Off-Campus Office Will Open Tuesday, August 2, 2022

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In March 2020, we made the decision to close our campus office in KTH to protect one another from Covid-19. After several years of online meetings, preparations are underway for a return to more in person union activity. In an effort to restore more face-to-face connections between members of the union and its officers and staff in an environment we can control, CUPE 3906 has secured off-campus office space.

Beginning on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, the off-campus office at 1046 King St W will be open during the following hours: 10am-4pm, Monday-Thursday. These hours are subject to change.

Until further advised, masks will be mandatory for those visiting the office.

Members who are not comfortable or who cannot safely visit the office are encouraged to continue to contact the union over email. We will continue to meet with members virtually as necessary. If you need to connect with us virtually to submit benefits claims, file a grievance, or any other union business, instructions for doing so can be found here.

CUPE 3906 Presents: “Agitate, Educate, Organize!”

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We are very excited to launch our long-awaited comic, produced by Petroglyph Studios. The comic, “Agitate, Educate, Organize!” tells the story of a Postdoc steward trying to convince his TA/Sessional Instructor friends to visit the picket line, where Postdocs are on strike for a pension. With this comic, we hope to share some of our issues in all three of our bargaining units with the wider university community, as well as spark a conversation about what it means to show up for one another, as students and academic workers alike continue to struggle against the increasing precarity of work in the neoliberal academy.

Click here to view and download a copy of “Agitate, Educate, Organize!”

A limited number of physical copies are also available in our off-campus office, so please swing by and pick one up!

Sessional Faculty Strike Deadline Set for July 22

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Sessional Faculty Strike Deadline Set for July 22

On June 27, the University’s negotiators requested that the Ministry of Labour start the countdown to a legal strike or lockout position after the Unit 2 Bargaining Team refused to accept the University’s latest proposal of a two-year, 1% per year agreement with no improvements to job security. It is not clear whether McMaster plans to lock Sessionals out, but because they’ve set this process in motion the Collective Agreement will have no legal effect as of Friday, July 22 unless a tentative agreement can be reached. This would mean continuing to work without the protection of the union, without access to the grievance procedure, and with no guarantee of ongoing access to benefits or anything else established by our Collective Agreement. In response, the Unit 2 Bargaining Team has had no choice but to a set a strike deadline of Friday, July 22. The Team has indicated to the employer its desire to continue to bargain, but based on the results of the strike vote and the many months of consultation with members about their priorities, the deal on the table now is simply unacceptable.

Unless a tentative agreement can be reached, Sessionals will be on strike as of July 22. Anyone continuing to work will be scabbing. “Scabbing” means performing work usually done by a striking worker. Scabbing does serious damage to the labour movement. It undermines the union’s ability to secure a strong Collective Agreement. Scabs will not have the protection of the union during a strike, and they could face sanctions by the union once a strike is resolved.

The Strike Committee has begun canvassing members for their availability for picket duties and is in the process of scheduling a town hall meeting where we can all come together to learn what’s at stake, ask questions, and voice our concerns. Please continue to monitor your inboxes for that information. In the meantime, please take a look at our Strike FAQ for more information. If you would like to get involved in planning the strike, please reach out to strikecochairs@cupe3906.org.

Members may want to begin discussing with their students the potential impacts a strike may have on them. To that end, members should review the University’s policy on the Rights and Responsibilities of Undergraduate Students During Work Stoppages That Substantially Disrupt Academic Activities. Members may also want to talk to full-time faculty in their departments about their right to refuse to perform struck work. Teaching Assistants and Postdocs may also be asked to scab in the event of a strike. As fellow members of CUPE 3906, their Collective Agreements protect them from being forced to perform struck work and the union expects them to respect Sessionals’ right to strike by refusing to scab.

Please consider sending a letter to the University to show your support for Sessionals.

Large Class Supplement and Post Contract Work- Sessional Faculty

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We have heard that some sessionals have yet to been paid the Large Class Supplemental Fee. For those of you earning the base rate and teaching a class with more than 75 students, please note that your last pay stub should reflect an additional supplementary payment of $2.00 per student per unit for each student above 75.  For a typical 3-unit course, this would amount to $6.00 per student for each student above 75. If you taught a class with more than 75 students and you have yet to see the supplemental fee added, please reach out to your department ASAP to confirm that this additional supplement will been paid on April 8th if it has not been already.  If the payment is not processed by the end of this week, it will need to be paid on April 22nd, so please follow-up with your administrator this week and let us know if there are any issues.

Any post-contract work (that is, work requested by your supervisor and done after your final grades have been submitted) is separate from your contract and payable at a rate of $67.37/hour. This would include reviewing grades that are being challenged, marking exam that have been deferred, and dealing with cases of plagiarism. This is not an exhaustive list, and more information, including the appropriate form you’ll need to fill out and submit to get paid, is available here. If you are asked to perform this work and are collecting EI or CERB, please let us know.

