November 8, 2017
Your elected Bargaining Team has secured two dates with a provincial conciliation officer (November 21st and 22nd) as we continue to bargain for a new Collective Agreement for Sessional Faculty. We are confident that, with the province’s help, we can reach a deal with the Employer’s negotiators that will represent a #BetterMac for our members and for the community as a whole. Our position heading into these talks is even stronger thanks to the strike mandate we received from you some weeks ago. As always, we will keep you posted as events unfold. In the meantime, you may be hearing from our mobilizer Amarjeet with an invitation to participate in various actions around campus.
October 27, 2017
We would like to thank you for coming out to our strike mandate vote meeting on Tuesday evening and for dropping by one of polling stations over the last few days to provide your union’s elected bargaining team with a clear strike vote mandate. Thanks as well to the volunteers who staffed polling stations and acted as scrutineers.
We feel both heartened and empowered by the support that a 78% ‘YES’ result represents. The support that the Union’s membership has shown to it’s elected bargaining team demonstrates a high level of engagement and a real commitment of your desire to secure strengthened job security, an improved workload, improved benefits, and fair wages that are in line with what Sessionals at other top universities in Ontario earn. Having heard the collective voice of our membership, we are even more confident in our ability to bargain a fair Collective Agreement for a #BetterMac.
Be reminded as well that a successful strike vote mandate does not mean that we are on strike, nor does it mean that a strike is imminent! Rather, you have empowered the bargaining team to call a strike should no further progress be made at the table. There are, in addition, a number of steps in the legal process around strikes/lockouts in the province of Ontario that would need to be followed before such a decision could be contemplated.
The next step is conciliation, a process that we have already initiated through the Ontario Ministry of Labour. As always, we will continue to keep you updated on the progress of negotiations.
Graham Baker, President
October 21, 2017
As you know, Unit 2 (Sessionals) are holding a strike vote from October 24 to 27. Here is our 3rd bargaining bulletin, which provides members with important updates of the (lack of) progress made at the bargaining table this fall. It shows the current language, your union’s latest proposal, and the Employer’s latest proposal. The Employer’s latest proposal fails to address any of our priorities is a meaningful way, and that’s why your elected bargaining team is encouraging a “yes” vote in the upcoming strike mandate.
For some important FAQs on this vote, please click here.
October 18, 2017
Your elected bargaining team met yesterday to discuss the Employer’s most recent proposals and to evaluate where we are in the negotiation process. Given the lack of movement we have seen on the issues that you have identified as priorities – including fair wags, job security, workload, and benefits – the team has decided (1) to file for conciliation with the Ministry of Labour and (2) to call for a strike mandate vote.
Let me briefly explain both of these decisions in turn. As to the first, filing for conciliation refers to the process whereby one of the parties in a negotiation (the Union, in this case) requests that the Ministry of Labour for the province of Ontario assign a conciliation officer – a mediator, essentially – to meet with the parties and help them to reach an agreement. The conciliator is not an arbitrator, and their decisions and recommendations are not binding. They are there to help the conversation along. Your union has found this to be a very helpful and productive process in the past and we are confident that it will assist in these negotiations as well.
As to the second, while we remain resolute in our belief that we can continue to hold to your priorities and get a fair deal for sessional faculty, we are at the point where we really need your help to do it. There is a time in the bargaining process where words at the table will not suffice. The Employer (and the conciliation officer) needs to see that the members are truly behind their bargaining team.
This is why we are taking a Strike Mandate Vote, beginning on Tuesday, October 24th after an information meeting beginning at 5 p.m..
A strong strike vote will empower the bargaining team with a clear mandate and will help to get these negotiations moving again. It is important to note, though, that a successful strike mandate vote does not mean that we are automatically going on strike. Rather, it gives the Bargaining Team the ability to call a strike later on in the process as a matter of last resort. While this is the last vote that will be taken before the end of these negotiations, we will – as always – continue to consult with membership to help us decide what next steps to take.
The vote will be discussed at a Special General Membership Meeting on the evening of Tuesday, October 24th in the Arthur N. Bourns Building (ABB), Room 165. You will have a chance to hear from the Bargaining Team and ask any questions, or voice any concerns, that you might have about the bargaining process, conciliation, or the strike mandate vote.
The voting will open immediately following the 5 p.m. meeting on the 24th.
