CUPE 3912 SMU Membership Votes for Strong Strike Mandate

Build the Resistence (CUPE)

After two days of voting with an exceptional participation of 86.8% of CUPE 3912 eligible members at Saint Mary’s University (SMU), an overwhelming majority of 91.8% voted in favour of a strike mandate.

In the coming weeks, we will survey SMU members as to what might be an acceptable collective agreement, and will be establishing a Strike Committee at SMU.

On January 10, 2023, CUPE 3912’s Negotiating Committee at SMU will be meeting with the Administration’s Negotiating Team and a conciliator appointed by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour to negotiate a fair deal.

Thanks to the strong strike mandate at SMU, the upcoming negotiations will be influenced by the knowledge that we can call a strike at a very short notice in Winter 2023.

SMU: Strike Vote and Q&A Sessions

Strike Ballot

We reached a critical point in bargaining. SMU’s Administration refuses to give us even a marginally acceptable deal. Their wage offer (0.5%, 0.75%, 1%, and 1%) does not even keep up with inflation, never mind closing the gap with other undergraduate universities in Atlantic Canada.

Earlier this month, CUPE 3912 members at Dalhousie secured more than 23% wage increase for entry-level part-time instructors over the duration of the 2020-2024 Collective Agreement.

On December 1-2, 2022, we are holding an online strike vote to send SMU’s Administration a clear message: CUPE 3912 members at SMU also deserve better wages and more respect. The vote will be by secret ballot. We will be using SimplyVoting, a web-based online voting system for secure voting and certified results. Voting will start at 00:05 on December 1, 2022 and will end at 23:55 on December 2, 2022.

A strong Yes vote will give us a strong bargaining position at conciliation on January 10, 2023. On this date, the Negotiating Committee and the Administration’s Team will meet with a conciliator appointed by the NS Labour Board to negotiate a fair deal.

Strike Vote

A strike vote is the process for members to decide whether to authorize the Negotiating Committee to call a strike if SMU’s Administration refuses to agree to a fair collective agreement.

Voting Yes is the best way to avoid a strike. A strong Yes vote shows SMU’s Administration that we are serious about our demands for fair working conditions, and we are unified and willing to take action to protect our rights, if necessary. For example, last week, Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association reached a tentative agreement and averted a strike by securing a strong strike mandate, with 95% of members voting Yes.

Under Nova Scotia legislation, we need more than 50% of the part-time instructors teaching this Fall at SMU to vote Yes to get a strike mandate. Members who do not vote are counted as voting No. Please consider supporting the collective effort by voting Yes even if you are not teaching in the Winter term.

The more members vote Yes on a strike vote, the more likely SMU’s Administration is to agree to a fair collective agreement, and the less likely that we actually have to go on strike to protect our rights.

Strike Vote Q&A Sessions

In person (drop-in)

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2022
  • 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m, SB255 (Sobey Building)

Online

We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Q&A sessions. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us or visit our Strike Vote FAQ.

CUPE 3912 Dalhousie Membership Votes ‘Yes’ on Tentative Agreement

After over 48 hours of voting and 1,661 votes cast, the CUPE 3912 Dalhousie membership has voted to ratify the Tentative Agreement recommended by the Dalhousie Negotiating Committee.

As of Monday, November 14th, we are back to work. The Dalhousie Administration has agreed that contacts for PTAs and TAs will remain unaffected and the full salary will be paid. Markers/Demonstrators will be paid for hours worked. All contracts this term will be paid at the rate indicated in the now ratified Tentative Agreement.

As a result of our hard work and conviction, we earned a collective agreement that grows base PTA wages 23.3%, TA wages 23.1%, and Mark/Demo wages 44.5%. The difference between Mark/Demo wages and TA wages has shrunk from 32% to 20% weakening the Mark/Demo loophole. Lastly, everyone who worked in the last 2 years has earned some back pay to compensate for the pay freeze. It is possible that Dalhousie’s payroll may take a month or two to implement the new rates. We will be pushing them to make sure everyone is paid what they’re owed.

However, this vote does not mean we are done. There are several goals that we did not achieve in this round of bargaining. The next two years leading up to the end of this contract are more important than ever. If we want to remove the Marker/Demonstrator position, we will need more evidence and more voices to present at bargaining next time. 

We, as a union, are stronger than ever and it’s up to us to spend the next two years solidifying that position so we can get even more next time.

Thank you all for your amazing work. We could not have achieved what we did without you.

