General Membership Meeting
Thursday October 4th, 2018
The draft agenda for the GMM can be found here. Executive board reports will be added here before the start of the GMM.
Last GMM's minutes can be found here.
Please note, we will be holding elections for 4 positions at the GMM
The 4 positions are:
Unit 2 (Contract Instructors) Health & safety rep
Unit 2 Chief Steward
Personal Safety Officer (Either unit)
Human Rights Officer
Details about these positions and the election process will be emailed to the membership shortly. In the meantime, any questions can be sent to Dan Sawyer, our business agent at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your VPs Internal, Recording Secretary, and Mobilization Coordinator, with input from the Executive Board, planned an energizing and thought-provoking retreat for Executive Council members this August. Among other things, we reviewed the bargaining process and began setting goals and creating timelines for effective bargaining in 2019.
In September, we participated in Orientation Week activities, including departmental presentations and meetings. We were excited to meet new members and touch base with returning members. We're fired up for the year ahead!
We have continued to work with the exec board and the unit caucuses to begin identifying bargaining priorities. One major issue that came out of discussions with Unit 2 members is a desire to set up a pension plan. Keep an eye out for more on that issue!
We have also participated in various discussions with individual members about issues affecting their day-to-day working conditions. We are excited to see that lots of discussion is going on between members in individual departments and among departments. When management takes it upon themselves to inform us that we shouldn't be talking to each other complaining about things (this really happened!), we can truly see the power of a united workforce.
Lastly, your VPs Internal are the employer reps on the Labour Management Committee for the administration of the agreement between CUPE 4600 and its small but mighty staff. We recently held a very productive meeting and look forward to continuing the good work.
Marla Arbach and Laurel Ralston
Vice Presidents Internal
VP Unit 2 - Contract Instructors
First, a warm welcome to all new Contract Instructors that started teaching this Fall. My report covers issues that may be familiar to returning members. If you have any questions or concerns that you don’t see reflected in the report please get in touch. I’m also happy to meet and just answer any questions you have about what it means to be a contract instructor at Carleton.
On to the report…
We held our first Contract Instructor caucus meeting of the year recently. Despite scheduling frustrations, the meeting was productive, and we had an opportunity to discuss some ongoing issues. A new meeting (to be scheduled for late Oct. or early Nov.) will focus primarily on bargaining research. I am currently working with our Mobilization Coordinator, Pierre, and other Exec members to develop a new bargaining survey to identify priorities for Contract Instructors (building off some past initiatives we pursued last round). If you want to be involved in preparing for bargaining research, please get in touch. Even if you only want to be involved on a certain topic or issue this assistance will really help.
With a vacancy in the role of Chief Steward in the Unit, I have also been assisting some members that have experienced issues regarding hiring this fall. I’ve also been talking to people about becoming stewards in their departments. As you may know, Steward’s are a critical part of the reach of the union- they provide a vital way to communicate to CIs in their departments and can help identify department or faculty specific issues or practices that violate the Collective Agreement. Please contact Dan or I if you might be interested in becoming a Contract Instructor steward in your department.
ONGOING ISSUES: 4600 continues to move forward on a formal challenge to the Teaching Evaluation regime. The arbitration decision at Ryerson U (which is quite definitive in its conclusions) underscored both the inadequacy of our type of evaluations in measuring “teaching effectiveness” and the discriminatory outcomes that are often produced. We are presently waiting for a formal legal opinion from outside counsel about how to proceed in our context. Dan, Darren and I also met with CUASA in the summer to discuss a common strategy. CUASA is aware of the arbitration but pursuing other (unhelpful) avenues. We are moving forward on our own.
A large issue that often gets discussed under the topic of teaching evaluation is the different treatment that is experienced by racialized and other marginalized contract instructors within Depts. This is supported by a large body of research. Over the summer we have been contacted by numerous members describing differential treatment by departmental Chairs (including Chairs failing to support CIs during student complains or grade appeals, aggressive communication from Chairs or departmental admins., a growing reliance on “informal” meetings to make demands on CIs, etc.). While I think many members feel unsupported in their units, the more I talk to racialized and other marginalized members about their experience, the more the discriminatory elements of these encounters become clear. It is vital that there is a forum where contract instructors that feel they have been the target of discrimination can discuss these issues and identify common elements of their experience. Some members have already met in this regard. If you would like to be part of future discussions or have experiences to share, please get in touch.
More formally, we have (this week) also brought forward a number of proposals for Agreements in the JCAA. These include items to protect against an interruption of benefits for Contract Instructor members who are also students, notification of course disqualification, as well as developing an appeal process for the Professional Development Fund (PDF).
