General Membership Meeting- May 21st at 12:30 in BSB 106

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We want to let you know about our upcoming General Members Meeting (GMM) on Tuesday May 21st from 12:30-2:00 pm . The meeting will be held in BSB 106. As always, lunch (vegan, gluten free, and halal options) is provided and childcare costs will be reimbursed upon request. The building is accessible through the back door, located near GSB.
The agenda includes:
– Election of Unit 1 Bargaining Team Undergraduate Member 
– Election of Unit 1 Bargaining Team Alternate 
– Unit 3 bargaining update
– Bargaining Support Activities Cost Approval
– Election of 1 delegate to CUPE Ontario convention in May-June in Toronto
– Election of delegates to Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions (CGEU) conference in August in Toronto
We hope to see you there!

Unit 2 Dental Deductions- Spring 2019

Brad WalchukUncategorized

If you are teaching in the spring 2019 semester and have not previously taught this academic year (ie/ since September 2018), a $170 dental premium deduction will be applied to your June 7th pay deposit. More information about the plan can be found by clicking here.

You are able to opt-out of the plan (with proof of alternate coverage)  by May 31st.

You can also add family coverage for an additional cost (see above link), but must also do so by May 31st.


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Employment Insurance/ROE information- update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

If you are beginning work in the Spring Term, the “first day of work” on your Record of Employment (ROE) will be listed as May 6, 2019. If you are currently collecting EI, you should also be reporting this start date on your bi-weekly reports and you’ll stop receiving EI payments effective May 5, 2019.

If you are beginning work in the Summer Term, the “first day of work” on your Record of Employment will be listed as June 24, 2019. If you are collecting EI, you should also be reporting this start date on your bi-weekly reports and you’ll stop receiving EI payments effective June 23, 2019.

IF you were collecting EI during the first week of January 2019 AND you had a Sessional appointment for the Winter Term 2019, can you please let us know? Your Union and McMaster University want to ensure that the first day of work date was properly recorded on your Winter Term 2019 Record of Employment.

Teaching assistants, postdocs, begin negotiations with McMaster University

Brad WalchukUncategorized


HAMILTON, ON — The union representing teaching assistants and postdoctoral fellows at McMaster University has provided its formal notice to bargain to the McMaster administration.

The union — the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3906 (CUPE 3906), which represents approximately 3,500 members — is ready to bring forward proposals that will increase equity, fairness, and stability for its members and for the students that they support.

Workers from both bargaining units aim to increase their funding, improve working conditions, and reduce the amount of financial instability that they experience during their time at McMaster. In short, they are looking to build a #BetterMac.

For Unit 1 (teaching assistants), a #BetterMac means fighting to expand the support for mental and physical health and wellness, increase the paid training they receive before they enter the classroom, and achieve better representation for indigenous members.

“We are bargaining for the common good,” said James Watson, member of the Unit 1 Bargaining Team. “This isn’t only about teaching assistant or research assistant work in a narrow sense. It’s about what’s best for the entire McMaster community and what’s best for our students.”

For Unit 3 (postdoctoral fellows), a #BetterMac means fighting to expand the support available for their families and for their academic and career development. It also means the creation of a pension plan, which postdocs have identified a major priority.

“Currently, we don’t have access to a pension plan,” says Zobia Jawed, CUPE 3906 Benefits Officer and member of the Unit 3 bargaining team. “But I want to ensure I have some amount of financial support available for me when I retire.”

“There is a very large difference in retirement savings between a worker who benefits from pension contributions immediately post-PhD, and a worker who has to wait until after their postdoc positions are over,” says Toby Brown, a member of the Unit 3 bargaining team. “It’s important that we find a way to address this earnings gap.”

Now that the notice to bargain has been issued, CUPE 3906’s elected bargaining teams for Units 1 and 3 will prepare their proposals and get ready to meet McMaster’s bargaining teams at the negotiating table. The union and the employer have dates scheduled in early May to begin negotiations for the new Unit 3 collective agreement, and dates set in early June for the new Unit 1 collective agreement.

“In Doug Ford’s Ontario, our education system is under attack at every level,” said Angie Perez, CUPE 3906 President. “That’s all the more reason why McMaster cannot afford to move backwards when it comes to the learning conditions of our students and the working conditions of our teachers and researchers.”

“In this round of bargaining, we need to come together to fight the growth of precarious work on our campus. Our members contribute so much to the McMaster community, and they deserve support to build a family and plan for the future.”

Unit 1 is CUPE 3906’s largest unit with over 2,900 members, and includes graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants, research assistants (in lieu of a TAship), demonstrators, markers, tutors and super tutors. Unit 3 is CUPE 3906’s smallest unit with just over 170 members, and consists of postdoctoral fellows working at McMaster University. Both the Unit 1 and Unit 3 collective agreements expire on August 31.


