What you probably don’t know about the York strike

Three rarely-talked-about facts make this strike unique


I was interviewed by a writer for the National Post today for my views on the strike at York, and the threat of other actions elsewhere. I’ll link to the story when it appears (here it is now – they spelled my name wrong) but for now I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had in connection with the strike. Some ideas came together for the interview that I hadn’t previously sorted out.

For complete OnCampus coverage of the York University strike, click here

I’ve said before that many people don’t understand what’s going on with this strike. I won’t claim I’ve got a monopoly on understanding it, but I do firmly believe it’s a unique kind of strike. It exists on the boundary between labour law and politics, and educational policy and politics. It can’t really be understood from only one of those two perspectives. I’ll illustrate why with a view to three key issues.

Issue One – It’s About the Cost of Education

Viewed only as a labour action you’d certainly tend to think this strike is about compensation for work, wouldn’t you? Not for all the graduate students on strike, it isn’t. This strike includes teaching assistants, research assistants, and contract faculty all in the same bargaining unit. With the exception of the last group, they’re almost all graduate students. These aren’t ordinary workers on strike. These are students in their own right. And they have all the same concerns common to all students, including the cost of their education.

The real cost of education isn’t only tuition. It includes however much it costs to live and support oneself while learning. This is an entirely uncontroversial claim, I hope. Every funding model I’ve ever seen takes into account cost of living, so I’ll assume we can agree on this much.

The pay that graduate students receive for their work as TAs and RAs is part of their funding package for school. These jobs come as part of the support that is guaranteed to every graduate student. The wage they receive, by the hour, isn’t remotely about the real value of the work they do. It’s just an indirect way of defraying the cost of graduate education.

Graduate students in their 20s-30s are living on about $14k/year, after the cost of tuition, books, etc. They almost certainly are, in many cases, assuming additional debt in order to get through their graduate degrees, or else living in poverty to avoid that. I’m not out to promote a position on whether this is a reasonable circumstance or not, because I appreciate it’s a controversial question. But it’s very important to understand that to graduate students this is the issue – how much it costs them to go to school.

So issue one is that this is a cost-of-education strike disguised as a labour action. And undergraduates, screwed by this as they may be, might pause to appreciate the elegance of the move. If undergrads could somehow get away with striking under the Labour Relations Act, in order to lessen the costs of their education, I do imagine they’d jump at the chance.

Issue Two – The Dangers of a Casual Workforce

For all those inclined to look at this through an educational lens, it’s important to realize the casualization of labour is happening all around. It’s sometimes characterized as a “flexible workforce,” for those who want to make it sound good. But under any terminology, it’s about moving work towards a lower cost and lower maintenance workforce that can be easily disposed of.

There are real dangers associated with this, however, and York is now feeling the effects of this head on. The staff and students who are on strike feel no long-term investment in York or commitment to its success. The York “brand” is taking a shit-kicking in this strike (to use the technical term for it) but most of the people on strike have no reason to care. The grad students will all move on in a few years and most of the instructors on strike, as has been noted, have a short-term investment in their jobs. Note that in the forced vote that just occurred, support for the continued strike was lowest among instructors. I’d bet, if the information could be isolated, that long-term instructors who have the reasonable expectation of a continuing relationship with York (even lacking any guarantee of one) support the strike less than anyone. They’ll still be around to clean up the mess and to live with the consequences, long after everyone else has moved on.

So this is issue two. The more universities rely on a casual workforce with no investment in the long-term health of the institution, the more they will be vulnerable to bitter and destructive labour actions. You can blame CUPE for this, and fairly point out that they don’t seem to care about what they are doing to York and to York’s students. But you can also blame York itself, for increasingly moving the bulk of instructor duties into the hands of people who have no real reason to care.

Issue Three – Saturation of the PhD Market

One of the points that’s been oft-repeated during this strike is that we’re talking about future PhDs and professors, and it’s awfully hard to rouse sympathy for the plight of these very privileged people. After all, it’s a case of “short-term pain for long-term gain” as someone put it lately, and even if graduate students live in poverty during their studies, they will surely reap the benefits in the future. Similarly, contract instruction can be seen as simply a period of unstable employment before PhD grads find better and more stable positions.

