Tentative Agreement Reached for Unit 1 (TAs and RAs in lieu)

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Dear Unit 1 (TA/RA in lieu) Members,

The Bargaining Team is pleased to announce that after two days of conciliation we have reached a tentative agreement with the Employer. The agreement substantively addresses many the key concerns you brought to us throughout the process, and along with our counterparts from the Employer’s bargaining team, we are recommending that it be ratified.

We will present details of the agreement at a Special General Membership Meeting, where a ratification vote will also begin. This SGMM will take place immediately following the General Membership Meeting called forDecember 7, 2016 in MDCL 1102 at 5:00pm. Following the meeting, ratification voting will take place the following two days, December 8-9, in Mills and Thode libraries with the voting booths opening at 10:00am and closing at5:00pm each day.

Thank you for your ongoing support and participation during this process. This deal would not have been possible to achieve without your engagement.

In solidarity,

Your CUPE 3906 Unit 1 Bargaining Team

Media Release: McMaster TAs and RAs negotiate to improve working conditions on campus

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

HAMILTON, ON – 2500 Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Research Assistants (RAs) who do the bulk of the frontline instruction, grading, student consultation and research support at McMaster University, are working avoid a strike by negotiating with the university administration to addresses poverty wages, precarious work and outsourcing on campus.

The members of Local 3906 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 3906) have been without a contract since August 31. They are returning to the bargaining table on December 1 and 2 with the assistance of a provincially appointed conciliator in the hopes of reaching a deal.

“We are striving to reach a deal that addresses the financial hardships experienced by our members,” said President of CUPE 3906, Sarah Wahab. “Our members are precarious workers and many of them live under conditions of poverty. The goal for this round of bargaining is to not only address these issues, but to begin the long process of remedying them.”

A recent strike vote taken by the membership has given the local the approval to take strike action if the two sides cannot reach an agreement on these core issues.

“We are looking forward to getting back to the table with a focused package built around the most important remaining issues, as identified by our members,” Wahab said, “These are job security, working conditions, wages and outsourcing.” Students currently face unpredictable hiring practices that leave them unsure of their jobs every semester, workload issues based on the number of classes taught during a semester, reductions in the number of guaranteed hours and wage increases that get eaten away by inflation and the rising cost of tuition.

McMaster University was recently named a top employer in the Hamilton-Niagara Region but academic workers fail to see things that way. “What we are fighting for, job security, working conditions, living wages, these should not be issues at a top employer,” Wahab added. “Our hope is that through negotiations we can get the university to earn this reputation.”


For more information please contact:

Sarah Wahab, CUPE 3906 President, 905-525-9140 x 24003

Matthew Stella, CUPE Communications, 905-739-3999

General Membership Meeting- December 7

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Members,

    The Union’s most significant decisions are made by Union members at General Membership Meetings (GMMs).

All CUPE 3906 members of all 3 units (TAs and RAs in lieu, Sessional Faculty, Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows) can attend regular GMMs and get involved in the Union’s decision making processes.

    Our next GMM will be held on Wednesday, December 7th at 5:00 P.M. in MDCL 1102.

Agenda items include
: motion to destroy U1 strike vote ballots as per the Local’s by-laws; approval to send delegates to the Ontario University Workers’ Coordinating Committee’s (OUWCC) conference; approval for $300 honorarium for local Strike Support Committee Coordinators.

There will be free pizza and childcare costs to attend the meeting can be reimbursed.

In solidarity,
Your CUPE 3906 Executive Committee

Unit 2 Professional Development Fund Deadline- Dec 7, 2016

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The deadline for Fall 2016 applications to the Professional Development Fund is Wednesday, December 7th, 2016, at 4:30 P.M.  Please drop off applications for the fall 2016 term at our office, KTH B111 (basement of Kenneth Taylor Hall).  For information about eligibility and for the PDF application form, please visit http://cupe3906.org/sessionals-unit-2/professional-development-fund-unit-2/  No late submissions for the fall term will be accepted.

5th year PhDs…..

Brad WalchukUncategorized

McMaster administration thinks that 5th year funding could promote “bad beahvior”

Our members disagree and feel 5th year funding is necessary for a #BetterMac




Finishing a PhD in 4 years? Probably not

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We’re asking our members to #LetUsKnow why they haven’t completed their PhD in 4 years, or why they know they won’t be able to do so. Support and Employment for 5th year PhD students is a key part of a #BetterMac and reflects the reality of doctoral studies



Strike Vote Results

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Dear Unit 1 (TA/RA in lieu) Members,

We would like to thank you for coming out to our polling stations over the last few days and for giving us a clear strike vote mandate.

We are heartened by the support that a 72% ‘YES’ result represents. This shows a real commitment to fair wages, job security, better working conditions, and a stop to further outsourcing of Unit 1 work on campus. Having heard the collective voice of our membership, we feel empowered to bargain a fair Collective Agreement for a #BetterMac.

