CUPE 3906 Unit 1 Bargaining Blog
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CAW Strike – Letter to Members

September 06, 2009

Dear CUPE 3906 Members of Units 1 (TAs/RAs in Lieu), 2 (Sessional Faculty) and 3 (PDFs),

As you may be aware, our employer, the McMaster University administration, has been in negotiations with CAW Local 555, Unit 1, for several months, negotiating a renewal agreement for McMaster’s approximately 2200 administrative and technical support staff.

In late August, the employer filed an application with the Ministry of Labour for a Final Offer Vote, held this week (September 2 and 3, 2009).

Nearly 62% of voting members voted against the agreement proposed in the forced vote, and the affected employees are now in a lawful strike position, and the employer is in a position to invoke a “lock-out,” as of 12:01 a.m. on September 4, 2009. At present, no strike or lock-out date has been set, and both parties have issued statements suggesting that they wish to continue negotiations.

In the Event of a Labour Disruption ~

Please be advised that CUPE 3906 has adopted the policy and practice of moving our office to an off-site location (17 Paradise Rd. S.) during any labour disruption, so as to assure CUPE members continued access to our staff and services.

Further, in the event of a strike or lock-out, the employer has taken the position that “all University activities, classes and events will continue as normal, to the extent possible.” As such, they have informed the representatives of all other worker groups on campus that “all McMaster employees not in CAW 555, Unit 1, will be expected to report to work as scheduled.”

All CUPE 3906 members should be advised that our Collective Agreements detail the rights of CUPE 3906 members in the event of a strike or lock-out of another union on campus. Article 8.03 of our Unit 1 and Unit 2 contract (Article 9.03 of the Unit 3 contract) states that CUPE 3906 members “will not be required to perform work normally done by those persons,” and further that “the employer shall ensure that all supervisors are informed that members of the bargaining unit should not be requested to do such work.” Any CUPE member who is asked to perform the work normally performed by members of members of CAW 555, Unit 1, should contact CUPE at or phone our off-campus headquarters at 905-528-2873.

All CUPE members are also advised of the following ~

* In the event of a strike or lock-out, employees represented by CUPE 3906 must report to work as normally scheduled. The employer has confirmed that “employees absent from work without supervisory approval will have their pay reduced to reflect the absence. Pre-approved leaves and vacation do not need additional supervisory approval.”

* Employees who feel physically threatened (by the employer’s private security company, for example) while attempting to enter the workplace are advised to seek the assistance of McMaster Security Services and to contact their supervisor to receive instructions. Please contact the off-site CUPE office for more information.

* Members are advised that delays crossing the picket lines are expected, and should plan accordingly to the extent reasonably possible. Members who experience such a delay and as such anticipate a late arrival to their workplace must contact the Chair of their employing department to advise of their anticipated arrival time (so as to ensure that students, co-workers, supervisors are informed). Members who are unable to reach the Chair should contact CUPE 3906 (details above) so that we can provide assistance.

* Members wishing to support CAW workers prior to or during a strike or lock-out may engage in any and all lawful strike support activities, such as picketing, sending letters of support or attending rallies, at any time except during their scheduled working hours, and are protected against employer reprisals for engaging in such lawful activities.

Finally, CUPE 3906 members with teaching duties (including lecturing, leading tutorials and labs, grading, and so forth) should review the “Rights and Responsibilities of Undergraduate Students During Work Stoppages” at

Members seeking updated information should visit the employer’s “Daily News” website at and the CAW Local 555 website at

Please contact the CUPE 3906 office at or 905-528-2873 if you have any other questions or concerns that require our attention.


Mary Ellen Campbell
President, CUPE 3906


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