than noon on Friday, May 20, 2005. Information on the seven nominees is posted on the University Secretariat website:

There is still an unfortunate lack of union activists permitted to even run for this position.

Are Unions "Instruments of God's Will"

Yes they are, according to a minister in Indianapolis (and adjunct labor studies professor) named Darren Cushman Wood. Wood has just published a book called "Blue Collar Jesus: How Christianity Supports Workers' Rights" which says that "labor unions are legitimate instruments of God's will for creating a just society". Agree or disagree, it's great to see a book on religion and social issues published in the USA that does not exactly fit in with the thinking in the White House.

Eric Lee of LabourStart adds:
It's today's Labour Book of the Day, featured on the front page of LabourStart. Learn more, and order your copy here:

We have 105 other books you'll want to know about in Labour's Online Bookstore, at By buying your books from us, you're helping to support LabourStart's campaigning activities. Thanks very much.

Dictator Pleads with Labourstart: STOP Faxing us!

Eric Lee wrote us recently:

Your support for recent campaigns is having an effect. Sometimes, that effect is immediate.

48 hours ago we asked you to send off messages in support of imprisoned trade union leaders in Eritrea. Your response has been fantastic. Thousands of messages have been pouring in -- at one point, we were hitting 200 messages per hour. Many of those messages have been re-sent by fax to Eritrean embassies around the world, prompting one official in the Oslo embassy to phone up LabourStart and demand that we stop sending them.

What do you think? Should we leave these poor government officials alone? I don't think so. I think we should turn up the pressure! Let's flood them with thousands more messages and keep up the pressure until Ghebremedhin, Andezion and Weldemicael are released.

We know that 90% of the people reading this message still haven't sent off protests to Eritrea. Please don't delay -- time is running out. For more information and to send off your message, go to:

On the right side bar you will find this [currently] and other Act Now! items that will help those in need [just look at the pleas from the fax receipents.]

Quebec Tribunal Condemns Segregation

No Details on Repairs to Existing University Structures

The Globe & Mail article raises concerns that CUPE Ontario's OUWCC has been raising for many years, and that the workers have lived in. The lack of funding for the basic repairs need to maintain the currently built buildings. The OUWCC has formed reports on this aspect often, with the latest resultant report just a year ago [used in response to the Rae Review.] Members of the York University Locals participated along with the other universities to raise the issue.

Howard Moscoe vs York University and the Subway

Howard, although I have supported many of your machinations in the past [quietly] I must speak out on this hairbrained current discourse.

The density is in the area already. Thank the distant past North York city councils for allowing the super-high densities to be constructed in the late 60's to the mid-70's in the general York University area. The much unfairly maligned Jane-Finch intersection has the dubious distinction of having the highest density in the country with much over 100,000 in one square mile! If this does not qualify its area to warrant a high density transit system I don't know what would be required.

Further Analysis and Commentary on the Ontario Budget - Education Focus

'Rae Lite' is one of the comments in the article!

Results will still place Ontario at at least 10% below any other province. By the time of the end of 5 years the other provinces will have risen even higher thus the real adjustment will place us far more than 10% below the comparables.

Friday, May 13, 2005

the Next Phase of Stage 2 of the TTC Subway to York

The open house on the next phase of the Environmental assessment of the subway to York is to be conducted May 17 & 18.

The decision that this phase is to make is in the more detailed positioning of the track and stations. This has the potential to either affect greatly or to minimize the disruption caused by construction and then the operation of the trains with their connecting bus services.

York puts its statistics up to be used as justification for the subway.

York University Cancels Stadium Plans

York has cancelled the proposed Stadium prior to start of construction.

also see the article in the Toronto Star

An analysis of the Ontario budget by Hugh McKenzie

It is interesting to note that the $300 million that the budget allocates to the Post-secondary system.

Hugh does his usual admirable job of a through analysis of the Ontario Legislature tabled budget.

One must wonder what components of this Ontario budget will be lost if the federal budget is blown out of the water with the Liberal-NDP accord, if the BLOC Quebecois-Conservative pairing succeeds in combining to defeat the budget and being a Non-Confidence vote thus triggering a federal election.

