General Membership Meeting- August 21 at noon

Brad WalchukUncategorized

CUPE 3906’s next General Membership Meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 31, from 12 PM to 2 PM Eastern Time. Any members wishing to present pre-written motions should provide theirs via email to by Tuesday, July 27.

As with recent virtual GMMs, pre-registration will be required in order to attend this meeting. Please note that you must register with your McMaster email address no later than 10 AM the day of the GMM. This is the only way we can confirm your membership prior to the meeting. Any registration requests made from non-McMaster email addresses will be denied.

Register in advance for the GMM HERE. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

McMaster Fun and Comfy Zone Update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We warmly congratulate Anand, Amirhossein Rakhsha, Mina Naeini, Raghd Elgamal, Nicolas Randazzo & Lindsey Johnson on winning in the “Walk Around the World” theme contest for McMaster Fun & Comfy Zone- CONGRATULATIONS! Curious to know August’s theme for McMaster Fun & Comfy Zone? Here we go, it’s “Summer Vacation Inspirations”! Submit here for a chance to win one of 6 PRIZES for winners every month! If you have not already, join our zone on Facebook & Instagram.

Unit 2 Bargaining Update

Brad WalchukUncategorized

HAMILTON, ON — August 19, 2021

CUPE 3906’s Unit 2 Bargaining Team met with their counterparts from the McMaster University Administration on three days this past week to begin this year’s round of bargaining.

The Union’s team presented a package that reflects the bargaining priorities that members approved earlier this summer. These priorities include: 1) Respect, Equity, and Inclusion; 2) Compensation3) Job Security; 4) Health and Wellbeing; 5) Workload; and 6) Professional Supports and Paid Training.

The Union’s package reflects and addresses the needs identified by the membership in survey taken earlier this year.  The existence of Bill 124, a piece of legislation passed by the Ford government that restricts wages and compensation to a maximum of 1% will present a challenge to the bargaining team, though at this point the Employer is not even offering union members a 1% total increase to compensation.

A number of unions, including CUPE Ontario, are challenging the legislation, which we believe is a violation of workers’ collective rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Over the first three days of bargaining, the parties were able to secure agreement on some smaller changes that will provide some benefit to the members, including improvements in the No Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment article, as well as in the Health and Safety article.

McMaster did not address many additional proposals, including those reflecting the membership’s main priorities, in a meaningful way. “It was frustrating, to say the least,” explained Sharoni Mitra, the president of CUPE 3906, adding that “McMaster seems content with the status quo, which sees precarious workers struggling for job security and left without many of the benefits and entitlements – such as access to a workplace pension – that virtually all of the members of the Employer’s bargaining team enjoy.”

“We hope that the Employer will find a way to meet us on our proposals,” continued Mitra. “We expect the Employer to take seriously our proposals to improve both monetary and non-monetary language in the Collective Agreement. This round of bargaining is a chance for the Employer to demonstrate its concern and respect for its highly precarious workers.”

Sessional Faculty work is notoriously precarious, with instructors often working at two or more postsecondary institutions to make ends meet. This precarity, along with the Employer’s reliance on legislation that we believe is unconstitutional to supress wages and deny well-deserved gains, will be a consistent challenge the Union will confront at the bargaining table.

“Our proposals reflect the pivotal work performed by Sessionals,” said chief negotiator Brad Walchuk. “There’s something fundamentally wrong with an institution that refuses to improve job security and provide basic entitlements for a group of highly-educated workers. We refuse to take ‘that’s not something we’re prepare to agree to’ from the Employer as its default answer to any proposal that will provide a meaningful gain”

The next bargaining dates with the Employer are scheduled for August 23rd, 25th, and 27th. For more information on how you can help with the bargaining support team, email

Sessional Faculty, Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty, and MELD Sessional Faculty working at McMaster University comprise CUPE 3906’s Unit 2. The current collective agreement expires on August 31.

A PDF copy is available by clicking here.