We are going to put your support into action at the bargaining table and we are committed to continuing to engage you, our members, throughout the process.

The next step is conciliation. Keep an eye out for our updates and we look forward to seeing you at our bargaining support initiatives and General Membership Meetings.

In solidarity,

Your CUPE 3906 Unit 1 Bargaining Team

Unit 1 (TAs/RAs in lieu) strike vote notice and information

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Member,


We are writing to you today with some disappointing news about Unit 1 bargaining. While it is true that we have made progress on several important issues for our members, the University’s representatives at the table (hereafter ‘the Employer’) has signaled to us that they believe they have come as far as they can on matters of wages, working conditions, job security, and outsourcing. Despite our Bargaining Team’s insistence that we would like to keep talking, the Employer informed us at our last meeting that they would not be able to meet with us for another two and a half weeks.

Your Union cannot accept the Employer’s position on these important issues, nor can we accept the tacit trivialization of these negotiations that their refusal to meet until the end of the month represents. So we find ourselves at a crossroads.

It is worth recounting, in brief, how we got to this point. Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants (in lieu) will recall that we reached out to them in January of this year with a survey asking what their bargaining priorities were. The results of that survey indicated that Unit 1 members wanted, among other things, better and more reliable funding through employment, increased benefits, and mental health supports. These priorities all fall under the umbrella of job security, fair pay, and access to good working conditions.

Your elected Bargaining Team then began meeting with the Employer in July. We were shocked to discover among the Employer’s initial proposals language that compromised the employment guarantee offered to incoming graduate students as well as proposed changes to the dental plan that were sure to result in increased costs to members or even the total erosion of the plan itself. Over the last few months, your Bargaining Team has successfully convinced the Employer to withdraw or modify these proposals. The graduate employment guarantee will be maintained and your dental plan is safe. On top of that, we have negotiated access to mental health supports under the Employee and Family Assistance Program for all Unit 1 members, an especially important victory in light of the recent cuts to on-campus services for graduate students.

All of this is good news for graduate and undergraduate TAs and RAs in lieu. But our work is not done.

There are still proposals on the table that either compromise or fail to address your job security, access to fair wages, and good working conditions. For example, the Employer has not offered a satisfactory reply to our proposal to protect TAs from being forced to divide their per-term contract hours between 3 or more courses, nor have they tabled a workable solution to the problem of how to support the increasing number of PhD students who lose access to funding through employment in their 5th and 6th years of study. We are also seeing the work of our unit devalued by outsourcing on campus, while the wage gap between undergraduate and graduate TAs continues to grow, putting our undergraduate members in a more vulnerable position while ignoring the principle of equal pay for equal work.

We believe that we can hold to our priorities and get a fair deal for TAs and RAs in lieu, but we need your help to do it. There is a time in the bargaining process where words at the table will not suffice. The Employer needs to see action.

    This is why we are taking a Strike Vote, beginning on November 1st.

A strong strike vote will empower the bargaining team with a clear mandate and will help to kick-start these negotiations. It is important to note, though, that a successful mandate from a strike vote does not mean that we are automatically going on strike. Rather, it gives the Bargaining Team the ability to call a strike later on in the process as a matter of last resort. While this is the last vote that will be taken before the end of negotiations, we will – as always – continue to consult with membership to help us decide what next steps to take.

There will be an opportunity for membership to bring questions and voice concerns about the vote at our upcoming General Membership Meeting, tomorrow, October 25, 2016 in BSB B136, beginning at 4:00PM.

    The vote itself will begin at the end of the Special General Membership Meeting on November 1st at 6:00PM at Westdale United Church (99 N Oval). Doors will be open at 5:30PM. This meeting will also be another chance to for us to hear from you. Voting will commence for 90 minutes following this meeting and will continue from 10:00AM – 5:00PM in the lobbies of Mills Library and Thode Library on November 2nd and 3rd. If you are currently employed as a TA or RA (in lieu), you will need Photo ID to cast a ballot. If you do not have an appointment until January or May, you will need proof of employment (an offer letter or equivalent).

The participation of our membership has been and continues to be crucial to the bargaining process. Do not hesitate to reach out to our President (Sarah Wahab), our Vice President (Graham Baker) or a member of our staff if you have any questions or concerns leading up to the GMM and the SGMM.

You can also visit our bargaining website at bettermac.ca, where you can find an FAQ regarding the strike vote, as well as a more detailed bargaining bulletin.
In solidarity for a #bettermac,
Your CUPE 3906 Bargaining Team and Executive Committee

Changing your personal information on MOSAIC

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Dear Members,

Did you know? It’s important to keep your personal information up-to-date on the MOSAIC HR system for many reasons, such as receiving benefits reimbursements?  Keep your information current by visiting the following website: