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CARTOON #1: PUSHING OUT-OF-PROVINCE TA’S FROM THE UNION

https://www.facebook.com/cupe3906/posts/3501419913212442

It’s orientation week! Have you heard? McMaster University is telling graduate student TAs living outside of Ontario they are not eligible for membership in CUPE3906! Being excluded from the union puts these TAs at risk of losing important employee protections and benefits all TAs normally rely on. Click here to tell McMaster stop attacking TAs during a pandemic!! https://cupe.on.ca/includealltas/

Have you also heard our Sessional Instructors and Unit 2 hourly paid music faculty have not received a meaningful offer from McMaster for a new contract at the bargaining table?

During this critical time for members of CUPE3906, we’ll be releasing weekly cartoons on our media channels highlighting issues important to the union as we begin the fall semester. Our first comic is about how the employer is threatening to take away benefits and rights from out-of-province TAs.

We want to hear from you as we roll out this weekly comic series examining the realities of McMaster education workers during campus closure amid a pandemic: What challenges both routine and new, do educational workers now face? We’re looking for a hashtag to use with this campaign. We came up with #direworld and #sessionalequality. But we think you can do better than that. We’re also looking for cartoon submissions from members on topics related to the realities of educational work at McMaster. Have ideas? Email mobilizer@cupe3906.org! The winning two cartoon submissions and the winning two hashtags will be used in our social media campaign, and will earn those members a $25 gift card.

May be a cartoon of text that says 'THE P.A.G.C* WELCOMES You TO YOUR NEW TENURE TRACK JOB, WHERE IN ADDITION TEACHING RESEARCH AND SERVICE, YOU WILL BE CALLED UPON TO REPRESENT AND FURTHER INSTITUTIONAL COMMITMENTS Το DIVERSITY. IF ONLY THERE WAS AN ACTUAL PROGRAM DEDICATED TO BLACK AND DIASPORIC STVDIES. AFFECTIVE LABOUR ISOLATION OVERWORK ACRONYM GENERATING COMMITTEE"'

CARTOON #2: CUPE3906 STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH SCHOLAR STRIKE

https://www.facebook.com/cupe3906/posts/3523746860979747

Hey there! Its mid-week of the second “back to school” phase of term. How are you holding up? Feeling the Zoom fatigue? Want to talk about racism? Well, no need to fear. CUPE3906 is here with your weekly cartoon featuring how ridiculous it can be to work in the academy. This week we reflect on the mission of Scholar Strike Canada whose teach-ins wrapped last week. Highlighting the fact that McMaster University does not have an African and Caribbean Studies program, we ask, does a safe space exist on campus for being, expressing, and studying Blackness? As Dr. Andrea Davis said in her talk about “Black Tax and the Invisible Labour of Black Women in the Academy”, it’s great to hire across disciplines, but there needs to be a safe space for Black and Indigenous scholars to meet and create mutual support in the academy. Does McMaster have such a safe space? As your union, we act in solidarity with issues and concerns raised by Scholar Strike Canada. In fact, one way we are showing solidarity is by initiating anti-oppression training for all teaching assistants across McMaster University, as outlined in an article included in the most recent Unit 1 collective agreement.

During this critical time for members of CUPE3906, we’ll be releasing weekly cartoons on our media channels highlighting issues important to the union as we begin the fall semester.

We want to hear from you as we roll out this weekly comic series examining the realities of McMaster education workers during campus closure amid a pandemic: What challenges both routine and new, do educational workers now face? We’re looking for a hashtag to use with this campaign. We came up with #direworld and #sessionalequality. But we think you can do better than that. We’re also looking for cartoon submissions from members on topics related to the realities of educational work at McMaster. Have ideas? Email mobilizer@cupe3906.org. The winning two cartoon submissions and the winning two hashtags will be used in our social media campaign, and will earn those members a $25 gift card.

https://scholarstrikecanada.ca/

May be an illustration of text that says 'LAOUR of SESSIONALS UNDERPAID WILL HELP PAD YOUR COFFERS F 124'

CARTOON #3: “BREADCRUMBS FOR YOU”: BILL 124 AND PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS 

Ahhhhh…..it’s that special time of the week again. That time, once again, when we get to enjoy a moment of anonymous humour about our glorious life working for the esteemed employer, McMaster University. Now what is the topic for today. Oh yes! Who can forget, our honourable Premier of Ontario, Dung Ford, whose government passed the lovely bit of legislation, “Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act”, otherwise known as Bill 124. Oops did I day Dung Ford? I meant Doug Ford (my spellchecker must not be working).

