CUPE 3906 OFFICE Information January 2023

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Please note that we are still located at our off-campus office (1046 King Street West, Hamilton ON) until further notice.  (Our KTH office is still temporarily closed.)

The off-campus office at 1046 King St W will be open during the following hours: 10am-4pm, Monday-Thursday. These hours are subject to change.

Until further advised, masks will be mandatory for those visiting the office.

Members who are not comfortable or who cannot safely visit the office are encouraged to continue to contact the union over email. We will continue to meet with members virtually as necessary. If you need to connect with us virtually to submit benefits claims, file a grievance, or any other union business, instructions for doing so can be found here.

We will provide members with further notice if and when our office location changes.  Thank you!

Snow Storm – Unplanned Leave Provisions for Sessionals

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Sessionals, as you know, there is a severe snowstorm outside in the Hamilton area which has made visibility and road conditions terrible. As of 4:00 pm, McMaster has not yet cancelled classes, and their twitter indicated that “a winter storm is expected to cause heavy snowfall” and that they “will continue to provide updates.” If they looked out the window, they would see that the winter storm has already caused heavy snowfall and has made commuting dangerous. If you feel that the roads are dangerous and you are uncomfortable with commuting to campus, please review the unplanned leave provisions from your collective agreement (below):
18.01 Unplanned Leave
(a)(i) In the event that an employee requires an unplanned leave it is the responsibility of the employee to both advise their Supervisor and to make up for any missed class and lost time that was missed. When making up the class(es) is a practical impossibility, an alternate arrangement, approved by the Supervisor, will be made. An unplanned leave is without loss of pay, subject to Articles 18.01 (b), (c), (d) and (e). Unplanned leaves may include, but are not limited to; sickness leave; bereavement leave; court leave; jury leave; family responsibility leave; domestic violence leave, and any exigent circumstances preventing access to classrooms.
A snowstorm such as today‘s is certainly something your union views as an exigent circumstance that prevents access to your classroom. If you believe the road conditions to be unsafe, you will need to inform your supervisor and you should let your class know as well. There are various ways to make up the time, but we encourage you to consider your safety (and that of your students) if you have class this evening.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

CUPE 3906 is proud to endorse Sarah Jama for MPP in the upcoming Hamilton-Centre byelection


At the November General Membership Meeting, the union voted to endorse Sarah Jama for MPP in the upcoming Hamilton-Centre byelection. Our union doesn’t often offer endorsements to political candidates, but many of us know from firsthand experience that Sarah is an incredible force for good in our community. We need fearless leadership and representation now more than ever, and Sarah’s candidacy is a breath of fresh air that cuts through the cynicism so many of us feel about party politics. Sarah will make an excellent MPP and we’re excited to do what we can to support her.

For more information about Sarah’s campaign and to find ways to get involved, visit

Working Groups and Committee Updates – Winter 2023

Brad WalchukUncategorized

At the upcoming GMM we will be discussing new and existing working groups and committees that you can join to become more involved in the union. This includes:

NEW – Raise the Floor Working Group
The Raise the Floor Working Group aims to continue to push McMaster to elevate the existing funding floor for graduate students at McMaster. You can learn more about raise the floor campaign here.

Full-time graduate students at McMaster need your help. We need to come together as a community—whether you’re a student, a member of the faculty, or university staff—and call on McMaster’s Graduate Council to Raise the Floor! To get involved email: 

Communications Committee
The Communications Committee designs and circulates information about CUPE3906 to the general membership and broader McMaster community. Currently, the committee is working on CUPE3906 FM , a podcast series about our union (found on Spotify).

This term the Communications Committee will meet on Thursdays, from 1:30pm to 2:30pm, and will take place on the following dates (roughly every other week):

  • January 26
  • February 9
  • March 2
  • March 16
  • March 30
  • April 13

If you would like to join the communications committee please contact:

Women’s Committee
The first Women’s Committee meeting of 2023 is scheduled for this Friday, January 20 @1pm on Zoom. In this meeting we will be reframing the objectives for this committee to be more inclusive and discussing the upcoming CUPE women’s conference.

If you would like to join this committee please contact:

Upcoming GMM – Wednesday Jan 18 @ 1pm on Zoom

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We will host our first GMM of the Winter semester on January 18th at 1pm. The meeting will take place online over Zoom.

We have some important business to take care of, including elections to fill the following positions: Recording Secretary, Chief Steward Unit 1 (TAs/RAs), CUPE Ontario Convention Delegate (8 positions), and CUPE Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC) Conference Delegate (5 positions).