I would also like to welcome a new U2 Health Plan Trustee onboard. Sylvie Babadjide, who teaches in Public Admin., has graciously signed on to be a Benefits Plan Trustee. This is great news and I hope she will find the role rewarding.
I have been discussing some issues with he current Trustees regarding the way changes to the plan, and some processes regarding the plan, have been communicated to the membership. They acknowledge that this can be smoother and are certainly open to discussing how this can be improved. If you are interested in providing feedback or helping in reform efforts 4600 can certainly support you in your discussions with the Trustees. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Lastly, on the issue of Trustees, one thing that arose at the Contract Instructor caucus meeting is that members would like to see the available benefits expanded (there was also discussion about implementing a pension plan (which many contract instructors at other Universities can access)). I have been speaking with the existing Trustees about planning ahead for how we deal with expanding benefits in bargaining. Again, if this is something you have strong opinions on, please get in touch.
Look for an invitation to the next Caucus meeting and plan to attend if you can. In the meanwhile please contact me or the 4600 office if you think can assist you.
VP Unit 2
Hello and welcome,
This report will outline the sense of accomplishment that has characterized the first third of my term as President as well as some challenges that I see lying in the near future. Firstly, I would like to give a personal thanks to those who took part in the coordinated Welcome Weeks events. This volunteer energy has helped both new and returning members feel that CUPE 4600 is an organization that is reliable and enjoyable to work with. It would be short-sighted of me to only thank those who I know to have done work and would also like to extend this thanks to our more clandestine members who are educating and engaging our members in a diffuse fashion among their colleagues. Thank you for realizing that these personal and explicit initiatives are what will help bring the membership together for the bargaining round that is just around the corner.
So far, in my capacity as President, I have sought to infuse our organization with a sense of positive energy and confidence. Disrespect and discouragement from the Employer has only hardened my resolve and reinforced my sense of 4600’s purpose on our campus but combative behaviour between our active members has given me a sense of alienation and demoralization. Tension, in a political organization such as ours, is arguably unavoidable and naming and addressing this tension in a productive fashion and acknowledging our common goals has been one of my main goals in becoming President. We have reached a refreshing point of progress with our Finance Trustees and members commonly leave our membership meetings and Executive Council with determined and inspired smiles on their faces. This collective sense of direction is necessary for a productive year of bargaining prep and bargaining. I have helped to engaged Caucus and Committee Chairs to support them in doing their important work on specific demographic issues on our campus. Similarly, the contributions of most of our Board members give me a sense of confidence that 4600 is going to focus on membership engagement and developing ambitious bargaining proposals while also addressing day to day issues and large-scale grievances.
Challenges that lie ahead include following through on this early success, engaging in joint-committees with the employer in a productive fashion, and following through on our responsibilities as an employer of three full-time staff. I will continue to help support our Executive in mounting ambitious goals using my experience as a long-running board member and past member of the Teaching Assistance Bargaining Team. In my first meeting with President of Carleton University, Benoit Bacon, I made clear to him that Contract Instructors ought to be included at the committee that designs teaching evaluations. I also clearly stated that Deans who serve as Employer Reps on our joint-committees need to demonstrate that they take the discussion taking place at these committee seriously. After a slew of scheduling issues throughout the summer, we have scheduled joint-committee meetings for both Teaching Assistants and Contract Instructors and are strategizing on how to make the most of these committee meetings and address smaller issues that can be dealt with prior to bargaining. Finally, we are at a much-anticipated point of transition in our accounting software and will soon be able to better track financial transactions.
I am open for question in person or by email. All the best.
VP Unit 1
At beginning of our joint term, we would like outline some areas of engagement that will be built upon over the coming year. The first is fostering a space of open communication from you to us and vice versa. One way we hope to improve this line of communication is through initiatives that streamline communications arcos our membership. We have introduced slack as a platform for communication within the executive board and are hoping to move forward with this platform once it is approved. We see this initiative as one step towards building community communication --and part of a larger plan to involve membership in union activity.
Last month we struck the Bargaining Research Committee (BRC) during orientation week and held our first meeting on September 27th. We are hoping to recruit more members to move forward with the research phase this October. We intend to launch the Teaching Assistants survey in November, with the intention of learning about the experiences and priorities of our membership while we prepare for the next round of bargaining in 2020. Based on the results of the internal TA experience survey, cost of living analysis in Ottawa, and labour standards at other universities, among others, the BRC will draft bargaining proposals to be completed by the end of Fall term. While this research process will be ongoing, The BRC aims to complete bargaining proposals before the Winter so that our membership has the capacity to review and debate these proposals. In turn, allowing a deeper level of engagement with the bargaining process building on the work of previous years. Committing to this timeline is especially crucial for those who are not able to be a part of the bargaining team in 2020. In this way, we hope to make the process of bargaining more democratic, decentralized, and reflective of the diversity within the Carleton community.
