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

Bargaining Bulletin #5 – Proposals Summary

  • current Class “A” rate: $36.54/hr
  • current Class “B” rate $19.95/hr
  • some departments reduce scholarships and bursaries to offset increases in wages
  • 4% vacation pay is added to all wages and included in your paycheque
Union’s Proposal Employer’s Response
  • Graduate Class “A” wages kept at
    $36.54 / hr.
  • Undergraduate Class “B” wages raised to $28.85 / hr.
  • guarantee scholarships and bursaries won’t be rolled back due to a wage increase
  • Class “A” wages of $36.92 in year 1, $37.40 in year 2, $37.98 in year 3.
  • Raise Class “B” wages to $20.53 in year 1, $21.11 in year 2, $21.83 in year 3.
  • guarantee scholarships and bursaries won’t be rolled back due to a wage increase
Working / Learning Conditions:
  • at 260 hours / full TA, McMaster is one of the lowest in the country
  • TAs have told us they work significantly more than 260 hours
  • Ph.D. students at McMaster previously had guaranteed positions for 5th and 6th year of their degrees.
  • TAs always have the option to choose not to take their guaranteed position
Union’s Proposal Employer’s Response
  • pay TAs for up to 280 hours instead of 260 hours
  • cap student to full TA ratio at 25 for tutorials, 15 for labs and 60 for marking
  • Guaranteed TA positions for 5th and 6th year Ph.D. students and 1 extra term beyond standard completion time for Master’s students
  • “No” to increase in hours
  • “No” to student to TA ratio caps.
  • “No” to increasing guarantees for TA positions.
Dental Benefits:
  • undergraduate TAs are currently exempted from dental benefits
  • currently TAs who want family coverage have to cover the entire increase in cost ($55 extra/month)
  • The dental plan offers 100% coverage of preventative and corrective care, up to $1000 / year for single, $2000 for family
Union’s Proposal Employer’s Response
  • Employer pays 80% of dental premium for single coverage or 50% of family coverage for TAs who work a quarter TA (70 hours), including undergraduate TAs
  • The 80% coverage is similar in cost per TA to the current $25.40 / month employer contribution
  • “No” to any increase to dental contributions (maintain current flat rate contribution of $25.40 / month)
  • “No” to lowering threshold keep current threshold below130 hours
Vision Benefits
  • The vision fund is currently inadequate due to increases in the number of TAs while the employer has not increased their flat fund contribution
Union’s Proposal Employer’s Response
  • Increase employer contribution to Union administered vision fund to maintain $250 coverage/24 months
  • “No” increase in funds, likely forcing the Union to rollback benefits to keep the fund solvent.
Health Benefits
  • Extended health coverage is completely paid by employees with no employer contribution
Union’s Proposal Employer’s Response
  • Employer pays annual GSA ($163) or MSU ($45) premiums
  • New health spending account
  • “No” employer contribution to health benefits.
Other Benefits
  • These funds are administered by the Union and currently come as one inadequate lump sum payment (which includes the money for vision benefits)
Union’s Proposal Employer’s Response
  • New professional development fund for workshops, travel, etc.
  • Increased UHIP rebate fund
  • Increased hardship fund
  • Increased childcare fund
  • “No” employer contribution to other benefits.
  • “No” to any increase to funds.
  • Grant-in-aid has been successfully implemented at York for TAs and resulted in significant increases to take home pay while reducing costs to the employer!
Union’s Proposal Employer’s Response
  • $3000 of a full TA is as a grant-in-aid, rather than regular wages.
  • Reduces payroll deductions for both employer and employee
  • Currently looking into technical aspects of proposal with CRA and internal accounting. Will respond when more is known
Tuition rebate
  • Employer has referred to graduate students as a “revenue stream to be optimized,” meaning future increases to tuition are extremely likely!
Union’s Proposal Employer’s Response
  • graduate student TAs get a rebate for the amount of the yearly tuition increase
  • $411 back for domestic TAs, $753 back for international TAs
  • “No” to tuition rebate. TAs and graduate students are different people, despite tuition being taken off paycheques, the issues are completely uncorrelated.

Give your union bargaining team a strong mandate at the table…

Vote yes!


3 Responses to “Bargaining Bulletin #5 – Proposals Summary”

  1. […] The bargaining team has created a summary of all of the key proposals on the table and broken it down in terms of issues, as well as money. The issues breakdown is available as bargaining bulletin #5. […]

  2. Employer has referred to graduate students as a “revenue stream to be optimized,” meaning future increases to tuition are extremely likely!

    [Citation Needed]

  3. Hi John,

    The reference was at the May 7, 2009 Board of Governor’s meeting. The official meeting minutes state the following:

    ““The point was made that the overall aim should be to maximise the revenue received by the University, relative to the cost of providing the various programs. Mr. Couldrey commented that the current cost allocation methodology is not sophisticated enough to be able to provide detailed information with regard to leveraging the income received. The University therefore focuses on optimising the available revenue and is proposing the maximum increase wherever possible.”

    From the Board of Governors official approved minutes, May 7, 2009. Volume 56, page 64, available at:

    You can see our analysis of these minutes at:

    Thanks for the comment, and please let us know if you have any other questions and feel free to post if you have more comments.

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