General Membership Meeting
Tuesday July 17th, 5:30
Hello hard working members and thank you for taking the time to stay informed about your union. The year ahead presents a huge opportunity for CUPE 4600 members to develop a collective plan for our next round of bargaining while also improving our campus on a day-to-day basis. Since being elected as your union president, one thing that has become very clear to me is how fortunate we are to have a range of engaged perspectives filling our executive board this year. Please continue to stay in touch so that we can learn from you about how we can make the most of this fortunate alignment of opportunity and will.
One challenge that has become evident is maintaining our line of communication with the employer through regular meetings of our joint committees. The Teach Assistant Unit (Unit 1) meets with representatives from FGPA and Human Resources through the Joint-Consultation Committee (JCC). The Contract Instructor Unit (Unit 2) meets with the Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs and a representative from Human Resources through the Joint-Committee on the Administration of the Agreement (JCAA). Despite the different titles these committees both function as on-going negotiation tables that allow us to file complaints or pose questions and, ideally, get adequate responses. The frequent cancellation of these meetings and the challenge of getting adequate responses indicates to me that we need to develop a better strategy in our approach to these meetings.
On a high note, we have made a lot of progress as a Board in terms of preparing for the year ahead. We are planning our Executive Retreat and I have encouraged the entire Executive Council to attend and take part in this important strategizing meeting. We are preparing for the influx of new members in September, making some purchases for merchandise (swag), liaising with the Graduate Student Union, and planning events for both our teaching assistant and contract instructor members. We are also putting together plans for important educational events such as an Anti-Oppressive Skills Workshop and a Trans-Issues Awareness Workshop. Check out our weekly digest emails for the latest information.
Chief Steward (Contract Instructors) Report
With the excellent staff support of Dan Sawyer, as your Chief Steward for contract instructors, we are in the final phase of negotiating settlements relative to individual and policy grievances for variation in CUTV courses (i.e., course credit weighting, remuneration, and seniority). In securing this forthcoming settlement (and avoiding arbitration) the university’s policy concerning CUTV courses will now fall in to compliance with the CUPE 4600 Contract Instructor collective agreement. As well, we currently continue to advocate for members on grievances issues related to workplace harassment, the professional development fund, and teaching evaluation-related issues. In addition, CUPE 4600 contract instructor representatives continue to engage the Joint Committee on the Administration of the Agreement (“JCAA”) as forum to negotiate more clear policy language and practices relative to exam deferrals, Professional Development Fund applications (and in the future, appeal processes), issues related to how Departments use Art. 17 appointments, child care benefits, and the centralized jobs page.
Upcoming plans include completing a joint hiring practices workshop with HR for departmental administrators and Academic Department Heads (see Art 7.15(b) in the CA), writing into CUPE 4600 policy a process through which inter-bargaining unit dispute may be informally and internally mediated with involved parties and continuing ongoing examination and analysis of hiring report data to ensure that discovered inconsistencies and anomalies are not adversely impacting contract instructors. Identifying trends and issues with this data will also bolster forthcoming research for the Bargaining Research Committee in the lead up to the next round of contract negotiations. Finally, Contract Instructor departmental steward recruitment is ongoing. If you would like to be a Departmental Steward, please contact me at here: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Darren Pacione, PhD
VP Internal Report
Since we took office on May 1, we have attended two Executive Board meetings and participated in a number of committees.
We collaborated on the Executive Retreat Subcommittee, which is organizing the retreat to be held in August, and on the Labour Management Committee between CUPE 4600 and our three office staff members.
We also began developing recommendations for election reform, which we presented to the Executive Board at our June meeting and which we will take up again later this summer at the next meeting of the Constitution Committee.
We attended a number of orientation meetings to become familiar with our position.
We had plans to attend meetings of the JCC (Unit 1) and the JCAA (Unit 2) but these meetings were cancelled by the employer multiple times.
Marla also attended the first Trans Issues workshop in May, which was a huge success. We look forward to helping to organize a second Trans Issues workshop and Anti-Oppression Training for members this fall.
