The Bargaining Team (BT) met with the Employer on Tuesday February March 23th. The Employer presented an inadequate counter for Unit 3 and the BT dedicated the rest of the session to a discussion of financial items after adjourning with the Employer. We would like to thank members in the room for attending as observers, as per our open bargaining practice.
Prior to the meeting, the Employer had communicated to the Union that they were preparing a counter that would address both the problems with the Graduate Assistant Training Fund (GATF) and the misclassification of Research Assistantships (RAs). In fact, the proposal we were given only addressed the GATF. This proposal does involve some movement from the Employer: agreeing to move $80,000 from the Graduate Assistant Bursary Fund into the GATF, making up a total of $160,000. This would mean increasing the amount a principal investigator could receive to incentivize the hiring of a Unit 3 member from $2000 to $4000.
While the Union is considering these numbers, we soundly reject the Employer’s attempt to play fast and loose with the Unit 3 scope clause. This proposal included language designed to restrict the definition of a Unit 3 member, despite both the actual language of the collective agreement and more than a decade of past practice. This relates to another priority for Unit 3, namely the misclassification of Graduate Assistants (GA) as Research Assistants (RA). We continue to see new job postings advertising bargaining unit work as non-unionized RA positions. One of the Unit 3 core proposals for this bargaining round articulates the need for the Employer to adopt a review process to ensure that there are no longer misclassifications between RAs or GAs. Despite the Employer’s earlier messaging, they have not presented anything of substance to address this problem. This issue is existential for Unit 3: we are facing a prolonged and aggressive campaign of union-busting that should deeply concern every member of CUPE 3903. The misclassification of Graduate Assistants (GA) as Research Assistants (RA) is a blatant violation of our collective agreement and curtails the creation of pertinent Unit 3 jobs.
Members are encouraged to join us for our upcoming bargaining meetings with the Employer. Dates and exact times of all meetings can be found on our calendar here. Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the meeting.
Members can also get in touch with the Bargaining Team for questions and comments.