CUPE 3906 wins equal pay for Faculty of Science postdocs

Brad WalchukUncategorized

In November 2017, CUPE 3906 filed a grievance against McMaster University to address an alleged inequitable wage gap between men and women working as postdoctoral fellows. CUPE 3906 claimed that the difference in wages violated both the collective agreement and the Equal Pay provisions of the Employment Standards Act.

The University and the Local, after extensive review and discussion, came to an agreement that the inequitable wage gap applied only to postdocs working in the Faculty of Science.

The resolution represents a meaningful gain for those members, and also helps to advance equal pay in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The resolution not only addresses the inequitable wage gap, but also mandates proactive practices going forward.

Annual General Meeting

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We’re holding our Annual General Membership meeting on Tuesday, March 26th, 2019. At this meeting, all 13 executive positions are up for election. All members in good standing are able to run for these positions. Full details on the positions, as well as the election/nomination process, can be found in our Bylaws.

MDCL 3023

TIME: 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

DATE:Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Mike Skinner Award callout 2019

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The Mike Skinner Activist Award is a member-mandated award offered by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3906 on an annual basis. Its title honours long-time labour activist and former CUPE 3906 Staff Member Mike Skinner.

The value of the award is $500 to one person (or committee), an award certificate and an inscription on the Mike Skinner Activist Award plaque. This award is open to all current members of CUPE 3906 (this includes all Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants in lieu, Sessional Faculty, Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows), and/or anyone who has been a member of the local within the past 12 months.

The nomination period for this award is from February March 4, 2019 to March 24, 2019.

Specifically, the recipient of the Mike Skinner Activist Award may have been involved in the following possible issues over the course of their stay at McMaster University:

  • Fighting for social justice issues (these issues are diverse and can include environmental justice, labour solidarity, gender equality, equity issues, and the advancement of peace);
  • Promoting the welfare of humanity and the environment and the elimination of pain and suffering through acts of community organizing, education and/or solidarity.

More information, including how to submit a nominee, is available by clicking here.

GMM Update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Congratulations to Nathan Todd (Philosophy), our now former Recording Secretary, who was acclaimed as our new Vice President at this afternoon’s GMM. Congratulations also to Adam Gruber-O’Hagan (Labour Studies) who replaces Nathan as Recording Secretary, and to Pulkit Mathur (Chemical Engineering) who was elected as Chief Steward, Unit 1.

At today’s GMM, we also voted to send up to 10 delegates to the CUPE Ontario convention in May/June and 6 delegates to the ACORN CanadaNational Convention in June (held right here in Hamilton). Elections will take place soon, exact date TBA, but likely following the AGM in March/April.

With unanimous support, your Local voted to donate $250 to the Sexual Assault Centre Hamilton and Area (SACHA), as well as $250 to United Way Halton and Hamilton‘s upcoming Tampon Tuesday event


Hamilton Power of Many Meeting

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Under the Doug Ford government, there is a lot at stake for labour and communities throughout Ontario.

Labour must be at the forefront of the Ford Resistance.

On Monday, March 4, the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Hamilton and District Labour Council are hosting a Regional Ford Activation Meeting in Hamilton. We are inviting all labour leaders and labour activists across Hamilton.

Whether we are fighting for decent work, in support of public education, against cuts and the privatization of public services, or to standing against hate, labour’s vibrancy and activism remain critical to protecting and advancing collective bargaining rights, public services and social justice.

We have fought and won before. We will do it again. Let’s get organized to win!

The regional activation meeting will:

– Lay out what is at stake for Ontario in the coming months and years.
– Introduce a member-to-member campaign that allows for stronger communication with rank-and-file members.
– Launch a provincial-wide rapid response network to coordinate local fightback efforts.
– Identify where and how we increase capacity, support, and infrastructure for the fightback.
– Identify what tools are required to build our fightback network and escalate our actions.

*Local union presidents, executive members, local equity and political action committees, shop stewards, and labour activists are invited to attend. OFL officers and CLC staff will be in attendance.*

A light meal and refreshments will be provided.