The Ontario-federal agreement on special transfers will also become a defeated sum and although the Conservative Leader has 'promised' to fulfill the promises made to the province, one should not trust a political leader - even more so one cast from the same mould as the Harris-Eve Team Destructo.

Monday, May 09, 2005

OFL Campaign for Post Secondary Education

Ontario’s colleges and universities are crumbling.
Education resources are out-of-date.
Understaffing means heavier workloads.
There’s less time to provide quality education to students.
Classes are crammed.
Crucial instructional hours have been eliminated.
Apprenticeship needs to return to its traditional method with provincial standards and enforcement.
Tthis campaign has been running parallel to the CUPE Ontario campaign on the same theme.

Early Announcement of Conference on WSIB

Workers Compensation Conference
sponsored by the
and the
Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups

September 28-30, 2005

Topics are expected to include:
  • the new WSIB Best Practices on Adjudication
  • Full Discussion with the Board on their new Return to Work Policies
  • Results of the Occupational Disease Advisory Panel and the Impact on Claims
  • Findings of the WSIB Fair Practices Commission and the Impact on Injured Workers Lives
  • Community Organizing and Lobbying for Legislative Reform

Limited Space Register by September 19, 2005

Lakehead University Strike Update

May 05, 2005, 1:55 p.m. EST
As the CAW’s CONTACT newsletter went to press, the strike at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario was entering its fourth week with CAW Local 229 members steadfastly opposed to administration plans to contract out many of their jobs.

The CAW represents 60 workers at Lakehead including custodians, grounds workers and maintenance staff.

It’s a very difficult dispute with the university bringing in scabs to handle custodial work. Some of the scabs are local, but others are brought in each week from Manitoba. At least some are staying on campus overnight. In a letter to the union the dean of the university is denying scabs are housed at the university.

Bob Chernecki, assistant to the CAW president, said it’s an “absolute disgrace that the Ontario government has not stepped in to end this dispute. For a publicly run institution, largely funded by the Ontario government, it’s unconscionable to use public money to bring in scabs from Manitoba to do the work of these workers,” Chernecki said.

CAW national representative Tom Murphy said there was a tremendous response from CAW Local 1075 members to the fight by the striking workers. On April 29 the Bombardier plant, where Local 1075 members work, was shut down in solidarity with the striking university workers. “It definitely gave the picketers a boost,” said Murphy. More shut downs are planned in the city in support of the striking workers.

CAW Local 229 president Any Savela said the striking workers are getting tremendous support in the community including many groups in Thunder Bay that are cancelling events planned at the university. “The university’s anti-union actions will not be tolerated by this community,” said Savela.

CAW president Buzz Hargrove has contacted Ontario Labour Minister Chris Bentley and demanded his government step in.

For more information, please visit:

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Eric Lee's Discussion on the US Labour Movement

Eric Lee has initiated a discussion on the merits of the new technologies that are allowing grass roots activists and all others to post their opinions regarding the changes in the US Labour Movement. This blog has also made some commentary on some of the issues being created from the discussion at:

Add your comments to Eric's discussion forum as this location seems more appropriate to include non-US commentary as the US sites in the are very focused to the discussion by the protagonists involved [whether union labour, non-union labour, or management representatives commenting on the sly.]

Friday, May 06, 2005

Honda Canada Pays for Human Rights Abuse

Read the link for further information on the $500,000 payout that was required.

Transit Workers Win BIG East of Toronto

AJAX, Ont. – Transit workers at Ajax Pickering Transit Authority, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted 98 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement yesterday evening, Tuesday, May 3. The 135 transit operators, mechanics, cleaners and office workers won a 7.5 per cent wage increase over the term of the contract – from April 1, 2004 to December 15, 2005.

“This wage increase is a great win for our members, and it brings our wages significantly closer to what transit workers in neighbouring municipalities earn,” said Al Luce, vice-president of CUPE 129-01. “In our next round of bargaining, we will focus on achieving parity and enhancing other features to ensure that CUPE members continue to have the best agreement in the Durham region.”

“The workers also won a $500 signing bonus, which when added to the significant wage increase, will make CUPE members some of the best paid transit workers in the Durham region,” said Luce. The transit authority’s board of directors will vote on the agreement on Friday, May 6.

