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.

Monday, September 26, 2005

OPSEU Community College Support Staff Ratify New Agreement

Support staff at Ontario's 24 community colleges ratified a new collective agreement today, averting a strike by more than 6,000 members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

The workers voted 72 per cent in favour of the three-year deal. Voter turnout was 73 per cent.
"Our message to management in this round of bargaining was that support staff contribute as much to the success of the colleges as faculty do," said Rod Bemister, chair of the OPSEU bargaining team. "Thanks to the support of our members, who gave us a strike mandate of 85 per cent, management heard our message loud and clear."

Highlights of the deal include:
  • It's a three-year agreement, expiring Aug. 31, 2008.
  • A three per cent staged wage increase in each of the three years. Compounded, this represents a 9.4 per cent increase by the end of the contract.
  • A recognition allowance of $400 per year for support staff with 10 years of service or more, about half the bargaining unit. For the average support worker this represents an additional wage increase of one per cent. This bonus is a first for support staff, a building block for future rounds of bargaining and acknowledges the importance of their work
  • A drug benefits card.
  • Withdrawal of the wages and benefits comparison letter.
  • Improved time off for union business.

Members of the support staff group provide a wide range of services at the colleges, including information technology, maintenance, technical, early childhood education, and clerical support for student loans, library, registrar's office, accounting and others.

CUPE Ontario Fall School Announced

Our Local usually sends some members for training at this school.

Interested members should contact the local union office regarding registration.
We try to register early to ensure that the first choice of course is received, although second and third choices are required for all registrants.

Certain courses are offered/recommended to individuals and others are required of individuals holding specific positions within the local union.

Toronto Star Series on Campus Life

The Toronto Star has been running a series on post-secondary school student life in the recent days.

Drinking haze

Neighbourly, Not!

This is Homecoming?

Radler's Out

Links to Conrad Black cut

Distance Learning

Ryerson Keeps Building

Alternatives to obtaining a business degree are available in Toronto.

This added building, as described in the Toronto Star Article, should enlarge the CUPE Locals at Ryerson University with the added space.

Justification for the Major Portion of Our Membership

But I don't care where you work or live — six weeks without janitorial service would be pretty much intolerable.
Pretty well sums up the issue.

New Retail Space at York U?

First we lose the southern wetlands to create private housing on the south portion of the Keele Street campus. All the while we also lose the rest of the precious parking spaces on the south portion of the campus.

The next phase is to create yet more retail space [potentially with a supermarket?]
Is this for retail geared for York to use or is it for the new residents in the Tribute homes in phases one and two?

Friday, September 23, 2005

The 2005 WSIB Student Video Awards

The WSIB has been promoting safe working conditions to high school students in a number of ways. This is their fourth year of running a contest for this topic. It speaks volumes that they are willing to truly reach the youngest workers in the province and allow them to communicate the message in their own manner.

The items are intentionally short and they are to the point!

They are taking applications towards the 2006 awards.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Provocative Thought on Corporatization of Public Universities

There are a number of items in this issue of Canadian Dimension on university topics.
Subversion and the University
by Andrea Levy

Privatizing Canada’s Public Universities
by Claire Polster

Private Pretensions: The Battle for Canada’s Universities

by David Noble

Who’re Ya Gonna Call? Not the Corporate University

by Arthur Schafer

Business of Universities: A Call for Transparency in our Institutions of Higher Learning
by Marc Spooner & Tanya Shaw

Monsanto, Lawyers, Lies and Videotape: Seeds of Censorship Sown at the University of Manitoba
by Jim Sanders

Academics in the Service of War: Military Research and Funding at Canadian Universities
by Paul A. Hamel

Thanks to Mary Catherine McCarthy of CUPE for this lead

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Victoria College Book Sale 2005

Good Used Books at Great Prices
  • Thursday September 29: 5 pm to 10 pm*
    *[First night only - Admission $3 - Students free with ID]
  • Friday September 30: 10 am to 8 pm
  • Saturday October 1: 10 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday October 2: 11 am to 5 pm
  • Monday October 3: 10 am to 8 pm
in Alumni Hall & The Chapel, Old Vic
91 Charles Street West
[at Museum Subway Exit]
for more information call 416-585-4471 or 416-585-4585
Proceeds to Victoria University Library

How to Read your York Pension Statement

Thursday, October 6, 2005 (Keele Campus)

12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Presenter: Terisa Ducharme

This seminar is organized for York University
faculty, staff and retirees.

OUWCC News September 2005

The Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee newsletter for September 2005.

It includes Stats Canada info and discussion on other negotiation issues.
Health and Safety Provincial Committee tour is announced in this edition.

