Sandra Hudson, former University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) executive director, has been hired by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 3903. Hudson is to serve a six-month term as CUPE 3903’s temporary staff representative.
CUPE 3903 represents teaching assistants and sessional lecturers at York University. All three units of the union went on strike at York University last year, around the same time as U of T’s CUPE 3902.
According to Maija Duncan, CUPE 3903 communications officer, the process by which Hudson was hired was delayed due to “a procedural question of whether or not the high number of abstentions at the meeting counted towards the vote total.”
A CUPE 3903 statement on Hudson’s hiring stated that the hiring committee submitted its endorsement for a candidate at the January 7 General Members’ Meeting (GMM). An executive committee meeting was scheduled for January 12 in order to ratify the decision.
Before this meeting could take place, a member of the hiring committee told CUPE 3903 chairperson Jen Cypher that there were hiring committee members who wanted a final meeting to discuss their recommendation. This occurred a day before the executive committee was scheduled to meet. As a result, the executive committee meeting was postponed and Cypher was informed a few days later that the hiring committee would not be meeting.
The executive committee approved Hudson’s hiring on January 19.
“We are hoping to learn from the complications and delays of this hiring process, and will form a committee to write a report and make recommendations in order to ensure that future hiring processes run smoothly and in a timely fashion,” read a portion of CUPE 3903’s statement.
Duncan declined to comment further: “We are not willing to comment on the decisions of the hiring committee, which does its job under conditions of confidentiality for obvious reasons,” she said.
The minutes from the GMM at which Hudson’s hiring was brought to the union’s membership have not been approved and are not available to the public.
Hudson is currently in the midst of a legal dispute with the UTSU. Hudson served as executive director of the UTSU until her departure at the end of April 2015. The UTSU alleges that Hudson fraudulently obtained cheques for overtime hours, amounting to a total of $247,726.40. Hudson is countersuing the UTSU for $300,000 in damages, alleging that the UTSU had a plan to treat her harshly and to humiliate her once the new executives took office.