Right. So obviously we all want to have a sustainable future right? What could possibly be wrong with that! Well, my friends, let me tell you. Bill 124 mandates that no public sector worker, including our loyal sessional faculty here at McMaster University, can negotiate a contract in which their wages can be raised more than 1%. So, your glorious employer is of the opinion that, it is entirely just that we continue to offer 95 senior managers at McMaster University salaries that total more than the entire wage bill for all Unit 2 contract wages combined. That’s OK, folks, because it’s because of their hard work that McMaster posted a $154 million dollar surplus in 2018-2019, and is projecting a $50 million dollar surplus in 2021/22, and 2022/23. Who knows, with the elimination of “class size” in the virtual university, no decrease in tuition fees, and virtually no gain in wages, maybe the surpluses will be even bigger than that!

So Dear Doug, Bill 124: Sustainable for whom? Is it sustainable for your average sessional faculty worker toiling away in precarity, jumping from contract-to-contract, to only receive a 1% increase in wages? McMaster has told our bargaining team that not only will wages be capped at 1%, but the entire value of the contract, including increasing the value of sessional benefits and other job protections, would have to be capped at 1% as well. Now my friends, remember, we’re not really all in it together. And what may seem “sustainable” to you, does not seem very sustainable to me.

https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-124

During this critical time for members of CUPE3906, we’ll be releasing weekly cartoons on our media channels highlighting issues important to the union as we begin the fall semester.

We want to hear from you as we roll out this weekly comic series examining the realities of McMaster education workers during campus closure amid a pandemic: What challenges both routine and new, do educational workers now face? We’re looking for a hashtag to use with this campaign. We came up with #direworld and #sessionalequality. But we think you can do better than that. We’re also looking for cartoon submissions from members on topics related to the realities of educational work at McMaster. Have ideas? Email mobilizer@cupe3906.org.  The winning two cartoon submissions and the winning two hashtags will be used in our social media campaign, and will earn those members a $25 gift card.

May be a cartoon

CARTOON #4: TEACHING FROM HOME: WHO PAYS? 

TEACHING FROM HOME: WHO PAYS? You’re looking at your phone right now. Right? A bill for which you pay, each month. But hold on. Hasn’t that same personal device now become one of your primary instruments for virtual teaching this fall? What about your laptop, headphones, microphone, tablet, stylus, speakers, camera, printer, printer paper, hard drive, wireless backups, cloud storage, router, modem, internet service bill? Software purchases, tech upgrades? Desk, desk chair, and ergonomic desk set-up? Rent on the living space in which you now, “work”? Who pays for all that? Who pays for the technology, office space and supplies needed to carry out your job in the virtual university?

Our Unit 2 bargaining team has addressed the growing need for technology purchases by members of Unit 2, Sessional Instructors and Hourly Rated Music Faculty, by asking a technology fund be created to aid with the demands on the current Professional Development Fund by these technology-related expenses. But the employer has categorically refused. Given the move to online teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members require additional technological support for the tools and resources they need.

It feels especially mean to thank us for all the amazing sacrifices we made transitioning to online learning, time spent learning new skills and retooling traditional courses to teach online, and yet dismiss our needs at bargaining table.

During this critical time for members of CUPE3906, we’ll be releasing weekly cartoons on our media channels highlighting issues important to the union as we begin the fall semester.

