Increase to Postdoc Health Care Spending Account- now $250/yr

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Postdocs,

We have an important (and, we think, a helpful) update about the Health Care Spending Account that was secured in our most recent round of contract negotiations.

The maximum amount has been increased from $125 per academic year to $250 per academic year (subject to the availability of funds). 

This account will cover any health-care related expense approved by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and can be used to supplement items/services not fully covered by your SunLife plan, or items that are not covered at all by the Sun Life Plan.  (Click here to see the list of types of authorized medical practitioners whose services are eligible according to the CRA.)

The link to the application form is available here.

You must currently be working as a CUPE 3906 Unit 3 Postdoc at McMaster to access the funds.

This fund is just one of the many benefits that unionized postdoctoral fellows receive by virtue of their membership in CUPE.

McMaster’s “All Unions Committee” responds to passage of Bill 47

Brad WalchukUncategorized

While Bill 47 may now be the law, it should not be seen as a green light for McMaster University to rollback workers’ rights on campus.

We, along with Unifor 5555, SEIU Local 2, IUOE Local 772, the McMaster University Academic Librarians Association, the McMaster University Faculty Association, and Fight for $15 and Fairness – Hamilton (McMaster Chapter) stand united in our opposition to this bill and expect McMaster to live up to a higher standard.

A PDF of the signed letter is available by clicking here (all unions updated letter), and the text can be found below:

To President and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, and Provost and Vice-President David Farrar,

We the undersigned would like to openly and clearly voice our opposition to the provincial government’s efforts to introduce Bill 47 – The Making Ontario Open for Business Act. The content and nature of this legislation directly contravenes not only the long overdue labour reforms secured through Bill 148, but also Doug Ford’s campaign promise to be “for the people.”

This anti-labour legislation adds to the growing regressive legacy of the Ford Conservatives and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. This legislation, as its naming suggests, is beneficial for only one segment of Mr. Ford’s constituency: that of big business and those associated with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. The repeal of a minimum wage that is closer to a living wage, of paid sick days, of fairer scheduling practices, and of equal pay measures for part-time, temporary and casual workers, can never be “for the people.”

We the undersigned call on the Ford Conservatives to not repeal the positive changes made under Bill 148.

We also call on McMaster University to enact, in policy, changes that will uphold the changes won under Bill 148. Regressive legislation should not be seen as an opportunity for McMaster University to pay any worker less than $15 an hour or to take away two paid sick days. A recent widely published survey found that 77% of those asked opposed the repeal of the two paid emergency leave days provided under Bill 148. These days help improve the mental and physical wellbeing of employees, as well as the physical health of coworkers and students. They should be available to all workers, and the government’s new legislation should not be seen as an opportunity to strip these days from workers who do not have them guaranteed under a collective agreement. Furthermore, Bill 47 should not be taken as an opportunity to again start asking for doctor’s notes in the event of a sick day – a policy which the medical community, including those at McMaster’s medical facilities, have spoken out against. Nor should this anti-worker legislation be used to increase precarious work conditions for non-full-time employees – which the McMaster-led Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research project has found leads to worse health outcomes and lowers household well-being.

We call on McMaster University to live up to their Brighter World campaign. If the “health and well-being of all” is truly a goal of this institution, then the Making Ontario Open for Business Act and the values of McMaster are irreconcilable. The research produced by McMaster itself supports this claim.

We call for you to join us in the fight for justice, fairness, and research-based policy-making that promotes the health and well-being of all.


Angie Perez (CUPE 3906)

Emily Heikoop (Unifor 5555)

Greg Hoath (IUOE 772)

Dave Bridger (SEIU Local 2)

Denise Smith (McMaster University Academic Librarians Association)

Ben Owens (McMaster 15 and Fairness)

Michel Grignon (McMaster University Faculty Association)



Hiring: Two Member Mobilizers

Brad WalchukUncategorized

CUPE 3906 is looking for someone to do mobilizing work as part of our bargaining efforts. The mobilizing work
will consist of talking to academic workers on the McMaster University campus, with a focus on organizing
events, rallies, and helping to implement a bargaining campaign. There are two positions to fill.

