Four units, one union
Although CUPE 3903 is a single union local, we have four separate collective agreements. Each includes what is called a scope clause: it defines which employees are covered by each agreement. Two basic principles guide the way our collective agreements divide us into units: the type of work we are contracted for and our student status (if any) at the time of receiving the contract. A worker is only ever in one unit at a time, but because it is common for a member’s type of work and student status to change from year to year, it is possible for members to switch units over time. Included below are the actual scope clauses from each collective agreement, but in general they are defined as follows:
Unit 1 members have a teaching contract (teaching includes demonstrating, tutoring and marking) and are full-time graduate students. Read the Unit 1 Collective Agreement here. Please note that Unit 1 members who receive a graduate assistantship in order to fulfill their guarantee of summer work are still considered Unit 1 members. That is, Unit 1 members do not become Unit 3 members during the summer.
Unit 2 members have a teaching contract (or a teaching assistantship; a contract as a practicum leader, a music tutor or a design tutor; or other kinds of assistantships) and are not full-time graduate students. Read the Unit 2 Collective Agreement here.
Unit 3 members have a graduate assistantship or a research assistantship and are full-time graduate students. Read the Unit 3 Collective Agreement here.
Unit 4 members are part-time librarians. They joined the union as a new unit in January 2015, and bargained their first collective agreement in January 2017. You can see the Unit 4 Collective Agreement here.
There are differences between the agreements. For example, Unit 3 members are eligible for the same health coverage as other members. However, some benefits and funds are unit-specific. There are many other differences: pay rates, summer work guarantees, available funding, etc. See the collective agreements for more details.
To ensure representation of all units on union-wide bodies, our Executive Committee, our Bargaining Team, and some committees are required by our bylaws to include members from units 1, 2, 3 and 4. Although we organize as one union, each unit votes separately on whether to strike, for unit-specific positions on the Executive Committee and the Bargaining Team, and whether to ratify a tentative collective agreement.