Tentative Agreement and Ratification Vote

We are pleased to announce that we now have a tentative deal with Dalhousie’s Administration. This tentative agreement must still be ratified by the membership in order for it to be signed and for the strike to end. The link to vote has been sent by email from Simply Voting. If you have not received an email to vote please first check your spam folder and then email voting@cupe3912.ca.

Voting will be open until 11:55 PM (23:55) Friday, November 11th. 

Picketing (and strike pay) will continue until a tentative agreement is ratified.

In sum, the deal remains largely the same as the Dalhousie Administration’s previous offer with an additional raise for Marker/Demonstrators. We have also established a draft Return to Work plan that currently includes no loss of income for the period of the strike.

The 3 Documents of the Tentative Agreement:

The Changes to the Agreement includes changes that will be made to the previous Collective Agreement (2016-2020) to form the new Collective Agreement (2020-2024).

The Memorandum of the Agreement includes information regarding how the new Collective Agreement (2020-2024) will be formed (as described above) as well as how retroactive pay (additional pay for work performed from September 2020 – present) will be administered.

The Return to Work Agreement details the procedure for how the strike will end. This includes no loss of pay for TAs and PTAs for the duration of the strike. Markers/Demonstrators will continue to be paid for all hours worked.

Calculated Yearly Pay:

All years are academic years beginning Sept. 1st.

Teaching Assistants:

2020-2021 2021-2022 2022-2023 2023-2024
$24.72 $25.02 $28.61 $30.05

Markers/Demonstrators:

2020-2021 2021-2022 2022-2023 2023-2024
$16.82 $17.03 $23.52 $24.00

Part-Time Academics:

# of courses 2020-2021 2021-2022 # of courses 2022-2023 2023-2024
0-7

8-19

20+ 

$10,594.80

$12,133.80

$12,881.03

$10,727.24

$12,285.47

$13,042.04

0-13

14+

$12702.20

$14154.30

$12956.25

$14437.38

PTA salaries are for a 6-credit, 8-month “full course.” 

PTA salaries are categorized by the number of previously taught 3-credit, 4-month “half-courses.”

Clinical and Fountain School of Performing Arts Instructors:

Role 2020-2021 2021-2022 2022-2023 2023-2024
Nursing

DH

PT/OT

Pharmacy

FSPA

$34.32

$40.14

$45.22

N/A

$66.00

$45

$40.64

$45.78

N/A

$66.83

$47.90

$43.40

$48.70

$50.00

$70.38

$48.85

$44.27

$49.68

$51.00

$71.79

While the deal is not perfect, the Negotiating Committee is recommending it as the best deal we can acquire for this bargaining period. This recommendation is required to bring the ratification vote to the membership.

Week 4 Dalhousie Strike Update

All work done by CUPE 3912 members should stop for the length of the strike. If you continue to work, you will not be paid.

Bargaining Update

Due to all of our efforts, Dalhousie’s Administration returned to the bargaining table with a better offer, but one that did not meet all of our demands. For details visit our Bargaining Updates page.

Let’s keep up the pressure by picketing even harder to support our Negotiating Committee before and during their bargaining meetings.

Special Membership Meeting

6:30 pm on Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The meeting will be hybrid. You may attend either in-person at the DSU Council Chambers, on the 2nd floor of the SUB or via Zoom (check your email to RSVP).

Picketing Plan

November 7 – 10, 2022

Monday (Nov. 7)
Tuesday (Nov. 8)
Wednesday (Nov. 9)
Thursday (Nov. 10)

Picketing has reduced hours (10 AM – 4 PM) for reading week. No picketing on Remembrance Day.

Anyone can join, no prior signup required. Just show up, go to the tent to receive information, buttons, and a sign, and join the picket line. If you have an active contract, sign in and sign out on the timesheets at the tent to ensure you get strike pay. While everyone is welcome at any time, we encourage people to sign-up for our strike schedule. Please sign-up here:

Sign Up for Strike Duties

For those who cannot perform strike duties in person due to living far away from Halifax or having specific accommodation needs (immunocompromised or other), please contact DalRemoteDuties@cupe3912.ca.

Other Strike-Related Information

Strike Pay
  • Our picketing schedule is Monday-Friday, but strike pay is recorded from Wednesday-Tuesday because our strike started on a Wednesday. You will only get paid for at most 20 hours of strike duties with a Wednesday-Tuesday week. Strike pay cheques become available on the following Friday. Please visit the Strike HQ in the SUB to receive your cheque (remote members will have their cheques mailed).