We want to hear from you as we roll out this weekly comic series examining the realities of McMaster education workers during campus closure amid a pandemic: What challenges both routine and new, do educational workers now face? We’re looking for a hashtag to use with this campaign. We came up with #direworld and #sessionalequality. But we think you can do better than that. We’re also looking for cartoon submissions from members on topics related to the realities of educational work at McMaster. Have ideas? Email mobilizer@cupe3906.org.  The winning two cartoon submissions and the winning two hashtags will be used in our social media campaign, and will earn those members a $25 gift card.

 

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CARTOON #5: WHAT’s UP WITH MCMASTER ENGLISH LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (MELD)?

McMaster’s one-year McMaster English Language Development Diploma costs a whopping $28,231.57 to those ESL students who enrol. That’s several times the price of domestic tuition, making MELD one of the most lucrative programs in the university. Prior to this fall, MELD generated a lot of work for Unit 2 members with up to 90 contracts offered for sessional faculty teachers in that program. Recently MELD restructured, eliminating Unit 2 contract jobs and shrinking the program to just four sessional faculty at a third the normal rate of pay: Each of the four remaining instructor positions is paid only $2518.33 rather than the usual base rate of $7555 for Unit 2 contracts. Many long serving MELD instructors who were CUPE Unit 2 members lost their jobs.

Why restructure and layoff experienced teaching staff amid a pandemic? We’d like to know. McMaster has tried to use MELD as a bargaining chip at the bargaining table, asking the union to dismiss our issues with the changes to MELD. But if you knew the university built this program with the help of a large contingent of sessional faculty, only to lay them off in a pandemic, would you want us to drop this issue so easily?

During this critical time for members of CUPE3906, we’ll be releasing weekly cartoons on our social media channels highlighting issues important to the union as we begin the fall semester.

We want to hear from you as we roll out this weekly comic series examining the realities of McMaster education workers during campus closure amid a pandemic: What challenges both routine and new, do educational workers now face? We’re looking for a hashtag to use with this campaign. We came up with #direworld and #sessionalequality. But we think you can do better than that. We’re also looking for cartoon submissions from members on topics related to the realities of educational work at McMaster. Have ideas? Email mobilizer@cupe3906.org. The winning two cartoon submissions and the winning two hashtags will be used in our social media campaign, and will earn those members a $25 gift card.

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CARTOON #6 PRE-CONTRACT OBSTACLE COURSE: PAID TRAINING?

As anyone who has worked as a sessional faculty knows, a lot goes into preparing for the job before you ever collect a pay check. Unpaid pre-contract preparation work for your average sessional instructor may include: Preparing and revising syllabi, unpaid professional research, mandatory health and safety training, possibly technology training, designing and activating your Avenue-To-Learn course page or setting up other syllabus tools. This all before you even get to day one of your contract period let alone your first pay day.

Because wages are capped at a 1% increase due to Bill 124, CUPE3906’s bargaining team has made PAID TRAINING a priority in this round of bargaining. Paid training would mean sessional faculty get paid an hourly rate for mandatory employee training over and above the contract fee they currently receive for the work they do. At the moment, all mandatory training – even if completed out of the contract period – is considered included and paid for within the contract.

Overwork and heavy workload is one of the biggest issues our members face according to polls we have conducted with sessional faculty. Paid training would at least give sessionals some financial gain within the struggle they face with overwork.

During this critical time for members of CUPE3906, we’ll be releasing weekly cartoons on our social media channels highlighting issues important to the union as we begin the fall semester.

We want to hear from you as we roll out this weekly comic series examining the realities of McMaster education workers during campus closure amid a pandemic: What challenges both routine and new, do educational workers now face? We’re looking for a hashtag to use with this campaign. We came up with #direworld and #sessionalequality. But we think you can do better than that. We’re also looking for cartoon submissions from members on topics related to the realities of educational work at McMaster. Have ideas? Email mobilizer@cupe3906.org. The winning two cartoon submissions and the winning two hashtags will be used in our social media campaign, and will earn those members a $25 gift card.

May be a cartoon of text that says 'ALECARIE DON'T LET McMASTER GIVE YOU THE GEARS! #Mac TRESS VOTE 2 TO SUPPORT YOUR BARGAINING TEAM'

CARTTON #7 VOTE YES TO SUPPORT YOUR BARGAINING TEAM!!

