CUPE 3906 Unit 1 Bargaining Blog
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Press Coverage

A LABOUR LESSON ~ Hamilton Spectator

CUPE 3906 picketers provide info to Mac community

CUPE 3906 picketers provide info to Mac community

(Oct 23, 2009) – Members of the union representing 2,700 teaching and research assistants at McMaster University held an information picket at the Sterling Street entrance yesterday morning. The pickets carried signs and handed out information to drivers and pedestrians at the entrance to raise awareness of continuing negotiations between CUPE Local 3906 and the university. Mediated talks take place next Thursday and Friday. The union will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. Oct. 31. The two sides have yet to work out the monetary aspects of a new contract, with benefits and tutorial class sizes being primary sticking points.
October 22, 2009

Picket Lines up at McMaster Today ~ by Wade Hemsworth ~ The Hamilton Spectator

 Teaching and research assistants at McMaster University are holding an information picket at the Sterling Street entrance this morning from 10 to about noon.

CUPE Local 3906 spokesperson Rebecca Strung said pickets will carry signs and hand out information at the entrance in the hope of raising awareness of continuing negotiations with the university. The local represents about 2,700 teaching and research assistants at McMaster.

While the picket could slow traffic at  the entrance, Strung said the intention is to generate awareness, not to cause inconvenience.

The union and the university are to meet for further mediated talks next Thursday and Friday. The union will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. Oct. 31. The two sides have yet to work out the monetary aspects of a new contract, with benefits and tutorial class sizes being primary sticking points. 

CUPE’s previous contract with the university expired Aug. 31.


October 22, 2009

No-board mandate sets possible TA strike ~ The Silhouette ~ By Selma Al-Samarrai

The University and the CUPE 3906 union met on Oct. 14, 15 and 16 for three days of negotiations with the attendance of a provincial conciliating officer. The university proposed a package on Oct. 14, the first day of negotiations, that included a few changes to the contract, including making the contract two years long as opposed to three, increasing hourly wages of graduate teaching assistants from 38 dollars to 39.30 dollars by the end of the two year contract and increasing hourly wages for undergraduate TA’s from 20.75 to 22.05.

The CUPE 3906 members then presented a package on Oct. 15 regarding changing some language issues in the contract, which was followed by further changes to the language in the contract, which was presented Oct. 16. Some language changes include providing the union with departmental handbooks to the classes they teach, as opposed to having the TA’s buy them, and that the employer will pay 12,000 dollars to the union on Sep. 1 of each contract year as opposed to providing the amount at an annually increased plan.

Bargaining team member of CUPE 3906 Derek Sahota explained that at midnight on Friday Oct. 16, their most updated monetary proposal was handed to the University representatives, “We slimmed down a lot of things, we figured out what was the bare minimum to figure out everything, and this was done separately by the union. So on midnight on Friday we presented the monetary package.”  Read more >>


October 8, 2009

CUPE Talks Stall at table ~ The Silhouette ~ By selma al-samarrai ~

The CUPE 3906 membership at McMaster University, which represents just over 2700 graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants, has been negotiating its contract with the University since July 2009. The most recent CUPE 3906 contract expired Aug. 31 and negotiations began with the University around May 2009. CUPE 3906’s proposal was presented to the university on June 30. After 11 negotiation sessions, the key negotiation items between the university and members of the CUPE 3906 union remained unresolved.

This was followed by a joint decision from both sides of the negotiation to meet with a provincial conciliation office, which occurred on Sept. 30. Members of CUPE 3906 and the University met individually with the conciliator to provide him with an understanding of the positions and key standing issues between the two. Gord Arbeau, the director of Public Relations at McMaster University explained that meeting a conciliator throughout such negotiations is a regular process and is very helpful in reaching an agreement. The university, the union and the conciliator will meet for three consecutive days starting on Oct. 14.

