Unit 1- Bargaining Bulletin #2

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Bargaining Bulletin #2

CUPE 3906 Unit 1: TAs and RAs in-lieu


After a summer away from the bargaining table, your Union met with employer representatives from McMaster on August 21 and 22. While we made progress on some smaller issues, often involving day-to-day labour relations issues, no progress was made on larger items that you identified as priorities. These include extended guaranteed TAships for graduate students, meaningful wage increases, equal pay for all TAs, protection against tuition increases, a higher minimum number of hours on a contract, and access to paid training.

Unfortunately, the Employer’s proposals have remained the same since June – a ‘no’ to all proposals. McMaster will only negotiate within what it sees as the framework of Bill 124, a bill (which is not yet law) that would limit wage and benefits increases to 1% per year. At the same time, they have also proposed concessions that would see the erosion of graduate students’ guaranteed TAships and have tabled language that would see the elimination of a minimum number of hours per contract (currently set at a minimum of 32 hours). Finally, rather than establish paid anti-oppression and pedagogical training for TAs, McMaster has proposed a committee to determine if TA training is even ‘feasible.’ In a large and diverse university, we fail to see how TA training could possibly be unfeasible.


  • Standard 5-year TA guarantee for PhD students
  • Standard 2-year TA guarantee for Masters’ students
  • No extension of guaranteed funding period
  • No minimum number of hours per contract
  • 5% increases per year for all members in recognition of increases to the cost of living & historical wage stagnation.
  • Equal pay for undergraduate and graduate TA/RAs.
  • 1% per year for all members, following what they believe Bill 124 will require of them if it becomes law.
  • Additional 0.35% per year for all members if Bill 124 does not pass
  • Optional paid training for professional development and anti-oppression practices
  • No paid training for professional development or anti-oppression
  • Option to strike a committee to discuss the “feasibility” of additional training (paid or unpaid)
  • Tuition reimbursements freezing the cost of tuition at the 2018-2019 domestic student rate for all members
  • No tuition waiver/reimbursement
  • Employer to pay 50% of UHIP costs
  • General increases to Benefits Funds that respond adequately to rising insurance rates and service costs
  • $10,000 gender-affirmation fund
  • No increase to benefits funds over 2-years
  • Committee to discuss supports for gender-affirmation

Where does CUPE stand?

Despite the fact that Bill 124 is not a law (and, as such, our feeling that we do not need to negotiate within its limitations), your Union explored all options to secure the best possible deal for TAs and RAs in lieu. In fact, we offered to consider a mere 1% wage increase, contingent on meaningful and substantial movement from the Employer on the following key issues, each of which can still be bargained within McMaster’s self-imposed limitations of Bill 124:

·         Minimum 65-hour contracts
·         5th year guaranteed TAships
·         Tuition Freeze
·         Paid Training (Pedagogical & Anti-Oppression)
·         Closing the Class A and B wage gaps

These five items speak to several of the priorities our members made clear to us through our Bargaining Survey. Unfortunately, McMaster signaled that it has no interest in moving forward on these terms, leaving us with virtually no way of moving forward while representing the interests of our members.

McMaster’s Position 

On August 22nd your Union was shocked to hear that, in addition to rejecting our proposed framework, McMaster University was signalling an impasse by effectively walking away from the bargaining table. This decision was ostensibly made in light of a policy grievance CUPE had filed weeks ago, alleging that some employees who should be covered by the Collective Agreement were not (and, as such, were denied benefits and wages). For obvious reasons, we find ourselves questioning the Employer’s last-minute decision not to resume negotiations pending an arbitration ruling on this specific grievance.

Essentially, after we had presented a framework through which CUPE would consider a 1% wage increase in exchange for meaningful movement on a higher minimum number of hours, expanded graduate guarantees, protection from tuition increases, paid TA training, and equitable wages for all TAs, McMaster University signaled that it had zero interest in moving forward on such terms. This is completely unnecessary and could undoubtedly cause major delays in the bargaining process.

