About Us


For almost 35 years, CUPE 3906 has consistently improved the working conditions of its members, all of whom are academic workers at McMaster University.  The union has been dedicated to upholding high standards of education at McMaster University by ensuring its members are well-equipped to perform their duties.

CUPE Local 3906 traces it history to 1979, when graduate assistants at McMaster University first unionized.  They unionized with a union called the Graduate Assistants’ Association (GAA), which was created in 1973.  The new union at McMaster was the sixth to organize with the GAA, and became known as the Graduate Assistants’ Association (GAA) Local 6.

In 1980, the Graduate Assistants’ Association (GAA) and its six local unions rebranded themselves as the Canadian Union of Educational Workers (CUEW).  The union at McMaster then became known as CUEW Local 6.  Over the next fourteen years, CUEW organized workers at six additional universities.

In 1994, a merger occurred between CUEW and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the largest union in the country.  The local union at McMaster was once again rebranded, this time as CUPE Local 3906.  That same year, the new union organized Sessional Faculty at McMaster, expanding its membership to include some 300 new members and provided improved working conditions for these new members.

In 2007, the union organized yet another group of workers, McMaster’s post-doctoral fellows, bringing another 150 members into the union.

At the present time, CUPE 3906 represents almost 3000 workers at McMaster, making it the largest union on campus. We currently represent three units:

  • Unit 1: Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Research Assistants (RAs)
  • Unit 2: Sessional Faculty and Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty
  • Unit 3: Post-doctoral Fellows

CUPE 3906 provides its members with representation and benefits, all which can be easily found on this site!

We are deeply committed to grassroots local democracy and hold monthly General Membership Meetings (GMMs), which we encourage all members to come out to. Not everyone is expected to participate in the discussions at GMMs, so it is perfectly acceptable to come and just listen in! (Also, there is pizza.) A schedule of events can be found on the calendar located on the right side of this page.

Our representation of members across campus comes by way of member-driven committees, stewards in every department, a 13-person executive committee, and our local staff. Contacts for all these people and committees can be found on this site, and we encourage you to direct your questions to whomever you deem appropriate!

Thank you for visiting the CUPE website, if you have any questions or comments that could not be addressed, feel free to contact our Communications Officer.

In solidarity,

Your CUPE 3906 Executive