Are you teaching on contract?  Please participate in a national survey on Contract Academic Staff.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is undertaking the first ever national study on the experiences of contract academic staff. If you taught in the 2016-2017 academic year in a non-permanent position, please fill out the survey by November 1. The survey will gather data on a range of objective qualities of contract positions, such as wages, hours of work, office space, and teaching loads, as well as on the experiences of a contract academic.

The survey consists of approximately 60 questions—some multiple-choice and some open-ended—that should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. It will be open until November 1, 2017. The survey can be accessed at

Additional information on the study, data protection, confidentiality, and risks of participation is accessible via a linked Informed Consent document in the survey’s introduction.

If you have any questions, please contact the lead researcher, Dr. Karen Foster at 902-494-6751 or (email is most reliable).

This research will help strengthen local and collective efforts to win fairness for Contract Academic Staff.


From the desk of the VP Social Policy

To many observers we are living in unsettled and scary times. The presidential victory of Donald Trump, coming after a forty-year onslaught of Neo-liberalism, does not bode well for the future. Is this the beginning of a period of outright Fascism? The question is difficult to answer, but we need to keep it front and centre if we are to resist.

This column has, in the past, tried to concentrate on one aspect of that political trajectory: the Neo-Liberal onslaught on our university system. But the problem is, of course, not limited to universities, nor to the United States. The fascistic attack on our way of life will be piecemeal, but relentless, and in myriad, sometimes, almost obscure ways. Historically, fascism’s immediate aim has always been to neuter the free press, so as to shunt valid criticisms and information from public view.

Just this case in point is covered by Robert Reich in a recent piece published in Nation of Change. In it he squarely addresses some of the tactics that are already being marshalled to muzzle the press, namely that of limiting press access to the White House.

Read full article here.



As you are likely aware, UMFA members are voting today on a tentative agreement which, if ratified, will end the strike.  Classes taught by UMFA members would resume tomorrow (Tuesday, November 22nd).

In light of this development, the University has published a revised schedule for UMFA taught classes and exams in the remainder of the Fall 2016 term and for ALL classes and exams in the Winter 2017 term.  This schedule will have the Winter term commencing on January 19th.

This new schedule will pose a number of challenges and concerns for our CUPE 3909 members.  These include, but are not limited to, issues of pay, extra duties and time worked and conflicting schedules for individual members.  We have scheduled a meeting with the University at the earliest possible date to address and try to resolve any problems that we can foresee.  We have heard from many of you already, but if you believe you have an issue that is unique or specific to your area, please contact us as soon as possible.

We will keep you informed of our progress.


The University Senate recently approved changes the Academic Schedule and emailed those changes to all employees of the University.  Under some scenarios, the University has indicated that they intend to modify dates in the Winter 2017 term.

Members of CUPE 3909 who have already accepted appointments in Winter 2017 have valid contracts with the University for that term.  CUPE 3909 expects the University to fully honour those contracts, including the dates.  The University is required to negotiate any changes to the Winter 2017 Academic Schedule for members of CUPE 3909 with the Union Local.  We have already advised the University of our position on this matter.

The Executive of CUPE 3909 will deal with this matter further when a potential strike end date has been determined.  We will keep you informed.


We all support UMFA and none of us want to cross the picket line; what UMFA is fighting for affects all of us, including students.  CUPE 3909 members who are employed by the University as Sessional Instructors, Librarians, Counsellors, Music Teachers and Grader/Markers, Teaching Assistants, Lab Demonstrators, Seminar Leaders, and Tutors, are legally obligated to cross the picket lines to report to work.  Students, however, have the right to choose not to cross the picket line to attend classes and they will be protected.  The University acknowledges this protection in the Strike Information – FAQ for Students on the UM website.  It reads as follows:

Can I choose not to cross the picket line?
Yes. However, students who choose not to cross the picket line are still responsible for materials covered in any class or lab that is included on the class list. Students must advise their instructors in advance of class if they choose not to cross the picket line. In such circumstances, instructors will make reasonable alternate arrangements with respect to any missed material, assignments or tests.

UMFA is asking students not to cross their picket lines.  Please read the University’s Question & Answer to your students and make sure they are aware of their rights.  Please encourage them to show their support for striking UMFA members.


umfa-strike-signRemember to show your support as you enter campus.  Stop and talk to UMFA members and join them on the picket lines before or after your scheduled hours.  We’ll have CUPE 3909 pickets available for our members at each of the entrances – or download a poster.




The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) representing full time faculty, will be on strike and setting up pickets around the University effective 7:00 AM tomorrow (Tuesday, November 1st).

Our email/post of 29 October 2016 outlined your responsibilities as Unionized workers with valid Collective Agreements with the University of Manitoba.

CUPE 3909 fully supports the UMFA strike and their members’ right to bargain a fair contract. We suggest that our members show their support for the UMFA strike by doing the following outside of their scheduled working hours:

Express your support for striking UMFA members at the picket lines. They know that CUPE 3909 members are legally obligated to cross picket lines and report to work. They will appreciate it if you stop and talk to them and show solidarity as you go to work.

Join UMFA workers and walk with them on the picket lines. Your presence will be a public show of support and will be a big morale booster.

CUPE 3909 Instructors who have students who have declared that they will not cross picket lines for political reasons or principles can call 204 250 8697 for information and advice on how to handle this situation.

Should you encounter any problems or have any questions or concerns during this period please contact Karen Naylor at 204 250 8697, CUPE 3909 VP2 (handling Unit 1 and Unit 2 strike related questions).

In Solidarity, CUPE 3909 Executive Board