Dental Opt-Out Forms and Family Enrollment Forms Now Available Online for Units 1 and 2 Members

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

The Unit 1 (TA and RA in lieu) and Unit 2 (Sessional Faculty and Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty) 2021-2022 dental information letters and change of coverage forms are now available on our website.

There are important deadlines regarding dental change of coverage that you need to be aware of if you plan on opting out of dental coverage or enrolling in family dental coverage.


PLEASE SEE the following important links for change of coverage deadlines and more information about the dental coverage.

UNIT 1 (Classification “A” TAs and RAs in lieu of TAS): 2021-2022-Dental-Letter-U1-Members.pdf (

UNIT 2 (Sessional Faculty): 2021-2022-Dental-Letter-U2-Members.pdf (


PLEASE SEE the following important links to obtain change of coverage (i.e., opt-out or family enrollment) forms.

UNIT 1 (Classification “A” TAs and RAs in lieu of TAS): Dental Plan | CUPE 3906

UNIT 2 (Sessional Faculty): Unit 2 Dental Coverage | CUPE 3906



UNIT 1: 27th September, 2021

UNIT 2: 1st October, 2021

Please email completed forms and supporting documentation to:

Gardening for Wellness

Brad WalchukUncategorized

CUPE 3906 and the GSA are pleased to launch the “Gardening for Wellness” Program in partnership with Hamilton Victory Gardens to support the well-being of students.

All students are welcome to apply to have an enjoyable time full of exciting gardening activities in any of the three sites of Hamilton Victory Gardens:
1) Venture Centre
2) St Helen’s
3) Jones Road

Please visit the website for more information about the locations.

This program runs from mid-April to Oct. and provides students with the opportunity to:
–Engage with nature for a meditating time
–Participate in various exciting gardening activities (no prior experience required)
–Socialize with other students and community members (while following public health guidelines)
–Plant, grow, and harvest fruits and vegetables; students experiencing food insecurity may discuss with the coordinator about bringing home seasonal produce

How to register:
Interested students are welcome to fill out the application form here. There is a section in the application form asking you to upload a filled/signed waiver. Please find the waiver form here.

General guidelines:
1. Hamilton Victory Gardens will reach out to applicants regarding their application and next steps.
2. Acceptance into this program depends on submitting a complete application with all required information. Students will be based on a first-come, first-serve basis.
3. CUPE 3906 and the GSA do not provide shuttle buses to the garden sites. It is the responsibility of successful applicants to provide their own transportation.

Questions? Please contact ( OR reach out to Sarah.



CSEU Annual Congress- August 12 to 15

Brad WalchukUncategorized

CUPE 3906 has partnered with the Coalition of Student Employee Unions (CSEU) to host their annual congress from August 12th till 15th.

This year’s congress will be particularly special as we crawl out of a global pandemic which has perpetuated, exacerbated, and amplified numerous fatal flaws in our institutional and social arrangements. How have the pandemic, successive economic crises, and austerity affected workers in academia? How can the precarious situations these workers face be addressed? Find out at this year’s conference as we address in multiple panels different issues related to our theme: academia, justice and the workplace.

The conference is also entirely free, neither attendants nor presenters have to pay anything. This year’s program will be published very soon, for now you can register and find out more information by heading over to the website: .

If you want to learn more, please email us at:  !


Gender Affirmation Fund

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Did you know? We have a Gender Affirmation Fund! In recognition of Pride Season, we’d like to remind our members that our Gender Affirmation Fund is open to all our Unit 1 (TAs and Ras in-lieu) members who identify as Two Spirit, trans, or nonbinary. This fund provides a total of $10,000 per year to help offset the costs involved with various elements of affirming one’s gender – including everyday, medical, administrative, legal, and other expenses. Head over to to find more about it!


Updates from Your Union

Brad WalchukUncategorized

McMaster Fun & Comfy Zone

Huge thanks to Crystle, Afrooz, Raghd Elgamal, PG & the other anonymous participant for the amazing photo submissions this week to the McMaster “Fun & Comfy Zone” for the July theme “Walk around the World”! We are excited to see your photos and know about the interesting thing you come across during your walk! Submit here and inspire us for a chance to win 1 of SIX PRIZES available for the winners this month!