What do we go from here? 

CUPE remains committed to continuing to bargain in good faith. Not only have we proposed a framework to move forward with securing a fair collective agreement, we believe that the parties can and should continue to bargain in good faith for the benefit of our members regardless of the status of ongoing grievances.

CUPE is ready to continue to bargain a fair and meaningful deal for its members and that one that works for all parties. We are no longer confident that McMaster shares this goal.

We will continue to reach to members and move forward with the hopes of moving past this impasse that we feel McMaster has created.

For More Information:

Kenneth Taylor Hall, B111         905-525-9140 x24003
http://bettermac.ca                       cupe3906
http://cupe3906.org                      cupe_3906

How you can Help:

Join us on Labour Day

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Please join us on Monday, September 2nd for the Hamilton Labour Day Parade and Picnic. We will be meeting on Stuart St, outside the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre at 10:00 AM, and will be marching through Hamilton to Bay Front Park for a picnic and socializing. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be available for purchase , and the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre has generously organized a kids’ zone consisting of a bouncy castle and other fun activities. Beer will also be available for purchase in a designated licensed area.
This Labour Day we celebrate the contributions made by workers in Hamilton and beyond. We will also be joining the Hamilton and District Labour Council to unite against racism, oppression and austerity. At CUPE 3906  we understand the urgency of securing and protecting not only workers’ rights, but also social justice and economic dignity for all.
We look forward to seeing you there.
In solidarity,
CUPE 3906

Join our Stewards Committee!


We are excited to initiate a renewed process for joining the Stewards Committee! In the interest of making the process more accessible, equitable, and democratic, the executive has approved the following forms through which you become a departmental steward.

The forms include information about the nature of the role, its responsibilities, and the newly approved honourarium for stewards to be set in our yearly budgets.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us! (staff@cupe3906.org)

Steward Nomination Form – UNIT 1 (TAs/RAs in lieu)

Steward Nomination Form UNITS 2 & 3 (Sessional Instructors & Post-Doctoral Fellows)


Unit 2 job notifications

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The CBA has secured access to automatic job notifications (ie/ of posted available positions). This needs to be set-up via MOSAIC. We have been informed by members that the notifications are not currently working. We have approached HR about the situation and they are looking into things on their end.

Unit 2 PDF update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The Benefits Committee will be meeting on September 5th to review Professional Development Fund applications from the spring/summer semester. An update on the adjudication process will be sent out to all applicants shortly thereafter.

The committee will also discuss any recent Unit 3 Professional Development Fund proposals.

August General Membership Meeting- Aug 14 at noon

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Your local is having a General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, August 14th at noon in KTH 104.

The agenda features the election of a new President (Angie Perez is stepping down) and voting on a series of by-laws changes presented to the membership at our July meeting.

We hope to see you in this accessible location. Food (including vegan and halal options) is provided, and childcare costs can be reimbursed.

End of Term Sessional Information

Brad WalchukUncategorized

As the summer semester comes to an end, we want to provide some other relevant end-of-term information that might be useful, as well as information about the start of the fall semester.

Any postcontract 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 $65.40/hour. This would include reviewing grades that are being challenged, marking exam that have been deferred, 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 to get paid, is available here

The final pay for this term is August 16th. This represents what Service Canada refers to as an ‘interruption of earnings.’  However, your ‘final day worked’ will be August 9th and the ‘final day for which you were paid’ will be August 10th. These will be the important dates on your EI application. We would encourage all Sessionals who may utilize Employment Insurance at any point in 2019 or 2020 to apply on or after August 10th, even if you are employed during the Fall term, as you will be able to collect EI for the remainder of summer. For information on EI, click here.  The employer will upload your ROE automatically, but you can (and should) apply immediately following your last day worked (August 9th).