Well, that’s just not true anymore. Ask any university professor and they’ll give you the low down. Some decades ago, newly minted PhDs were getting recruited like nobody’s business. Just like computer programmers back before the tech market went bust, almost anyone qualified could walk into a good job. These days, the employment pickings are slim indeed. And so PhD students and recent grads aren’t willing to accept the “short-term pain for long-term gain” argument. It’s simply not plausible any more.

Now as many folks have pointed out, things are rough all around. There’s an obvious shortage of guarantees out there on the job market and there’s no special reason why PhD grads should be the exception. But in this case they do have at least one good reason to feel especially bitter about it. And that is that the oversupply of qualified workers, in this case, is being created by the very employers who then turn around and offer them only poorly-paid (in relative terms) short-term jobs with no benefits and few prospects.

Remember that universities are simultaneously the producers of PhD grads and are also, in many fields, the only real employment market for them. Some graduates in more applied fields have the opportunity to go to work for private employers, and they aren’t quite a captive workforce in the same way, but in many fields it’s barely an option at all.

I can’t imagine any solution for this problem. The academic marketplace is so small that it’s effectively a global concern. Even if Canada were to put strict limitations on the number of PhD slots available, it would make no real difference. But on a general level, “The Academy” (meaning the whole university establishment) has become irresponsible about the production of PhDs.

So issue three is that the employment market for professional academics is completely unlike any other. I can’t think of any other situation where a small cabal of employers has both a monopoly on the availability of work and also a monopoly on the production of qualified employees. If you were an employer in that situation, wouldn’t you be motivated to create an over-supply in the qualified workforce, or at least unconcerned about doing so? I know I would.


I’ve been trying hard not to pick sides in this strike. The truth is, I’m conflicted on any number of levels about what’s “right” here. But I do know it’s important to understand this strike, as best we can, and it can’t only be grasped from the perspective of either labour politics or educational politics. It’s a complicated amalgam of the two, and all the more challenging for that reason.

The uncomfortable punch line to all of this is the following. Absolutely none of the factors that I’ve cited are unique to York. It’s true all around that graduate students are poorly funded. They get enough to survive but not much more. It’s true all around that universities are increasingly reliant on casual workforces that have little or no long-term investment in the success and stability of their employers. They aren’t necessarily out to cause trouble, but when push comes to shove they have no particular reason to play nice. And it’s true all around that the job market for academics and PhD grads is quite bad. It’s not great for everyone else either, but then at least other workers are spared the feeling that their own institutions are complicit in creating the problem.

I leave you with those cheery thoughts. The problems are widespread and rooted in our institutional structures. I don’t know how to solve them, so I can only hope that wiser heads than mine are working on this. Because I do know for sure we aren’t going to find solutions if we continue to hang this situation either on the militancy of CUPE 3903 or on the stupidity of the York administration. It goes much, much deeper than that.

Questions are welcome at jeff.rybak@utoronto.ca. Even those I don’t address here will still receive replies.


What you probably don’t know about the York strike

  1. Jeff,

    Great piece thank you for adding it to the discussion.

    It should be noted that another cause of the increased use of contract faculty is that the Canadian Association of University Teachers has successfully negotiated decreases in teaching loads for tenured faculty.

    This has increased the cost of teaching classes. Whereas previously two tenured faculty members would teach six classes, the universities now require three for the same six classes.

    The “deficit” has been filled with the use of lower paid contract workers.

  2. :-( How come this article is split into multiple pages? Why not all on one page?

  3. Umm, ’cause it’s really long? ;)

    Sorry if you find that inconvenient. But really long pages create their own problems. I hope it’s worth the couple of extra clicks for you.

  4. It is worth it, it just seems like a way to falsely inflate the number of clicks on the website that’s all :)

  5. Very insightful article!

  6. Thanks for this great explanation, Jeff.

  7. Thank you for providing an intelligent, insightful and unique perspective to this debate. I finally feel like I’m reading something that is not affected by York or CUPE spin.

  8. Thank you for a thoughtful article. Maclean’s On Campus has published the best articles about the York University strike. To add to your comments, I think that the issue boils down to self-interest and greed taking over our education system. CUPE may be addressing some of the deeper issues of the casualization of labour, but they’re putting their self-interest of gaining more power as a union first. All Universities including York are increasingly being run like businesses where the bottom line comes first. The government is refusing to take responsibility for the quality of education by allowing working conditions in Universities to deteriorate while tuition fees rise and private interests take over.