Once your marks have been submitted (the main list, this does not need to include any deferred exams or extensions based on accommodations), your contract is over and this triggers the beginning of the post-contract period.

Women in Leadership Development Program (WILD)

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Following two years of COVID restrictions, CUPE Ontario is launching the Women in Leadership Development (WILD) program for Indigenous, Black, and racialized women.

WILD is a radical new leadership program set to start in the Summer of 2022. This new training will equip Indigenous, Black, and racialized women to further think and act strategically and critically, build capacity to communicate with confidence, take risks and build bridges.

Most importantly, it will inspire us to be the creative and courageous leaders the movement needs.

The program will consist of:

  • An in-person 5-day session in August 2022
  • A leadership project
  • Working with a mentor
  • A closing weekend session in Spring 2023

We are looking for members from affiliated locals who:

  • Have lived experience as a woman who is Indigenous, Black, or racialized
  • Bring leadership experience or are new activists
  • Come from across the province and sectors

This application is now live and will close July 1 2022 (click here for application)

Contact AROAP@cupe.on.ca if you have any questions or need more information.

Petition to support fellow CUPE worker Cihan Erdal

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Cihan Erdal is a Canadian permanent resident, queer youth activist, doctoral student, and coordinator of the Centre for Urban Youth Research at Carleton University in Ottawa. He was unjustly detained in Turkey on unfounded charges in September 2020, after being swept up in a mass arrest of politicians, activists, and academics in Istanbul.

The Free Cihan Erdal campaign has widespread Canadian and international backing. Cihan has the support of his university and the broader academic community, his union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and many other groups and organizations around the world.

Thousands of people have taken up Cihan’s cause, and it’s made a difference.
Add your voice today: https://act.newmode.net/action/free-cihan-erdal

Our continuing support and solidarity will help free Cihan and bring him safely home to his partner, his studies, and his chosen home country of Canada.

You can stay up to date on Cihan’s situation at freecihanerdal.ca and on Twitter at @FreeCihanErdal

Professional Development Deadline – August 5th

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As a reminder, the deadline to submit all PDF applications for the Summer 2022 term will be August 5th. Please make sure that you send all applications to Benefits@3906.org prior to the deadline in order to ensure a timely review of your application.

If you have any questions about the PDF please email Benefits@cupe3906.org.

For information about eligibility, entitlement, and a copy of the PDF application form please visit the following website:
https://cupe3906.org/sessionals-unit-2/professional-development-fund-unit-2/

Unit 2 Strike Prep Bulletin- Update

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Dear Sessional Faculty,

Your Bargaining Team will resume bargaining on Monday, June 13, with the help of a government-appointed mediator, in hopes of reaching a negotiated settlement to avoid a strike or lockout. As you know, the union and the university are still very far apart when it comes to a number of priorities, including fair wages, job security, retirement security, and training. Following the 85% strike mandate given to the Unit 2 Bargaining Team, strike preparations are well under way. This email contains two important updates related to strike preparations.

Strike Committee – June 17 at 1pm (Zoom)

The union has formed its Strike Committee and elected Unit 2 member, Simon Orpana, as its Chair. The next meeting will be held virtually over the Zoom platform on Friday, June 17, beginning at 1pm. At this meeting, we will pull together all of the existing strike materials as we work through CUPE’s Strike Preparation program. We will need to find volunteers to serve in various capacities on the Strike Committee, and make important decisions about picket line locations and times, approved picket duties, the location of an off-campus strike office, and so on. All Unit 2 members are encouraged to attend and participate; so long as you taught at some point in the 2021-2022 academic year or you have a contract in hand to teach next year, you have an interest in the outcome of this round of bargaining. Please email Simon at strikecochairs@cupe3906.org if you plan to attend the meeting, or if you can’t attend but want to be kept in the loop for future Strike Committee activities.

Picket Captain Training – June 30 at 1pm (In-person)

The union has organized Picket Captain Training, which will take place on June 30 from 1-4pm. This training will happen in person at the CUPE Hamilton Area Office downtown (21 King St W, Hamilton). Picket Captains are responsible for maintaining safe and effective picket lines. A well-trained roster of Picket Captains will be vital to the success of a strike, should one become necessary. If you are willing to serve as a Picket Captain and you would like to attend this training in person, please RSVP to me in writing and I’ll get back to you with more information. If you are interested in serving as a Picket Captain, but you are unable to attend the training in person on June 30, please let me know and we’ll see what alternative arrangements can be made. More training sessions may be made available if necessary.

I know this round of bargaining has been tremendously stressful, and I want to thank you for your continued patience and support. A union is only ever as strong as its members are willing to work together and fight for a better workplace. Please email me if you have questions or concerns.

In solidarity,

Chris (he/him)
President, CUPE 3906