    Further detail on the development of the hardship fund will be available at the Special Membership Meeting.

Contact

Bargaining Update

Reminder: Special Membership Meeting (SMM) on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. in DSU Council Chambers (second floor of the SUB) or via Zoom.


Thanks to all our work on the picket line and the solidarity of our allies, we have made strides in negotiations. We have had over 6000 people sign our petitions, dozens of other unions have joined us online or in person in solidarity, and over 450 members continue to walk our picket lines. The community, both of Halifax and the students of Dalhousie, have offered us support and that has helped us move forward.

This week in bargaining, Dalhousie’s Administration presented an offer that we countered with a proposal that matched the concerns and needs of our membership. In response, Dalhousie’s Administration presented a second offer nearly identical to the first. Most of the gains in Dalhousie’s Administration’s current offer will not take effect until September, 2023. Below is a breakdown of the two offers.

Offer Comparison

Part-Time Academics:

# of courses 2020 2021 # of courses 2022 2023
Our Offer 0-7

8-19

20+

$10,777.92

$12,343.52

$13,103.66

$11,209.04

$12,837.26

$13,627.81

$11,993.67

$13,735.87

$14,581.75

$12,713.29

$14,560.02

$15,456.66

Dal’s Offer (Nov. 3) 0-7

8-19

20+ 

$10,594.80

$12,133.80

$12,881.03

$10,727.24

$12,285.47

$13,042.04

0-13
14+
$12,654.05
$14,133.30
$12,907.14
$14,415.96

Though the removal of the first tier is a win for those who have taught 0-7 and 14-19 courses, it leaves behind all other PTAs. They have simply averaged the wages for three tiers into two to try and divide PTAs, pitting them against each other. 

In addition, there is almost no retro pay included for 2020 and 2021. This will result in less retro pay per class taught prior to this year for all PTAs. 

Year 2020 2021
Retro Pay Denied (per 6 credits) $183-$222 $481-$585

Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Physiotherapy/Occupational Therapy, and Fountain School of Performing Arts:

Role 2020 2021 2022 2023
Our Offer Nursing

DH

PT/OT

FSPA

$34.32

$40.14

$45.22

$66.00

$45

$40.64

$45.78

$66.83

$47.90

$42.89

$48.18

$70.38

$48.85

$43.74

$49.15

$71.79

Dal’s Offer (Nov. 3) Nursing

DH

PT/OT

FSPA

$34.32

$40.14

$45.22

$66.00

$45

$40.64

$45.78

$66.83

$47.90

$43.40

$48.70

$70.38

$48.85

$44.27

$49.68

$71.79

During negotiations, Dalhousie’s Administration exceeded our offer for Nursing, DH, PT/OT, and FSPA. We will be happy to match their wages with our next offer.

Pharmacy:

2022 2023
Our Offer $51.00 $52.02
Dal’s Offer (Nov. 3) $50.00 $51.00

Between Wednesday and Thursday, Dalhousie’s Administration lowered their offer for Pharmacy, seemingly moving the money into other sections rather than raising the wage unilaterally. We retained the higher wage in our offer.

Teaching Assistants:

2020 2021 2022 2023
Our Offer $25.63 $27.17 $30.97 $32.52
Dal’s Offer $24.72 $25.02 $28.61 $30.05

Though Dalhousie’s Administration improved their offer this round, their maximum offer still does not reach the minimum our members requested in surveys, Q&As, and during bargaining meetings nor does it meet parity with the U15.

Markers/Demonstrators:

2020 2021 2022 2023
Our Offer N/A N/A N/A N/A
Dal’s Offer $16.82 $17.03 $22.43 $23.55

Our offer was to remove the Marker/Demonstrator roles entirely to prevent the exploitation in these roles, which currently allows for responsibilities traditionally performed by TAs to be completed for 32% less an hour. The wages for Marker/Demonstrators need to be tied to TA wages so that the opportunity for exploitation is removed.

What Happens Next?

Special Membership Meeting – November 8th at 6:30 p.m.:

Leading up to the strike, we based our negotiation strategy and proposals on the responses of our membership to our surveys, discussions on the picket line, and online Q&As. 

Now that we are three weeks into the strike and have completed the most recent rounds of bargaining, we will be holding a Special Membership Meeting (SMM) on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. in DSU Council Chambers (second floor of the SUB) or via Zoom to gauge current membership opinions and concerns on picketing and the bargaining process.

Survey: 

We are currently developing a survey to gather electronic responses from our membership regarding how bargaining is currently going and how they want to proceed. This survey will be made available following the SMM on Tuesday.

