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The Leaked Memo Newsletter for CUPE Component Winter Canadian by eminems


									                                     The Leaked Memo                                           Newsletter for CUPE 4163, Component 1
                                                                                           Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 4163
Winter, 2007                                                                           University of Victoria’s Educational Employees’ Union

 The GTAF & UTAF are
 After 3 years, real wages are locked into
 the contract.

                                                                                What the Signing Bonus Bought
                                                                                Essentially, we are being paid to get exactly what we
                                                                                wanted for years.
                       Why the GTAF
                                                                                Contract Summary
                         had to die                                             Sean Hillman details the changes to the contract.

                      Peter Hampton explains the                                AGM March 13
                        pros and cons of the new                                The Annual General Meeting will have a new budget,
                                                                                financial summary, and free food.
                                   wage system
                                                                                University Sector Coordination
                                                                                Summary of the National University Worker's Meeting and
                                                                                the Canadian Coalition of Graduate Employees.

                                    Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 4163
                   University of Victoria, Business & Economics Building, Room 396, Box 1700, Stn. CSC, Victoria BC, V8W 2Y2   The Leaked Memo Page
                                 Tel. (250) 472-4778; Fax: (250) 472-4806;;
   What did the “Signing
           Bonus” buy?
                 The new 2010 expiry date makes
                   coordinated bargaining easier
                                                                                                                                   PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

  Last term, our members received “signing bonus” cheques
  with money from the Provincial Government. The money
  was a financial incentive with strings attached.
                                                                                    For example, we achieved an extra year of job security for
  The amount of the cheque for individual members of Com-
                                                                                    Ph.D. students who begin their studies as of Sept. 1, 2006.
  ponent 1 (dominantly Teaching Assistants, Lab Assistants,
                                                                                    Now, Ph.D. students have 2nd hiring priority in their first
  CASS and Cultural Assistants) was approximately equiva-
                                                                                    year and 1st priority for their 2nd through 4th years. De-
  lent to $8.03/hour back pay for September 1, 2005 to Au-
                                                                                    partments may avoid giving TA work to a 4th year Ph.D.
  gust 31, 2006. (Please note, the eligibility period does not
                                                                                    student in return for offering work as a sessional lecturer.
  include work after that date.) This was capped at $3150 per
  member and there were deductions, such as taxes, taken
                                                                                    The Signing Bonus bought two things. First, there wasn’t a
  from the gross total. With the exception of TA unions, the
                                                                                    strike. Second, the new contract was extended by one year
  signing bonus amounted to about $2/hour for other unions
                                                                                    so that we negotiate in 2010 after the Winter Olympics.
  in BC, so we did very well in comparison.
                                                                                    By moving our contract expiry date to 2010, the BC gov-
  But the question is, “What did the signing bonus buy?”
                                                                                    ernment has lined up our bargaining with the TA unions at
  When a signing bonus is on the negotiating table, there is a
                                                                                    UBC and SFU as well as all the other unions on university
  worry that long term concessions will be agreed to in order
                                                                                    campuses in this province. This is a goal we have wanted to
  to make short term money. This is particularly worrisome
                                                                                    achieve for years. Essentially, we are being paid to get
  when the short term money is not available to all members,
                                                                                    exactly what we wanted.
  namely those that begin their employment after Aug. 31,
  2006. I am pleased to report that your bargaining team re-
                                                                                    Peter Hampton
  mained strong and did we not take concessions. Further,
                                                                                    President, Component 1, CUPE 4163
  our contract was improved, particularly for those that begin
  on Sept. 1, 2006.

Cover Photo: Tombstone for the Graduate Teaching Fellowship and Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship. They are both buried near Duncan, BC.

                     The Leaked Memo                                            Please submit letters, comments, ideas and articles for “The Leaked Memo” to our
                           Newsletter for CUPE 4163                             e-mail address at
             University of Victoria’s Educational Employees’ Union
                                                                                About CUPE 4163
               Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 4163                   CUPE 4163 is made up of approximately 1500 members and represents: Specialist
        University of Victoria, Business & Economics Building, Room 396         Instructors (Teaching Assistants, Lab Instructors, Computer Lab Assistants, Academic
                   Box 1700, Stn. CSC, Victoria BC, V8W 2Y2                     Assistants, Cultural Assistants and others), Second Language Instructors, Sessional
                    Tel. (250) 472-4778; Fax: (250) 472-4806                    Instructors, and Music Performance Instructors. Together, CUPE 4163 members per-
            ;                         form about two thirds of the instruction at the University of Victoria. The local is made up
                                                                                of three "components." Component One is made up mostly of Teaching Assistants, Lab
                                                                                Instructors, and Computer Lab assistants. Component Two is made up of Second
                 This newsletter was produced with both volunteer and union     Language Instructors and Cultural Assistants. Component Three is made up Sessional
                 labour. CUPE 4163 staff are members of the Communica-          Instructors and Music Performance Instructors.
                 tions, Energy and Paperworkers, local 467. The newsletter is
                 printed at UVic by CUPE 951 members.

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                                                                                                                CONTRACT UPDATE

  Why the GTAF & UTAF
           had to die
       The fellowships have been replaced by
        real wages, enshrined in our contract.

 Peter Hampton                                                       team proposed that the fellowship be eliminated and that the
 President CUPE 4163                                                 fund be converted directly into wages for everyone.

