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York English-language instructors resume talks on precarious work


(TORONTO) – OPSEU’s Unit 2 bargaining team will sit down again today with the management of York University’s English Language Institute (YUELI), a part of the School of Continuing Studies. The two parties will try to conclude the latest round of collective bargaining.

OPSEU Unit 2 represents all non-permanent instructors at YUELI. Unit 2 instructors’ key issue is contract status. Currently, they are restricted to two-month contracts. Instructors also have significant concerns with consistent and equitable treatment and fair compensation.

The unit bargained for several days in October 2015 but was unable to reach an agreement. Management was unwilling to recognize instructors’ many years of committed service and significant contributions to the success of YUELI. Management also failed to address the changing needs of the unit and the organization.

OPSEU Staff Representative Bernard King said that instructors are denied basic job security – despite receiving consistently high student ratings. “This is an untenable and utterly unjust position in which to keep these highly qualified and experienced professionals. York must own up to its responsibility to its employees and recognize the credentials and contributions of Unit 2 faculty.”

Management has insisted that instructors trust them. Regrettably, this trust proved to be misplaced following the two previous collective agreements. A determination to ensure history does not repeat itself has resulted in the current standstill in bargaining.

With the many changes at YUELI, management must demonstrate a willingness to acknowledge its instructors’ legitimate status and need for job security, said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU. “Keeping staff in perpetually precarious employment is no way to treat any worker, let alone the dedicated teaching staff at YUELI. York receives public dollars and should be committed to the fair treatment of all staff.”

For more information:

Bernard King
Staff Representative Negotiator, Region 5
416-443-8888, ext. 2482