Bargaining team members of CUPE 3906 Derek Sahota and Rebecca Strung and CUPE 3906 staff representative Jesse Payne explained that their expectations for an updated proposal from the university on Sept. 30 were not met. “The University promised a package… there was no package, they wanted us to wait till Oct. 14.  Read More >>


October 8, 2009

Mac TAs Move to Trigger Conciliation ~ by Wade Hemsworth ~ The Hamilton Spectator ~

The union representing 2,700 teaching and research assistants at McMaster University has requested a conciliator to set the clock ticking on a possible strike.

CUPE Local 3906 has requested a “no board report,” which would signify that an agreement with the university is not imminent, and permit a strike or lockout 17 days after the report is issued.

With the union anticipating an answer early next week, that date would fall on or around Oct. 30.  Read more >>


Mac TAs Pass Strike Mandate ~ The Hamilton Spectator ~

September 24, 2009

McMaster and its 2,200 support workers have a tentative contract agreement. But the university is still negotiating with its 2,700 teaching assistants who have just given their bargaining team a “strong” strike mandate.



Mac, Unions head for conciliation ~ The Hamilton Spectator ~

September 18, 2009

Two key employee groups at McMaster University — teaching assistants and support workers — are down to the wire in contract negotiations.

The 2,700 teaching assistants, whose counterparts shut down York University last year, are in the midst of a strike vote while their bargaining committee tackles “many outstanding issues,” according to CUPE representative Jesse Payne.

The union and university have jointly asked for provincial conciliation. Payne expects a strong strike mandate when the last period of voting ends Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

“The contract won’t improve unless we have a strong mandate,” he said yesterday.



CUPE negotiations require conciliator ~ The Silhouette ~

Thursday, September 17th 2009

By Selma Al-Samarrai

CUPE Local 3906, the union that represents part-time teaching and some research assistants, has been meeting with the university to reach a new collective agreement. The university and the union met throughout the months of July and August of 2009 followed by six full days of negotiations including Sep. 1st, 3rd, 14th, 16th and 28th.

Following negotiations on Sept. 16, Peter Smith, associate vice-president Academic and the chair of the university bargaining committee sent a statement to public relations of McMaster which stated, “While we have made significant progress towards a collective agreement, we are at a point in our discussions that the assistance of the conciliator will be helpful.”



McMaster and CUPE jointly request conciliation ~ The Daily News ~

September 11, 2009

The University and CUPE Local 3906, Unit 1, which represents teaching assistants and some research assistants, have jointly requested the services of a provincial conciliation officer as negotiations continue for a new collective agreement.

“Both parties have made progress towards a new collective agreement,” says Peter Smith, associate vice-president academic and chair of the University bargaining committee. “We have agreement on a significant portion of the contract language and we look forward to the assistance of the conciliator as we work on coming to agreement on the remaining issues.”

“CUPE 3906 remains committed to negotiating a fair contract at the bargaining table,” affirms Local President Mary-Ellen Campbell. “We are optimistic that, with the support of our membership, we can reach agreement on remaining items that our members have told us are priority issues for them.”

Requesting the assistance of a conciliator is a normal part of the bargaining process. In previous negotiations involving these parties, conciliation has been helpful in reaching a collective agreement.

Further negotiating sessions are scheduled for September 14, 16, 28 and 30. It is anticipated the conciliation officer would join the talks in October.




The word from CUPE ~ The Silhouette ~

Thursday, April 2nd 2009

By Mary Ellen Campbell

As the president of CUPE 3906, I would like to thank the student body for taking an interest in the upcoming rounds of bargaining at McMaster University.  CUPE 3906 shares the already expressed desires for respectful and constructive dialogue. We promote an open and transparent process, and warmly encourage everyone in our community, especially undergraduate students, to become informed, participate and share with us their experiences and concerns, as contract issues like class sizes, T.A. and sessional overwork and job security directly affect the quality of education here at McMaster.

In the past few weeks, Azim Kazmani and Peter George have each written letters to the Sil that make reference to the Collective agreement. We share President Kasmani’s concern over lost classroom time. No one wants to go on strike, but it is important for everyone to understand that classroom experience can deteriorate even without job action.



One Response to “Press Coverage”

  1. […] 3906 Bargaining is Headline News Click here to view some recent articles on our ongoing struggle for a fair collective agreement, including […]

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