Look for the Union Label - from Yale!?

The Chronicle article By DAVID GLENN
Look for the Union Label
Veterans of Yale's graduate-student strikes are forging their experiences into scholarship
This is an interesting examination of the resulting activism that has resulted from the on-going years of organizing a union at Yale, and the attempts to get the university to recognize the union.

There have been a number of books that have now been written by the earlier activists which are beginning to influence the national fabric from beyond the ivory towers of Yale.

Perhaps these writers will be capable of influencing the issues at a the tops of the towers of Yale, although currently at a very slow pace. Watch for longer term results.

This raises the issue of how have the strike actions of the same types of groups at other universities influenced the concept of unionized TAs, RAs, and GAs. At York University there have been a few strikes by this group in the past [some were long, full shut the doors strikes]. Some of the activists from this group have been elevated into the faculty [a negotiated procedural matter and in the Collective Agreement]. In discussion with this group [now in the faculty union] one will find similar issues and impressions to the ones discussed in the linked article. At York University the groups that Yale is failing to recognize as a bargaining agent have been certified as a union. They are in fact a sister local to our own. This does not say that both union groups totally agree upon the manner in which labour relations should be conducted. There are some strong similarities as we are both affiliated to the same national union and attend joint meetings within CUPE at a variety of levels. The ages of the relative memberships, of the collective agreements, and purpose of the work have lead to very different results in collective bargaining.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

California State University Strike information

Interesting Information about Drug Costs and more

This information may provide a germ of information that is useful to a negotiations team in proposing ideas for a Collective Agreement.

Rehabilitation of Patients - CIHI Report

From experience gained from assisting injured workers, the results here seem to be at odds to the reality of all those debilitating injuries of workers. There are many workers waiting months or years to go through the hoops to achieve the results that this report expounds.

If one only examines those cases which have sustained a traumatic injury that immediately requires hospitalization the statistics may hold true. Those of the walking wounded that would often recover more fully, with much reduced pain and pain-killers, and reduced loss of muscle mass clearly have been ignored in compiling this report.

One in 10 Severe Injuries Occurs in the Workplace

Some very interesting facts that have been collected CIHI.
A new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health information (CIHI) shows that 677 people across Canada were admitted to hospital because of major trauma experienced in their place of work, representing 10% of all major trauma injury hospitalizations in the 15 to 64 age group in 2002–2003. The number of workplace-related injury hospitalizations has remained relatively stable over the past three years; there were 652 incidents reported in 2000–2001, and 678 in 2001–2002. In 2002–2003, falls were the leading cause (43%) of serious injuries suffered in the workplace, followed by those caused by vehicular incidents (20%).
Provincially, workplace injuries as a percentage of all trauma cases ranged from a low of 5% in Ontario to a high of 10% in Alberta. Most provinces saw an increase in the number of major injuries experienced at work between 2000 and 2003, with the exception of Ontario, which saw an 8% decrease during the same time period, and New Brunswick, which recorded a small decrease. Length-of-stay in hospital varied considerably by province, with the shortest (12 days) in Nova Scotia and the highest (25 days) in New Brunswick.

'Race in Play' - book launch

A Different Booklist & Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.

Invite You To The Book Launch
Dr. Carl E. James

Race in Play:
Understanding the Socio-Cultural World of Student Athletes

Thursday, May 19th, 2005
6.30 – 8.30 pm

The Athletic Centre
55 Harbord (Harbord & Spadina)
Student Lounge (2nd. Floor)
University of Toronto

Race in Play values the benefits of school sports, but is primarily concerned with overcomig their pitfalls and contradictions. Dr. James draws links between race and racialization, sport, schooling, and the educational and career aspirations of youth.

Carl E. James, Ph.D is Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University. He is a well-known educator and scholar in the area of learning, and the impact of socially constructed definitions and boundaries.

RSVP: 416-538-0889

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Labour Relations Act about to Change

Ian Urquhart writes in the Toronto Star of the conflict that the province has placed itself into with the partial return of the simpler organizing of workplaces. Construction appears to be the only group to be permitted the return of the 55% rule for automatic certification of the workplace.