For more information about these positions, head over to

Register for the meeting here:

Post-GMM Social at the Snooty Fox (Westdale) @4:30pm

CUPE3906 will be hosting an in-person social at the Snooty Fox after Wednesday’s General Membership Meeting, at 4:30pm.

Everyone is welcome to swing by and have a chat with us after the GMM!

Unit 2 Dental Update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Sessionals,

As you may have noticed on your most recent pay cheque (December 2nd), the employer finally made the dental deduction ($170) from those who did not opt out of dental coverage. This means that coverage is now active (backdated to September 1, 2022 and until August 31, 2023) and you can submit claims to Equitable Life of Canada. The dental coverage provides 100% reimbursement on many procedures and offers up to $1000 in coverage for eligible expenses for each of 2022 and 2023. The amount does not carryover from year to year.

If you have received or underwent any dental procedures between September 1, 2022 and now, you can go ahead and submit these claims. If you have been waiting until your insurance is active to go to the dentist, you can go now and we encourage you to use your remaining 2022 entitlement and get to the dentist before December 31st. You can find more details about coverage, entitlement, and eligibility here:

Please note that some dentists may have you pay up front and will submit on your behalf, while others may make you submit directly to Equitable Life. Policies vary from dentist to dentist, and, whenever possible, we recommend your dentist getting you a pre-approval in advance.


CUPE Benefits Committee

Hardship Fund for Unit 1 Members Participating in the Strike

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Our Union has established a hardship fund for striking Unit 1 members (TAs and RAs in lieu). The purpose of the fund is to assist those people experiencing significant financial hardship because of the strike.
To apply, you must be participating in the strike. Everyone will experience short-term financial implications of being on strike, but not everyone will experience hardship. Some of the criteria of experiencing financial hardship because of the strike include things such as being likely to miss a rent payment, having to skipping groceries, etc.
The CUPE Local 3906 strike committee administers this fund, and all applications will be kept strictly confidential.

Under the fund, you can apply for a maximum of $300 for individuals or $600 for people with dependents. Please note that not all applications will be approved, and those which are approved may not be approved for the full amount. This fund covers over 2,600 striking workers and is available only as funds permit.

To apply, please visit

The Inspiring International Student of the Year Award Program (2022-2023)

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized


The Inspiring International Student of the Year Award Program is implemented and overseen by CUPE 3906 and shall be given to international students who made notable, outstanding efforts to build the McMaster community.


Two awards are available each worth $300.


Any international student. This award is won only once.

 Application package

The application consists of three documents (in pdf format):

1-    Up to 500-700-word personal statement addressing the three points mentioned in the evaluation criteria below.

2-    A one-page nomination letter from a McMaster student, faculty or employer. The letter must be signed and includes the contact details of the nominator.

3-    A one-page reference letter from a McMaster faculty or employer. The letter must be signed and includes the contact details of the referee.

Note: Please make sure that each of the three files is named as follows: name of the document_your last name, (e.g., Personal Statement_Adam)

 Evaluation criteria:

The applications will be assessed and given scores based on three elements:

  1. Impactfulness,
  2. Initiative for the betterment,
  3. Spirit generosity.

 Review process:

Applications are reviewed by the Award Review Committee that consists of non-applicant members from the International Committee and external reviewers from other organizations on campus. The International Officer oversees the review process, yet is not a reviewer to minimize bias.


Applications open on November 15th, 2022, and close on December 22nd, 2022


Results to be announced on February 15th, 2023.

 Submission portal

Please submit your application here (

 General guidelines:

1. Please note that the failure to comply to the above format will lead to the exclusion of your application.

2. Please note that the disclosure of any incorrect or misleading information will lead to the denial of your application and may affect your ability to apply to any award programs at McMaster.

 For any question:

Please contact the International Officer, Sarah Elshahat at

Update re/ Ratification of New Unit 2 Collective Agreement

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Sessionals,

On October 27th, the University’s Board of Governors formally ratified the new CUPE Unit 2 Collective Agreement (the agreement that you ratified in July). As such, the new Collective Agreement is in full force and effect – a tentative draft version can be found here. The Union will have hard copies printed soon for members who need one.

