CUPE 3906 Unit 2 (Sessionals) Strike Vote

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Members,

Your elected bargaining team met yesterday to discuss the Employer’s most recent proposals and to evaluate where we are in the negotiation process. Given the lack of movement we have seen on the issues that you have identified as priorities – including fair wags, job security, workload, and benefits – the team has decided (1) to file for conciliation with the Ministry of Labour and (2) to call for a strike mandate vote.

Let me briefly explain both of these decisions in turn. As to the first, filing for conciliation refers to the process whereby one of the parties in a negotiation (the Union, in this case) requests that the Ministry of Labour for the province of Ontario assign a conciliation officer – a mediator, essentially – to meet with the parties and help them to reach an agreement. The conciliator is not an arbitrator, and their decisions and recommendations are not binding. They are there to help the conversation along. Your union has found this to be a very helpful and productive process in the past and we are confident that it will assist in these negotiations as well.

As to the second, while we remain resolute in our belief that we can continue to hold to your priorities and get a fair deal for sessional faculty, we are at the point where we really need your help to do it. There is a time in the bargaining process where words at the table will not suffice. The Employer (and the conciliation officer) needs to see that the members are truly behind their bargaining team.

        This is why we are taking a Strike Mandate Vote, beginning on Tuesday, October 24th beginning after our 5 p.m. information meeting.

A strong strike vote will empower the bargaining team with a clear mandate and will help to get these negotiations moving again. It is important to note, though, that a successful strike mandate vote does not mean that we are automatically going on strike. Rather, it gives the Bargaining Team the ability to call a strike later on in the process as a matter of last resort. While this is the last vote that will be taken before the end of these negotiations, we will – as always – continue to consult with membership to help us decide what next steps to take.

The vote will be discussed at a Special General Membership Meeting on the evening of Tuesday, October 24th in the Arthur N. Bourns Building (ABB), Room 165. The information begins at 5 p.m. with a vote to follow. You will have a chance to hear from the Bargaining Team and ask any questions, or voice any concerns, that you might have about the bargaining process, conciliation, or the strike mandate vote.

         The voting will open immediately following the meeting on the 24th.

         Voting will then continue until Friday, October 27th from 8:00AM to 7:00PM according to the following schedule:

Wednesday, October 25th: The Lobbies of Mills and Thode Library + the Main Floor of the Degroote School of Business

Thursday, October 26th: The Lobbies of Mills and Thode Library + the Main Floor of the Degroote School of Business

Friday, October 27th: The main floor of the Engineering Technology Building (ETB)

All sessional faculty and hourly-rated sessional music faculty working this semester are eligible to vote. Sessional faculty who have worked within the last two terms are also eligible, as are those sessional faculty with a contract for an upcoming term. These members will have their ballots sequestered. In any case, all you need to bring to the vote is photo ID (though it is helpful if you bring a copy of your Letter of Appointment for this term or an upcoming term, or proof of employment for a past term, in case we do not have you on our current membership list).

The participation of our membership has been and continues to be crucial to the bargaining process. Do not hesitate to contact the staff if you have any questions or concerns leading up to the SGMM or the vote. Our Member Mobilizer, Amarjeet, can be reached at or by phone at 416 856 9587Please also visit the campaign website for more information on our proposals and for a Strike Vote FAQ.

In solidarity for a #BetterMac,

Graham Baker, President

on behalf of the CUPE 3906 Unit 2 Bargaining Team


Solidarity with College Faculty and the push for a #BetterMac

Brad WalchukUncategorized

An update on the job action by college faculty in Ontario represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU):

First, these workers are officially on strike as of 12:01 this morning. Picket lines have gone up on campuses all over the province, including a (for now) information-only picket on the McMaster campus for Mohawk faculty who also teach here.

The picket line is near the Main St. entrance to the main campus. We would encourage you to stop by at some point this week to greet your colleagues and lend your support. You may also consider sending an online letter of support. Remember: their fight is also our fight!

To that end, your elected bargaining team has also been busy this past week as we continue to try to reach an agreement with the employer. Many outstanding issues have now been settled, including updates to pregnancy and parental and other forms of leaves, and clarifications around the way grievances are handled for this unit. Unfortunately, after multiple meetings with the employer’s negotiators over the last two weeks, we have seen no movement on the issues that you have identified as priorities. McMaster’s bargaining team has not signalled any willingness to make any serious improvements to wages or benefits and they have flatly refused to entertain the possibility of even modest improvements to job security (i.e. to extend first consideration appointments any further beyond their current length).

We will stay at the table, but negotiations are approaching an impasse. Your bargaining team will meet tomorrow morning to evaluate the employer’s most recent proposals and decide on next steps. As always, we will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, please sign the pledge stating your support of the team!

In solidarity for a #BetterMac,
Graham Baker, President, CUPE 3906

CUPE Statement on Ontario Colleges Strike

Brad WalchukUncategorized

You may have read in the news over the last few days of the possibility for job action on the part of academic workers represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) at Ontario’s colleges. ***editor’s update: as of 9:15 p.m. on Oct 15, OPSEU has stated that the Employer has rejected the union’s final offer and that a strike is on***

While there is still time for the parties to agree to a settlement, our faculty colleagues at Mohawk College and other institutions are preparing to walk off the job beginning tomorrow morning. The union has advised us as that there may be picketing on the McMaster Campus as well. Below are a few instructions and reminders about this potential work stoppage that we have received from our employer that we feel need to be shared with our members (see also this news bulletin).

