Mike Skinner 2018 Award Nominations

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 this year’s 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 anyone who has been a member of the local within the past 12 months.

The nomination period for this award is from February 8th, 2018 to March 9th, 2018.

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 about the award is available here, and the Mike Skinner Award nomination form is available here.

Health and Safety and Stormy Weather

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Dear Members,

As you may know, McMaster University has a Storm Emergency Policy in the case of extreme weather:


The Employer recognizes in its Policy that “Weather conditions can sometimes be intimidating even though the University remains open” (especially if you live some distance from campus).

If you feel that the weather conditions are intimidating, you may make alternate arrangements with your department regarding regularly scheduled work.  You should not be penalized if you feel that your personal safety is at risk.
If you have questions about how to exercise your rights, please contact the Union at staff@cupe3906.org or x24003.
As Union members, Health and Safety articles in our Collective Agreements (Article 18 in Unit 1; Article 17 in Unit 2; Article 14 in Unit 3) protects your health and safety.
There is additional language in our Collective Agreements to protect members from loss of pay in the event of an Emergency Storm Closure (Article 20.06 in Unit 1; Letters of Understanding entitled “Policies Affecting Terms and Conditions of Employment” in Unit 2 and Unit 3). Both the Employer and the Union agree that members shouldn’t risk their personal safety in the line of work.
CUPE 3906 Staff and Executive

General Membership Meeting- Jan 31

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Members,
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 Wednesday, January 31st at 12 (noon) in ITB 139.
Agenda items will include elections of the following executive committee positions:
  • President
  • Recording Secretary
  • Benefits Officer
  • Health and Safety Officer
  • Undergraduate Officer

as well as elections for

  • Health and Safety Committee Seats
  • Ontario University Workers’ Coordinating Committee (OUWCC) Campus Rep
  • OUWCC delegates
As usual, there will be a free lunch and childcare costs to attend the meeting can be reimbursed.
Have questions? Email staff@cupe3906.org

Important message regarding dental coverage change of coverage periods for brand new TAs and RAs in lieu beginning academic programmes in January 2018

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Dear New Members,

If you (i) hold an undergraduate degree, (ii) are just starting a TAship or RAship (in lieu of TAship) this winter 2018 term, and (iii) are just starting a new academic programme this winter 2018 term, this message applies to you.

New members who meet all three of the above-mentioned criteria are able to make changes to their CUPE 3906 dental coverage until January 31, 2018.

Please note: change of status (including family coverage enrollment and opt-outs) expires for all members on August 31, 2018.  To maintain your status next academic year (if you are still working as a TA or RA in lieu), you must complete this process again in September.
For more general information on dental coverage or dental change of coverage, please visit https://cupe3906.org/tas-unit-1/dental-plan/ or contact administrator@cupe3906.org.

Thanks Graham!

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We’re saddened to announce the resignation of our President, Graham Baker. Graham is long-serving 3906 member (and a veteran of the 2010 strike) and a former Unit 1 Chief Steward. After becoming president, he led the local through two rounds of bargaining (TAs and Sessionals) that led to important gains for our members. Our loss is the gain of the Grant MacEwan University Faculty Association, where Graham has taken up a staff representative position. He also returns to his home province of Alberta.

Thanks Graham for your years of service to the local and the labour movement in Hamilton.

CUPE Labour Law Course- Feb 20 and 21

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We are hosting a 2-day Labour Law course over Reading Week (Feb 20 and 21). The course is FREE and gives and overview of the Labour Relations Act, the Duty to Accommodate, and Disciple/Discharge. It is open only to 3906 members.

If you are interested in more information, or to register, please contact bwalchuk {at} cupe3906.org

Welcome Back and Happy New Year

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Hello Members,

We hope you had a safe and happy holiday and wish you the best for the new year.

Our office (in KTH B111) is now open again.  Please note that our Administrative Coordinator’s hours are Mondays to Wednesdays, 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M..  If you have non-benefits inquiries, please contact our staff representatives, Nancy or Brad, at staff@cupe3906.org or x 24852 (TAs and Postdocs) or 24056 (TAs or Sessional Faculty).

Or, for non-emergency situations, you can also contact our executive members, whose contact information is available here.

Take care and happy new year!

