YUFAYork University Faculty Association
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Even though a decade earlier, YUFA negotiated the affirmative action policy that greatly improved the proportion of women in tenure-track positions, many women rightly perceived YUFA as unresponsive to women's concerns.
However, prior to the strike at York, women's reluctance to claim ownership of YUFA also meant that the few women who held positions of union leadership were isolated and unable to develop a political base among women members to support their initiatives.
We have both been pro-union activists in the past and Janice Newson was president of YUFA from 1982 to 1984.
When we undertook to write about the strike, we solicited comments through the YUFA newsletter and YUFA electronic mail about significant personal or political moments in the strike that stood out in the memories of striking faculty.
Although YUFA had not been especially pro-active in organizing women as a constituency or addressing equity concerns, unlike many faculty associations, it had not been actively antifeminist or antiwomen.
The almost spontaneous guerrilla action involved nonstop chanting for close to two hours by about fifty YUFA members, mostly women, who stopped a meeting of the largely anti-union Senate Executive Committee.
The 1997 YUFA strike unleashed a myriad of stories from women faculty members about our experiences in hiring, salary negotiations and pay inequities, tenure and promotion, decision-making processes, and harassment.
The responsibilities outlined in the constitution include drafting contract proposals on equity issues; analyzing current collective agreement for biases and anomalies; ensuring more diverse representation on YUFA and joint committees; facilitating the resolution of grievances which deal with equity issues; ensuring that equity issues are addressed within YUFA; and educating YUFA members to this end.
Whether and how YUFA will take up equity issues for those outside the union, like members of CUPE 3903, remains to be seen.