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Up-to-the-minute information about the CUPE 3906 Unit 1 TA strike at McMaster University

Vote “no” on Sunday

Dear fellow Unit 1 members,

This Sunday evening at 4pm we will convene to discuss and vote on the employer’s current offer. We have called this vote in order to send a strong message to McMaster that they must address the key issues in bargaining, issues that we, as a union, have voted time and again to insist are pivotal. Until we vote down this offer, we will see no movement on class-sizes and overwork, work for upper-year students, maintenance of our benefits, and protection from tuition increases.

We began this bargaining process by tabling a modest but comprehensive set of proposals that included no new increase in graduate TA wages. We took into consideration the general economic situation. You gave us your trust and ideas. Time and again we revised and reformed our proposals. You have been with us through the entire bargaining process. We had hoped that our local’s rejection of a ratification vote on November 1st would be enough to convince the McMaster administration they need to take our proposals seriously. We had hoped that three days of strong picket lines would be enough. Now it is clear only a decisive and formal rejection of this insulting offer will succeed in winning the contract we deserve.

There are our main issues:

1. We are seeking protection from overwork due to ballooning tutorial
and lab sizes. Large tutorial and labs undermine the quality of
education and our personal relationship with our students.
2. We are seeking job security for upper-year graduate students so
that they have access to TA or RA work as they finish their degrees.
3. We are seeking to protect benefits. Without an increase in funding
that is proportional to member usage, benefits will be cut.
4. We need some protection of our take-home income from yearly
tuition increases.

For more information on all of these issues, please check here.

If we fail to reject this offer, we will not simply be settling for the “status quo.” The university’s offer means substantial cuts in take-home pay and total compensation for almost all members of Unit 1. We cannot be intimidated by the administration’s threats to that sabotage the hard-fought agreement reached on many items if we reject this contract. This is a typical, if mean-spirited, bargaining tactic. When we reject their contract and send a clear message we cannot be bullied, we have every reason to expect that they will willing to move enough our our key issues to settle this deal and get everyone back to work.

We have kept this message short in order to be clear and concise. Please check our blog regularly for updates.

Please contact the strike office with any questions: 905-528-CUPE

Voting will commence following our meeting at the Hamilton Convention Centre on Sunday night. All members are should inform themselves and participate in the debate.

We look forward to an informed and spirited discussion on Sunday night. See you all there!

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