Upcoming Events + Other Announcements for Our Members

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Submit your benefits claims by Tuesday, Dec. 17th in order to beat the new year rush!
  • Forms can be dropped off at the CUPE office (KTH B111). Outside of regular business hours, please use the dropbox beside the office door.
  • The Benefits Committee will be meeting to discuss outstanding claims and PDF applications on Wednesday, Dec. 18th, at 1:00 PM in the CUPE office. All 3906 Members are welcome to attend!

Bargaining News

Unit 3 SGMM + Ratification Vote Kick-Off: We will be holding a Special General Membership Meeting (SGMM) for Unit 3 Members (Postdoctoral Fellows) to learn about and vote on the Tentative Agreement reached by their bargaining team and the University.
  • WHEN: Monday, Dec. 16th, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM | WHERE: BSB 104
  • Voting to continue in BSB until 3:30 PM and resume in the JHE lobby Dec. 17th, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 
  • Remember to bring photo ID!
From the Unit 1 Bargaining Team: By now most of you will know that Unit 1 (TAs and RAs in-lieu) ratified their new Collective Agreement with McMaster University on November 27th. Thanks to the incredible support of our Members and community allies, we successfully fought off all concessions and made a number of significant gains. Those hoping to learn more about the new Collective Agreement prior to its final ratification by McMaster’s Board of Governors on December 12th are encouraged to come by the CUPE office or reach out via email. Again, we are so grateful for the solidarity. Thank you all!

Now Available through the Indigenous Solidarity Working Group: Community Impact Grants!

The Indigenous Solidarity Working Group invites self-identified Indigenous persons to apply for the Community Impact Grant. The Community Impact Grant is intended to support self-identified Indigenous persons at McMaster in the work they do with Indigenous community, including – but not limited to –  the planning and implementation of community-based programming, land-based learning opportunities, and capacity building. Grants of up to $500 are available to CUPE 3906 Members and non-Members alike. Those who wish to apply should request an application form by emailing iswg@cupe3906.org. While there is no deadline, the grants will be distributed to qualified applicants on the basis of first come, first served. The ISWG will be meeting to discuss the first round of applications in mid-January.

Holiday Office Closure: Dec. 18th – Jan. 6th

The CUPE office will be closed for the winter break from December 18th to January 6th. We thank our staff for all of their hard work over a very busy few months – particularly with two Units in bargaining – and hope they get some well-deserved rest!

Unit 2 Professional Development Fund- Due Weds, Dec 4

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Just a quick reminder that applications to the Unit 2 Professional Development Fund are due in the CUPE Office (KTH B111) by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4th. Information about the fund, eligibility, inclusions/exclusions, and a link to the application can be found here: https://cupe3906.org/sessionals-unit-2/professional-development-fund-unit-2/
In the next week, we’ll be sending out our usual end-of-the-term e-mail about post-contract work and EI applications.

Unit 3 (Postdocs) reaches tentative collective agreement with McMaster

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We are pleased to announce that your Unit 3 (Postdoctoral Fellows) Bargaining Team has reached a Tentative Agreement with McMaster University for the Unit 3 Collective Agreement, the contract that governs your rights as CUPE 3906 Unit 3 members at McMaster.

Details of the Tentative Agreement will be presented to Unit 3 members at an upcoming Special General Membership Meeting (date, time, and location to be announced).

In the meantime, details of the Tentative Agreement will remain confidential out of courtesy to members and to the Employer.

Thank you for your support and interest in this process.  We will provide more details about the ratification process as soon as possible.

In solidarity,

Nathan Todd
President, CUPE 3906

CUPE 3906 Statement on Northern Syria

Brad WalchukUncategorized

CUPE 3906 condemns invasion of northern Syria by the government of Turkey. Turkish armed forces have been bombarding Kurdish regions in northern Syria since October 9th, causing many civilian casualties and displacements. These actions are illegal and risk developing into genocidal tactics, and as such cannot be ignored or treated frivolously by the international labour community. A full version of CUPE 3906’s Statement on Northern Syria can be found here.

Unit 1 Members (TAs and RAs in lieu) ratify collective agreement

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Unit 1 members voted 89% in favour of ratifying the tentative agreement. The agreement includes the addition of 5 paid hours of pedagogical and anti-oppression for all members, which was a key priority throughout the bargaining process. The agreement also secures the new inclusions of paid pregnancy leave, paid family medical leave, a fund dedicated to supporting members seeking gender affirmation, stronger supports for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and (pending recommendation from the  Indigenous Education Council) hiring preferences for members of Indigenous communities in the department of Indigenous Studies. An overview of the agreement can be found by clicking here.
The bargaining team would like to emphasize that the gains made at the table (and the removal of all concessions) was made possible by the unprecedented support from Unit 1 members and the broader McMaster, Hamilton, and Labour communities. CUPE 3906 would like to extend its sincere gratitude for all who showed their support, and looks forward to the next round of bargaining for Unit 1, which we expect will prove even more successful.
The final step in the process is for McMaster’s Board of Governors to ratify the agreement at their next meeting on December 12th, at which point the agreement will be fully ratified.

Unit 1 Ratification Meeting and Process

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Hello Unit 1!

