(2006-2007 HR#8) CUPE Local 3902 Unit 3 Negotiations

October 12, 2006
Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
CUPE Local 3902 Unit 3 Negotiations

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

One of the Union’s proposals would require the University to provide the same support for research to CUPE members as is provided to Faculty. The Union has clarified that this support would include research grant application, administration and, if required, laboratory or other space.

The University has rejected the Union’s proposal based on the following:

  • Sessional Lecturers I and II and Sessional Instructional Assistants are persons whose employment duties and responsibilities for the University are related to teaching. Research is not a part of this employment relationship with the University. Indeed, Article 7.04 of the current collective agreement states:

The University acknowledges that Sessional Lecturers may carry out research under the rubric of private scholarship. The parties understand and agree that such research is not an aspect of employment in this bargaining unit, and is not an expectation or condition of employment. The parties are agreed that any research undertaken by a member of the bargaining unit as a private scholar is not under the obligation of the University of Toronto, which assumes no liability for any such research.

  • Sessional Lecturers are employed with the University on contracts of less than one year – normally ranging from 4 to 8 months. Research grants are normally awarded for periods much longer than the normative 4 to 8 month contracts of Sessional Lecturers.
  • The University assumes responsibility to the granting agency for the academic, ethical and financial oversight of grants. It is inconsistent with the ability to fulfill those commitments to enter into such arrangements in the absence of a sufficient and appropriate relationship with the principal investigator to permit effective oversight. The University is not prepared to assume responsibility for overseeing or administering research grants for Sessional Lecturers since research is not a part of their employment responsibilities for the University and the period of the grant extends significantly beyond the contractual period of employment.

In view of the serious academic, ethical and financial obligations the University assumes with respect to the administration of research grants, and in view of the importance of that function in the fulfillment of the University’s mission, we believe that our response in the matter is both responsible and appropriate. Indeed, as in the past, CUPE 3902, Unit 3 members are not prohibited from obtaining other appointment status that would meet the University’s requirements for grant applications.

Bargaining is continuing and the University will keep you informed at critical stages of the process. We look forward to concluding a collective agreement with CUPE 3902, Unit 3.