    The question is who is going to do something about this sorry situation? It is sad that the 50,000 undergrad students affected by the strike have been mostly silent. Those who have voiced their dismay have focused on how the strike affects them personally. Some are interested in suing the University and/or the Union. The prevailing attitude is that students are “customers” who have paid for an education and who haven’t received “the goods” due to the strike. While there is some truth in this, it doesn’t go very far in terms of solving the problems. Students are the first ones who need to become interested in the quality of education they are receiving and how the bigger picture affects this. If undergrads don’t care, then who will? The issues that have been raised during this strike aren’t going to go away. The Union, the Administration and the Government have shown that they will all continue to act out of self-interest and greed unless the public (starting by the students) puts pressure on them to address some of the fundamental problems in our educational system.

  9. Well written article. As a tradesman who faced some of the same problems with low pay starting out I have some sympathy for the graduate students but not a whole lot. As an apprentice I not only had to live on a low wage but buy thousands of dollars worth of tools and go to school. I do have to wonder though if as you stated there are few jobs after graduation other than teaching the next bunch, why anyone would pursue a degree that does not bring a reasonable expectation of a good paying job afterwards. What are they studying? There is a shortage of doctors and engineers almost everywhere. I don’t mind helping educate the next generation but I expect them to be qualified to do something other than cashier at a self serve gas station after a weeks training.

  10. Good article.

    A correction to the comment above about the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). The CAUT does not negotiate on behalf of university faculty. It is an association of faculty associations and each association represents its own members on each campus. Some of these faculty associations are also certified bargaining agents a.k.a unions.

    It is true that the tenured members have sought to decrease teaching load; however, this is in response to the drive for more research productivity and the pressure to obtain external grant funding. Many tenure and tenure-stream profs are in a cycle of heavy research, driven by grants and the need to publish, and that is what they spend most of their time on. Contract faculty, such as those on strike at York, are not paid to do research. If York continues to rely heavily on contract workers, it will increasingly undermine its already weak research culture.

    One of the most important issues in this strike is the question of who will control the hiring of full time faculty in the university. Should CUPE and employer control these positions through agreed-upon seniority rules for CUPE members? Or should these faculty be hired through an open and competitive international process? Competitive hiring is controlled by the department and faculty are effectively hired by the judgement of their peers who are knowledgeable about their research and best able to make judgments. In addition, the faculty also determine curricular priorities and, when allocated a full-time position by the university, decide on how the job should be advertised to best fill the needs of the curriculum and students. If CUPE has its way, then full time faculty (YUFA members) will not control the process. It would be interesting to look into YUFA’s reaction to the strike.

    I agree that this strike represents a crisis for Canadian postsecondary education. The system has reached its limit in the use of contract labour and cannot go any further toward casualization without fundamentally undermining the nature of the university. The current strike at York shows the university in transition to a community college model. While this is fine for some kinds of teaching, it is not good for research. And, at the end of the day, students are entitled to have profs who are on the cutting edge and who are active researchers in their fields. Most studies of teaching performance at the postsecondary level shows that the best researchers are the best teachers. Therefore, teaching is eventually affected by casualization, as standards decline.

    Re: the academic job market. That is highly variable by field and time period. However, you are right that universities often expand grad programs for the purpose of turning out TAs and contract workers to assist in teaching the mass of undergraduates. In that sense, many grad programs at York are there to produce the casual workforce to deliver the undergraduate program. This is well known on campus as departments will argue that they should have a grad program so that they will have TAs for their undergrad program.

  11. @Benson

    CAUT is involved to the same extent as the AUCC in setting national goals for bargaining. Yes, they are not officially at the table, but they are involved in assisting the individual faculty associations.

  12. Agreed. CAUT sometimes assists in local bargaining, depending on the political situation on the particular campus. Some faculty associations do not like CAUT and would not involve or consult them. Others are pro-CAUT.

    Also, it is important to note that most collective agreements for full time faculty do not actually specify the teaching load; rather, teaching load is only mentioned in terms of a normal teaching obligations or a load in accordance with custom and practice. Sometimes, teaching loads vary from faculty to faculty and even department to department and they are not bargained through the collective agreement.

