Perception Is Reality

The CUPE 3903 Strike and Gratitude

Posted on: January 22, 2009



The CUPE 3903 strike has been reminiscent of an element of our society that is highlighted by capitalism. We are never grateful, let alone satisfied with what we have. We do not take responsibility for our circumstances, blaming them on others. With CUPE3903’s demands, this became very obvious in their case. Two things I would like to highlight here:

1. Freedom of speech should not become a license (as remarked by His Highness the Prince Karim Aga Khan).
2. This is demonstrated in the current scenario we find ourselves in and highlights the onset of a failing democratic method.

I would like to share with you a few words regarding this from my memoir and would like to see if you can relate.

“Perhaps the most important thing in my life that has shifted energies from negativity to positivity has been gratitude. I have been through a phase where I have been extremely insecure, believing that I was not good enough for anyone or anything. I would externalize my problems, blaming circumstances for them. Little did I realize at that point that this discontentment came not from outside, but from within. The principal factor in my dissatisfaction with life had been my ungratefulness. It had become a rote routine to be thankful. To say it, to repeat it without meaning it. To friends, to strangers, to God. When I realized the power of gratitude, my perception of life changed. My vantage point had shifted. From externalizing my problems, to internalizing my satisfaction, I was grateful. A major transformation in literally minutes, sustained over long periods. For this reason, I call this gratitude, ‘Goditude.’ “

I cannot emphasize how detrimental the affects of this strike have been. Yet, I can proudly say that it has given me time and the opportunity to grow and develop. It has brought about significant change in my life. I think that this was a necessary event in my life. Perhaps, an intervention of sorts by God. No education could have given me the strength and understanding that I have now had it not been the strike.

I believe it is time to take a hard look at the situation, as students, as the contract faculty, and as the administration at York University. This time, however, let us look at ourselves. As members of an institution, of a democratic union. As individual members of society. Let us take a look at history to see how we have failed the democratic process. Let us be thankful for what we have, and shift our energies to the positive aspects of our life.

Enter Cliche: Obama talks about hope and change. Lets talk about hope and change. Within ourselves, for ourselves. Let us trust ourselves, perhaps. As theRock Obama said,

know your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy



Let us build a capable, competent society, a strong democracy, uniting bridges.


6 Responses to "The CUPE 3903 Strike and Gratitude"

The glass of water that you drink is a gift. Bring it down to the core elements of life i.e. breathing and you’ll always have something to be thankful for. Good points Tabi. One thing is for sure, though, discipline is central for living a good life. I feel like a retired 60 year-old who no longer has (the conventional) things to strive for i.e. promotions, advancing self, rather, I need to give myself purpose for my self. When I’m undisciplined, I look for to give me purpose or the latest strike news to tell me what to do or how to think. As you said, this has been more of a challenge than the regular grind of routine and deadlines.

Thanks for sharing luigi 😉 and thanks for dropping by the blog, i hope you like it. One question: Why TSN?

haha I, like much of the rest of the affluent male population, live vicariously through sports… TSN is my outlet. religion may have been called the opiate of the masses in past centuries, but in the 21st as in the 20th, sports is a great distraction for the disillusioned. DUDE, you’re transferring out of York?!?! I know we don’t collide too often right now, but the future is bright! but at the same time, if you feel this is right for you i’m sure it’s the right decision. lastly, how do I set up a blog like this?

hey hhaha thats interesting.

yeah im transferring out, well im opening that door but the more this strike gets delayed, the more i want to transfer out., sign up and let it take u through the set up process 🙂 let me know if u need more help on msn 🙂

Yes, but you are probably comfortable at home (not trying to be condescending, just making a point)! What about those students on foreign scholarships, scholarships that provide finite funding for a finite amount of time… How are these students supposed to support themselves for an additional 3 months? How are they to pay rent? books? etc. REMEMBER, as Visa students, their education is not subsidized like yours (many Canadian don’t realize the real cost of their education and how much the government subsidizes, to get a better idea ask a Visa student how much they pay for a semester, you’ll be shocked).

These CUPE workers make over $60 an hour. YES, over $60 an hour. They complain that they aren’t allowed to work more than 10 hours a week… Err, yes, because you make over $60 an hour!

CUPE has made absurd claims like that ‘teaching assistants’ live BELOW THE POVERTY LINE! Err, since when does a part time job, less than 10 hours a week, get you ABOVE the poverty line?! If I work 1 hour a week, should my employer be paying me thousands an hour so that I could live above the poverty linie?! It’s a statement devoid of all reason and logic!

This issue is made all the more infuriating by the fact that the average student isn’t making ANYWHERE CLOSE TO THAT, heck – THE AVERAGE GRADUATE WILL NEVER REACH SUCH AN HOURLY SALARY THROUGHOUT THEIR ENTIRE CAREER! Most students who work are doing so for under $10 an hour.

Besides all of the details, I find CUPEs tactics deplorable. YES, they have a right to strike. YES, they have a right to walk off the job…But since when did ‘collective bargaining’ include the right to BLOCKADE A PUBLIC ROAD?! What’s next, blockading the DVP during Rush Hour by disgruntled doctors?! Teachers keeping kids in class for an extra 3 hours? Bus drivers parking buses across the 401?!
Since when do the rights of a tiny minority trump the rights of the majority?!

If these student teachers are worth even half their salary, then walking off the job should have been sufficient to make the point. If they are really THAT essential their absence would be felt.

Just my 3 million old Turkish Lira (2 cents)… Can find me at wingless dot aoriginality dot com…

Hey Wingless, thanks for your detailed comment 🙂

I’m not going to spend time defending that ad hominem. I’m not at home, I’m not comfortable, and if you would really honestly like to talk about deserving THEN desiring, please spend a day with Tabish Bhimani. This will leave no doubt as to why I said what I said and why I’m the RIGHT person to say it and why the way I live my life JUSTIFIES what i said.

I may be a canadian citizen, but again if you are to tell me that I don’t understand the cost to the students, please come refer to the above paragraph. I come from Pakistan and my parents earn in Rupees to convert 70 odd rupees to a Dollar. so the 7 grand or so that I pay in tuition, does dent our family bank account.

Completely agree to the rest of what you’ve said so far. Just so you know, the benefits to CUPE even if they DID have their demands met would be exponentially smaller than the detrimental effects this strike has had in both accounting and economic terms.

Thanks so much for your comments though. I really don’t understand if you’re trying to go against what I’m saying or are with me. Either way, thank you 🙂

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About the Author…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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