In addition to the efforts of the BRC, we aim to improve the support resources and networks available to Unit 1. One area which we have found to be lacking in is the support and information for teaching assistants with disabilities. We believe that we need to be more active in helping our membership to establish work accommodations and support where current accommodations are lacking. Moreover, we would like to engage with our membership to explore other possible areas in which these types of resources can be improved upon. We have discussed the possibility of creating a committee for Teaching Assistants with disabilities to ensure that these experiences are properly acknowledged and the appropriate resources are available to TAs. We welcome and encourage this membership to get involved with this initiative, alongside other committees and caucuses.
The major issue we faced this summer was the inability to have our customary monthly JCC meetings in which we discuss Unit, 1 the status of Unit 1, with the employer. Although we still have not had a formal JCC meeting during our tenure, dates have been scheduled for JCC meetings during the Fall Term. We hope to utilize these times to bring forward important membership concerns until this committee is suspended for bargaining.
Jessica Gamarnik and Megan McGoey-Smith
Co-Vice President Unit 1
Hello Union members! Thank you for taking time to stay updated about your union. I joined CUPE 4600 as an executive board member in May for the very first time. My main and primary goal was to learn about the union and its crucial role for all of us members and do my best in my role to fulfill them. Now that I have almost reached half of my term, my main goal moving onward is focused on the bargaining that is coming up very soon. As Recording Secretary I have been attending monthly board meetings and council meeting and taking minutes and archiving files for better tracking and history of the union that will be easily accessible for future.
I’m involved in a number of committees, mainly including Mobilization committee, office space committee and JCC and other caucuses as my time allows. Joint consultation committee (JCC) is where through Unit 1 teaching assistants meet FGPA and human resources representatives. The challenge is to overcome the frequent cancellation of the meeting by the employer. We are currently organizing a prep meeting for JCC to develop a good strategy and hopefully get relative response from them.
Overall, What I have seen in my part as an executive board member and in each of the committees is the determination and keen eager of the board and council members to resolve and address relative issues of CUPE 4600 members. I have been impressed and inspired by the level of ethics, dedication and efforts that I have seen among my fellow members to work for the union and membership. I wish to follow the same path keep working close with the membership to complete my duties.
CUPE 4600 sent four delegates to our union's provincial convention this year. Our delegates participated in debating and deliberating on many policy resolutions. Outside of the convention floor our delegates participated in sectoral meetings as well as informal CUPE Action Caucus (CAC) meetings where Left leaning delegates strategize to push our union to be bolder and more democratic. At this convention CAC committed to support racialized members who were dissatisfied with CUPE Ontario's inaction on the issues raised by the caucus for racialized members (underrepresentation in union structures, at all levels, was a major concern), this lead to stronger language/commitments being written into CUPE Ontario's Action Plan for the next two years; we also argued in support of a resolution calling for our union to stop organizing cops. This resolution pointed to the recent organizing of RCMP employees who engage in activities, such as monitoring labour movement activists, as a problem for our union. Unfortunately, our delegates and our CAC allies were unable to sufficiently persuade our fellow delegates of the merits of this resolution and so the resolution was defeated. Finally, our delegates argued in support of a resolution calling for CUPE Ontario to investigate the possibility of establishing a provincial strike fund, which would supplement the strike pay we already receive from CUPE National. This resolution was successful.
The External Affairs Committee (EAC) met during the summer, but has yet to meet this fall. At our summer meeting we agreed to organize a presence at pride and labour day. Unfortunately our presence was only organized at the former, though some of us were nonetheless present at the latter.
Discussions began with our allies over the summer in regards to establishing an Ottawa Workers Council, and three meetings have now taken place. That said, the municipal election (I am managing a Councillor candidate's campaign in the ward that includes Carleton) has caused me to pull back from OWC organizing for the time being, but I will resume this work at the end of the month.
Our friends from the Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines are looking for a CUPE 4600 member to be sent with a larger CUPE delegation to visit our partner unions in the Philippines later this year. Please get in touch with me if this interests you.