Join the McMaster “Fun & Comfy Zone” on Facebook & Instagram! You can watch our demo here for more info. Questions? Contact your International Officer Sarah.

National Summit on Islamophobia

On July 22, the Government of Canada held a virtual National Summit on Islamophobia. Important steps have been taken, yet they don’t go far enough to fully counter Islamophobia. We urge the federal and provincial governments to consider more attentively the recommendations made by numerous organizations in defense of the Muslim community, such as the recommendations from the National Council of Canadian Muslims, whose calls we shared in a previous email.

The CUPE 3906 Executive has also published a statement against Islamophobia where we call upon the government, our members and everyone to do their part in fighting Islamophobia. The statement can be read in its entirety here:

Inspiring International Student of the Year Award

Are you a McMaster international student? Then you’re welcome to apply to the “Inspiring International Student of the Year Award” Program that has just been launched and supported by CUPE 3906! Two awards are available, each worth $300. You can find more about the award and the application by clicking here. Applications open on July 29th and close on August 31st, 2021 (6pm EST). Submit your application here.

Questions? Contact the International Officer Sarah.

Our Congress on Academia, Justice and the Workplace is coming soon!

CUPE 3906 has partnered with the Coalition of Student Employee Unions (CSEU) to host their annual congress from August 12th till 15th.

This year’s conference will be particularly special as we crawl out of a global pandemic which has perpetuated, exacerbated, and amplified numerous fatal flaws in our institutional and social arrangements. Want to speak about BIPOC worker exploitation? Unjust labour practices? The rampant ableism which undergirds our institutions? This is the space. We have extended our proposal deadline to accommodate a wide range of views. Let’s talk!

This is a popular event that congregates unions from all over North America and beyond for 3 days of conferences on this year’s theme: academia, justice and the workplace. It is also entirely free, neither attendants nor presenters have to pay anything. You can find out more about the CSEU and the event by heading over to their website: .

We are also still seeking any and all volunteers who are curious about what goes on behind-the-scenes and want to help organize the conference! Be that by helping with translations, contacting partners, or just making sure things get done, we’d love to have your help.

If this interests you, or if you simply want to learn more, please email us at:  !

Members’ Labour Art Showcase

Are you a talented member who is sick and tired of the employer’s attacks during a pandemic and want to share your artistic protest with the world? Then submit your artwork to CUPE 3906 Members’ Labour Art Showcase!

We are looking for art that can be a good criticism of the employer’s practices or that can be supportive of the labour movement in general. You can express yourself through poems, photographs, paintings, cartoons, songs, objects, video art, performances, … you name it!

For this week, we have a blast from the past in the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre buttons collection, a beautiful pride button from our Hamilton and District Labour Council. How would you update it for our times and for our CUPE 3906 local, in recognition of Pride Season?

We also have a time-sensitive request this time around: Our Sessional Faculty is headed for bargaining their Collective Agreement next month. We have received from the membership 6 priorities: Respect, Equity, and Inclusion; Compensation; Job Security; Health and Wellbeing; Workload; Professional Supports and Paid Training. Can you think of an artwork to better explain these demands?

Please send an email to if you’re interested in participating or have any questions.

Prizes are available! Besides being shared in our communications and having their art print in shirts, buttons, posters or other media, the five best submissions will receive a $25 gift card. Submit your artwork now!

Announcing vacant positions

We have currently 2 vacant positions open to all our members. Both positions come with a honorarium, set in our annual budget. The first one is in the Bylaws Committee, which is the committee charged with overseeing, changing, and updating the Local’s Bylaws. Please contact our Bylaws Committee Chair, Maxwell Lightstone, if you’d like to participate!

