Bargaining Report Back: Week of September 25

BT holds Employer to account as third month of Collective Bargaining comes to a close 

Bargaining Report Back: Week of September 25

The Bargaining Team (BT) met with the Employer in a short online session on Wednesday, September 27. In addition to presenting the Unit 3 proposals designed to increase transparency in the hiring and costing of Graduate Assistantships, the BT continued to press the Employer to clarify their processes and policies relating to release of Union funds.

Unit 3 Proposals

Unit 3 members of the Bargaining Team (BT) presented  proposals to clarify the Graduate Assistant (GA) hiring and remuneration language within the Unit 3 Collective Agreement (CA). The proposals also aim to increase protections for both MA and PhD graduate students across various faculties. We continue to receive conflicting information from the employer about the process of hiring GAs; who is responsible for covering the group benefits cost associated with hiring a GA; and how GA pay is supplemented by other components of graduate funding enshrined in the CA. While we are confident that these proposals would improve the situation, we continue to be met with obfuscation at the bargaining table.

Employer commits to releasing outstanding CA funds for September 2023

Last week, the Bargaining Team (BT) argued with the Employer’s characterization of some Collective Agreement (CA) funds as “dated items.” The Employer’s position is that they are under no obligation to release funds which are attached to specific dates if the relevant CA is expired. The Employer used this interpretation to initially withhold their full contributions to the Ways and Means Fund and the Professional Development Fund. 

Ahead of Wednesday’s bargaining session, the Employer indicated via email that they will release the balance of these funds as a “friendly gesture.” While the BT is not averse to friendliness, it cannot be the basis upon which policies around funds are established or changed, particularly when those funds are designed to mitigate the financial hardships of our most vulnerable members. Nor can friendliness be the basis for this, or any, collective agreement between employers and workers.

Wage proposals forthcoming from the Employer

In response to last week’s rally for fair wages, the Employer has alluded to forthcoming wage proposals for each of the Unions whose members were affected by Bill 124. When asked by the Bargaining Team (BT) to clarify the timeline for such proposals, the Employer was unable to do so. They have also indicated that these proposals will come after a presentation on the University’s financial situation. Our members are struggling with the rising cost of living and the suppression of wages over the last several years, and we will insist that the University account for our needs alongside their financial interests and decisions.

BT fired up for CUPE 3903 Welcome Back BBQ

Members who want to get to know the Bargaining Team and join bargaining mobilization efforts should come out to the CUPE 3903 Welcome Back BBQ! It’s happening on October 3 between noon and 4 p.m. outside the Atkinson building. 

Get Involved: Upcoming Bargaining Meetings with the Employer

We have a busy month ahead. In keeping with the principle of open bargaining, all members are encouraged to attend bargaining meetings (the regular weekly meetings as well the meetings with the Employer).

Bargaining Meetings with the Employer – 

Check the website’s calendar closer to the bargaining dates for in-person location.  

Oct 11, 2023 10:00 AM–5:00 PM (in-person location TBD)

Register in advance for this meeting:

 Oct 18, 2023 10:00 AM–5:00 PM (in-person location TBD)

Register in advance for this meeting:

 Oct 27, 2023 10:00 AM–5:00 PM (in-person location TBD)

Register in advance for this meeting:

Bargaining Team Meetings

 Oct 2, 2023 01:00–3:00 PM

Oct 10, 2023 02:00–4:00 PM

Oct 16, 2023 01:00–3:00 PM

Oct 17, 2020 Joint meeting of the Bargaining Team and Executive Committee 

Oct 23, 2023 01:00–3:00 PM

Oct 30, 2023 01:00–3:00 PM

General Membership Meetings

Bargaining SGMM

Oct 12, 2:00-5:00 

October GMM

Oct 31, 2:00-5:00 

 Accessibility of Bargaining Meetings 

For the regular bargaining team meetings, Zoom captions will be enabled. For the bargaining meetings with the Employer, CART will be available. If you require ASL interpretation or reimbursement for childcare/caregiver/attendant care or have any other requests for accommodation, please contact our Equity Officer, Nadia Kanani, at

Due to the high demand for ASL interpreters, we encourage members to provide, when possible, two weeks’ notice if ASL interpretation is required.