    York is a partial exception to this among Ontario universities. Before the CUPE 3903 strike, YUFA was poised to take up the issue of reducing York teaching load. I doubt that will happen now but we’ll see. If YUFA achieved a reduced load for full time faculty (in line with most other universities that have a 2/2 load), that would open up more jobs for CUPE 3903 contract faculty.

  13. Pingback: York University gets back-to-work legislation : Macleans OnCampus

  14. “It’s true all around that graduate students are poorly funded. They get enough to survive but not much more.”

    Oh please.

    This is what “barely enough to survive” looks like:


    Citibank just laid off 58,000+. Microsoft laid off 5,000+. And these TAs think they are special?

    As an undergrad student who almost lost his first year to the 2001 strike, I can only offer a big whole ___ YOU to the TAs and this union.

  15. You know, I don’t think I need to defend myself to “pissed off undergrad” but I’m going to, all the same.

    Please refer to any number of people above yourself who seem satisfied that I’m dancing successfully along the knife’s edge of neutrality here. I truly am conflicted about this strike. It’s complicated in any number of ways, and “right” and “wrong” to my mind have become badly blurred.

    But I am not conflicted on at least one issue. I don’t believe the answer to coordinated labour action should ever be (as you seem to suggest) “be thankful you have a job at all” or “you’re lucky you aren’t starving” (as your very inappropriate graphic suggests). That position is an insult to just above everyone who’s involved with labour at any level at all, because it denies even the complexity of the issues at hand.

    “Be thankful you have a job at all” is the answer of a Dickensesque factory owner. It implicitly recognizes the absolute right of those in power to dictate terms to everyone else, and it has no place in modern society at all. If you can’t see beyond bare and transparent rhetoric of this sort, then I think you missed out on more than part of your first year in university.

  16. This strike has become a political farse. Where are the interests of the students? There were 3400+ keeping 50000 students from classes now there are 8 NDP people. The strike has taken its course and has failed to come to a conclusion. The process has been followed and has failed to give a resolution so it it time to step back and give the students their just right to an education which they have payed for in blood sweat and tears in low paying part time jobs to be able and rightfully so to get an education in order to better themselves. This strike does nothing but ruin the need for unions or the NDP.

  17. Pingback: Thinking the Unthinkable: The Ontario NDP is both wrong AND missing an opportunity to be relevant « CYNICISM FALLS ASLEEP

  18. You know I have been searching and reading up on this and still don’t understand the real issues.

    Offically how much are the TA’s getting paid, what are the work hours, what challenges are there in job security?

    In the 2001 strike I was a Seneca College Computer Studies student working nights to put myself through school. Just because my campus was beside York I was also held up from coming to class too.

    I remember asking these same questions and getting evasive answers.

  19. John Brass, I work as a TA at another Ontario institution, so I would assume our pay scale is fairly similar to York’s: a TA probably makes on the order of ~$35-38/hour. That might seem pretty good, but remember that a TA contract is only worth maybe 100 hours per semester, for, realistically, probably 150-200 hours of work. Most universities don’t allow a grad student to take more than 1 contract per semester, so you’re looking at $4000-5000 per semester.

    Job security for grad student TAs may depend on the faculty, but is reasonably good in my experience. Hiring policies usually give strong preference to grad students even compared to much more qualified community members. You just don’t really make much money. On the other hand, adjunct professors (contract faculty) have virtually no job security: they are often retained only on a course-by-course basis for fairly minimal pay, and basically need to reapply for their job at the end of the semester. Their prospects for advancement are fairly limited, because research plays so much of a role in getting into full-time positions, and they don’t have access to research facilities while on contract. The pay for adjuncts is pretty dismal–$30k/year is poor compensation for 10 years of post-secondary education.

  20. RAs and TAs are sort of midway between employment and financial aid. Typically they are part of the “funding package” promised by the university upon admission (and, like it was mentioned before, universities use these funding packages in a competitive manner to attract the best graduate students).

    Research-based graduate degrees are not merely training for a future career. Graduate students do the greater part (in terms of persons-hours) of the university research work, which is the main “output” of universities in addition to teaching. (TAs and part-time profs together apparently do more than half of the teaching at York, as well. Not sure if it’s the same for all universities.)