The job posting is available at this link: CUPE 3906 member mobilizer- November 2018

Upcoming General Membership Meeting

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Our next General Membership Meeting will take place on Wednesday November 28th at 12:30 p.m. in BSB 108.


The agenda will include striking our bargaining support team, the election of a 3-year trustee, various committee elections and appointments (benefits, grievance), and a discussion of the Union’s response to the pending Bill 47 (which purports to reduce the minimum wage increase, end paid sick days, end equal pay for part-time employees, and a host of other changes that will be harmful to workers).

CUPE 3906 Bargaining Teams Elected

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Congratulations to our recently elected Unit 1 (TAs/RAs) bargaining team: James Watson (Sociology), Mollie McGuire (Sociology), Avijit Mallick (Biology), Nathan Todd (Philosophy), Mehrshad Kafi (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Leah McGrath-Reynolds (Labour Studies), and Chris Fairweather (Labour Studies).

Congratulations also to our recently elected Unit 3 (Postdoctoral Fellows) bargaining team: Zobia Jawed (School of Engineering Practice and Theory), Toby Brown (Physics and Astronomy), Naveed Yasin (Chemical Engineering), and our alternate Abhinav Garg (Chemical Engineering).

Membership surveys for both Unit 1 and Unit 3 members should be out in early December.

Medical Marijuana Covered by Health Care Plan

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Medical Marijuana and the medical devices you need to use medical marijuana are eligible expenses under our health care spending accounts.

It is required to provide a prescription for medical marijuana and a doctor’s note for for equipment to use/consume medical marijuana to have claims paid out.

CUPE Unit 2 Dental Update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We’re sending another quick heads up about the new Unit 2 Dental Plan, which recently went into effect for the first time ever this Fall. If you had not opted out of the plan, you would have noticed a $170 dental premium payment on your October 26th pay stub. This is a one-time deduction, which covers the period from Sept 1, 2018 to Aug 31, 2019. The dental plan provides $1000 of coverage per calendar year, meaning $1000 for the remainder of 2018, before re-setting to provide $1000 for 2019.
We had sent out numerous e-mails throughout September, so hopefully this is not the first that you are hearing from us on the dental plan.
Full details of the plan can be found here:
The dental plan is something that sessionals have long identified as a key priority in bargaining. A limited dental fund was secured in 2013, and the comprehensive plan described above was won in 2017 and rolled out for the start of the 2018-19 academic year. It is the first true benefits plan that sessional have secured through bargaining.
For those of you who have taught here previously, you may also have noticed a wage increase of 3% that came into effect as of September 1, 2017. Courses for 3.0 units are now paid a minimum base-rate of $7,407. Effective September 1, 2019, a further 2% increase will come into effective, bringing the base-rate for 3.0 units to $7,555.

General Membership Meeting- October 31st

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We want to remind you about our upcoming General Membership Meeting, to be held on Wednesday, October 31st at 12:30 in MUSC 311/13.
At this meeting, we’ll be electing 6 members (plus 1 alternate) to our Unit 1 Bargaining Team to represent TAs and RAs in lieu in our upcoming contract negotiations with the Employer. These positions come with a monthly honorarium and provide an important opportunity to ensure that diverse voices are represented in the bargaining process.
We’ll also be electing an Undergraduate Officer to our executive committee, a 2-year trustee to participate in our annual audit, 2 members to the grievance committee, 4 members to the by-laws committee, and 3 delegates to attend the CUPE National Sectors conference in Ottawa.
As always, we’ll have free pizza and can reimburse child care costs if those are required to facilitate your attendance at the meeting.

Ontario Health Coalition Rally- Oct 23

Brad WalchukUncategorized

There’s an upcoming rally at Queen’s Park (Tuesday, Oct 23rd at noon) held by Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (a CUPE affiliate) and the Ontario Health Coalition in support of strong, accessible, public health care in the face of likely funding cuts from the Ford government.

A bus from Niagara will be making a stop in Hamilton picking up at The Centre on Barton in between Carter’s Oshkosh and La Vie En Rose at 1275 Barton St E, Hamilton ON, L8H 2V4 leaving at 10am sharp.

Please contact Brittany ( if you would like to be on this bus for what is expected to be a great rally! You can also sign up at the link below:


Rebuild and Improve Public Health Care Rally