COVID-related Office Closure

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The Union office will remain closed throughout the fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff and executive members are working safely from home, and can answer any questions you may have via email, phone, or Zoom/Teams/Jitsi. Please email first, and we can set something up with you later if email doesn’t answer your question.

Below are instructions for how to submit benefits claims while the office is closed:

For Healthcare Spending Accounts, UHIP Rebates, and Childcare rebates, please continue to leave forms in our drop-box (directly outside KTH B111) or mail them directly to the Prosure Group:

PROSURE GROUP ADMINISTRATORS LTD.

2225 Sheppard Ave East, Suite 1400, Atria III.

Toronto, ON. M2J 5C2

For Dental claims, please create a login at www.equitable.ca with Policy Number 97528 and your employee number as your certificate number (if you do not have a specific employee number, then use your student number), and follow Equitable Life’s instructions for submitting online claims.

For Professional Development Fund applications, please email benefits@cupe3906.org

For further assistance, please contact administrator@cupe3906.org

For issues or concerns with your rights under any of our three collective agreements, please email mecampbell@cupe3906.org or bwalchuk@cupe3906.org

For equity-related concerns, please contact equity@cupe3906.org

Unit 2 Conciliation Update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The CUPE 3906 Unit 2 Bargaining Team met in conciliation with the Employer on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 and Wednesday, October 21, 2020.  “Conciliation” refers to contract negotiations that are assisted by a government-appointed Conciliation Officer, who tries to help the parties reach agreement before they can initiate a strike or lockout deadline.

The implications of the Conservative Party’s Bill 124 continued to make negotiations difficult and frustrating for both parties.  The legislation limits compensation to 1% per year over the first 3 years of a contract.

Aside from the implications of Bill 124, the Employer refused to cede ground on job security, training, and the proration of 3-unit positions.

Both parties are returning to the table in the near future to continue negotiations.  The Bargaining team would like to thank members again for the strong show of support through the 81% strike mandate.

Unit 2 Dental Deductions Scheduled for OCTOBER 23rd pay

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The single dental premium deduction for Sessional Faculty is scheduled for the October 23rd, 2020 pay.  The deduction is $170, and it covers 12 months of single dental coverage.  More details about the coverage (including how to submit a claim) are available here: https://cupe3906.org/sessionals-unit-2/unit-2-dental-coverage/
The deduction will appear clearly as a “CUPE Dental” deduction on your pay statement.  Please note that if you successfully opted out with appropriate proof of coverage by the October 2nd deadline, you should not see this deduction on this pay statement.
Please note that the dental enrollment process takes a bit of time. If you are going to the dentist, or have gone to the dentist as of September 1, 2020, and wish to submit a claim, you may encounter delays.  If you are in this situation, please contact us at administrator@cupe3906.org for further instructions and assistance.

Update on McMaster’s efforts to exclude out-of-province TAs from the bargaining unit

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We wish we had better news, but our policy grievance regarding the Employer’s efforts to exclude out-of-province TAs from the bargaining unit was recently denied at Step 3, thus blocking these TAs from accessing our dental plan, healthcare spending account, Gender Affirmation Fund, various worker protections, and more. We have referred the matter to arbitration and continue to work closely with CUPE National’s legal department in preparation for this next (and hopefully final) step.

It is important to note that while out-of-province TAs are indeed being denied the benefits and protections of bargaining unit members (at least for now), this can have no bearing on one’s political membership. Essentially what this means is if you held a TA contract anytime during or after the Winter 2020 term, you can still attend union meetings, run for office, and vote in any by-elections – at least until the Fall 2020 term has ended.

If you are an out-of-province TA who has been affected by McMaster’s union busting and you have yet to get in touch with us, please do so by emailing president@cupe3906.org or staff@cupe3906.org. We’d also ask any CUPE 3906 members – be they out-of-province TAs or not – who are interested in organizing around this issue to please email us at organizingchair@cupe3906.org.

CUPE 3906 UNIT 2 MEMBERS GIVE STRONG STRIKE MANDATE

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Hamilton, ON— The front-line instructors responsible for a significant proportion of undergraduate teaching at McMaster University have concluded a strike vote after three days of socially distant voting.  Sessional Faculty and Hourly-Rated Sessional Music Faculty at McMaster University, comprising CUPE Local 3906 (Unit 2), voted 81% in favour of providing their Bargaining Committee with a strike mandate should negotiations the table with the McMaster Administration fail.

A historic number of members participated in the vote between October 14th and October 16th, which was held online due to pandemic safety measures and restricted access to the University campus.  The Bargaining Team is overwhelmed that so many members participated in the vote. “We are grateful that members demonstrated such strong support for the Union’s proposals on the table,” says Sharoni Mitra, the Local’s President, “especially given the pressures and stress that members already face due to the pandemic, the increasingly precarious nature of employment at postsecondary institutions, and the restrictions imposed on front-line public sector workers by the Ford government’s legislation.”

This 81% mandate highlights the Employer’s need to take members’ concerns to heart immediately or face job action.  Proposals that erode job security and make already precarious work more piecemeal must be removed from the table.  The Employer must work with the Union to find ways to support members’ access to the training and resources they need to continue providing the teaching excellence on which McMaster prides itself.  Finally, proposals that address members’ fundamental needs—such as improvements to basic health funds and a promise not to reduce positions in the move to online teaching—must not be neglected in such volatile times where front-line workers everywhere are struggling.