Monday, September 19, 2005

USWA Local 1998 Settles with University of Toronto

Fuller details are in the link above.
3% each year of a three year agreement - see details
vision now increased to $250/2 years
Improvements to the pensions
removal of some categories in the wage grid
disciplinary letters removed after 36 months
Health & Safety and Accomodation improvements
3 personal development days per year
2 hour introduction meeting with the union for new hires
grievance procedure improvements
new technology training provided

University of Malawi - Chancellor College Lecturers Still on Strike

I appears that this strike is still ongoing!

The major stumbling block is the head of the administration at the college, which appears to involve some problems that are being investigated.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Seneca College OPSEU Settles

Highlights of the new settlement by OPSEU Local 561, representing the support staff at Seneca College (at York and across North Toronto and York Region)
No concessions
2% in September + 1% in April, each year
New "Special Allowance" (we call it a "recognition allowance") of $400 (it's a start) each September 1st, for employees with at least 10 years of continuous service (it's a start)
new "drug card" so we don't have to pay for medication first and then get reimbursed. We just pay our share up front. This will be very helpful to those with high medical costs
new process to allow ad-hoc benefit increases to members on long term disability
additions to paramedical coverage (we got acupuncture!)

increase in the number of days to file a grievance after a breach of the collective agreement
implementation of a new and better classification system, which was negotiated over by a management/union committee over four years
stronger language for environmental conditions of "air, light, space and temperature" and a quicker process for dealing with complaints
increase in time off for "union business" (for our college we will now share 18 hours instead of 15, per week). Also, promise of "discussions" about additional time off for provincial representatives for the "purpose of assisting the union in advising and educating members with respect to collective bargaining..."
revised "stand by" and "call back" provisions, which take into consideration IT workers who are often asked (or feel responsible) to check and fix problems from their homes while not at work
stronger language to close a loophole which allows managers to "reclassify" an existing employee, rather than posting and hiring for a new position at a much higher level
new and more affordable post-retirement benefits programs
sick days for members from their first day of employment (used to have to wait until next September 1st)
continued contracting out protection (for people not positions)
further discussions regarding workplace wellness programs
4% additional pay for summer student workers, in lieu of benefits they do not receive
increase to 8% the additional pay for temporary, contract workers, in lieu of benefits they do not receive

Save the Ajax Post Office

Canada Post Corporation has decided to close it’s only Full Service Retail outlet in Ajax after providing more than 30 years of Service to the community.
This site is dedicated to saving this important communications portal and maintaining the level of business and personal service Ajax has been accustomed too.
With our members even travelling to York University from this area, it is felt that support should be raised to save the services and location of such an important service in a sizeable community!

Engineers without PEng?

According to a front page article in the Excalibur of 14 September 2005:
The Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board [CEAB] and the Professional Engineers of Ontario [PEO] have yet to accept York engineering students graduating from the current programme thus denying the designation PEng. A further decision on the matter will be rendered by PEO in December.
This only affects students who entered the programme prior to 2001.
The programme is not lacking in the academic curriculum!
Apparently something is lacking from the administrative structure of the programme.

Part of the issue is that there is a requirement of students actually graduating from the programme, thus this is the first potential time that the programme accreditation could be supplied and applied for by the University.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dental Association Shows Problem with High Tuition in Professional Schools

Figures released by Statistics Canada today show that tuition fees in dentistry remain the highest of all professional programs and continue to rise at higher rates than other programs. The Canadian Dental Association believes that chronic under-funding of Canadian universities is to blame, leaving university leadership with no choice but to hike tuition fees to cover costs.

Not a new problem, but this just shows that the problem is getting worse with underfunding of post-secondary schools.

Thanks to Derek Blackadder of CUPE and LabourStart for this lead

NYU Refuses to Negotiate New CA with UAW

Following a 2004 National Labor Relations Board ruling against graduate student unionization, administrators at New York University decided this past summer not to renegotiate the university's contract with UAW Local 2110.
This seems to be a problem in the US for TAs as expressed in this article.

Thanks to Derek Blackadder, CUPE & LabourStart for this lead

Professors Assign Own Books

This matter of the professoriate assigning their own authored books allows them to collect a percentage of the sale for themselves!

Monday, September 12, 2005

University of Guelph Admin Staff Settle

The agreement provides wage increases of 9.3 per cent over three years, along with a 6 per cent increase in pensions, better leave provisions and job security protection. Provisions to ensure pay equity continues are also included, along with new language protecting employees against harassment, including personal conduct and behaviour.

Another strike averted. Lets look for the word on the CUPE Local 1334 there.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

York University CUPE Local 1356-01 Ratifies New Collective Agreement

Thursday 8 September 2005 at a Special Meeting of the 1356-01 Collective Agreement a new Collective Agreement was Ratified by those members attending.

