TO: All members of CUPE 3909 Unit 1 Grader Markers, Teaching Assistants, Lab Demonstrators, Seminar Leaders, Tutors, and Lecturer Instructors Unit 2 Sessional Instructors, Librarians, Hourly Music Teachers, and Counsellors

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) representing full time faculty may be setting up pickets around the University effective 7:00 AM Tuesday, November 1st if they have not reached a collective agreement with the University by then.

For all CUPE 3909 members, please be aware of the following:

1. CUPE 3909 Unit 1 and Unit 2 have valid collective agreements in full force and effect at this time.  Therefore by law, all members are required to cross UMFA picket lines and report to work.  Failure to do so will be considered a violation of the employment contract and will have consequences.

2. CUPE 3909 members who wish to show support for UMFA on the picket line should restrict this activity to their own time.

CUPE 3909 supports UMFA members’ right to bargain a fair contract and asks that CUPE 3909 members also show solidarity when possible. Should you encounter any problems or have any questions or concerns during this period, please feel free to contact Karen Naylor at 204 250 8697, CUPE 3909 VP handling Unit 1 and Unit 2.

In Solidarity, CUPE 3909 Executive Board

Information from your Union on the pending UMFA strike

As you are already aware, there is a very strong possibility that the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) could be on strike at the University of Manitoba in the next few weeks. The Faculty Union has been bargaining with the University since last spring and the parties have been unable to reach an agreement.  UMFA has taken a strike vote and received a strong mandate from their membership to strike.

Join us at the information picket

On Friday, October 21 at 12:00, UMFA members and supporters will be holding an information picket in front of the Administration Building (Fort Garry Campus).  The CUPE 3909 Executive will be there and we are extending the invitation to all of our members so that the information picket can have the strongest possible impact.

Where does a potential UMFA strike and picket line leave CUPE 3909 members?

First of all, it should be made clear that as a Union, we support UMFA in their struggle to obtain a fair collective agreement for their members.

What does this mean in a practical sense?

The CUPE 3909 Executive will meet with UMFA to find out what they would like us to do to assist them and to demonstrate our support.  We will also convene a meeting with the other campus Unions (AESES, UNIFOR, CUPE 1482) in an effort to have a collective response to the strike.  We will keep the membership informed of the outcome of these meetings.

What does this mean for you as a member who may be facing a picket line?

CUPE 3909 hopes to demonstrate our support for the strike in the strongest manner possible.  We are hoping that our discussions with UMFA and the other Unions produce some effective strategies.

However, we would be remiss in our responsibilities as your Executive if we did not properly inform you of the legal restrictions which we may face.  While the Labour Law in Manitoba does protect an employee who refuses to take on extra work that would normally be done by striking employees, it does not provide the same protection to employees who refuse to cross a picket line.  This means that we could be deemed to be in violation of our employment contract if we fail to go to work and do our jobs.  This is a problem.

We are looking into alternatives and solutions to this problem and will keep you updated on the situation.  We will provide you with leadership and advice on a timely basis.

In the meantime, contact us with any questions or concerns and see you at the information picket!

Below are some links that you may find of interest.


New report on sessional faculty in Ontario universities

Posted on August 15, 2016 by in CIHE Research

This report was prepared by a team from OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) for presentation to the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. It was later published in CIHE (Canadian & International Higher Ed) Blog.

The report was based on a survey of 7814 sessional instructors at 12 universities in Ontario and was able to achieve an overall response rate of 21.5%. The rationale for the two-year study was that there was little or no data on sessional university instructors at a time when universities have evidenced an unprecedented increase in sessional hiring. Across the board, it is apparent that because of a lack of funding, institutions of higher learning are becoming increasingly reliant on sessional instructors.

The study first noticed some considerable demographic shifts. The first was that female sessionals have become predominant with a percentage of 60.2%; and that second, the number of instructors with PhDs has risen to 66.4%.

