Statement of Solidarity with CUPE 3906

The CUPE 3903 Executive Committee stands in solidarity with sessional faculty at McMaster University. Sessional faculty are currently facing a strike or lockout situation due to the intransigence of the University, which is refusing to entertain proposals that would improve the wages and working conditions of these highly precarious workers.

As a result, bargaining has stalled and contract faculty are faced with the real possibility of being locked out or forced into a strike position unless they accept the University’s shameful wage increase of a mere 1%, even as inflation skyrockets past 7%, and no improvements to job security.

Contract instructors teaching students in the faculties of Music, Social Sciences, Humanities, Science, Engineering, and Business play a vital role in providing high-quality, well-supported, and well-rounded education to the university’s students. Yet these same instructors work in jobs that are precarious and underpaid. Many are even forced to reapply for their jobs every four months, even if they’ve worked for McMaster for years. 

It’s a situation that affects students as well as workers: students don’t get the education they deserve when there’s high turnover among instructors or when sessional jobs go unfilled because wages and job security are so low.

These are the sort of issues that should be front and centre in contract negotiations. McMaster has historically failed to meaningfully engage on issues of  job security, retirement security, training, and fair wages for sessional faculty. Refusing to address these issues now could mean disruption to the academic year later.

A fair deal for sessional faculty is what’s needed. Sessional instructors have our support for a collective agreement that recognizes the needs of both sessional faculty and students.

Job Stability Committee Extension and Next Steps on a Mentorship Program

The Job Stability Joint Committee has agreed to an extension of the June 30th deadline into September in the hopes of arriving at a program that we could recommend. We are planning to use this time to push for the integration of the feedback from the Job Stability Townhall and to get the ball rolling on a mentorship program.

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Statement of Solidarity with the York University Staff Association

We are writing this statement to express our solidarity and support with staff represented by
the York University Staff Association (YUSA) who are currently engaged in collective bargaining
with York University.

During this round of bargaining the university has demanded numerous concessions from the
staff. These concessions include but are not limited to: reducing the amount of vacation staff
can accrue and removing the requirement for managers to give consideration of staff members’ preference in the selection of vacation days they wish to take; allowing unlimited numbers of non-unionized interns to perform work currently done by unionized YUSA staff; dismantling their prized Joint Job Evaluation system which gives staff the power, jointly with management, to maintain and administer the system which evaluates jobs to ensure that staff are paid fairly for the work they perform, and replacing this with a system that is unilaterally managed by the university; eroding job posting rights in numerous ways including by allowing external applicants to apply for YUSA jobs before current YUSA members are even considered; doubling the probationary period for new employees, and many others.

The university is also refusing to engage with YUSA’s proposals regarding fair opportunities for
remote work, protecting the psychological health and safety of workers, and training for health
and safety worker representatives. These actions stand in stark contrast to the University’s
stated commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

These concessions are especially galling given the large budget surplus that the university is
currently enjoying, and the fact that due to Bill 124, staff are limited to a 1% pay increase which is far below the current rate of inflation. We condemn this concessionary approach, and we call on the university to treat staff with the respect they deserve, to take these punitive concessions off the table, and to give staff a fair contract.

We are thankful for the hard work and dedication YUSA staff have always shown to keep the
university running, and the flexibility and tenacity they have demonstrated throughout the
pandemic. We are deeply disappointed at the concessionary approach the university is taking
with this group of staff who are integral to the functioning and success of the university, and we call on the administration to treat these staff, and all workers at the university, with compassion and respect.

YUSA staff have faithfully supported the students, faculty, and teaching assistants at the
university for over 45 years and we call on the university now to support them and deliver a fair contract that is free from concessions.

TFAC Financial Assistance Fund Application is Now Live!

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The TFAC logo of a black cat hissing. The application for the TFAC Financial Assistance Fund is now live! TFAC members are encouraged to apply!

The purpose of the TFAC Financial Assistance Fund is to provide TFAC members with up to $200 per budgetary year in financial assistance. We renewed this pilot project for another round as the pandemic continues to be disruptive. The deadline to apply to this fund is September 31st, 2022 and the fund will be adjudicated shortly there after.

TFAC members can find more information and the application form here: TFAC Financial Assistance Fund.