On the next pay period (November 18th), each Sessional who is currently being paid at the previous base rate ($7630.55) will see a one-time payment of $153.38 per 3.0 unit course taught on their pay stub. This accounts for the negotiated wage increase through to the end of the semester, but your bi-weekly pay will remain the same through to the end of the semester. New contracts beginning in January will see no less than current base rate of $7783.93 paid out over 8 equal payments. For those of you teaching a 6.0 course, the one-time payment of the wage increase will be pro-rated accordingly. Effective September 1, 2023, the base rate will increase by 3.5% to $8056.37 per 3.0 unit course.

As part of the ratification process, Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty will see a one-time payment representing the difference between hours paid at current rate compared to new rate (paid November 18th). Going forward, the new hourly rate will be applied for the balance of the term. We expected that Sessionals employed in MELD will also see a one-time increase representing the difference between hours paid at current rate compared to the new hourly new rate, though we are finalizing the remaining details. Going forward, the new hourly rate will be applied for the balance of the term.

The new Collective Agreement also contains important increases to the Health Care Spending Account (increased from $93,000 per year to $166,000 this year and up to $180,000 next year) and the Family Dental Supplement (increased from $10,000 per year to over $37,000 this year and up to over $41,000 next year). The benefits committee will examine any further potential changes to individual entitlements. The new agreement also contains increases to the dental fund and the professional development fund.

Resulting from these increases, our benefits committee recently announced an increase to the Health Spending Account (up to $500 per year at 100% reimbursement). We also recently announced an expansion to the Professional Development Fund to allow the submission of various technological items.

Your bargaining committee also won a supplemental benefits fund ($7,000 this year, increasing to $10,000 next year) that the Benefits Committee will earmark for a Gender Affirmation Fund, similar to what we previously secured for TAs and RAs in Unit 1. Further details are still being developed.

Finally, the new Collective Agreement also contains a $42,000 supplementary fund to be used for various benefits purposes. Your benefits committee will be meeting to determine how to best allocate this money based on the needs of our membership.

The benefits committee plays an important role in determining entitlement for all of our benefits and adjudicating various applications, such as Professional Development. The committee normally meets once every 4-6 weeks for between 1 and 2 hours. The time commitment is limited, all meetings are virtual or hybrid. We are always looking for new and diverse voices to join the committee. Please email if you would like to join or have questions about participating.

In solidarity,

Your CUPE Unit 2 bargaining committee

CUPE 3906 Support OSBCU Education Workers

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Since the summer, members of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) have been in bargaining with the provincial government. The union, which belongs to 55,000 workers at primary and secondary schools and school boards across Ontario, has been fighting for a collective agreement that delivers some semblance of economic justice for severely underpaid educational workers, many of whom earn just $39,000 a year.

The OSBCU is also fighting for a collective agreement that ensures safer, healthier, and more effective public schools by committing the government to hire more educational workers, adequately staff school libraries, guarantee healthier cleaning standards, and tackle maintenance backlogs. To back these demands, OSBCU members voted 96.5% in favour of strike action.

Rather than bargain in good faith with these essential workers, many of whom have made profound sacrifices to keep our schools running throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Ford Government has tabled legislation to override their constitutionally protected right to strike and impose a four-year collective agreement. By invoking the “Notwithstanding Clause” the government is also attempting to shield its legislation from judicial review, because it knows what it’s doing is otherwise unconstitutional.

This legislation is an assault not just on the OSBCU members who are seeing their constitutional rights trampled, but on every single worker in the province. There is no reason to believe that the legislation applies to us, but this move signals that the Ontario Government has no respect for the right to strike and bargaining collectively.

In response, CUPE and a number of other labour organizations across the province will be supporting OSBCU members at picket lines and demonstrations tomorrow, November 4th. We are strongly encouraging all CUPE 3906 members to participate and show support.

Some CUPE 3906 members will be participating in the picket line at MPP Neil Lumsden’s constituency office tomorrow morning between 8:30 and 10:30am. His office is located at 115 Hwy 8 in Stoney Creek, and is accessible by bus. If you’re interested in joining, please let us know. We may be able to arrange transportation (so if you have a car and are willing to drive a few people, please also let us know!).

There will also be demonstrations happening from 8-4 tomorrow at Limeridge Mall and Eastgate Square. If you live outside of Hamilton but would like to attend a picket line or demonstration near you, you can used OSBCU’s picket line finder by punching in your postal code at

If you plan to attend a picket line, please consider printing out a sign to bring with you, in colour if you can. If you get any pictures of yourself on a picket line with a sign, feel free to share it on social media and tag us in your post!

Click here to download a sign.

In solidarity,

The CUPE 3906 Executive Committee