It then made an interesting distinction between the “classic,” part-time sessionals and a newer category which it termed “precarious,” this latter being those instructors who have no other means of support and who view academic teaching as a full-time career option.

Its conclusions include the findings that modern sessionals are passionate teachers who favour teaching over research. But there are other very interesting results as well. A high percentage of the respondents commented on the lack of job stability, inordinately high class sizes, and ill-fitting classroom layouts, all of which affect teaching outcomes.

Read the full report.

CUPE Manitoba Convention – 2016

I attended the CUPE Manitoba 2016 Convention from May 4 -7 at the RBC Convention Centre. The convention was well attended with delegates from across Manitoba in attendance. There were a number of resolutions to discuss and we were also honoured to have incredible speakers throughout the event to bring messages of solidarity and strength of the labour movement. Featured speakers of the event included the current CUPE National President Mark Hancock, Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury and former CUPE National President Paul Moist. The convention dealt with a number of resolutions, which focused on pension benefits, health and safety concerns and political engagement. Although, there were no resolutions directly dealing with the post-secondary sector, the themes of anti-austerity and standing united against cuts are both themes that our membership is directly immersed in at the University of Manitoba. It is imperative that we stand united with our fellow Sisters and Brothers in the fight for worker rights, and to work together to ensure we do not lose any hard fought victories.

Report prepared by Brianne Goertzen, Secretary CUPE Local 3909


If anyone doubts the relentless march of neo-liberal philosophy through the education system, they only need to gander this assessment of the Walmart preference regarding “charter” schools, which exposes how such a powerful multi-national organisation can impact the general public. How does one privatise education and destroy public education without actually saying so? One answer is provided by the Walton “business model” discussed in the following article from Truthout, which explains how neo-liberal philosophy advocates providing more channels through which “money can be made”.


But is this attack on education in general, a part of a larger picture? How does neo-liberalism work on a global scale? In the next article, the highly acclaimed Australian journalist, John Pilger, shows the broader picture with an examination of what is going on in the world of international politics today, which is driven by the ruthless US drive for world control and global power.



was reported earlier, a new collective agreement was ratified in early January covering CUPE Local 3909 Unit 2 members.   In our last newsletter we provided you with a glimpse of some of the things that were achieved at the bargaining table.  We are currently in the process of finalizing the collective agreement and it will be made available to all of our members online and in a handy booklet.

In the meantime we are outlining below everything you need to know about the new contract.