    Universities in Ontario have been doing a massive PR boost to recruit graduate students lately because the government has been tying their subsidies to an expansion of graduate student enrollment. Of course, as Jeff points out, universities don’t expand grad enrollment because they want all these people to become professors (there will likely never be enough faculty positions for all the PhDs). They do it to attract research funding, and to get the massive amounts of low-cost, highly-skilled technicians required (i.e. grad students) required to perform this research.

    (for a talk about this reality of grad school from senior biologists in the US, see the first minutes of the following video: http://www.ars-synthetica.net/archive/items/show/276)

    It’s not always obvious that grad students do the research because their supervisor will get most of the public credit. To give a historical example from physics, everyone knows “Rutherford’s gold sheet experiment” which validated his model of the atom, but few people know the actual experiment was performed by two graduate students (among which Hans Geiger who later became famous).

  21. I think that some care should be given to the variation of market conditions in different disciplines. Too often, departments the number of grad students accepted far exceeds the number that can reasonably expect to find a job for which a PhD is necessary, or even relevant. I remember talking to the dean of an Arts and Sciences faculty (he was an economist), and he simply could not believe that the English department had over 100 ABD PhD students.

  22. Coming to this a bit late, but now that we have a bit of perspective on the strike, Jeff’s ‘pox on both your houses’ doesn’t quite cut it. Given all the sector-wide forces that he quotes, he can’t just get away with a ‘militant’ CUPE 3903 and a ‘stupid’ York administration.

    The nub of this strike was a matter of principle:

    should contract teachers be allowed to take over scarce tenured positions based solely on the amount of time spent within CUPE 3903


    should those positions be filled by tenured professors after a worldwide search for the very best?

    Every university in the world knows the answer to that question because academia is about excellence. To paraphrase Alexander Pope we should judge a coin by its value, not by the rust that is on it.

  23. @Trinity. I think it’s a little inaccurate to suggest my piece was intended as a “pox on both your houses” perspective. I wrap up, at the end, with the observation that we can’t blame this strike on the militancy of CUPE or on the stupidity of the York administration, as so many wish to do. I don’t know why you concluded that I was personally judging CUPE to be militant or York to be stupid by writing that, but I invite you to reread.

    Further, while your suggestion that universities should rely mainly on tenured research faculty is certainly one way to avoid this problem in the future, you are willfully ignoring the very points I’ve raised. The casualization of labour at York didn’t happen in a vacuum. It didn’t occur simply because the administration was asleep at the wheel one day and forgot to hire full-time faculty for a while. It is the result of many institutional forces and pressures, which are not unique to York, and which will not disappear with back-to-work legislation.

    If you think we’ve got more perspective on the situation now than we used to you may believe this is over. I don’t believe that for a moment. The very nature of a university is changing, and you can’t bandage that over by quoting aphormisms from Alexander Pope. This ongoing change will prompt a variety of disputes, and labour is definitely one of them. This will play out many times over at York and elsewhere, in the coming decade

  24. Jeff- You are attempting to justify a 3 month labour action based on the fact that tuition is high, York deserved it because of their ‘casual’ workforce (ONLY the contract faculty applies here) and that it’s getting hard for someone with a PhD to get a job. I don’t buy it.

    We CAN blame CUPE for being militant. Case in point- York has $1.7 million in cash it could use to give CUPE 3903 improvements. CUPE knows this (or should know it- CUPE’s incompetence during the strike was staggering), because all of York’s finances are posted publically. Yet, CUPE kept pushing that they would find a negotiated settlement with their high demands. They even suggested that York should take money from the Power of 50 Charity fund (which is illegal). Either CUPE is pushing a militant stance based on the idealistic principals you’ve noted, or they’re just stupid. Take your pick. York’s final offer was way beyond their ability to pay, yet CUPE’s militant workers rejected the deal. Now they’re going to get a deal lower than the final offer.

    We CAN also blame York’s administrators for being incompetent. Somehow, York’s management saw a decline in profit over $38 million! That has to be a record at a large Canadian university. Even with the economy battering the endowment fund (which lost 2.8% of it’s value), I can’t understand how they lost this staggering amount of income. If York was in the private sector, Shoukri would be out of a job.

    Jeff, you’re being too soft on CUPE. This is labour action- not a revolution. Therefore, a pox on both their houses!

    Thanks to CUPE 3903 for introducing back to work legislation to the university sector. We’ve needed to redefine the power of public sector unions for a long time.