Union Proposal for Job Stability Program

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According to the “Job Stability Program” Letter of Agreement signed in July 2021 as part of the new U2 Collective Agreement, a joint committee was established to draft a new program to replace the Long Service Teaching Appointment program and the Continuing Sessional Standing Program. The committee’s work also includes reviewing “voluntary severance programs”. In our joint meetings with the Employer, chaired by mediator Chris Albertyn, equity was identified by all as a central pillar or principle of job stability.

On June 9, the CUPE 3903 members of the Job Stability Joint Committee presented the Employer with a detailed proposal for what’s provisionally being called “The Program”. You can see the document as it was presented to the employer here: CUPE 3903 Job Stability Program Outline June 9.

The 3903 proposal you have here is the result of many discussions and drafts with Union staff and executive about longstanding needs and issues within U2 with regards to equity and job stability. This 3903 proposal is also informed by information gathered from the survey completed by rank and file members. We will be discussing this proposal in detail at today’s town hall at 1:00pm (please pre-register here), and we welcome your feedback—because this is still very much a work in progress.

Addressing Precarity and Systemic Inequities: Survey Says — Job Stability

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As the June 30 deadline for the Job Stability Joint Committee (JSJC) approaches, the committee is moving from the discussion of concepts to the specific provisions that could be used to address job stability at York University for Unit 2 members

As part of this process, the union-side of the joint committee has reviewed the answers to the May 2022 Job Stability Survey, as well as recurring themes in bargaining, to identify some key problems and some possible solutions. The committee thanks every member who filled out the survey; your answers helped shape how we understand what needs to be done.

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Vacancies on Various Committees

Interested members should email Ali Gholami, VP Unit 1, cupe3903vpu1@gmail.com to nominate themselves or for more information.

Any committees with more nominees than positions open will be voted on at the upcoming General Membership Meeting (GMM). Otherwise, nominees will be acclaimed to their position.

Nominees will be notified if their candidacy will be voted on at the GMM and are then welcome to send a short written candidate statement (max. 150 words) for inclusion in the AGM package.

For further details on the work of each committee and honorarium payment attached to their work, please see here.

1. Advisory Committee on Race/Ethnic relations (1 vacancy)
2. CUPE Toronto District Council (4 vacancies)
3. CSEU Committee (1 vacancy)
4. Distribution Committee (6 vacancies)
5. Joint Health and Safety Committee Reps (8 vacancies)
6. Labour Management Committee, Unit 4 (3 vacancies)
7. Research Grants Fund and Travel Costs Fund Committee (1 vacancy)

Conversion Exercise Announcement

CUPE 3903 would like to warmly congratulate these members for their success in the 2021-2022 conversions exercise!

A. Professorial Stream:

  1. Hector, Syreeta, Dance, AMPD

B. Teaching Stream:

  1. Juric, Tanya, Social Science, LA&PS
  2. Monaldi, Daniela, STS/NATS, Science
  3. Steele, Carolyn, Humanities, LA&PS

C. LSTA

  1. Linda Carozza,
  2. Kate Kaul
  3. Chantal Abouchar
  4. Carmela Shehadi-Mishaiel

Workplace Accommodations Information Session: June 8th, 2PM

Did you know members of CUPE 3903 are entitled to workplace accommodations for illness, disability, family status, and other Ontario Human Rights Code grounds? The process can seem onerous, but we are here to help!

CUPE 3903 is holding workplace accommodations information sessions on June 8, 2022 at 2PM. Whether you are planning to request new accommodations, renewing your previous year accommodations, or you’re considering your options, this session is for you to learn more about what is available to you.

In this information session, we will discuss:

  • The workplace accommodations process
  • Documentation requirements for accommodation requests
  • How your union can support you through the process
  • Any other questions you might have!

You must register to attend this information session: register here. You will be sent a Zoom link to access the information session closer to the date of the event.

As part of your registration, please indicate any access needs you may have. Examples of access needs include but are not limited to ASL interpretation, live captioning, informational materials in alternate format. Please note Zoom automatic captions will be available. Live captioning and ASL will be provided on request. For ASL and captioning, please contact our Equity Officer (cupe3903equity@gmail.com) with your request by 4PM on Wednesday May 25, 2022.