  • It is a 3-year collective agreement from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2018.
  • All employees will receive a lump sum payment of 1.4% of all wages earned between September 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 in lieu of retro pay.  You As should have already received this money.  If you did not please contact the Local Union Office.
  • Salary increases which include:
    • New minimum stipend for employees who have RFR and increases in this amount in each year of agreement.  See Article 18.1.1
    • Increases of 1.5% effective January 1 2016, 1.0% effective September 1, 2016 and 1.5% effective September 1 2017 for Sessional Instructors (without RFR) paid at the minimum stipend, employees paid by the student or web conferencing and employees paid by the hour.
    • A .5% market adjustment to the Sessional Instructor minimum stipend effective September 1, 2016.
    • Distance and Online courses to be paid by the student based on the student count at the close of registration.  Eliminate the adjustment of pay based on assignments.
    • Music Teachers to be paid for actual hours spent at recitals.
    • Revised Architecture Studio Rates. Click here to see CUPE Architecture Letter of Understanding.
    • Provisions to ensure that employees who are required to travel in the course of their work will be reimbursed for reasonable expenses in accordance with UM Travel Policy
  • Lump sum payment for employees paid over the minimum.  This was removed as it was a very small amount and difficult to enforce.
  • Instructors under this agreement will not be paid for invigilating another instructor’s exams nor will they be required to do so.  Invigilating their own exams is compensated for in their stipend.
  • Benefits:  Summer Session to count towards eligibility for benefits.
  • Right of First Refusal:  A simpler, transparent and easier to earn system for RFR.
  • Click here to read new CUPE RFR provisions.
    • Everyone entitled to RFR1/RFR2 as of September 1, 2015 will continue to have it
    • RFR1 and RFR2 to be renamed RFR
    • RFR:  teach a course 3 times in separate academic terms and you have earned RFR.  Terms do not need to be consecutive.
    • Only one section per term will be counted towards earning RFR
    • Fall 2015 (transition term from one system to the other) cannot be the definitive 3rd time for RFR
    • System to be automated.  Easier to track.
    • Confirmation time is approximately 60 days.  Will be in writing.
    • To maintain RFR you must teach the course satisfactorily.  SEEQ’s alone are not enough to determine satisfactory work performance.
    • Written notification and process if Instructor has not earned RFR after 3 appointments or RFR is lost or revoked.
    • Instructor may lose RFR if they have not taught the course within the last 5 years but may be reinstated, upon request, after a subsequent satisfactory appointment.
    • RFR can only be used for one section of the course in one term.  The Instructor can apply for other available sections without using RFR.
    • Read full RFR Article
  • Discipline and Dismissal changes to include a non-disciplinary coaching letter, to provide the employee with more information when called into a disciplinary meeting as well as right to Union representation: Click to read Article 17 Discipline
  • Grievance Procedure and Arbitration changes to provide a more efficient, timely and easier process based on basic labour law procedures. Click here for new ARTICLE 21 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE AND ARBITRATION
  • Retention of provisions for specific, agreed upon instructors who exceed the yearly 33 credit hour maximum.
  • A new Letter of Understanding that if there are significant changes in the delivery of Distance and Online Courses that impact our members, the parties will meet to negotiate these changes.  Status quo benefits are protected if no agreement.
  • Commitment that there will be Union input into Sessional Orientation.
  • Commitment to work on Sessional Librarian issues within 3 months of ratification.


Exile as a Space of Disruption in the Academy

In this article Giroux again excoriates the culture of “business” which has ravaged the modern university and made us all into automatons doing the business of the managers.

“Under the regime of neoliberalism, too many institutions of higher education have transformed the culture of education into the culture of business and are now characterized by a withdrawal into the private and the irrelevant. In this view, education is driven largely by market forces that undermine any viable vision of education as a public good connected to wider social problems.”

As a counterpoint he calls for the return of the academic as an exile, the person who defends and exhilarates in the preservation of the cultural space of the university as a public good which can “…imagine a more just future”.  Read more.


Fall of the Faculty/Rise of the All Administrative University

It might be a good counterpoint to Giroux’s analysis of the “neo-liberal” university to consider Benjamin Ginsberg’s The Fall of the Faculty.  In it he “…provides a compelling and accurate diagnosis of the contemporary ills plaguing the rise of the all-administrative university.” Such an entity, he argues “has been ruinous for students, who foot steadily increasing tuition bills to keep the administrative bloat going, bad for faculty autonomy as contingent labor becomes increasingly prevalent, with the concepts of academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance devolving into relics of the past; and destructive of the public interest as educational institutions classified as not-for-profit enterprises use non-taxable endowment income and indirect cost recovery associated with grants and discoveries—and in some instances grant overhead–to facilitate the creation of organizational wealth, which unsurprisingly goes to increasing administrative salaries and perks instead of to the funding of teaching and research.”  Read more.


Slide1All members of CUPE 3909 (Student and Sessional Academic Workers) are encouraged to attend the Annual General Meeting on March 29.  The Executive Board will present reports outlining activities during the 2015-2016 academic year, the Trustees will present their audit and recommendations, the Bylaws Committee will submit changes to a vote, and we will hold elections for the 2016-2017 Executive Board.  If you would like to nominate anyone to the board (President, Vice President Unit 1, Vice President Unit 2, Vice President Social Policy, Secretary Treasurer, and Recording Secretary) please contact the Local Union Office.

There will be a light lunch and drinks!