Dalhousie has spent considerable resources trying to divide us and undercut our efforts. This shows that our actions are effective. Every meeting we have with the Dalhousie Negotiating Committee earns us more. While some members of our union may have reached what they wanted, we continue to push for those who have not. The meeting and the survey next week are your opportunity to have your voice heard again. 

Dalhousie works because we do.



Week 3 Dalhousie Strike Update

All work done by CUPE 3912 members should stop for the length of the strike. If you continue to work, you will not be paid.

Bargaining Update

Our strike is effective. After more than a week of our strike, Dalhousie’s Administration has agreed to return to the bargaining table on Wednesday, November 2, 2022. For details visit our Bargaining Updates page.

Let’s keep up the pressure by picketing even harder to support our Negotiating Committee before and during their bargaining meetings.

Picketing Plan

October 31st – November 4th, 2022

Monday (Oct. 31)
  • Studley Quad (Studley)
  • SPECIAL EVENT: Student Walkout @ 12 PM (feel free to wear a costume)
Tuesday (Nov. 1)
Wednesday (Nov. 2)
Thursday (Nov. 3)
Friday (Nov. 4)

Anyone can join, no prior signup required. Just show up, go to the tent to receive information, buttons, and a sign, and join the picket line. If you have an active contract, sign in and sign out on the timesheets at the tent to ensure you get strike pay. While everyone is welcome at any time, we encourage people to sign-up for our strike schedule. Please sign-up here:

Sign Up for Strike Duties

Sign Up for Reading Week (Reduced Hours)

For those who cannot perform strike duties in person due to living far away from Halifax or having specific accommodation needs (immunocompromised or other), please contact DalRemoteDuties@cupe3912.ca.

Other Strike-Related Information

Strike Pay
  • Our picketing schedule is Monday-Friday, but strike pay is recorded from Wednesday-Tuesday because our strike started on a Wednesday. You will only get paid for at most 20 hours of strike duties with a Wednesday-Tuesday week. Strike pay cheques become available on the following Friday. Please visit the Strike HQ in the SUB to receive your cheque (remote members will have their cheques mailed).

    The hardship fund is in development; more information is coming soon.

Contact

We Are On Strike! (Week 2)

All work done by CUPE 3912 members should stop for the length of the strike. If you continue to work, you will not be paid.

Picketing Plan

October 24th-28th, 2022

Any member can join us, no prior signup required. Just show up, go to the tent to receive information, sign-in on the timesheets, pick up buttons and a sign, join the picket line, and sign-out when you leave to ensure you get strike pay.

Following Weeks

 

Sign Up for Strike Duties

Anyone can show up, the more the better, however we encourage people to sign up for the times you selected on the form.

Other Strike-Related Information

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Most answers to strike-related questions can be found in  the Strike FAQ. Please check the material in the posts and FAQs before emailing us to improve response times.
  • If you cannot find the answer to your questions here, please email one of the VPs or drop in at Strike HQ in the SUB (Boardroom B, second floor).
  • Our picketing schedule is Monday-Friday, but because our strike started on a Wednesday, the pay period for strike pay is Wednesday-Tuesday. This pay period is set by the CUPE National Strike Fund Regulations. 
    • In practical terms, this means that: 
      • The pay for the last week (Oct. 19-22) is not yet ready, because technically the pay period ends on Tuesday, Oct. 25. There is not yet pay for those who have taken on strike duties. 
      • The tentative pay date is every Friday, but we are not yet sure. The pay date will be clarified ASAP. Everyone’s efforts are appreciated, and we want everyone to be compensated for their time. We are trying to adapt to the situation as necessary.
Negotiations Update 
  • On the 24th October, 2022, Dal Admin sent us a notice of arbitration, which means they want a third party to decide on the wages we deserve. We believe arbitration is premature since it is only the first week of strike. However, we are always open to meet them at the bargaining table, if they decide to return.
  • The last set of negotiations took place on October 17 and 18, 2022, and the Dalhousie Administration walked away from the table. Their final offer was much lower than what our surveys showed that our membership would accept. They also refused to offer a four year agreement as is standard for academic collective agreements.
  • These are the increases the Dalhousie Administration has offered over three years:
    • PTAs 12.28%, 11.43%, and 11.09% depending on the tier
    • Teaching Assistants 17.69%
    • Markers/Demonstrators 30.40%
  • Our offer, covering four years (2020-2023), asked for:
    • PTAs 17.54%
    • Teaching Assistants 27.33%
    • Markers/Demonstrators designation to be eliminated to prevent duty creep.
Hardship 
  • Organization of the hardship fund is in process; more information to come shortly.
Accessibility
  • For those who need accommodations due to a disability or alternate strike duties due to distance, please contact DalRemoteDuties@cupe3912.ca.
Contact
  • For emergencies which cannot be handled by picket captains, or to discuss accommodations in person, check in with the team at Strike HQ located in Boardroom B, on the second floor in the Student Union Building.
  • For media, please reach out to our Communications Officer, Gábor Lukács, at communications@cupe3912.ca, or our Outreach Coordinator, David Banoub, at outreach@cupe3912.ca.
  • For other matters, contact us at office@cupe3912.ca.

