General Membership Meeting – May 13

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Our next General Membership Meeting (GMM) will take place on May 13th from 2-4pm over zoom. You can register in advance here. We’ll be sharing important updates from the Unit 2 bargaining team and discussing monetary and policy motions.

Support Graduate Research Workers at UBC

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Last year CUPE Local 2278 had a campaign to unionize graduate research assistants. Despite thousands of UBC student workers expressing their desire for change by signing union cards, UBC has failed to recognize their rights as workers. The decision on this from the labour relations board is expected April 30th. 

Local 2278 is looking for support from other unionized workers, particularly in the university and education sectors, to tell UBC that research is work. 

The University of British Columbia is the largest university in BC and one of the largest in Canada. Yet it is one of the last universities in the country without a union for graduate research assistants.

The lack of a union has prevented UBC student workers from being able to affect their working conditions and negotiate for fair wages. It has meant that they face workplace issues alone, including inadequate health and safety protocols, unclear or inconsistent hiring processes, unchallenged harassment, lack of support for mental health, and widespread overwork and burnout.

To date, thousands of UBC student workers have signed union cards because they want change. Last spring, UBC graduate research assistants signed enough cards to pass the threshold for automatic union certification. And yet, UBC refuses to acknowledge them as workers.

UBC could not function without the contributions of graduate researchers and other academic workers, and they deserve the support and protections of a union.

Tell UBC: Research is Work! Add your name if you agree.


Winter 2024 end-of-semester update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Sessionals,

Congratulations, we’ve nearly reached the end of the semester. This is our end-of-the-semester update. Below you will see information about post-contract work, the large class supplemental payment, health care spending, professional development fund access, and information about employment insurance.

Final payment

The final pay of the semester will arrive in your account on Friday April 19th and will cover the period from March 31st to the end of term. As of April 20th, your contract is officially over and you should not work past this point.

Large Class Supplement 
We have learned that some sessionals have yet to be paid the Large Class Supplemental Fee. For those of you earning thebase rate($8056.37) and teaching a class with more than 75 students, please note that your last pay stub should reflect an additional supplementary payment of $2.00 per student per unit for each student above 75.  For a typical 3-unit course, this would amount to $6.00 per student for each student above 75. If you taught a class with more than 75 students and you have yet to see the supplemental fee added, please reach out to your department ASAP to confirm that this additional supplement will be paid on April 19th. We are happy to help if there are any issues.

Post contract work
Any post-contract 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 $71.13/hour. This would include reviewing grades that are being challenged, marking exam that have been deferred, addressing outstanding SAS issues, 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 and submit to get paid, is available here. If you are asked to perform this work and are collecting EI, please let us know.  Once your marks have been submitted (the main list, this does not need to include any deferred exams or extensions based on accommodations), your contract is over and this triggers the beginning of the post-contract period.

Employment insurance
The final pay for this term is April 19th.This final pay on April 19th represents what Service Canada refers to as an ‘interruption of earnings’  and should be the date you list on your EI application as the last pay date (not the date for which you were last paid). The ‘day for which you were last paid’ and your ‘last day worked’ should be listed as April 10th.  We would encourage all Sessionals who might utilize Employment Insuranceat any point in 2024 to apply after April 19th, even if you are employed during the spring/summer term.

The first pay in the Spring term, for those of you who are employed, will be on May 17th and the first day of work will be May 6th. This means you might be able to collect EI from April 20th to May 6th if you have enough insurable hours. For information on EI, click here. If you have already served a withholding period in the past 52 weeks, you might be able to collect EI as of April 20th. If you have not served a withholding period, you can serve one week waiting period in late April and collect EI thereafter.

In certain instances, it is possible to both work and collect EI (with some clawbacks) if the amount of work have in the winter has dropped substantially from the work you had during the fall term. More information is available here.

If you have any EI questions, we recommend that you speak with someone from Service Canada. Any information provided here are simply insights and you should clarify things with Service Canada as their understanding is legally correct and they can follow-up for over-payment if things are not done correctly.

The employer will upload your ROE automatically to Service Canada at some point in late April 2024, but please apply to EI as soon as you can after April 19th if you plan to utilize EI in the spring/summer.

Please note that there are many individual factors that determine your ability to access EI to which we are not privy (such as how many hours you have worked in the past year outside of McMaster or the bargaining unit, etc.).  Only the government can give you definitive information about your particular circumstances.  Please be sure to review regulations and information at the government links (provided above).

Professional Development
For those of you who are curious, applications made to the Professional Development Fund this fall will be adjudicated later this month and cheques will be mailed out soon. If you have any PDF questions, please email If you missed the winter deadline, you can apply at any point in the upcoming spring/summer semester.

Health Care Spending Account
A quick reminder about your Health Care Spending Account entitlement of $500 per academic year. The fund covers the cost of various health care related expenses (as approved by Revenue Canada) and provides a tax-free reimbursement to you. More information is available here:

There is no cost or fee to you. The fund is secured through collective bargaining and made available to members to use as needed. You can still make a claim in 2024 if you are no longer teaching, so long as you worked at some point in the fall 2023 or winter 2024 semester.

Unit 2 (Sessionals) Bargaining Priorities Meeting

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Sessionals,
As you know, your collective agreement expires on August 31, 2024. You recently received a bargaining survey to help identify your key priorities for our upcoming negotiations. Your elected bargaining team has been reviewing the results of this survey and identifying key priorities based on your responses. This is ultimately your collective agreement and needs to reflect your voice.
Your bargaining team will be holding a priorities ratification meeting on Monday, April 22nd at 1 p.m. via zoom (link below) to allow you to view, amend, and ratify the key priorities you’d like to see advanced in negotiations with McMaster this summer. We encourage all sessional faculty to register for and attend this meeting to learn more about the bargaining process and ensure that the priorities reflect your key interests. From these priorities, the bargaining team will then craft specific language and proposals.
If you’d like to become to engaged in the bargaining process, please email Walter at . The bargaining support committee helps to connect the bargaining team with members, helps to mobilize those members, and provides assistance to the elected bargaining team. The time commitment can be as much or as little as you’re able to give.
You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Apr 22, 2024 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

April GMM – April 11, 1 pm in MUSC 311/13

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Our next General Membership Meeting (GMM) will be in person on April 11 in MUSC 311/313 starting at 1pm. No pre-registration is required; registration will occur at the door to verify membership.

At the meeting, we will be electing an Undergraduate Officer position on our executive committee. The position is open to all members in good-standing who have not have an undergraduate degree conferred upon them.

Upcoming Bylaws Committee Meeting

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The bylaws committee will meet on April 10 at noon. Only members elected to the committee may attend, but any 3906 member may submit recommendations and bylaw changes for consideration. Please send any proposed bylaw changes or recommendations to our VP, Mason, at in advance of the meeting.

Mike Skinner Award Nominations

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The Mike Skinner 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 recipient of the Mike Skinner Award may have been involved in the following possible issues over the course of their time with CUPE 3906:

  • 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, mobilization, education and/or solidarity;
  • Labour organizing and solidarity in support of workers in Hamilton, Canada, or abroad.

The value of the award is $500 to one person (or committee), an award certificate and an inscription on the Mike Skinner 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 between January 2023 and March 2024. To find out more or to nominate a member, contact

Unit 2 Professional Development Fund Deadline: April 10th

Brad WalchukUncategorized

This is a reminder to please submit your Professional Development Application by April 10th. All sessionals can claim $200 per 3 unit course to a max of $1000 per academic year for the purpose of professional development. You can find the forms and information here: Please send all of your applications to