1. What is a union?
Perhaps you have heard the story of “the bundle of sticks” or the phrase “united we stand, divided we fall”. That’s basically, what union means. Union (or more precisely trade union), copying from Wikipedia, is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. You might also be familiar with the term ‘syndicate’ in some other languages.
The idea is that employers (intentionally or unintentionally) do not consider the best possible conditions for the workers. Therefore, workers form a union so that each individual does not have to deal with the employer directly, they can go to their union and work with others to achieve a better result; then, they will have the help of other workers and professionals working in the union to solve their issues.
2. Then, what is CUPE 3906?
CUPE stands for Canadian Union of Public Employees. CUPE is a general union of employees across all Canada, and actually the largest one in Canada. Similar to any other organizational structure, there are different levels and the lowest level includes the ‘locals’. CUPE 3906 is the local that we are part of, which includes TAs (Teaching Assistants), Sessional Faculties (the faculty members that are usually not permanent), and postdoctoral students. CUPE 3902 is for example for TAs of University of Toronto.
3. Who is a member of CUPE again?