Executive Board Reports

VP External

Pansee Atta

Dear members,

Having taken up my position as VP External about six weeks ago (on October 2nd), I have spent this past month transitioning into my new role. I met with staff and the former VP External for an overview of my duties, and touched base with relevant contact persons for ongoing projects.  As part of my duties, I have served as a representative of CUPE 4600 at a number of different events: at the GSA Council, the Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa Conference, and at an organizing skills workshop offered by the Rosa Luxemberg Foundation. Aside from this, there have been a number of important developments:

 

Proposed Levy to support On-Campus Organizations

This has been one of the primary  projects I have attempted to take on since taking the VP External position on. Since April, there has been ongoing work to formulate a possible levy structure that could be used to support on-campus organizations affected by the provincial government's Student Choice Initiative, instituted this year. Not only would this support other on-campus organizations engaged in vital social justice work, but it would also strenghthen our allyships with them at a critical time for our local. After all, bargaining is when we are in greatest need of our allies!

Of course, any proposed changes to union dues would be brought to the membership to be discussed and voted on before they are instituted! If you are interested in this project or have any questions, please feel free to get in touch at vp.external@cupe4600.ca 

 

External Affairs Committee

An External Affairs Committee meeting was held on November 13th. We discussed the upcoming rally to oppose Doug Ford during his visit to Ottawa (see below), some ways our local can reach out to allied organizations in solidarity during this time of shared struggle under austerity, and initial discussions for community group donations from the International Social Justice Fund. There have been no proposed donations from this budget line yet, so if you are aware of any organizations or causes that would benefit from financial support, please let me know!

 

Doug Ford Rally

Finally, one of the ways our local has been working with other allied groups is in planning a protest around Doug Ford's visit to Ottawa on December 10th. The Ford administration has attacked us in our capacity as precarious workers, academics, students, and in many other ways. Most directly, Bill 124's wage cap has mandated an effective cut to our already low take-home pay. If you oppose these unacceptable attacks on our working  lives, let the provincial government to know! Stay tuned for more information in the CUPE 4600 digest.

President

Meg Lonergan

Dear Membership of CUPE4600,

 

As the semester begins to come to a close, many of us have our workloads ramping up; between our own terms papers, marking, helping our students  with their finals, teaching the last few classes, and supporting our TAs, both Contract Instructors and Teaching Assistants are undoubtedly feeling increasingly stressed. I want to begin this report by reminding all members to practice self care: to remember to drink water, to take time to eat nutritious food, to avoid over-caffeinated which can exacerbate feelings of anxiety, and getting adequate amounts of sleep. Work and related stressors becomes more management when you take care of your own mind and body first. Please know that there are services and supports available if you’re feeling overwhelmed or concerned about your mental health. Some are at the end of this report.

 

Thank you to the folks who came out to the Bargaining Teams Meet n Greet at Mike’s Place on the 18th. It was great to discuss how bargaining is going with you and hear your concerns and priorities. Special thank you to the Mobilization Committee for organizing and Zoey Jones for setting up at Mike’s. The Info-Picket of Dominion Chalmers the morning of November 8th was a smashing success! Lots of folks came out to support and hand out flyers. Several members of other union locals refused to cross our info-picket in solidarity and many attendees of the event came out to voice their solidarity with us. While we are thrilled Carleton will be offering a new labour program, we at CUPE 4600 would like to see the Administration support fair working conditions and organized labour at the bargaining tables and not just public relations events. Thank you to Co-Chair of the Mobilization Committee Britt Amell and our Mobilization Coordinator Pierre for taking the lead on organizing. Thank you also to our “phantom memer” for the creation of some very witty event promoting memes!

 

The Unit 2 Bargaining Team will not  accept concessions on job security via  cuts to current language and protections on incumbency. Now that Bill-124 has passed and been enacted into law we are facing a 1% cap on monetary gains by the Ford provincial government. We will continue to fight for the continuation of rights in the Collective Agreement and for other gains at the bargaining table with the Employer. The Joint Consultation Committee has met once with VP Unit 1 Zoey Jones, our Business Agent Dan Sawyer, and myself to draft a terms of reference as we move forward hiring an external auditor of the EAF, as agreed upon in the Memorandum following the most recent EAF crisis. 

 

I have been in contact with the Teaching Assistants at Wilfrid Laurier, who recently had a campaign to unionize TAs there, and are now fighting to have the ballots counted to see whether they received the required number of  member’s votes in support. I have publicly published a letter of support as President of 4600 in solidarity with TAs there and criticizing Laurier administration for delaying the ballot count. Particularly in the current political context, it is crucial that unions in the post-secondary sector be mobilized to support each other however we can. I have also been in touch with the bargaining teams at MacMaster University, who are in a position to strike on Monday morning (November 25th) if a fair deal cannot be reached in the next few days. They are currently fighting for paid pedagogical training, which TAs at Carleton currently have in their Collective Agreement, amongst other issues. If Mac’s TAs go on strike we will be mobilizing to act in solidarity, so keep your eyes out for updates. 