For those readers NOT familiar with Ontario union legislation here are a couple important laws and legal rulings that have greatly impacted unionized labour in Ontario.
  1. Legal ruling regarding the compulsory membership of the whole workplace [Ford in Windsor]
  2. The gaining, the loss, and the now partial return of the 55% automatic certification of a union as a result of legislation [and the flavour of the ruling party]

Health & Safety or Invasion of Privacy?

Tyler Hamilton writes in the Toronto Star of the use of locating chips for patients in long-term facilities, but the extension to the workers without consultation with their union is a major issue [read the article fully - they will be consulted belatedly].

The concern of this survellance and its expansion to other workplaces is the concern that must be addressed!
"Continuous, indiscriminate surveillance of employees . . . was based on a lack of trust and treats all individuals with suspicion when the underlying problems may rest with few individuals or with a management plan that may not be entirely sound," the decision stated, adding that such omnipresent observation created a "stifling" environment.

If you see this technology encroaching into your workplace be scared, be very scared.

Monday, May 02, 2005

One of York's Historical Houses

Hoover House, May 1983. Built circa 1843 by Abraham Hoover (1821-1905), Hoover House is situated on the York Campus, southwest of Stong Pond. (York University photographic collection, York University Archives)

This very old house is located in the south west sector of the university [south of the Rexall Tennis Centre].

Much has been spent in this house over the years to maintain it, and much has been spent to heat it by whom ever is the occupant. Often the house has been occupied by an senior adminstrator, although at times it is used for academic purpose, but rarely. The street currently called Pond Road in the past lead straight to this building. At the western intersection of Passy Crescent the street ran straight instead of curving. The point at which the street turned 90 degrees was somewhat of a dip as the two road sections were at differing elevations.

Toronto Star Op-ed on Federal Funding Potential

Claire Morris, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada wrote this opinion piece printed in the Toronto Star.

Hopefully the Ontario Government allows the funding to pass through to the universities without its past performance [of another political stripe] of summarily reducing funds on the basis of the sums received from the senior level of government. This is all assuming that the Liberal-NDP accord allows the budget to pass and the current minority government to continues to function.

University Research or Private Incubator

This Toronto Star article speaks volumes regarding the fine line between university research and the creation of private enterprise. Whereas privately funded research becomes the property of the company where and whom funds it, it becomes fuzzy when private research is conducted at a publicly funded university, and even more so when publicly funded research is conducted at a public university. [There are are added scenerios when the mix includes private universities.] How does one categorize the private research conducted on the premises of a public university?

The Toronto Star article is not fully clear regarding the funding of the origins of the enterprise that these researchers would like to create. The article refers to the work as being conducted in their spare time, but without the software and equipment at hand - would this have come to be? Possibly not, as those items were most probably funded by the public purse.

There should not be a bar to doing the research, but whom should be the benefactor/s? and at what point could this convert to private gain, if ever?

This conundrum has been at play for a very long time at universities and colleges. There are a variety of solutions that have been used and are currently in use dependent upon the circumstances and the particular institution.

Some academics have lost tenure as a result of these issues, where the line became drawn, then was crossed, and there was some substantial monetary gains [occassionally this would lead into the hands of the police and then the courts].

eMail reduces IQ by 10 points?

The Toronto Star article muses about Professors being important repositories of information and how they are being affected by the amount of email at universities.

Argos forgo York U for downtown Rogers Centre

The Argonauts Football team of the Canadian Football League have chosen to stay at the Rogers Centre instead of moving uptown to York University. Expect to see news on a changed venue to be built at York. The Soccer league and expected tournament use will still require a stadium, but not necessarily one as large.

Power of a Blog - Los Alamos Laboratories

This blog has been written about in the NY Times and the story was picked-up by other newspapers including the Toronto Star.

The story tells us that this blog is about to topple a bureaucrat at the Los Alamos Laboratories which is in part operated by the University of California.

If the blog is successful in accomplishing this, they will make another demonstration of the power of the blog.

Faculty Union in Rift?

The faculty union at Gloucester County College appears to be considering its options of affiliation.

University of Calgary Food Service Contracting Out Fight Goes to Court

CALGARY—The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is considering the appropriate response to yesterday’s decision by a Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench judge not to grant an injunction sought by the union to halt a plan by the University of Calgary to contract out its food services.