The deadline for applications to the Professional Development Fund for the 2018/19 academic year is Monday, August 12th. The committee should be able to review the applications within the next few weeks and inform members shortly thereafter with the results. This fund is intended to assist with expenses related to professional development that fall into the following three categories: Conference Presentations/Participation and Certification; Books; and certain Technological Items.

For those of you working in the Fall Semester, the first pay day will be September 13th, and – for EI purposes – the first day worked/first day for which paid will be September 3rd. If you are collecting EI in August, the September 3rd day is what should be reported as your return to work.

Finally, we have a General Membership Meeting on August 14th at noon in KTH 104. At this meeting, we’ll be electing a new President, as well as voting on changes to our by-laws. Childcare expenses can be reimbursed, vegan and halal food options will be available, and the meeting is held in an accessible location.



Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

July 31st,  12PM,  GH 111 (McMaster Council Chambers)

Following the tabling of Bill 124, McMaster has offered Teaching Assistants (and RA’s in lieu) and Post-Doctoral Fellows contracts that would amount to pay cuts.

What is Bill 124? How will it affect us at McMaster?
And, most importantly – How will we respond?

Join us for this Emergency Town Hall
Lunch Included
Cost of Childcare can be Reimbursed for CUPE 3906 Members

On the Agenda:

  • Guest Speakers – Roberto Henrquez & Janice Folk-Dawson

  • Bargaining Team Updates

  • Q & A Session – your time to speak up!

  • Community Strategy Session – what are our next steps?

Roberto Henriquez

Roberto practices labour law, employment law, and human rights law in Hamilton and across south-west Ontario including:  Brantford, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Ancaster, Dundas, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, and Burlington.

Since being called to the bar in 2014, Roberto worked in-house at a large private sector union, an administrative tribunal, and in local Hamilton government before joining Molyneaux Law in Spring 2019.

Roberto will be speaking to us about Bill 124 itself: What does it entail? Who does it affect? What happens if it becomes a law?

Janice Folk-Dawson

Janice is the President of CUPE Local 1334 which represents the Maintenance, Trades and Service personnel at the University of Guelph. Janice is also the Chair of the Ontario University Workers’ Coordinating Committee (OUWCC), which is one of 6 large sector groups within CUPE Ontario.

Janice is a feminist and community activist, and has been vital to CUPE 3906’s ongoing strategy in response to Bill 124.

Janice will be speaking to us about the University Sector’s response to Bill 124, how the sector has already been affected, and what role the OUWCC can play in our fight back.

An important message to all CUPE university workers in Ontario

Brad WalchukUncategorized

University workers across the province are under attack by the Ford government. Your OUWCC leadership is working closely with CUPE Ontario and CUPE National to defend good jobs and quality post-secondary education.

Knowledge is power. That is why we are providing you with an update so every CUPE university worker has information about where we are right now, and what steps we are taking to support you, and what steps you can take to push back against the Ford attack.

Where are we right now?
The Ford government has moved on a number of fronts to attack universities. Below is a list of the key issues that have arisen as a result of the Ford government.

A real reduction in budgets—The Ford government announced a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees. ‘Unfunded’ means universities were not provided with additional funding to offset this loss of revenue, resulting in an average four per cent cut to university operating budgets— over $400 million province-wide. Layoffs of contract faculty and staff reductions have already begun.

Bill 124—interfering in collective bargaining—Bill 124, The Protecting a Sustainable Public Service for Future Generations Act, 2019, was tabled in the Provincial Legislature on June 5. If passed, the bill would impose three-year ‘moderation periods’ on unionized and non-unionized workplaces, capping wage increases and overall compensation by one per cent per year, and apply to a broad range of employees, employers and unions in Ontario, including universities and colleges.