Since the last GMM my focus has been on a few but very important tasks. I have been able to closely supervise the implementation of SAGE, the new accounting software the Union has been putting in place. I have been receiving a minimum of one report a week for the last two months to keep up on the progress of the project. While I am disappointed that the deadlines we were promised by our accountant firm was not met, there is some positive news which is that a lot of the work has been done to move forward. However, the complexity of the file has caused major delays and the potential of an increase in cost. This also is the direct result of a lack of follow up and clear guidelines this executive inherited when coming into office. The completion of this project is an extensive one and requires a lot of work and support. While it should allow us not only to keep better financial record and solve problems with pay and benefit to staff, the implementation has been very rocky and will require continuous attention and a great deal of work. I however am hopeful that it should be done shortly.
I have received noticed from the trustees that they would like to start their next audit very soon. I would like to thank the trustees for their patience in starting their work, so we could further confirm numbers and continue to focus our attention on SAGE implementation. I have been supervising the gathering of all their necessary documentation for their report and believe they should be able to begin shortly at mid-month.
As for the budget, some updates are still needed in the numbers as some formal information for budget update was slow at getting confirmed. On the bright side most of the information is now available and the month of September and late August should be able to be imputed shortly. The good news is that this executive has been very diligent with the funds and we are still within budget. However, I would like to warn that this year still contains many question marks such as cost associated with any potential move of our staff to different accommodation, any cost associated with the completion of SAGE, and cost associated with a change of storage unit currently being considered. We were already budgeted to have a deficit and already reached into the reserved for the benefit of the transfund and to increase the orientation budget. Therefore, while I remain optimistic about the overall financial health of the union, I caution the membership to stay focus on essential funding.
In addition, the transfund has been created as a separate fund as per the instruction of the membership at the last GMM. They are now able to accept donation and fundraise. The union has been working to confirm the discrepancy in the fees which we are supposed to pay according to the bylaws to CUPE National and CUPE Ontario. We should be able to finish the confirmation of all the numbers for the year and contact both organizations shortly. Some of you may remember that the identification of an incorrect decimal meant that CUPE 4600 believes it overpaid both CUPE National and CUPE 4600 after an incorrect calculation was made last year. I have confirmed the correction of the numbers and the union is waiting for a second confirmation to send notice and seek a resolution on this issue with our National and Provincial unions.
I will take this opportunity to thank all the union members who have been an incredible source of strength and support to me during my years on the executive. I have recently accepted a full-time position at a union in the city and have decided to leave my position at CUPE 4600 as I did not believe I had the time or the energy to serve you to the best of my ability. I believe this union deserves a secretary-treasurer who can be made available for their union which is something I could no longer provide. I leave with great hope for what this union can accomplish and many thanks, especially for my fellow executive member, and to our staff.
Unit 1 Chief Steward
Focus over the past 2 months has been centred on addressing and managing existing and potential Departmental Stewards for the 2018/2019 school year.
We have reached out to existing stewards and conducted outreach and emailing in regards to potential incoming stewards. Reorganizing the steward database was a big task, but with a more organized system we now know which departments we need to better connect with in order to increase departmental representation for Unit 1 members.
We have continued plans for our Unit 1 Stewards meeting and information session, which will take place once the Departmental Stewards elections are over.
We have continued our research and efforts on the major Scope Grievance (level 2)
The Scope Grievance as been escalated to arbitration and we have sought legal council, with whom we will be meeting in the coming weeks.
The Scope Grievance involves Enriched Studies Program (ESP) Workshop Facilitators, Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), and Peer-Assisted Subject Coaching (PASC) Facilitators. Based on information gathered by the Union, these positions are held by roughly 350 people, and involve supporting online courses, grading essays, proctoring exams, and meeting with students as required.
In addition to managing incoming grievances, much of our Stewarding efforts moving forward will involve escalating and managing the Scope Grievance with the goal of including course facilitators in Bargaining Unit 1, as they essentially perform the same duties as teaching assistants. Moving into arbitration our next step is to gather more information, and to seek legal council.
Therefore I/we request the employer provide full redress, including:
recognition of all PASS, PASC, ESP, and course facilitators at Carleton University as members of CUPE 4600 Unit 1;
that the employer provide all relevant employee information to the union, including the names, contract details, length of employment, and contact information, for all workers covered by this grievance;
immediate application of all aspects of the Unit 1 Collective Agreement, including wages, access to benefits, training and all other rights contained therein, to all individuals currently engaged in PASS, PASC, ESP, or course facilitator work;
retroactive payment of all wages owing to any and all individuals previously or currently engaged in PASS, PASC, ESP, or course facilitator work;
that the employer notify all affected employees that they are members of CUPE 4600 Unit 1, as well as provide a copy of the Unit 1 Collective Agreement and the union’s contact information.
Any other measure to make CUPE 4600 whole.
Co- Chief Stewards,
Meag B. & Meg L.