There were very many items that were included in the changes to create a new Collective Agreement.

The Highlights are as follows:
Agreement from 1 September 2005 to 31 August 2008
3% increase to hourly rates on 1 September 2005
3% increase to hourly rates on 1 September 2006
3% increase to hourly rates on 1 September 2007
Changes in Health Care Benefits to now include Chiropractor, Physiotherapy, Massage Therapy, and Orthotics/Custom Hose
Language changes regarding provision of Collective Agreement copies by the employer earlier in the employment for new hires.
Added more Steward positions
Change to Probation Period to coincide with the rest of the university
Placement of the Chief Steward at the Keele Campus on a day shift
Changes in Bereavement Leave to include mother-in-laws, father-in-laws, and grandparents in the longer time period allowed
Increase to three Personal Leave days [from two]
The extra week for longer service employees will now be available from age 55 with a factor of 80.
Summer hours through a modified version to match other university workers
Improvements in the Overtime Banked
Clarification and inclusion of the settlements regarding OHIP excluded testing and immunizations.
Dental improvement change is to Orthodontics to 80% without changing the limits
New Post-Retirement Benefits for members retiring after 31 August 2005 - $1500 annual limit including allowing the use for re-insurance.
Changes to improve Collective Agreement juristiction
New and Changed job classifications
Improvement to Footwear monetary allowances
Uniform now specified in the Collective Agreement
Timelined Inter-bargaining unit job posting capability.
Continuity of Letter on Staffing of newly owned University Buildings

University of Saskatchewan [Saskatoon] About to Strike

There is a great deal of background on this problem as the Local covers two universities. The two universities do not want to negotiate jointly.

The local newspaper also has an article on this.

Also covered in this link.

University of Guelph heading for Strike

University of Guelph trades, maintenance and service workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are preparing for a strike as early as next month if a fair deal is not reached with the university.

“We are committed to fighting concessions,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, president of CUPE 1334. “Our members work hard for this university and attempts by management to roll back our collective agreement shows a lack of respect for our work.”

University management is demanding concessions at the bargaining table, including benefits cutbacks. Other outstanding issues include pension and job security. The 280 workers, who provide custodial, trades and maintenance services at the university, recently voted 91% in favour of a strike. Their last contract expired on April 30th, 2005. Conciliation talks have been scheduled for September 7th.

“The upcoming talks will give management an opportunity to withdraw their concession demands and offer us a fair contract,” said Folk-Dawson. “Without a fair settlement, students coming back from their summer break will face a strike that will hurt our university. That’s the last thing we want.”

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Laurentian Faculty Heading for Strike

Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA) members voted 97 percent in favour of giving their negotiation team a strike mandate at a general membership meeting Thursday evening.

The 300 professors and librarians represented by the association have scheduled mediation talks with administration for Sept. 8.

If mediation is unsuccessful, they could strike as soon as Sept. 15.

Thanks to Derek Blackadder of CUPE and Labourstart for this lead

York Public Access

There is work progressing on an alternative source of York University information as there has been outrage from many quarters regarding the sale of land at the university.

The Excalibur also wrote an article on this matter recently.

Note: CUPE Local 1356 was not consulted on this matter by parties involved.
The group's website is hosted on the CUPE Local 3903 web server.

York University Contract Faculty, TAs, GAs having Difficult Negotiations

Is there a potential of a repeat of the 2000 negotiations?

That ended as a strike that lasted weeks!

CUPE Local 3903 has not publicized any further details than the ones shown here in the two links provided. It is not expected to publish any information until after the Concilation meeting conducted in conjunction with the Minstry of Labour.

CUPE Local 3903 represents Contract Faculty, TAs, & GAs at York University.

McMaster TA Saves New Orleans Family to Canada

Heres hoping that the future is bright for this McMaster Teaching Assistant.

McMaster Teaching Assistants are members of CUPE Local 3906.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Protesters Arrested at NYU GA Union Protest

On the day the graduate student union's contract with NYU expired, 76 protesters involved with a rally outside Bobst Library were arrested for civil disobedience Wednesday [August 30].

Included among the group, none of whom were actually jailed, was John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO and other top union officials, as well as graduate students and several undergraduates.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

CUPE Local 1356-01 Tentative Agreement

Our negotiating team has reported that they have a tentative agreement with the University.
Thursday 8 September 2005 at 7:30 AM in Vari Hall 3006 for the CUPE Local 1356-01 members meeting.
Details of the Tentative Settlement will be released to the members at the meeting.
Watch this blog for highlights after the meeting.

CUPE Local 1356-01 represents the Full-time Parking and Security members.