Unit 2 (Sessional) Dental Update – June 2024

Brad WalchukUncategorized

This is an important update that is relevant to Sessionals who did not teach in Fall 2023 or Winter 2024 and are teaching for the first time this academic year in Spring/Summer 2024.

For those of you who began teaching in May and did not opt out of the Unit 2 Dental Plan by the widely publicized opt out deadline, the $150 single premium will be deducted from next week’s pay cheque (June 12th). The plan offers $1000 per calendar year (January 1 to December 31) in dental services. You can find out additional information about coverage and how to make claims here: https://cupe3906.org/sessionals-unit-2/unit-2-dental-coverage/

For Sessionals who have yet to teach in the 2023/24 academic year, you will have $1000 of dental coverage which can be backdated for any approved procedures/services since September 1, 2023. Your eligibility ends as of August 31, 2024 (unless you secure a fall 2024 contract).

There is no change or impact for members who have already taught in either Fall 2023 or Winter 2024.

If you have any questions about this, please direct them to Fran, our benefits administrator: administrator@cupe3906.org 

Survey on Changes to Unit 3 (Postdoc) Professional Development Fund

Brad WalchukUncategorized

In June 2023, the Unit 3 Professional Development Fund reimbursement was increased to $1,000 per academic year per eligible member. Only eligible expenses (see below) incurred while working as a CUPE 3906 Unit 3 member will be reimbursed up to the maximum academic yearly amount.

The fund currently covers expenses related to: conference participation, professional association fees, academic books, research journal subscriptions, leadership development courses, McMaster courses not covered by the tuition waiver policy, Research Journal Subscriptions, Leadership Development courses, Language courses as eligible expenses, and limited technological costs such as software (but generally not hardware).

To provide greater entitlements to members, your elected benefits committee is thinking about the following changes and we want to you from you. Possible options for increasing your entitlements include:

  1. Incorporating Technology Expenses: We’re considering adding technology-related expenses, such as laptops, within the Postdoc Development Fund. Previously, these items weren’t covered, but we believe this adjustment could greatly benefit your research endeavors. We welcome your thoughts on this proposal.
  2. Increasing Postdoctoral Development Fund (currently up to $1000 per academic year).We’re exploring the possibility of raising the Postdoc Development Fund. This increase aims to better support your professional growth and research activities. We’re keen to hear your opinions on this potential adjustment.
  3. Combining a Cap for Hardware Technology with a Small Increase in the Postdoc Development Fund: Another option on the table is to provide a smaller increase in the Postdoc Development Fund and develop a cap technology expense to a specific amount to be determined by the committee. This approach aims to provide flexibility while still ensuring adequate support for both research and technological needs. We’re eager to hear your thoughts on this proposal as well.

To gather your feedback efficiently, please fill out the attached form and provide any additional comments or suggestions you may have. Your input is invaluable in helping us make informed decisions that benefit the entire unit.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need further clarification on any of the proposed changes.

 For a link to the survey, please email staff@cupe3906.org or leadsteward_postdocs@cupe3906.org 

International Solidarity Seminar: Understanding the Hong Kong Labour Movement-June 12th from 5:30 pm to 7 pm

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The International Committee from CUPE 3906 is organizing a workshop titled “Understanding the Hong Kong Labour Movement” in collaboration with the Solidarity Place Worker Education Centre and the UK Labour Rights Monitor.

The event will be held in a hybrid format, and you will be provided with a Zoom registration link following your registration if you plan on attending online.

Food and drinks will be provided to in-person participants.

Venue: Solidarity Place Worker Education Centre (51 Adair Ave South)

Date: June 12th,2024, from 5:30 pm to 7 pm

General Membership Meeting – May 13

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Our next General Membership Meeting (GMM) will take place on May 13th from 2-4pm over zoom. You can register in advance here. We’ll be sharing important updates from the Unit 2 bargaining team and discussing monetary and policy motions.

Support Graduate Research Workers at UBC

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Last year CUPE Local 2278 had a campaign to unionize graduate research assistants. Despite thousands of UBC student workers expressing their desire for change by signing union cards, UBC has failed to recognize their rights as workers. The decision on this from the labour relations board is expected April 30th. 

Local 2278 is looking for support from other unionized workers, particularly in the university and education sectors, to tell UBC that research is work. 

The University of British Columbia is the largest university in BC and one of the largest in Canada. Yet it is one of the last universities in the country without a union for graduate research assistants.

The lack of a union has prevented UBC student workers from being able to affect their working conditions and negotiate for fair wages. It has meant that they face workplace issues alone, including inadequate health and safety protocols, unclear or inconsistent hiring processes, unchallenged harassment, lack of support for mental health, and widespread overwork and burnout.

To date, thousands of UBC student workers have signed union cards because they want change. Last spring, UBC graduate research assistants signed enough cards to pass the threshold for automatic union certification. And yet, UBC refuses to acknowledge them as workers.

UBC could not function without the contributions of graduate researchers and other academic workers, and they deserve the support and protections of a union.

Tell UBC: Research is Work! Add your name if you agree.

Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-ubc-research-is-work?source=ta

Winter 2024 end-of-semester update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Sessionals,

Congratulations, we’ve nearly reached the end of the semester. This is our end-of-the-semester update. Below you will see information about post-contract work, the large class supplemental payment, health care spending, professional development fund access, and information about employment insurance.

Final payment

The final pay of the semester will arrive in your account on Friday April 19th and will cover the period from March 31st to the end of term. As of April 20th, your contract is officially over and you should not work past this point.

Large Class Supplement 
We have learned that some sessionals have yet to be paid the Large Class Supplemental Fee. For those of you earning thebase rate($8056.37) 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 will be paid on April 19th. We are happy to help if there are any issues.

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, addressing outstanding SAS issues, 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.

Employment insurance
The final pay for this term is April 19th.This final pay on April 19th 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 April 10th.  We would encourage all Sessionals who might utilize Employment Insuranceat any point in 2024 to apply after April 19th, even if you are employed during the spring/summer term.

The first pay in the Spring term, for those of you who are employed, will be on May 17th and the first day of work will be May 6th. This means you might be able to collect EI from April 20th to May 6th 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 might be able to collect EI as of April 20th. If you have not served a withholding period, you can serve one week waiting period in late April and collect EI thereafter.

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 late April 2024, but please apply to EI as soon as you can after April 19th if you plan to utilize EI in the spring/summer.

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).

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

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 worked at some point in the fall 2023 or winter 2024 semester.