Your bargaining team is encouraging you to VOTE YES in the Unit 2 strike vote, happening Thursday and Friday. The bargaining team has reached an impasse with the employer and will be at conciliation (a former of government mandated mediation) this coming week. We need to show McMaster that sessionals are united behind their bargaining team in order to secure gains in the new collective agreement. All eligible members should have received a link to a secure ballot via Helios Voting. Don’t let McMaster give you the gears- vote YES to help secure the collective agreement YOU deserve, including paid training, improved job security, transparent hiring, and supports for online teaching/teaching from home.

During this critical time for members of CUPE3906, we’ll be releasing weekly cartoons on our social media channels highlighting issues important to the union as we begin the fall semester.

We want to hear from you as we roll out this weekly comic series examining the realities of McMaster education workers during campus closure amid a pandemic: What challenges both routine and new, do educational workers now face? We’re looking for a hashtag to use with this campaign. We came up with #direworld and #sessionalequality. But we think you can do better than that. We’re also looking for cartoon submissions from members on topics related to the realities of educational work at McMaster. Have ideas? Email mobilizer@cupe3906.org. The winning two cartoon submissions and the winning two hashtags will be used in our social media campaign, and will earn those members a $25 gift card.

 

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CARTOON #8 WORKING FROM HOME IN WINTER 2021: THE REALITY

Well, dear friends, our campaign of cartoons in support of CUPE3906 and its members, has come to an end. It’s been a ball everyone! But it’s certainly not a wrap on this mad year, because as we conclude this comic series, we look ahead to an uncertain future wherein we continue to work and teach virtually from home during the winter term 2021, and in the foreseeable future, with no immanent change to the pandemic normal in sight. But don’t tire, dear friends! Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got to tap into the strength to keep on going, fight your battles, and then the next day, rise to fight again.

Speaking of fights, your team of executives and allies at CUPE Local 3906 will never stop fighting for your rights as we stand in solidarity with our members. Your bargaining team won’t stop fighting for better wages, benefits and job protections for Unit 2 Sessional Instructors despite facing very difficult tactics on the part of the employer at the bargaining table. The employer may hire big gun negotiators in hopes of destroying our arguments and possibly, neutralizing our spirit. But they will not succeed!!! We rise stronger to the challenge, McMaster, and we will never let you defeat us! We know you have been reading our cartoons, so as you read this, be forewarned: We are still laughing, still teaching, still taking joy in our work, and still making comics g*ddamit, despite every demoralizing dismissal you throw our way. Because inside us the spirit of solidarity can never be defeated! You may work for the bigger bucks, but we work for our values and ideals (well, also, for the lesser bucks…that’s why we’re simply asking for a FAIRER WAGE). Now that’s fuel for a marathon, even if you think your power will win this sprint. Into the future of 2021, I call to you my friends to go fearlessly onwards!

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CARTOON #9 LABOUR NEGOTIATIONS IN A PANDEMIC

It’s a tough, tough world right now for the Unit 2 Bargaining Team. COVID-19 numbers are going up in Ontario, and the employer looks like they’re pushing the bargaining team to the wall to get every concession possible. Mounting a conventional strike would be very difficult given heightened levels of stress and anxiety, the financial constraints of living in an economy recovering from pandemic shock, not to mention health and safety concerns. That knowledge lies in the background of this entire negotiation, difficult realities that unfortunately the employer can take advantage of. Too busy, too tired, too depressed, too stressed, too busy to care? Yep, they’re counting on that. In fact, they’re counting up their savings on wages and benefits knowing they can give Unit 2 nothing and still get an agreement out of us.

Are you going to put up with that? Say what – no? Then you gotta step up. This Wednesday November 11 at 1pm is the next Strike Committee meeting. Help support your Bargaining Team and Local 3906 by strengthening our position for potential labour action should we be forced to that point. Show the employer’s labour relations team you mean business. Strike Committee is open to all members of Local 3906, regardless of whether you are a TA, sessional instructor, hourly rated music faculty, or postdoc. All welcome!