CUPE 3912 is Nova Scotia’s largest university union, proudly representing 5000+ precarious academic workers in 6 bargaining units at Dalhousie University (Dal), Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), and Saint Mary’s University (SMU).
CUPE 3912’s members are: part-time instructors at Dalhousie, MSVU, and SMU; language instructors at The Language Centre at SMU; teaching assistants, markers, and demonstrators at Dal; teaching assistants, research assistants, and independent course appointees at NSCAD; and teaching assistants at SMU.
CUPE 3912 protects members’ rights and interests as employees, and advocates for better wages, benefits, and work conditions for members. CUPE 3912 also provides representation in grievances and arbitration if members’ rights are violated, for example if
- a member faces the prospect of discipline or termination as an employee;
- a member is asked to work more than what they are paid for; or
- a member is being discriminated against on prohibited grounds (such as their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability).
The information below is also summarized in our CUPE 3912 Introductory Brochure.
Why Be Part of a Union?
CUPE 3912 members are not alone when facing workplace problems. There is strength in numbers.
CUPE 3912 negotiates a Collective Agreement with the Employer on members’ behalf. The Collective Agreement contains contractual language governing members’ work, such as salary (wages), paid sick leave and vacation pay, benefits, and workplace conditions. If the Employer violates members’ rights under the Collective Agreement, CUPE 3912 is there to stand up for them.
Why a union?
Our union is here to solve workplace problems, negotiate better wages and working conditions, and protect members from unfair practices and administration.
Unions more generally are associations of workers who promote social justice. They work primarily to ameliorate the quality of life of their members and also for the greater good of their own communities and society at large. Successes achieved by one union can impact working conditions in all sectors of the economy. Union officers understand that people must work together to solve problems, and unions are a mechanism for doing so.
Negotiating a good contract
Better wages and working conditions are built over years of contract negotiations between the employer and your union. Your union’s position in negotiations comes from its members. The negotiated committee does the bargaining and the contract has to be approved by its members in a ratification vote.
Helping you solve problems in the workplace
If you have a problem at work or a question about the collective agreements, you can get the most out of your union by knowing who to contact. Vice-Presidents represent different sections of our membership.
If you are having a dispute with your employer, contact your Vice-President first. Your Vice-President is your official representative at work.
It’s your union’s job to make sure the provisions of the collective agreements are followed. If the employer violates the collective agreements, a grievance may be filed to resolve your issue. Help protect yourself by knowing your collective agreement.
We’re stronger when we work together
Solidarity is the fundamental belief of the labour movement. We support other unions knowing that we will get their support when we need them. For example, as union members, we make a promise not to cross picket lines. If we go on strike, we’ll need other workers to do the same and honour our picket lines.
We stand together when we lobby, organize and campaign on behalf of working families and members of our communities for a better quality of life.
CUPE 3912 operates under the broader organization of CUPE National, Canada’s largest union with approximately 625,000 members across the country. As part of a dynamic and democratic union, all CUPE members operate on the basis of solidarity and equality: an injury to one member is an injury to all members.
CUPE 3912 is affiliated with CUPE Nova Scotia, which provides resources, training and guidance to all CUPE locals in the province. CUPE represents workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, child care, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines.
CUPE 3912 is also an affiliate of the Canadian Labour Congress, the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour and the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council, each coordinating union efforts through the broader labour movement at the national, provincial and municipal level respectively.
Opportunities to get involved
Your union is a great place to learn how to solve problems. By becoming an executive member or joining a committee, you can gain skills in conflict resolution, assertiveness, organization, public speaking, leadership and collective bargaining. CUPE and its affiliates offer numerous workshops and courses available to CUPE members.
Participating in your union is also a great way to get to know people who do the same work as you!
You can participate in your union by attending and voting at your local General Meetings, by running for election as an officer or a departmental steward, or by sitting on one of the many committees operating within the local. Please contact us if you wish to support or become more involved with CUPE 3912.