For more information:

Angie Perez, CUPE 3906 President,

Brad Walchuk, Chief Negotiator – Unit 1,

Mary Ellen Campbell, Chief Negotiator – Unit 3,

Notice to Bargain- Kickoff Launch

Brad WalchukUncategorized

All TAs and Postdocs are invited to join us as we celebrate the next phase of our #BetterMac campaign!
On May 6, our union will be serving our official notice to bargain to the McMaster administration. This notice will mark the beginning of formal negotiations between your elected bargaining teams and the employer.
To mark the occasion, we are hosting a Bargaining Kickoff Social at The Phoenix on Monday, May 6 from 12-2 pm. This event is free and open to all Postdocs and TAs. Swing by and see us on your lunch break!
Free cupcakes and appetizers will be provided on a first come, first served basis.
We hope to see you there!
If you are on Facebook, you can RSVP here:

CUPE National Survey- Sexual Violence on Campus

Brad WalchukUncategorized

In the past few years, CUPE members have consistently identified sexual violence and harassment as one of the most important issues facing our members in the post-secondary sector.

In 2017, CUPE members passed a resolution at convention calling for a toolkit on the topic of sexual violence at work. In late 2018, CUPE released the Stop Workplace Sexual Violence guide for CUPE locals.

Five provinces have now adopted legislation requiring post-secondary institutions to have an institutional policy on sexual violence and harassment. Universities and colleges in other provinces are also choosing to adopt and implement such policies. In many cases, 2019 is the year these policies have officially come into effect.

The impact of these policies so far appears to be mixed. Some institutional policies are better than others. And some schools are better at implementing them than others. At many universities and colleges, both administrators and local unions are trying to feel their way through a process that both sides find unfamiliar. New questions are cropping up constantly.

In order to better understand what is happening across the country and whether there are additional tools and resources that CUPE National can offer the post-secondary sector that will help CUPE members to navigate the process of dealing with incidents of sexual violence and harassment, we are asking CUPE post-secondary members to fill out this short, informal survey.

The results of this survey will be used to inform the development of CUPE National’s research and education agenda on this issue. All information will be kept confidential and responses will not be published, but please do not provide any confidential details which could identify survivors who have chosen not to go public with their story.

Survey link:

Survey deadline: April 30, 2019

FREE First Aid Training

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We wanted to remind you that Free First Aid Training is one of the many benefits guaranteed to all CUPE 3906 members under your Collective Agreement!  The course, a Standard Red Cross certificate course, is offered being offered on a number of dates this spring through Athletics and Recreation, and the cost of registration is covered by the Employer. Dates for the ten different two-day sessions, and further information, are available here. You will need to attend both days in order to receive the certificate.
The sessions are being held on campus. If you have questions about the specifics of the material being offered, please contact Athletics and Recreation at ext. 24464. They are the ones who are offering and teaching the class. Online registration is not an option. If you are a TA/RA in lieu and working in a different department/program other than the one that you are registered in as a student, registration should be done through your academic department. Normally, the Administrator from your academic department or program will need to register you as they must provide the departmental code so the cost can be billed accordingly. This charge cannot be passed on to you.

Postdoc Bargaining Priorities Ratification Meeting- April 18th at noon (BSB 138)

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We wanted to remind all Postdocs of your Bargaining Priorities Ratification meeting, taking place on Thursday April 18th at noon in BSB 138. After reviewing the survey results, the bargaining team has seen that you’ve identified some major priority areas for a #BetterMac. Thursday’s meeting gives the membership a chance to ratify your priorities before we meet with the Employer at the bargaining table. The major priorities coming out of the survey are: wages, family support, improved benefits, strengthened professional development, and access to a workplace pension. 
Please take a moment to click on this Eventbrite link to confirm your attendance so we have a better sense of numbers for ordering food. We’ll have lunch at the event, and will be sure to include halal, vegan, and gluten free options. The building is accessible and childcare costs involved with facilitating your attendance will be reimbursed.
We hope to see you there!
If you have any questions, please e-mail

CUPE 3906 wins equal pay for Faculty of Science postdocs

Brad WalchukUncategorized

In November 2017, CUPE 3906 filed a grievance against McMaster University to address an alleged inequitable wage gap between men and women working as postdoctoral fellows. CUPE 3906 claimed that the difference in wages violated both the collective agreement and the Equal Pay provisions of the Employment Standards Act.

The University and the Local, after extensive review and discussion, came to an agreement that the inequitable wage gap applied only to postdocs working in the Faculty of Science.

The resolution represents a meaningful gain for those members, and also helps to advance equal pay in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The resolution not only addresses the inequitable wage gap, but also mandates proactive practices going forward.

Election of Delegates to 2019 CUPE Ontario Convention (May 29 to June 2)

Brad WalchukUncategorized

At a previous General Membership Meeting, members of Local 3906 voted to send up to 10 delegates to the upcoming CUPE Ontario Annual Convention in Toronto, held between May 29th and June 2nd. The Convention offers members an opportunity to help implement policies for political action, amend internal affairs of CUPE, and develop the general strategic direction of our union. More information about the convention can be found by clicking HERE.
An election for these delegate positions will be held at an upcoming Special General Membership Meeting taking place on Thursday, April 11th at noon in BSB 147. This meeting will begin with an election of the CUPE Ontario delegates, and will be followed by Unit 1 member
Members from any Unit (Unit 1, 2, or 3) can run, and we envision the election of these delegate spots to take no more than 15 minutes. If you cannot attend the meeting but are interested in attending the CUPE convention, please send an e-mail to and state your interest. The second part of this meeting – the ratification of Unit 1 bargaining priorities – is applicable only to TAs/Unit 1 members.

As always, the meeting is in an accessible location, pizza lunch is provided (halal options, gluten free/vegan options), and childcare costs involved with facilitating your attendance will be reimbursed.