Marketization of the university funding formula—Changes to the university funding formula have been announced that will link funding to flawed labour market measures and commercialization activities, undermining the basic research and reducing funding for smaller departments that teach critical thinking skills. These changes will have far-reaching effects on budget decisions made by university administrators and cause further downward pressure on

Defunding student unions and democratic services—The Student Choice Initiative announced by the Ford government eliminated stable per-student dues (similar to union Rand Formula funding) for student unions and the national student movement through cuts to the Canadian Federation of Studnets. At the same time, democratic student levies for services were made voluntary. Together, this has resulted in the defunding of Pride Centres, Women’s Centres, campus radio, campus newspapers, and the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs). Cuts to funding has resulted in major job losses at CUPE 1281, which represents many staff providing these services.

Attack on free speech on campus—The Ford government has mandated that all universities put in place policies that limit freedom of speech and action on campus. The reactionary nature of these policies will provide cover for alt-right, racist and other extremist groups to have full access to speak and hold events on campus, while prohibiting counter-demonstrations against such viewpoints. Universities which do not establish such codes could face further losses of provincial funding.

Cuts to student financial assistance—The Ford government has made regressive changes to Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), eliminated grants and forced all students to take on student debt before accessing grants. This is undermining access to post-secondary education, increasing unsustainable debt burdens for students from marginalized communities, and most students will see an increase in overall cost to their education in spite of the ten per cent tuition fee reduction.

Attack on retirement security—The Ford government has announced that it seeks to gut collective agreements for workers who continue to receive pay for the work they do after a certain age. The attacks on the right to receive pay for work done are focused on faculty, but it is possible blue-collar workers will be impacted. The expectation is that the government’s ageist policy will push older workers out of their university employment if they are able to receive retirement.

What happens now?
Together with CUPE Ontario and CUPE National, OUWCC is preparing to fight back against the Ford government. CUPE Ontario has scheduled regional meetings for both leadership and members to update them and to discuss our plans to defend good jobs and public services across the province.

You can learn about when and where meetings are taking place by visiting the CUPE Ontario website at cupe.on.ca

For briefings, articles and upcoming actions and campaigns specific to post-secondary education, visit our partners at campuscoalition.org

If your local union is currently in bargaining, it is important to continue bargaining and preparing—both as a union and personally—as if Bill 124 wasn’t there. At this point, Bill 124 has only received first reading and is not yet law. Even if it does pass, it may be amended. If Bill 124 does become law, then we will fight it with every means at our disposal. Finally, it is imperative that you stay connected with your Local Union and let both the government and your employer know that you are standing strong, in solidarity with your leadership.

Together, we will push back Doug Ford’s attack on good jobs and quality post-secondary education.

Sessional Faculty- Dental Opt Out- Summer Semester

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Sessionals,

If you are a Sessional Faculty Member teaching for the first time this academic year in the Summer 2019 term, this message applies to you.

New Sessional Faculty Members who are began their teaching for the 2018-2019 academic year in June 2019 are able to make changes to their CUPE 3906 dental coverage until July 25, 2019.

  • To enroll family members at a cost of $853.72 per family, please fill out the forms available on this link and provide completed forms and a void cheque or direct debit permission from from your bank to our office, KTH B111, no later than July 25, 2019: https://cupe3906.org/files/2018/09/2018-Unit-2-Family-Dental-Enrollment-NEW-2-1.pdf
  • To opt-out of CUPE 3906 dental coverage if you have alternative dental coverage through your parents or spouse, please fill out the forms available on this link and provide completed forms, a copy of proof of alternate coverage with your name on it, and a void cheque or direct deposit permission from from your bank to our office, KTH B111, no later than July 25, 2019: https://cupe3906.org/files/2018/09/CUPE-U2-DENTAL-OPT-OUT-2018-2019-NEW-2.pdf

Please note: change of status (including family coverage enrollment and opt outs) expires for all members on August 31, 2019.  To maintain your coverage status (or opt-out) next academic year (if you are returning as a Sessional Faculty member), you must complete this change of coverage process again in September.

For more general information on dental coverage or dental change of coverage, please visit https://cupe3906.org/sessionals-unit-2/unit-2-dental-coverage/ or contact administrator@cupe3906.org.