The second position is as Co-Chair of the Organizing Committee. It is with a heavy heart that we see our brilliant Co-Chair, Rachel Yeo, go at the end of this month. We’d like to express our deep gratitude for all the amazing work that she has done – and continues to do – for the Local. If you’re interested in mobilizing our members and planning actions in support of our Union and Labour Movement, please send an email to our other excellent Organizing Committee Co-Chair, Wouter van den Berg, for details on how to join.

HDLC Elect Change

Hamilton District Labour Council has just launched a campaign called “Elect Change”. The goal of the campaign is to connect progressive people in Hamilton to help candidates in the upcoming municipal, provincial, and federal elections over the next couple of years. We are helping people connect to candidates who are committed to ending poverty, fighting systemic racism and oppression in our society, and who will create good, full time, living wage jobs. We think this campaign is a great chance for CUPE 3906 members to fight for social justice by joining election campaigns which will fight for our city’s most vulnerable.  Sign up link is here

New CUPE 3906 Face Masks Are In

Newer, better CUPE 3906 face masks have arrived! These ones have adjustable ear loops and a metal nose insert to help keep your glasses from fogging up. Supplies are somewhat limited, so if you’d like to receive one from the union, please fill out the request form here.

Benefits: Did you know?

Did you know? We have a Gender Affirmation Fund! In recognition of Pride Season, we’d like to remind our members that our Gender Affirmation Fund is open to all our Unit 1 (TAs and Ras in-lieu) members who identify as Two Spirit, trans, or nonbinary. This fund provides a total of $10,000 per year to help offset the costs involved with various elements of affirming one’s gender – including everyday, medical, administrative, legal, and other expenses. Head over to to find more about it!

Protest songs from around the world

Have a protest song you’d like to share? Send it to 

This week’s protest song comes with a twist. It is a story that crosses boundaries, of a poor worker in Detroit who became a legend in South Africa, fueling the youth’s discontent with the apartheid regime and showing them a way to voice their criticisms through the honesty of his melodies, lyrics and sentiments. What is particularly surprising in this story is that this happened without him having any idea of it, for decades nobody even knew his full name, even though he was in the 70’s a star on par with Elvis Presley or the Rolling Stones.

His story is told in the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, Sixto Diaz Rodriguez kept on working all his life to pay the bills and eventually gave up on his music career. This should go to show us that true talent might be just around the corner awaiting to be discovered, and that small acts from us, when made from our hearts, can have a large impact, even if it takes time for them to reach their full potential (or at least for us to find it out…). We are starting a Members’ Labour Art Showcase and encourage all of our membership for submissions, this an excellent opportunity to share your art and inspire your fellow workers. We want to keep our membership motivated in joining our fight for a better world and you are a crucial part of making this happen. We don’t just want bread, we want roses too, and we need your art to support our long walk towards justice.

Stay safe and take care, everyone.

In solidarity,

The CUPE 3906 Executive Committee

Congratulations to our Steward Award winners

Brad WalchukUncategorized

A hearty congratulations to our inaugural steward award winners. For the first time this year, we’ve established an award to recognize the amazing work that our stewards perform.
Unit 1- Jayoti Edington Unit 1 (TA/RA) Steward Award- Marika Brown and Melissa Montanari (Department of English and Cultural Studies)
Unit 2- David Gerry Memorial Unit 2 (Sessional) Steward Award- Lisa Dent (McMaster English Language Diploma)
Unit 3- Nancy MacBain and Jesse Payne Unit 3 (Postdoctoral Fellow) Steward Award- Mohammadreza Heydarian (Faculty of Engineering)
Our stewards play a vital role in our union and help to establish an important link between the executive committee and the membership. The awards are named after folks who have played an important role in our union.
Jayoti Edington is the Vice President of the Hamilton and District Labour Council and has provided great mentorship to young labour activists. The late David Gerry was an award winning flutist, a long-time sessional, and a former member of the Unit 2 bargaining team. He passed away suddenly in 2017. Nancy MacBain and Jesse Payne are former CUPE 3906 staff representatives who organized and bargained the first collective agreement for the first ever unionized postdocs in Canada.