 

Your executive board approved and donated $100 on behalf of CUPE 4600 to the Ottawa Supervised Injection Site in solidarity with the efforts and a show of support given the severe funding cuts they are facing. The Supervised Injection site is an important service that provides lifesaving interventions and protections for some of the most marginalized folks in our wider Carleton community. I would encourage anyone who is interested  to attend Naloxone training and to carry a kit with them in case the need arises. 

 

I am currently developing a workplan of projects I would like to see accomplished by myself and others in the local by the end of my term in April 2020. My second semester as President of CUPE 4600 has had its struggles and its triumphs. I look forward to continuing to meet with more of you and work towards making the working conditions, wages, and benefits for TAs and CIs better and making Carleton a more equitable and just working place for all.

 

In solidarity,

Meg D. Lonergan, President of CUPE 4600

 

Resources

 

https://carleton.ca/wellness/ 

https://carleton.ca/health/

https://good2talk.ca 

https://wabano.com 

https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/naloxone.aspx 

http://cscsottawa.ca/faits 

Chief Steward, Unit 2

Aalya Ahmad

Your Business Agent and Organizer, Dan Sawyer and I, have been kept
quite busy with CI issues. We currently have a grievance headed to
arbitration and have been able to resolve two other grievances and
achieve settlements for our members. We are also working our way
through another grievance procedure although we have not yet formally
presented the written grievance.

Members should be aware of their right to concurrently file complaints
under Carleton’s harassment policies as well as file grievances
according to our timelines in the collective agreement. We can hold
grievances in abeyance until the steps of the policy have been gone
through (the university is required to investigate harassment
complaints). We should not have to file grievances to get management
to respect its own policies!

A Steward Training session was held on the afternoon of Friday October
18th, with 11 members of both units attending. These short sessions
will be ongoing – however, members are also encouraged to look at the
CUPE education website and see if we can organize some more trainings
for our Stewards as well as brown-bag lunch information sessions. This
training was well received and provided some useful knowledge and
materials for those undertaking the Steward role. Thanks to all who
come forward to do this vital work in representing the issues of their
department. Our union is stronger because of you!

An Executive Council meeting was held on October 30th. My TA
counterpart and I will be reaching out to all current departmental
stewards in order to ensure they are informed of the next Executive
Council meeting. According to Article 9 of our bylaws, the Council
should be meeting at least once monthly.

I have been active as the co-chair of the Mobilization and
Communications Committee and assisted with the planning of the action
on November 8th to coincide with the launch of Carleton’s Work and
Labour diploma program. By all accounts, the info picket was
successful – congratulations to all involved. I’ve also worked on
creating a handbook for our members with some union basics (in
progress). Any assistance from our members in identifying where their
offices are located on campus and when their office hours are
scheduled would be welcome so that the Local can organize office
visits.

I’ve proposed that CIs should work with CUASA (faculty) to run a
visibility campaign in the form of buttons in the lead-up to
bargaining. Often our students have no idea of the position of the
person who is teaching them – we are all “professors” and our grossly
unequal working conditions are obscured to the advantage of the
employer. If we could count on the solidarity of CUASA members wearing
buttons for a day or week to show support (perhaps in contrasting or
complementary colours for each group), it would become clearer how
much work CIs do on campus. To that end, I have suggested the Local
purchase a button maker and materials for making buttons as part of
our mobilization work and would be glad to see a motion to that end at
this meeting.

I would also like to propose that our Local formally endorse the CUPE
member running for the Ontario Federation of Labour presidency next
week. Barry Conway is a municipal worker in Hamilton and a vice
president of Local 5167. As part of the Workers Action Movement slate,
he presents an energetic and militant alternative to establishment
candidates. Under a Ford government, the somewhat stagnant status quo
of labour movement bureaucracy is not good enough. We need leaders
like Barry and he needs our support. He’s already been endorsed by our
sister local at McMaster, CUPE 3906.

In Solidarity, Aalya Ahmad, Ph.D., Chief Steward, Unit 2.

VP Unit 1

Zoey Jones

 

Hello, members and friends,

 

This fall term has been such a whirlwind! As your VP Unit 1 and lead negotiator for the Unit 1 bargaining team, I have been primarily working on bargaining, with a few extra bits to spice things up! Some highlights include the depletion of the EAF (which funds TA benefits), subsequent emergency meetings, and signing a Memorandum of Agreement with the Employer to get the EAF funded again. We have also tabled all of our proposals at bargaining, had a great Caucus, and we are working on improving Union accessibility for our members.

 

Caucuses

We had one Unit 1 Caucus since my last board report, and it was such a great one! Turnout was good, we didn't run out of pizza this time, and we went over bargaining updates as well as the sexual violence training Carleton is asking TAs to do. Thank you to everyone who came, I heard some new ideas we can incorporate into our strategies and it was great to chat before and after!