Marla Arbach and Laurel Ralston
Recording Secretary Report
Hi union members and thank you for taking time to review our work! It’s been an exciting few months since joining CUPE 4600 and looking forward to the year ahead and preparations as we move on towards bargaining for a new collective agreement for this year. Since joining the Executive board in May 2018 my primary goal has been to get to know more about the union and all different committees and caucuses and get involved actively in as many as I can. Also, my other focus has been taking minutes during board meetings and updating files and creating an archive that can not only be easily accessed by current members but also maintained and easily trackable for future use.
I’m currently involved in a number of committees, including Joint-Committee on the Administration of the Agreement (JCAA), Executive retreat organizing committee and Mobilization committee to name a few. JCAA meetings have been frequently cancelled and we are seeking a way to negotiate a date that the employer will commit to, so we can go ahead with the negotiations. On the other hand, the retreat planning for our Executive council and members is going strong and a lot of progress has been made. I am also actively following Orientation week planning such as swag purchases, to ensure a great representation of the CUPE 4600 during Orientation week.
While this has been a challenging few months as I’m learning as much as I can about the union and all the activities and plans, I look forward to a productive year and the bargaining later this year.
Co-Vice President Unit 1 Report
The past radiates through the present as an inherited history, one manufactured under circumstances not self-selected but predetermined. Despite being underpinned by history, the future remains open —it is fluid, mutable, and can above all else be transformed. Each year, the CUPE 4600 membership inherits the struggles of the past —our local has been fighting for teaching assistants and contract instructors since 1979. While this history indeed weighs on the present, it is at this first AGM that our discussion will begin on how the future should be transformed. As newly elected members of the executive board, we are responsible for representing the needs of Unit 1 teaching instructors. While we remain tethered to the history of this local, it is our goal over this upcoming year to shape the future of CUPE 4600 in a way that represents our diverse membership. Inclusion, equity, and social justice underscore our broad goal of improving the working conditions of teaching assistants.
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. We have a virtual open door policy, please approach us with any ideas, suggestions for improvement, issues, or funny jokes that you may have. We are here for you and we want to hear from you. One way we hope to improve this line of communication is through initiatives that streamline communications. Improving our union communication so that no voice is overlooked is important to us. We also hope to use these lines of communication, amongst other strategies, to improve accessibility to the resources support services already in place through our union. Following the success and lessons from the TA survey introduced by last year’s VP Unit 1, we intend to continue this project by including suggestions for improvement and further engagement. The focus of this exercise will not only be to inform the future of this position, but also to gather information on the experiences of our membership and their desires for the upcoming round of bargaining in the 2019-2020 academic year.
This year we want to improve on the support resources and networks available to unit 1. One area which we have found to be lacking is 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 these accommodations are not met. Moreover, we would like to engage with our membership to explore other possible areas in which these types of resources are lacking. Throughout the oncoming school year we feel that it is important to be available and engaged with our membership. To this end, we hope to have direct contact with Unit 1 through unit meetings and personal emails in addition to communication for the entirety of the union. For this reason we encourage all teaching assistants to feel free to contact us through our VP Unit 1 email.
Jessica Gamarnik and Megan McGoey- Smith
TransFund Budget Motion
Because there has been a big demand for the use of the fund;
Because the TransFund committee has made a request to better financially support the community they serve;
Because the demand has outgrown the resources allocated;
Whereas the executive as decided to support the grassroot initiative of its members, specifically the TransFund committee;
Whereas there is enough money in the reserve to comfortably allocate the funds outlined in this motion;
Whereas putting more money in the TransFund does show the employer our commitment to this cause coming into the next collective negotiation;
Be it resolved to moved 3000.00$ from the reserve fund to the trans fund budget line.
Motion to transform the TransFund budget line into a fund
Whereas there was a request from the TransFund committee to be able to raise fund and request donation for the fund;
Whereas a regular budget line cannot accommodate this option;
Whereas the executive committee wants to support this initiative from the committee;
Be it resolved that CUPE 4600 opens an independent TransFund.
Be it further resolved that all fund in the current budget line item for the TransFund be moved to this fund.
Be it further resolved that the guideline on the management of the TransFund line now apply to the TransFund.