But before we do, let me say, without equivocation, that your union fully and totally supports these workers in their fight for improved job security, a fair workload, and academic freedom for college instructors. As you well know from the last few months of sessional faculty bargaining here at McMaster, their fight is also our fight. The instructors at Mohawk and elsewhere are looking for a fair deal, one that will allow them to do their jobs with the dignity and security that they, and you, deserve.

First class teaching shouldn’t get second class treatment. Not here. Not at Mohawk.

That being said, please be reminded of the following:

For those individuals employed by McMaster and teaching a class:

– If you are teaching a class at a McMaster site you should continue to instruct classes as scheduled.

– If you are teaching a class at a college site you are likely to have that class cancelled by the College. Under this circumstance, McMaster employees will not lose pay because the College has cancelled the class. Department Chairs will coordinate with individuals to reallocate time or duties, as may be appropriate, within the parameters of their appointment.

– In some instances, the College may propose an alternate location for a class. McMaster must review and approve these proposed alternate locations prior to the classes being relocated. McMaster faculty are not obliged to teach in these alternate locations. Please contact the union right away if the College requests you teach in an alternate location.

For those individuals employed by McMaster and teaching a lab:

– If you are teaching a lab at a McMaster site you should continue to instruct classes as scheduled.

– If you are teaching a lab at a College site that is still open you will likely be instructed to teach labs as scheduled.

Please note: McMaster employees are not required to perform the duties of striking College employees. If you are approached with a request to perform the work of a striking College faculty member, please contact the union right away.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

In solidarity,

Graham Baker, President, CUPE 3906

Office Access- Oct 1 to Oct 5

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Our office *may* be closed intermittently this week due to staff and some leadership attending the CUPE National convention. Our administrator is in, but may have to step out from time to time. If it’s important, please call in advance.

And while you’re reading this, be sure to check out one of our #BetterMac videos in support of Unit 2 bargaining.

Get on the FREE bus to Take Back the Night!

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Dear Members,

Stand up for women’s and gender non-binary rights!  March with the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and Area, McMaster, UNIFOR 5555 and our CUPE 3906 Equity Action Committee in the annual Take Back the Night march:

There is a free bus leaving from McMaster at 5:30 P.M. For more information, click here!

General Membership Meeting- September 26th at 5:00 p.m.

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The Union’s most significant decisions are made by Union members at General Membership Meetings (GMMs).

All CUPE 3906 members of all 3 units (TAs and RAs in lieu, Sessional Faculty, Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty and Postdoctoral Fellows) can attend regular GMMs and get involved in the Union’s decision making processes.

Our next GMM will be held next week on Tuesday, September 26th at 5:00PM in Burke Science Building (BSB) 105.

Agenda items will include: approval of the 2017-18 budget; approval of funds for Unit 3 informational materials; updates on Unit 2 Bargaining; as well as the following elections:

  • Unit 2 Bargaining Team Note-taker
  • Unit 2 Chief Steward
  • Delegates to the Hamilton and District Labour Council

As usual, there will be a free dinner and childcare costs to attend the meeting can be reimbursed.

Have questions? Email

Bargaining Update- #BetterMac Campaign

Brad WalchukUncategorized

As you make your way around campus, you’re likely to see our #BetterMac campaign, designed to secure meaningful increases though collective bargaining for Sessional Faculty, including job security, improved benefits, and fair wages. We’re expecting to be back at the bargaining table with the Employer in early October.

In the meantime, hear why these issues matter to two of your colleagues in our two short #BetterMac videos, featuring Jessica Foran from the Social Sciences Faculty and David Gerry from the School of the Arts. Click on the links!

If you’re interested in participating more in the #BetterMac campaign or you’d like to share your story as Jessica and David have, please contact Amarjeet at

Alternatively, if you’d like a poster for your office door, please swing by KTH B111, or let us know where your office is and we’ll deliver it.

Finally, while we hope that increased benefits are entitlements are available soon after we secure a new collective agreement, your currents benefits and entitlements can be found on our website.

Have questions? Email

In solidarity for a #BetterMac for Sessional Faculty,

Graham Baker, President, CUPE 3906

#BetterMac Profile- Dr. David Gerry

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Meet Dr. David Gerry, a Sessional in School of the Arts.

He’s taught at McMaster University for about 30 years, has acquired a few advanced degrees in that time (including a PhD), been recognized by the Grammys (yes, you read that correctly), won a McMaster Students Union (MSU) teaching award, but has “no more job security now than when I began.” It’s time for a #BetterMac

Have a look at this video to hear from David what a #BetterMac means to him and why creating one is important.

Welcome (Back)- 2017-18

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Welcome back to the thousands of amazing 3906 members who are back for another year, and a hearty welcome to the hundreds of new 3906 members joining our union. Our week began with the Annual Labour Day Parade in Hamilton. What a time!

We’re pleased to have negotiated wage increases for Unit 1 (TAs/RAs in lieu) and for Unit 3 (Post-Docs) that became effective as of September 1st. We also have an updated dental plan for unit 1 members, a new Health Care Spending Account for Post-Docs, and an expanded Professional Development Fund for Post-Docs. Information on these gains will be sent separately. Additional gains for Unit 2 members (Sessionals) will be announced at the conclusion of the bargaining process.

It was great meeting with thousands of you over the past week. Our first General Membership Meeting (or GMM) of the year will take place in late September. Stay tuned for details.

All-in-all, it was a busy week and we look forward to continuing to serve needs of our roughly 3000 members over the 2017-18 academic year.