  25. Hey Steve, you CAN blame whoever you like. That’s exactly right. But like it not, once you get done blaming people, there are still underlying causes to consider. And simply pointing an accusatory finger (as much fun as it may sometimes be) doesn’t tend to address those causes.

    I’m not trying to justify the labour action at all. I’m trying to explain it. If you prefer your “CUPE is stupid and would rather shoot their own feet off than ask for something reasonable” explanation then you are welcome to it. Personally, an explanation like that seems so implausible to me that it prompts me to look for deeper causes. And I do believe those causes exist. They may or may not rise to the level of an “excuse” for anyone concerned – but I’m less interested in blame and so I don’t care to evaluate that. I’m interested in what happens next. And as I’ve said already, back to work legislation hasn’t made the fundamental causes go away – at York or elsewhere.

  26. I’m saying that we shouldn’t exonerate CUPE’s awful performance based on the broad macro-economic situation. CUPE deserves all the shame they bring their way. Those underlying causes don’t relate to labour action. The ’causes’ you’ve named aren’t causes, they’re excuses.

    If CUPE 3903 cared about these causes, they’d be petitioning the Ontario government, not holding 50,000 students hostage.

  27. …and it’s pretty hard to argue that the ‘CUPE is just stupid and would rather shoot their feet off’ is inaccurate. What exactly did they do right? They did blow their feet off!

  28. We’re talking completely at cross purposes here, Steve, so I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I’m trying to say that what I wrote isn’t about assigning blame at all. What I interpret you as saying is that the only analysis worth doing consists of blaming someone – preferably CUPE.

    As I’ve said, you’re welcome to that opinion. A lot of the time that’s all anyone wants, anyway – just someone to blame. If I were a York student, or perhaps the parent of one, maybe that’s what I’d want too. But then someone has to look at the situation more dispassionately and actually address the fundamental issues. And simply pointing fingers, whether rightly or wrongly, won’t solve those issues.

    You say the underlying causes don’t relate to labour action. Did you even read my article? You might as well be quoting me back at myself. Absolutely, some of the most serious underlying causes don’t relate to labour! But pointing that out doesn’t make them go away either. Someone is still going to have to deal with those causes.

    If you want to blame go right ahead. From the perspective of an outside observer, you have no need to do more than that. But if you want to understand why this problem is far from over, and why it’s going to keep coming up in future years at York and elsewhere, then you need to move beyond blame. So I really hope you’ll forgive me for believing there are things worth saying about this strike that aren’t simply about who we should blame for it.

  29. I disagree- all parties share blame, and they should fix it. I’m just saying that the majority of the solution will need to be shouldered by CUPE and York. Deflecting blame away from them isn’t productive at all. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that CUPE’s militancy bordered on insanity and York’s management is far too incompetent to be running a university. They both deserve every bit of critisism they get. We also need to understand that the government isn’t going to be bailing out the university sector anytime soon. Therefore, York, CUPE, YUFA and the YFS need to stop throwing stones and start working together to address these concerns. Take a hint from the CAW!

    Hopefully this incident wakes up these morons up.

  30. … but we could just exonerate all the parties involved, blame the labour market, and the vicious cycle starts all over again.

  31. Hi Jeff,

    sorry I have re-read your piece and you are quite right I missed the irony in your concluding statement (have you considered flagging irony for Canadian audiences? It would help).

    The nub of the strike though was the matter of principle over tenure competitions, which is why 3903 eventually ‘lost’. They had no support in the University on that issue and no support in the wider community for their wage/package demands however dressed up.

    I think you are right that this issue will linger because of the casualization of the thingy but merit is merit and entitlement is entitlement, whatever the package. To paraphrase Alexander Pope…

  32. @Trinity

    Well, I actually did laugh out loud at “have you considered flagging irony for Canadian audiences? It would help,” so big thanks for the laugh. I very much appreciate it.

    Your points about tenure are well taken, and are already more nuanced than most discussion of this topic, so props for that. But I don’t think CUPE’s goals on this topic are quite as unreasonable as all that. As opposed to traditional tenure positions, they are seeking tenure-style teaching positions, which do exist elsewhere but not, currently, at York.

    This gets to a sticky problem, and perhaps something I should write up elsewhere. You know … I -am- going to write it up today. So thanks again. You’ve inspired my next blog entry, which has been overdue.