(2006-2007 HR#14) Contract negotiations with CUPE 3902, Unit 3 (Sessional Lecturers)

January 12, 2007
Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity
Contract negotiations with CUPE 3902, Unit 3 (Sessional Lecturers)

The University and CUPE 3902 (Unit 3) commenced negotiations for a renewal of the collective agreement in August 2006. Local 3902, Unit 3 represents a diverse group of approximately 700 members who work in a variety of teaching capacities for the University on contracts of less than one year. These employees are important contributors to the University’s undergraduate teaching.

Proposals for changes to the collective agreement have been exchanged, and the parties have, to date, met on 16 days for collective bargaining. Although there has been some progress on a number of issues, many significant issues remain outstanding, and both the University and the Union have applied to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for the assistance of a conciliation officer to help us progress towards a collective agreement. This is not an unusual step in the bargaining process, and we are confident that the conciliation officer will help us reach agreement with this important group of employees.

The Union has put forward a number of issues for which, to date, we have been unable to find a mutually acceptable solution. These include:

  • That the scope for hiring grievances be significantly expanded. The Union proposes that any individual who has ever worked at the University in any capacity, and who applies for a sessional appointment in any department on any campus, be permitted to grieve the hiring decision of that department. (Note: The current collective agreement permits applicants who have previously taught courses in the hiring department within a specified period of time to grieve if that department does not rehire them.)
  • That the University guarantee minimum numbers of teaching assistants per course taught by a Sessional Lecturer in accordance with a formula.
  • That Sessional Lecturers not be required to share an office on the same day.

In the University’s view, hiring decisions, allocation of teaching assistants and the provision of office facilities are matters that must be decided at the local level where our academic programs are developed and delivered. We have advised the Union of the reasons that we have not agreed to these proposed amendments to the collective agreement.

We remain committed to reaching an agreement with CUPE; at the same time, we are committed to respecting academic decision making within departments.

Please share this information with colleagues in your department. We will continue to provide information on the status of the bargaining process.