March 04, 2019 at 7:15pm – 9:15pm
Carpenters Union Local 18
1342 Stone Church Rd E
Hamilton, ON L8W 2C8

General Membership Meeting- February 28th at noon

Brad WalchukUncategorized

An e-mail should have been sent to your inbox this week, but your Union’s next General Membership Meeting will be held on Thursday, February 28, at 12:00 in T13, Room 107. T13 is a building that is located near ETB at the front of campus. The building itself is an accessible location and childcare costs will be reimbursed. Please let us know if any additional accommodations are required.
This meeting will feature the election of three executive positions: Vice President, Chief Steward Unit 1, and Recording Secretary. All members are eligible to run, though the Unit 1 Chief Steward is limited to TAs/RAs. We will also be introducing a motion for a cost-share with CUPE National to help support our bargaining efforts.

GMM postponed (Feb 12)

Brad WalchukUncategorized

With the university closing due to inclement weather conditions on Tuesday Feb 12 (our scheduled GMM), we will be re-booking a General Membership Meeting at some point after Reading Week. An updated date, time, and location will be sent out as soon as we have confirmed. This meeting will feature the election of a Vice President, a Recording Secretary, and a Unit 1 Chief Steward.

Another study highly critical of Student Evaluations of Teaching

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We’ve been saying this for a while, an arbitrator made this very clear last year, yet another study supports the claim- we hope that university employers will finally get the message: student evaluations of teaching are highly problematic for the purpose of (re)-hiring and tenure/promotion.

“…as this report clearly demonstrates, using student questionnaires to evaluate faculty performance is counterproductive and harmful, and it raises serious equity questions.”


“The report is one of the most exhaustive of its kind in Canada and examines the methodological, research ethics, and human rights implications of student questionnaires. It finds that:

  • Women, racialized, and LGBTQ2S+ faculty, as well as faculty with disabilities, receive lower scores than their white male colleagues. Using SQCTs to determine pay and promotion risks marginalizing these equity seeking groups even further, impacting their career prospects and limiting academic diversity.
  • It is impossible to adjust SQCT scores to account for their bias.
  • Anonymous SQCT comments are regularly used to target faculty members with abusive, harassing, and harmful comments.
  • Students are not adequately informed about how SQCTs are used, or how their information can be shared.
  • Using SQCT scores to evaluate teaching discourages innovation and undermines student learning.”

Read more:

Bargaining Survey Released

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The link to the Unit 1 (TAs/RAs in lieu) and Unit 3 (Postdocs) bargaining survey was sent via e-mail link today. If you are a member and did not receive the link, please contact

Today’s survey launch event in MDCL was cancelled due to the weather, but we’ll be continuing the survey launch tour next week in ETB 230 on Tues at 11:30 and in TSH B129 on Thurs at 11:30


Bargaining Survey Launch Tour- Feb 6th, 12th, and 14th

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear TAs/RAs in lieu and Postdocs,

As you’ve likely heard already, your Collective Agreement expires on August 31, 2019 and your elected bargaining teams are preparing to negotiate a new and improved agreement over the summer months. Before they can do that, we need to hear from you!!! Our bargaining proposals are based on the priorities you identify. We’ll be releasing our bargaining survey on Wednesday, February 6th and having Bargaining Survey Launch Tour to support it and reach out to members. We’ll be making three stops around campus and we’re hoping you’ll drop in to one of them for some free pizza and to fill in the survey. The dates and locations are:
Wednesday, February 6th- MDCL 3023- drop in anytime between 11:30 and 2:30
Tuesday, February 12th- ETB 230- drop in anytime between 11:30 and 12:30** 
Thursday, February 14th- TSH B129- drop in anytime between 11:30 and 2:30
**A General Membership Meeitng will occur in ETB 230 from 12:30 to 2:30, so we’ll be on hand between 11:30 and 2:30. This meeting will feature the election of a Vice President, Unit 1 Chief Steward, and Recording Secretary**
In addition to the free pizza, anyone who comes to one of these drop-ins will be given a ballot to win a $100 grocery gift-card for Fortino’s/No Frills. There is one prize for each of the three sessions. The rooms are all in accessible locations, and childcare costs are eligible for reimbursement.
The survey gives you the chance to provide input into the things you’d like to see introduced or improved in the new Collective Agreement. Members of the bargaining teams will be on hand to chat about items you’d like to see reflected in the Collective Agreement. If you can’t attend one of these events, the e-link to the survey will also be sent on February 6th, and the survey will remain open until March 6th.
In solidarity,
Your elected Unit 1 and Unit 3 Bargaining Teams