Voting will then continue until Friday, October 27th from 8:00AM to 7:00PM according to the following schedule:
Wednesday, October 25th: The Lobbies of Mills and Thode Library + the Main Floor of the Degroote School of Business
Thursday, October 26th: The Lobbies of Mills and Thode Library + the Main Floor of the Degroote School of Business
Friday, October 27th: The main floor of the Engineering Technology Building (ETB)
All sessional faculty and hourly-rated sessional music faculty working this semester are eligible to vote. Sessional faculty who have worked within the last two terms are also eligible, as are those sessional faculty with a contract for an upcoming term. These members will have their ballots sequestered. In any case, all you need to bring to the vote is photo ID (though it is helpful if you bring a copy of your Letter of Appointment for this term or an upcoming term, or proof of employment for a past term, in case we do not have you on our current membership list).
The participation of our membership has been and continues to be crucial to the bargaining process. Do not hesitate to contact the staff if you have any questions or concerns leading up to the SGMM or the vote. Our Member Mobilizer, Amarjeet, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416 856 9587. Please also visit the campaign website for more information on our proposals and for a Strike Vote FAQ.
In solidarity for a #BetterMac,
Graham Baker, President
on behalf of the CUPE 3906 Unit 2 Bargaining Team
October 16, 2017
An update on the job action by college faculty in Ontario represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU):
First, these workers are officially on strike as of 12:01 this morning. Picket lines have gone up on campuses all over the province, including a (for now) information-only picket on the McMaster campus for Mohawk faculty who also teach here.
The picket line is near the Main St. entrance to the main campus. We would encourage you to stop by at some point this week to greet your colleagues and lend your support. You may also consider sending an online letter of support. Remember: their fight is also our fight!
To that end, your elected bargaining team has also been busy this past week as we continue to try to reach an agreement with the employer. Many outstanding issues have now been settled, including updates to pregnancy and parental and other forms of leaves, and clarifications around the way grievances are handled for this unit. Unfortunately, after multiple meetings with the employer’s negotiators over the last two weeks, we have seen no movement on the issues that you have identified as priorities. McMaster’s bargaining team has not signalled any willingness to make any serious improvements to wages or benefits and they have flatly refused to entertain the possibility of even modest improvements to job security (i.e. to extend first consideration appointments any further beyond their current length).
We will stay at the table, but negotiations are approaching an impasse. Your bargaining team will meet tomorrow morning to evaluate the employer’s most recent proposals and decide on next steps. As always, we will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, please sign the pledge stating your support of the team!
In solidarity for a #BetterMac,
Graham Baker, President, CUPE 3906
September 20, 2017
Meet Dr. David Gerry, a Sessional in School of the Arts.
He’s taught at McMaster University for about 30 years, has acquired a few advanced degrees in that time (including a PhD), been recognized by the Grammys (yes, you read that correctly), won a McMaster Students Union (MSU) teaching award, but has “no more job security now than when I began.” It’s time for a #BetterMac
Have a look at this video to hear from David what a #BetterMac means to him and why creating one is important.
September 10, 2017
By now, you’ve likely seen our #BetterMac posters across campus, and perhaps even our #BetterMac video, featuring Jessica Foran, a Sessional in Social Sciences. In it, she highlights the importance of issues such as improved job security, a manageable workload, meaningful benefits, and fair pay. We’ll be back at the bargaining table with the Employer in early October, but until then, you’ll see us around campus talking about why Sessionals need – and deserve – a #BetterMac. Come and say hi, and if you’re interested in your own testimonial video, please let us know. If you’ve got any bargaining related questions, please send them to Amarjeet: email@example.com
August 28, 2017
Your union has secured a number of improvements already, including paid domestic violence leave and better
pregnancy and parental leave, but much remains. This includes addressing our key priorities, most notably
strengthened job security provisions (referred to as First Consideration Appointments). Particularly worrying, then, is that the Employer’s Settlement Offer contains no substantial improvements to First Consideration language. This proposal envisions a precarious workforce that routinely has to re-apply for work, despite years of teaching excellence. They also prefer compensation for Sessionals that is significantly lower than other universities in
Southern Ontario, such as the University of Guelph and Wilfred Laurier University despite McMaster’s status as a world-class institution for teaching excellence. A full of our August bargaining bulletin can be found here.