End of Semester Update – Unit 2 (Sessionals)

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Here are a few useful updates and reminders from your Union:

i. Final payment

The final pay of the semester will arrive in your account on Friday December 29th and will cover the period from December 10th to December 23rd. As of December 21st, your contract is officially over and you should not work past this point.

ii. Large Class Supplement 

We have learned that some sessionals have yet to be 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 has been paid on December 29th. If the payment is not processed by the end of this week, it will not make the December 29th pay and will come at a later date. This could adversely impact EI entitlement, so please follow-up with your administrator this week and let us know if there are any issues. We are happy to help if there are any issues.

iii. Post contract work

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 $71.13/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, 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.

iv. Employment insurance

The final pay for this term is December 29th. This final pay on December 29th represents what Service Canada refers to as an ‘interruption of earnings’  and should be the date you list on your EI application as the last pay date (not the date for which you were last paid). The ‘day for which you were last paid’ and your ‘last day worked’ should be listed as December 21st.  We would encourage all Sessionals who may utilize Employment Insurance at any point in 2024 to apply after December 29th, even if you are employed during the Winter term.   

The first pay in the Winter term, for those of you who are employed, will be on January 26th and the first day of work will be January 8th. This means you may be able to collect EI from December 22nd to January 7th if you have enough insurable hours. For information on EI, click here. If you have already served a withholding period in the past 52 weeks, you may be able to collect EI as of December 29th. If you have not served a withholding period, you can serve one week over the holidays and should be able to collect EI for a day or two. However, you will have served the one-week waiting period, which means you won’t need to do so again in the spring.   

In certain instances, it is possible to both work and collect EI (with some clawbacks) if the amount of work have in the winter has dropped substantially from the work you had during the fall term. More information is available here.  

If you have any EI questions, we recommend that you speak with someone from Service Canada. Any information provided here are simply insights and you should clarify things with Service Canada as their understanding is legally correct and they can follow-up for over-payment if things are not done correctly.  

The employer will upload your ROE automatically to Service Canada at some point in early 2024, but please apply to EI as soon as you can after December 29th if you plan to utilize EI in the winter.     

Please note that there are many individual factors that determine your ability to access EI to which we are not privy (such as how many hours you have worked in the past year outside of McMaster or the bargaining unit, etc.).  Only the government can give you definitive information about your particular circumstances.  Please be sure to review regulations and information at the government links (provided above).

v. Professional Development

For those of you who are curious, applications made to the Professional Development Fund this fall were adjudicated earlier this month and cheques were already mailed out. If you have any PDF questions, please email administrator@cupe3906.org. If you missed the fall deadline, you can apply at any point in the upcoming winter semester.

vi. Health Care Spending Account

A quick reminder about your Health Care Spending Account entitlement of $500 per academic year. The fund covers the cost of various health care related expenses (as approved by Revenue Canada) and provides a tax-free reimbursement to you. More information is available here: https://cupe3906.org/sessionals-unit-2/unit-2-benefits/  

There is no cost or fee to you. The fund is secured through collective bargaining and made available to members to use as needed. You can still make a claim in 2024 if you are no longer teaching, so long as you work in fall 2023.

vii. Winter office closure/re-opening

The CUPE 3906 Office in KTH B111 will be closed over the winter break, starting Wednesday, December 20th at 12:00 pm. The executive and staff will be out of office and responses to emails will be delayed. The office will re-open January 8th, 2024. 

We hope you have a safe and restful holiday, thank you all for the solidarity in 2023, see you in the new year!


viii. All-Unions Social – December 20th, 7 pm – 12 am

Join us with friends from other unions on campus – including SEIU Local 2, UNIFOR 5555, IOUE Local 772, and McMaster University Academic Librarians’ Association (MUALA) – for an All-Unions karaoke social, Wednesday December 20th from 7 pm. We’ll be meeting at Backstreet Bar and Grill, 94 Macnab St N. Email president@cupe3906.org if you want to join the CUPE 3906 contingent and celebrate the end of term!

ix.  Tenant Solidarity Working Group (TWSG) – organizing at 10 Bay St N

 At our November GMM, we ratified our newest working group, the Tenant Solidarity Working Group (TWSG). Since that date, members have been hard at work drawing attention to the living conditions at the 10 Bay Graduate Residence. This struggle is important, for one, because the vast majority of the 168 tenants at 10 Bay are our members, and secondly, because employers like McMaster have made the move to provide housing to our members and their failure to deliver upon dignified and honest housing standards will invariably affect our members.

Tenants have been busy organizing to draw media attention to water contamination; bug infestations; unexpected unit entry; privacy and secure concerns; electrical outages; and more. Tenants have already secured an additional 25% rent reduction for November and December due to their collective pressure, following a 50% reduction in September and 25% reduction in October. All that is to say – collective organizing gets the good. Check out coverage in CBC Hamilton (here, and here); Global News (here), and front page of the Hamilton Spectator (here). To get involved/support, the TSWG can be reached at tswg@cupe3906.org. You can also follow their Instagram @10BayTenants.  


CUPE 3906 Executive