Per our email on Tuesday evening, the Unit 1 bargaining team has reached a tentative agreement with the Employer.
That said, we will be holding a Special General Membership Meeting (SGMM) for you to learn about and vote on the tentative agreement this Monday, November 25th, in HSC 1A6 (by the Health Sciences Library, across from the Williams) at 12:30 PMVoting will begin thereafter and continue until 4 PM.
We will also be operating polling stations in MUSC (near the Starbucks) and in the EGS office (JHE 113) from 9 AM to 5 PM on Tuesday, November 26th.
Here is a helpful set of Ratification Vote FAQs pertaining to specifics of the ratification vote. We hope to see you Monday!

Office Closures–Update

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

With Unit 1 and Unit 3 both in bargaining and mediation (U1), the office will be operating on reduced hours as staff and many executives will be bargaining off-site.

The office will be closed on each of November 11th, November 14th, November 18th, and November 19th. We have a secured drop-box if you need to leave us any physical documents.

We do apologize for any inconvenience these closures may cause.

RE: Incorrect or misleading claims made by McMaster University

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Response to McMaster’s No Board Report claims

November 8, 2019

As many members of the McMaster community know, CUPE Local 3906 (Unit 1) and the
University jointly requested a ‘no-board’ report following a day of conciliation that failed to break an
impasse and provide the meaningful gains that Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants (in lieu)
deserve. More information about this can be found at www.bettermac.ca.

One of the key priorities identified by members in our bargaining survey was access to paid TA
training. The importance of said training was reinforced when Unit 1 members returned a historic and
record-breaking strike vote of 87% after McMaster University failed to agree to the Union’s proposals
on this item. Let us be clear: in highlighting the lack of paid TA training, the Union is referring to
university-wide training that would help TAs to become more effective at their jobs. Specifically, the
Union proposed five paid hours for pedagogical training and an additional three paid hours for anti-oppression training.

The employer addressed this issue – which we had already tabled as a priority– on June 24th,
in their eighth set of proposals to the Union. Specifically, they proposed using the following language
in a letter of understanding: “The parties agree to establish a joint committee for the purposes of
exploring the feasibility of establishing an Institution-wide or Faculty specific training program(s) for
new employees.” This would certainly suggest that there is not university-wide (or even faculty specific)
training for new employees.

On November 5th, when the employer provided the union with a “comprehensive proposal,”
they made no mention of university-wide paid TA training on pedagogy or anti-oppression.
For these reasons, you can imagine the Union’s surprise when we read the employer’s
statement on requesting a ‘no-board’ report. In it, they assert that “McMaster also funds benefits
programs and paid training for Teaching Assistants.” To be clear, the University is now claiming that
they fund paid training for Teaching Assistants. Our question is this: “Oh, really?”

We are left wondering which paid training they provide to TAs – be it pedagogical, anti-oppression,
or both. If we are to take the University’s statement at face value, it is unclear why they
would have refused our above mentioned proposals, let alone why they themselves proposed
“establish[ing] a joint committee for the purposes of exploring the feasibility of establishing an
Institution-wide or Faculty specific training program(s) for new employees.” So we ask again, to which
paid TA training are they referring?

Perhaps they are referring to health and safety training. The Occupational Health and Safety
Act mandates this type of training, so citing it when we have clearly been bargaining over anti-oppression and pedagogical training is disingenuous to say the least. Perhaps they are referring to
training mandated by the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which the employer is required to
offer to employees. We know that the Faculty of Engineering launched a pilot project to provide training to its graduate TAs. If this is what they were referring to, it is unclear why they would not want
to include such an important provision in their proposals, especially in response to our proposals for
paid university-wide TA training.

There is existing language in the Collective Agreement mandating that “the Employer will
provide an orientation… to all newly hired Unit 1 employees in order to provide them with information
about the general operation of the University and resources available to employees that may be of
assistance in the performance of their duties. Employee orientation may include information about
such things as instructional courses and professional development resources that are available to
employees.” This language might tell TAs and RAs in lieu about what is available, but it does not
provide pedagogical or anti-oppression training. Neither party is looking to amend this language, so
surely this is not something worth highlighting. At the department level, some departments carve out
minimal paid training for TAs, but this simply comes out of their allocation of hours, thus leaving less
time for marking and student contact. To us it seems that providing additional paid hours for training
is the least the employer could do, considering that most of our members take home less than $5,ooo
in wages per year once we account for the cost of full-time tuition – the payment of which is a
condition of their employment.

We would urge all TAs to call or e-mail their Department Chairs, the University’s Vice-Provost
and Dean of Graduate Studies (who also happens to be Chair of their bargaining team), as well as the
Associate Vice-President and Dean of Students to inquire about the paid training opportunities we are
supposedly afforded. Some helpful contact information can be found below. We would love to hear the
responses to these inquiries!

• Doug Welch, Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies: 1-905-525-9140 x 24205 or
• Sean Van Koughnett, Associate Vice-President and Dean of Students: 1-905-525-9140 x 27455
or avpstud@mcmaster.ca

We have always been clear about the fact that TAs and RAs in lieu both demand and deserve
paid pedagogical and anti-oppression training. We also know that our students deserve TAs who have
been trained in ways commensurate with the University’s emphasis on excellence in teaching.
McMaster’s recent statement is either embarrassingly uninformed or deliberately misleading, and we
hold that the only correct course of action would be for them to immediately offer a retraction and


Nathan Todd

President of CUPE 3906

Office Closures

Brad WalchukUncategorized

With Unit 1 and Unit 3 both in bargaining and mediation (U1), the office will be operating on reduced hours as staff and many executives will be bargaining off-site.

The office will be closed on each of November 11th, November 14th, November 18th, and November 19th. We have a secured drop-box if you need to leave us any physical documents.

We do apologize for any inconvenience these closures may cause.