Unit 1 Bargaining Updates
(Teaching Assistants, Student Assistants, and unionized Research Assistants)
Posted on December 20th, 2019
Hello CUPE 4600 Unit 1 (TA/SA/RA) Members,
Below you will find an update on the current status of collective bargaining between CUPE 4600 Unit 1 and the management of Carleton University.
The Unit 1 Bargaining Team encourages all members interested in getting involved in bargaining to contact the Union at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view previous Unit 1 bargaining updates, click here
We have met with the Employer six times since the last bargaining update (one was the emergency EAF meeting to deal with the EAF depletion).
One of those meetings, the emergency EAF meeting, resulted in signing a Memorandum of Agreement where the Employer agreed to deposit $100,000 into the EAF to maintain benefits for now, and we also agreed to work together (via the JCC) to hire a consultant to examine the current benefit problems and provide recommendations for finding a sustainable benefits model.
Some of the articles we have tabled and responded to include:
Article 13: Appointments
We are proposing to extend the maximum number of priority TAships that graduate students can be offered, as well as extending the period within which PhD students may defer TAships (from 5 consecutive calendar years/15 terms to 6 years/18 terms)
We are also proposing that a member who switches programs shall not suffer a reduction in priority terms, that full-time PhD students shall have a guaranteed additional six terms of TAship if they do not graduate within 4 years.
We are proposing to implement time limits on when Assignment of Duties (AOD) should be given to members, specifically 7 working days of the start of term or 5 working days after the TA assignment if a TAship is assigned after the start of term.
On November 21, the Employer tabled a response to Article 13. In it, they struck out each of the above proposed changes. However, they did propose moving the fifth year of PhD TAships into priority status -- currently PhD students in their fifth year are automatically granted two further out-of-priority terms. In addition, the Employer agreed to our proposal that incoming graduate students without priority status be granted priority if they work 130 hours within their first academic year, which currently only takes place if they work 130 hours in their first academic term. This is a positive development as it would move some of our members into priority status for the remainder of their program time.
We have made substantial changes to Article 4: Discrimination and Harassment
Introducing "international student status" as a protected category which a member may not be discriminated against
Introducing a definition of Gender-Based Violence
Introducing a section that protects employees from discrimination or harassment for determining or expressing their gender identity, as well as recognizing the right of individuals to determine their own gender identity, which includes pronouns
Adding a confidentiality clause so that all complaints under Article 4 are deemed confidential
Proposing that an employee who files a complaint of sexual harassment and/or violence may request, through the Union, to discontinue contact with the alleged perpetrator, without suffering any academic or other penalty
Introducing a requirement for the Employer to provide the Union with a report of the number of members who have made formal and informal complaints of harassment
Introducing paid Domestic Violence leave of 15 days
On November 14, the Employer responded to our proposed changes in Article 4. They purposed striking out international student status as a protected category, eliminating language on gender-based violence and language that protects members from facing discrimination based on their gender identity. They also struck out a sentence stating that the Employer respects members’ right to determine their own pronouns, citing technological difficulty. The Employer also struck out the Union’s language that allows survivors of sexual harassment and/or violence to no longer work with their perpetrator.
On November 14, we also tabled a response to the Employer's proposal for Article 12: Discipline, Suspension & Discharge.
We proposed progressive discipline language so that supervisors must follow steps to address issues with members
We added language that the burden of proof of just cause lies with the Employer
We introduced language on confidentiality
Aside from responses to the articles tabled by the Employer, the Union has one more article to table – Article 24: Employee Assistance Fund.
We do not plan on tabling our proposal for the EAF until we see what the consultant has to report.
In the meantime, we will work on responding to proposals from the Employer. We are also awaiting responses from the Employer on the majority of our proposals, including the Salary proposal and TA to Student Ratios proposal.
We have had one rank-and-file member attend a bargaining meeting with us, and it was great to hear their comments! We welcome rank-and-file members attending future bargaining dates (we can have up to 3 at each session).
Our next bargaining meetings with the Employer are scheduled for January 9th 1:30-4:30, January 16 9:30-12:00, and January 17th 10:00-4:00 . If you wish to attend, please email email@example.com.