Thursday, January 15, 2009

Such bullshit.

And now the York deans are getting in on the act. Really, how fair is a forced ratification vote if the people who are going to be voting are subject to these sorts of crude intimidation tactics by faculty and administrators? (Particularly given that one of the administrators -- Bob Drummond -- signing the below letter is also on the university bargaining team.) If the vote fails because of this bullshit, I will gladly blame those who caved to the pressure rather than freely voting their consciences; but those who exert the pressure clearly also bear a heavy burden of blame (and should bear a burden of shame, but I suspect "shame" is foreign to at least the signatories of this one).

Suffice to say, I'm -- again -- unimpressed by the willingness, even eagerness, of the powerful to take unanswered shots at the powerless. Courage and principle would require allowing the members of CUPE 3903 to make their decision without these hamfisted attempts at coercion. Unfortunately, courage and principle seem to be in short supply at York these days.
January 15, 2009

Message from the Deans to the York community

When CUPE 3903 went on strike in November, we all undertook to seek the suspension, with limited exceptions, of academic activities in our Faculties. In so doing, we acknowledged our reliance on the work of our CUPE colleagues in helping to carry out the academic mission of the University. In addition, we continue to recognize the importance to our graduate students of financial support for the successful completion of their “apprenticeship” in our profession.

At the same time, we have had to recognize the unusually severe budgetary constraints that currently characterize all universities in the country in the midst of a worsening economic crisis. And we have had to consider the significant negative impact of a continuing labour disruption on all of our students, as well as on the reputation and academic development of the University.

Having all these considerations in mind, we have reviewed the offer for settlement tabled by the University administration (and indeed have been consulted as negotiations were underway). We believe that the offer is a responsible effort to meet the needs of contract faculty and graduate students in an extremely difficult economic climate. Familiar as we are with the budget situation in our own Faculties, we do not believe that more can be responsibly provided. We hope CUPE members will recognize the gains they have made, and put an end to this debilitating strike by accepting the settlement offer.

Cynthia Archer
Nick Cercone
Robert Drummond
Dezsö Horváth
Rhonda Lenton
Kenneth McRoberts
Patrick Monahan
Doug Peers
Alice Pitt
Barbara Rahder
Barbara Sellers-Young
Harvey Skinner
In other words: ratify, or we'll go whine to the province to make you take the deal. Cowards, all of them.

This, incidentally, is why the forced ratification provisions in Ontario labour law blatantly favour employers. The resources of the employer are sufficiently vast that this kind of pressure can be expected to continue until the vote is actually held.

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