We Are On Strike!

As of this morning, we are on strike. All work done by CUPE 3912 members should stop for the length of the strike. If you continue to work, you will not be paid.

Picketing Plan

October 19-21, 2022

Picketing Location: McCain Building (and surrounding areas)
  • Members are strongly encouraged to picket as many hours as they can. The union can pay up to $180 for the 3 days (12 hours).
Sign-Up Location
  • Sign-in/out takes place in the tent on the green space between the Marion McCain Building and the SUB.
Who
  • Any member can join us, no prior signup required. Just show up, sign in, and join the picket line.
What to Do
  • Go to the tent to receive information, pick up buttons and a sign, and sign in on the time sheets.

Following Weeks

Pick Your Schedule
  • Enter the hours you will be picketing.

Sign Up for Strike Duties

Sign-Up Location
  • You will receive an email with the location of the picket line you are assigned to at least a day before.
Who
  • Anyone can show up, the more the better, however we encourage people to sign up for the times you selected on the form.
What to Do
  • Go to your picket captain and sign-in when you show up. They will record your name and sign-in time. When you are finished, go back to your picket captain to sign out to ensure you get paid.

Other Strike-Related Information

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Most answers to strike-related questions can be found in  the Strike FAQ. Please check the material in the posts and FAQs before emailing us to improve response times.
  • If you cannot find the answer to your questions here, please email one of the VPs or drop in at Strike HQ in the SUB (Boardroom B, second floor).
Negotiations Update 
  • The last set of negotiations took place on October 17 and 18, 2022, and the Dalhousie Administration walked away from the table. Their final offer was much lower than what our surveys showed that our membership would accept. They also refused to offer a four year agreement as is standard for academic collective agreements.
  • These are the increases the Dalhousie Administration has offered over three years:
    • PTAs 12.28%, 11.43%, and 11.09% depending on the tier
    • Teaching Assistants 17.69%
    • Markers/Demonstrators 30.40%
  • Our offer, covering four years (2020-2023), asked for:
    • PTAs 17.54%
    • Teaching Assistants 27.33%
    • Markers/Demonstrators designation to be eliminated to prevent duty creep.
Hardship 
  • Organization of the hardship fund is in process; more information to come shortly.
Accessibility
  • For those who need accommodations due to a disability or alternate strike duties due to distance, please contact DalRemoteDuties@cupe3912.ca.
Contact
  • For emergencies which cannot be handled by picket captains, or to discuss accommodations in person, check in with the team at Strike HQ located in Boardroom B, on the second floor in the Student Union Building.
  • For media, please reach out to our Communications Officer, Gábor Lukács, at communications@cupe3912.ca, or our Outreach Coordinator, David Banoub, at outreach@cupe3912.ca.
  • For other matters, contact us at office@cupe3912.ca.

We Start Striking on October 19, 2022

Build the Resistence (CUPE)

Due to the Employer’s refusal to offer us fair wages and working conditions, we have decided to call a strike and stop working at Dalhousie on:

October 19, 2022

This decision was not made lightly. We have made every effort to avert the strike, holding numerous events to raise awareness that many of you attended, but the Employers’ offers have not significantly improved.

We consulted among ourselves at all levels, from membership surveys, through Q&A sessions, and discussions among the Strike Committee and Executive Board members. Even then, we continued to negotiate in the hopes that we can avoid a work stoppage; however, the Employer’s latest offer leaves us no choice.

We are still hoping not to have to go on strike, but if the Employer continues to disregard our attempts to meet the cost of living in Halifax, we will stop working.

If this happens, we will be picketing starting the morning of the 19th. If you want to earn strike pay, it is more important than ever to sign up for hours and join us on the line!

Sign Up for Strike Duties