Unit 2- End of Semester Update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Congratulations on reaching the end of another term! We know you’ve heard a lot from us recently, but please allow me to take a few moments of your time with a couple of important end-of-term items.
First, as you know, Unit 2 members recently ratified a new Collective Agreement. As part of this ratification, each sessional member employed during the Fall 2017 termregardless of how many courses they taughtwill receive a one-time signing bonus of $200 (minus statutory deductions) to be paid on January 5th. If you don’t see this additional payment on that date, please let us know.
We also wanted to provide some other relevant end-of-term information that might be useful. Any post-contract work (that is, work done after your final grades have been submitted) is separate from your contract and payable at a rate of $63.50/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. It will be updated in early January with the new rate.
The final pay for this term is December 22nd. This represents what Service Canada refers to as an ‘interruption earnings.’ The first pay in the Winter term, for those of who employed, will be paid on January 19th (the first pay week of the month is for Dec. 31st to Jan. 13th). We would encourage all Sessionals who may utilize Employment Insurance to apply over the holidays, even if you are employed during the Winter term, as the week from Dec. 24th to Dec. 31st will serve as your EU withholding period. This means that when your next interruption of earnings occurs, you’ll be eligible to collect EI immediately. For information on EI, click here. Remember it is possible to both workand collect EI (with some clawbacks) if the amount of work have in the Winter term has dropped substantially from the work you had during the fall. The employer will upload your ROE in early January as they are closed over the holidays, but you can (and should) apply immediately.
Over the past few weeks, we have heard from many Sessionals who have wrongly received a statement from Service Canada alleging an overpayment for a previous semester in a previous academic year in EI. This was the result of how the employer had been recording dates worked and paid. To our knowledge, no member has been required to pay back these funds, as the original Record of Employment contained incorrect information. If you receive such a statement, please advise us immediately.
Finally, thanks for your hard work, support, patience, and solidarity throughout a difficult bargaining process this past term. We will continue to work together for an even #BetterMac in 2018.
In solidarity,
Graham Baker, President, CUPE 3906

Unit 2 Collective Agreement Ratified

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Members of CUPE Local 3906, Unit 2 have ratified a new Collective Agreement with the Employer. The tentative agreement, ratified by 88%, was secured following two days of conciliation in late November. CUPE Local 3906, Unit 2 represents close to 500 Sessional Faculty and Hourly-Rated Sessional Faculty at McMaster University.

The new three-year collective agreement – in place until August 31, 2020 – provides important gains to members, although it falls short of everything we hoped to achieve at the outset of bargaining. While we did not secure the $8000.00 per course we hoped for or the six automatic First Consideration Appointments we proposed, improvements were made on both of these fronts.

The new agreement secures modest wage increases that will increase the 3.0 course rate from $7050.00 (present) to $7191.00 effective January 1, 2018, $7407.00 effective September 1, 2018, and will be increased to $7555.00 in the last year of the agreement. Hourly-Rated Sessional Music Faculty – currently earning $62.25/hr – will see their wages increase to $63.50 effective January 1, 2018, $65.40 effective September 1, 2018, and will be increased to $66.70 in the last year of the agreement. This will also be the new hourly-rate for post-contract work for Sessional Faculty.

The bargaining team also secured gains to job security. The current model of First Consideration Appointments, which guarantees two automatic appointments following two consecutive successful applications, will expand immediately to guarantee three automatic appointments. Similarly, the current model of Enhanced First Consideration Appointments, which guarantees three automatic appointments following an additional successful application, will expand immediately to guarantee four automatic appointments.

The newly ratified agreement also provides funds to maintain the Health Care Spending Account, Dental Plan, and Professional Development Fund that the Union administers.

The new collective agreement also secures for members a pregnancy/parental leave of up to 90% for 19 weeks (an increase from the current 45%) and increases the course cancellation fee from $2000.00 to $4000.00 for course cancelled in the two weeks before class (effective September 1, 2018). Sessional Faculty and Hourly-Rated Sessional Music Faculty are now also entitled to paid domestic violence leave that will provide 100% of wages for up to the duration of contract. The Collective Agreement also includes a formal Aboriginal Land Recognition, increased transparency in course evaluations, the introduction of concept of ‘coaching’ to discipline and discharge procedure, and access to a credential training program through MacPherson Institute.


Sam Oort, National Representative- soort@cupe.ca

Graham Baker, President, CUPE Local 3906- president@cupe3906.org

Brad Walchuk, Staff Representative and Chief Negotiator, CUPE Local 3906- bwalchuk@cupe3906.org