CUPE 3906 Unit 1 Bargaining Blog
~ your issues, your process, your contract ~

Bargaining Bulletin #2 – Initial Packages Tabled.

The Unit 1 bargaining process continues, with both sides presenting first packages on June 30th. The Union’s package currently includes no wage increase, but instead focuses on items designed to ensure that members’ net compensation and benefits increase. Key items include:

  • A tuition rebate program to prevent future tuition increases from eroding graduate student net compensation
  • Increased benefits through expanded funding of dental, vision and health coverage
  • Increased paid hours of work to 280 for a full 2 semester TA (from 260)
  • Guaranteed TA positions for 5th and 6th year of doctoral studies
  • A portion of compensation paid as a “grant-in-aid,” the equivalent of a scholarship so that no income tax is charged, and also no additional cost is incurred by the university.

The University also recently released the graduate tuitions fees for the 2009-2010 year which included an 8% increase in tuition fees for almost all graduate students. This jump means an additional $411, or $34 per month, will be taken from the compensation of Canadian graduate students. For international students, the increase amounts to $753, or $63 per month, out of pocket. This continues the employer’s pattern of offsetting any wage increase with a larger tuition hike.

For a full listing of the graduate student tuition fees see:  http://www.mcmaster.ca/graduate/fees.html

Since they were clearly taken aback by the Union’s preparation, the Employer’s first package reserved comment on any monetary items for later negotiations and contained mostly grammar and stylistic changes. However, the most significant addition to the contract by the Employer was the inclusion of a 1 month probationary period for every TA, for every assignment. Reassuringly, relevant language from the Collective Agreements of the other two CUPE Units (Post-Doctoral Fellows and Sessional Faculty) has been imported into the Unit 1 contract by both sides. This includes important protections against harassment, violence and discrimination and will hopefully include similar protections against bullying in the workplace.

While the teams were scheduled to meet at 10:00AM on July 2nd and July 9th, the University bargaining committee took the entirety of July 2ndand until almost 2:00 PM on July 9th as their own caucus time. The two sides met for a little over an hour on July 9th and worked through some housekeeping details, mainly to make corrections to the employer’s already belated package. Even so, the university bargaining committee was unwilling to engage in meaningful discussions. The next scheduled bargaining session is July 28th and our bargaining team hopes that this time the university bargaining committee will come prepared for substantive discussions.

If you would like to get involved with the bargaining process, there are plenty of roles to be filled that may require as little as 30 minutes a week. To find out how you can contribute, please contact president@cupe3906.org or staff@cupe3906.org.

If you would like to see a copy of the membership mandated bargaining priorities and principles, please contact president@cupe3906.org or call the CUPE office at extension 24003.

Don’t forget to keep checking our Unit 1 bargaining blog at:  https://unit1bargaining.wordpress.com and our Facebook group (search for CUPE 3906).

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team and Bargaining Support Committee.

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