 

Bargaining

Bargaining has been intense. Our wonderful bargaining team has researched, drafted, and delivered all of the articles we planned on proposing to the employer, along with meaningful responses on Discipline, Suspension, and Discharge, among others. The Employer has not yet responded to our proposal of a wage increase to match the wages earned at the University of Ottawa. We have little from them at the moment, and are hoping to get some substantial responses before we break for the term. We have had one rank-and-file attendee at bargaining so far, and it was great to have some new energy in the room! 

 

Other Work

As VP Unit 1, I have also attended one Executive Council meeting, one JCC meeting (to work on hiring a consultant to review our EAF woes), and have put together an Accessibility Survey with our Equity Trustee, Jo Farrell, and Mobilizarion Coordinator, Pierre Blais. You can access that survey through our latest CUPE Digest email. We are also looking for people who want to help us make the Union more accessible, so if you do, please email one of us!

 

I have also enrolled in "CUPE Winter School" for December, which is a week long training course that will help me serve you and our bargaining team better!

Secretary Treasurer

Zahra Montazeri

Finance report: 

  1. Budget is updated for month of October and dues, income, jumped in September and October as we expected, it passed 100k in the month ofOctober.

  2. The expenses were controlled and generally we didn’t expense more than we estimated in the budget.

  3. We have more than 1million dollars in our strike fund and about $193k in operating fund, see the balance sheet.

  4. We started to use strike fund for bargaining and mobilization as approved in the last GMM.

  5. CRA reassessment for 2017 was paid from CRA fund, as set up in an AGM in April, 2018. There is no further assessment for 2018, so it seems CRA issues are settled for the past payroll years

  6. Due to an EI ruling, we had to pay extra $532.53 for the months of January – April  2019 on behalf of past board members to avoid penalty and interest fee. The related motion passed by Executive board. 

  7.  Finance committee was held last month with an extensive discussion on Levy and its calculations. Our calculation in terms of dues percentage showed that $6 increasing not feasible at least for current fiscal year.  

VP Internal

Narges Zare

 

Dear CUPE 4600 members,

Thanks for taking time to attend the GMM and reading what your union has been up to. There has been a huge amount of work this semester, mainly bargaining. I have been in both Unit1 and Unit 2 bargaining teams. Our fantastic bargaining team has researched and reviewed many articles, many which have been presented to the employer and responses were provided. Unit 1 bargaining team successfully resolved the issue of EAFs being suspended by Carleton for our members and the team along with Staff member Dan Sawyer are looking into hiring an external auditor to review the EAF as agreed in the memorandum with Carleton. Unfortunately, Bill 124 has passed, and we are restricted to a %1 cap regarding all monetary gains by the Ontario government which will limit our gains. 

I also have been involved in caucuses such as International student caucus. This caucus has been very active and very well attended in the past. I am still looking for members who are interested in attending and hopefully chairing the caucus. Next International student caucus will be in mid January. Also, I’ve been the rep for CUPE 4600 for the peer support and mental health program alongside the GSA, equity and FGPA. This program has launched this month and many programs have been set until end of the winter term. This program provides valuable resources and aids to graduate students at Carleton.

As VP Internal I also chaired the Mobilization and communication committee, which Britt Amell and Aalya Ahmed were elected as chairs for Unit1 and Unit2 mobilization committee chairs. We are still looking for a chair for International student caucus. If you are interested, please contact myself at VP.Internal@cupe4600.ca or info@cupe4600.ca.

Thanks!

Narges Zare

Report from the Mobilization Committee

Prepared by: Brittany Amell (Unit 1)

Overview of activities

 

  • Successfully info picketed Carleton’s launch of a labour studies certificate

  • Developed Social Media & Communications Guidelines

  • Tabled twice: Consisted of setting up a table in the atrium and some volunteers who hung out to talk to members and the broader community

  • Held Meet & Greet at Mike’s place: Members could have informal chats with bargaining committees.

  • Wrote a letter condemning Fiera Food Employees’ deaths

 

Upcoming (support from membership urgently needed)

 

  • Stuffing envelopes: We need volunteers to help stuff envelopes so that we can send them out for fairly cheap. Would reach membership easily and efficiently.

  • Visits: We need volunteers to visit graduate lounges and offices (where applicable) to chat with members, share information, and gather key concerns and questions.

  • Greeting Doug Ford: We need volunteers to join us in offering Doug Ford, Captain of Caps N Cutz, a mighty and hearty union welcome (mid December).

  • Strike Committee list: We need to get an email list (non-Carleton emails) of individuals who might be willing to support the planning and coordination of possible strike. 

  • Postering, zines & button making: We need volunteers to make info posters, zines, buttons, & etc.

  • Stewards: We are hoping to work with stewards more closely--if stewards are interested in holding “office hours” or signing up for “visits” (to their own departments or others)

  • Other/In progress: We continue to need support with developing a MobCom strategy/framework. 

 

Next MobCom meeting: November 21, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. in UC 374