The results of this vote do not mean that a strike is forthcoming, but do empower the bargaining team to call a strike should negotiations not provide meaningful gains to members. The next step in the bargaining process is conciliation, in which a provincially appointed conciliation officer will meet with the parties.  Conciliation is scheduled on Tuesday, October 20th, and Wednesday, October 21st, 2020.  More days may be scheduled if progress continues and the Parties agree to meet.

Local 3906 is eager to put the support of its members into action at the bargaining table and is committed to membership engagement throughout the process. Please watch for our updates and additional bargaining support initiatives.

CUPE Local 3906 (Unit 2) represents over 500 Sessional Faculty and Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Link to Important Information for CUPE 3906 Unit 2 Members Regarding the Unit 2 Strike Vote and Strike Vote Special General Membership Meeting (SGMM), 2020

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Our Unit 2 Members (Sessional Faculty and Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty) will be able to attend our Strike Vote Special General Membership Meeting this week (October 14th at 2:00 P.M.) and will be able to vote in our strike vote following the SGMM until Friday, October 16th at 5:00 P.M.

For more information on how to attend the meeting and how to vote, please click here.

Please note that the Strike Vote SGMM and the Strike Vote is only available to our CUPE 3906 Unit 2 members as per the Local’s Bylaws and the Ontario Labour Relations Act.

Update on GMM Election Results

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Congratulations to Sharoni Mitra, our former Interim President, who now drops the Interim tag after being officially elected by the membership to serve as President until April 2021. Congratulations also to Shirleen Datt, who was elected to serve as Vice President External until April 2021. We also wanted to thank all those who put their names forward and contested the elections.
Congratulations to our newly elected trustees:
1) three year trustee: Kyle Morrison
2) two year trustee: Kseniya Hladkikh
They play a vital role in ensuring transparency and accountability in our local.
Finally, congratulations to our new Hamilton & District Labour Council delegates:
HDLC 1: Brock Bodo
HDLC 2: Graham Coulter
HDLC 3: Fernando Lennertz

General Membership Meeting- Oct 8th at 2 p.m.

Brad WalchukUncategorized

As was announced earlier this week, we will be holding our first General Membership Meeting of the Fall 2020 semester at 2pm EST on Thursday, October 8. Please be sure to send any pre-written motions to president@cupe3906.org by 12pm (noon) on October 7.

In order to preserve the security and confidentiality of our GMM, pre-registration for this meeting will be required. Please note that you must register with your McMaster email address no later than 12pm the day of the GMM. This is the only way we can manually confirm that you are a CUPE 3906 Member prior to the meeting. Any registration requests made from non-McMaster email addresses will be denied.

Register in advance for the GMM here: 
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwvcemhqjwuGN09rfA5FWe0TzzekMs511st

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Key items on this GMM agenda:

– Ratifying the Local’s 2020-2021 Annual Budget
– Unit 2 bargaining updates
– Elections for the following positions:
President
Vice President – External
Hamilton District Labour Council Delegates

About the virtual GMM elections process:

Please note that because the elections for all three positions will be held at the same time, individuals may be nominated for only one position each. Nominations will be held on the (virtual) floor of the GMM, but our bylaws also allow for those unable to attend to self-nominate in writing ahead of the meeting. If you are unable to attend the GMM but wish to run for one of the three positions up for election, you can nominate yourself by emailing your 500-word candidate statement to bwalchuk@cupe3906.org anytime before 12pm (noon) on Wednesday, October 7. Because our bylaws require that only staff accept nominations for elections, only those sent to bwalchuk@cupe3906.org will be accepted, and their CUPE 3906 membership then verified.

Once nominations have closed on the floor of the GMM, candidates will have the chance to speak for up to two minutes each, and self-nominations in absentia will be read by a member of staff.

Unlike our in-person GMMs, voting will then occur online (via Helios Voting) between October 9 and October 13. Once the GMM has adjourned, the nominees will be added to the ballot on Helios and all Members who registered for the GMM will receive their Helios login and other key voting details within 24 hours. Once the polls open, you will be able to log in and cast your votes for all positions. Your votes will then be encrypted and logged anonymously. Once the polls have closed, Helios will automatically tally the results.

Restriction on campaign materials: Because our bylaws require equal access to campaign materials, only the candidate statements provided at or before the GMM (and later, via Helios) will be deemed relevant and acceptable for the purposes of this GMM election. Any materials posted elsewhere and found to be linked to specific candidates will result in their disqualification.

Should you have any questions specific to the GMM elections, please email bwalchuk@cupe3906.org. All other GMM inquiries should be sent to president@cupe3906.org.

Thanks, everyone. We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday!

In solidarity,

The CUPE 3906 Executive Committee

TEACHING FROM HOME: WHO PAYS?

Brad WalchukUncategorized

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.

CUPE 3906 Appoints New Acting President

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Sombre day at the (virtual) office. Nathan Todd, our president, resigned effective 11:59 last night. We knew this was coming for a while now, and we’re absolutely thrilled that he’s accepted a great job with the University of Victoria Faculty Association. He’ll continue to fight the neoliberal university and advocate on behalf of university workers. We’ll miss his insights, dedication, leadership, and passion, but heading back out west to start his career makes a lot of sense.
We first met Nathan when he joined the Unit 2 bargaining team in 2017, and since then, he served as Recording Secretary, Vice President, and President – and led the local through two very tough rounds of bargaining last fall (where we secured some important gains).
In the interim and until the next GMM, the executive has appointed Sharoni Mitra (VP External) as Acting President.