 In January of 2004, we mobilized a very effective leafleting        We succeeded in our efforts. The GTAF and the UTAF budgets
 campaign on Ring Road to educate the University of Victoria’s       were turned into wages. Additionally, we were able to negotiate
 community that the Public Sector Employer’s Council’s               a 1.67% general wage increase for September 2006 on top of
 (PSEC, an arm of the BC provincial government) stance of 0%         this money. More importantly, the undergrads and non-students
 wage increases despite rising tuition would not be tolerated. On    also earn the same as the graduate students for the same posi-
 the evening of our leafleting campaign, the University of Victo-    tions. So once again, our members are paid equally for the
 ria offered a fellowship program to cease the strike action by      work they do.
 our union. These were dubbed the Graduate Teaching Assistant
 Fellowship (GTAF) and the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant          Another perk to our turning the GTAF into wages is that non-
 Fellowship (UTAF). After the bargaining team spent several          union wages on campus for work such as Research Assistant-
 days of negotiation on the administration and wording of the        ships has risen from $17.49/hour to $21.95/hour.
 fellowship program, I presented it to the members.
                                                                     Now that this volatile component of our contract has been laid
 The obvious problem with the fellowship system was that it          to rest, we have more freedom to pursue goals that may require
 benefited the graduate students more than undergraduates. Fur-      strike actions to achieve. These include health benefits, large
 ther, non-students received no benefit at all, since eligibility    wage increases to catch up to other Canadian universities and
 was based on student status. This union was created with the        ultimately tuition protections or waivers.
 belief that we should be paid equally for work of equal value.
 By accepting the fellowships we temporarily turned our backs
 on that principle. We had to decide if there was a better achiev-
 able contract than this offer. The majority of us believed this
 was the best deal under the circumstances and the new contract
 was ratified with the hope that it could be fixed in the next
 round of bargaining.

 Another problem was that the complexity of the formula used
 to distribute the funds resulted in inequity among the Depart-
 ments. Specifically, Teaching Assistants made different
 amounts of money per hour depending on the length of their
 appointment. Even though it was supposed to be $4.20/hour in
 the final year of the contract, for some the GTAF was only
 worth $3.50/hour. For others, it was worth $5.80/hour or more.

 In the 2006 round of negotiations, there was an element of fear
 about the fate of the GTAF/UTAF. One of the results of getting
 the fellowship past the government the first time was that this
 round we didn’t know if the government would attempt to take
 it away. Negotiations became secretive around this major bar-
 gaining issue. We realized that not only were we being denied
 raises on the fellowships, but that this would be a heavy burden
 for future bargaining teams to negotiate. The longer we allowed
 the fellowship to remain outside the actual contract, the more
 power the University would hold over us. So the bargaining                     Peter signs off on the new CUPE contract.

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                                                                                                               NATIONAL UPDATE

                  University Sector
                Coordination goes
             National University Workers Meeting
         & the Canadian Coalition of Graduate
                                Employee Unions

Peter Hampton                                                       walked off the job. The walk off was lead by some of the
President CUPE 4163                                                 most marginalized workers: women working in telecommuni-
                                                                    cation switch boards and immigrant factory workers.
In 2006 we worked to build nation wide coalitions. Two con-
ferences that I attended were the Coalition of Graduate Em-         This meeting was an excellent opportunity to develop work-
ployee Unions in Winnipeg, and the CUPE University Work-            ing relationships between the graduate employee unions.
ers meeting in Montreal.                                            Next year’s meeting will be hosted by the TAs at the Univer-
                                                                    sity of New Brunswick, who hope to be at the end of their
The second annual Canadian Coalition of Graduate Employee           organizing drive to unionize the campus.
Unions (CCGEU) conference was held in Winnipeg, Mani-
toba in August. This was an opportunity for unions that repre-      CUPE UNIVERSITY WORKERS
sent graduate students to come together and develop skills to
better represent our members as well as build friendships.          I also attended the first nationwide meeting for CUPE’s Uni-
                                                                    versity workers in Montréal from Oct. 12th to Oct 14th. The
A topic addressed at this meeting was defending contracts.          goals of the meeting were to determine strategy for organiz-
The contract is only as strong as the members make it. We           ing more workers into unions and also to coordinate bargain-
had extended conversations on the importance of grievances          ing across the country. The first step in coordination is to
and even arbitrations where a legal decision is made on the         simply talk to each other and understand each others' issues.
interpretation of contract language. For example, even a loss       Coordination comes from a developed trust of other locals
in arbitration can be turned into a win if it can motivate the      and strong lines of communication. This meeting was a good
membership.                                                         first step towards this goal.

The structure of bargaining teams and communication to
members was also explored. In bargaining it can be difficult
to write an update, particularly when almost nothing is settled
on for weeks at a time. The suggestion was to say exactly
that. Always let the membership know if the university is
stalling on the negotiations.

We also discussed coalition building with other groups on
campus, such as the student societies. This became one of the
most discussed topics of the conference. There is much to be
gained in such coalitions, but they must have a foundation in
holding similar goals and values. An example was given
where the graduate student society at Simon Fraser Univer-
sity locked out 7 CUPE employees and fired one of them.
This was conducted in a manner counter to their contract and
fair labour practices. It will take a long time before the unions
at SFU work together with their GSS after that action. Fortu-
nately, we have enjoyed a much better working relationship
with UVic’s GSS and the UVSS.

We also took in some of the local history. Winnipeg was the
center of the general strike in 1919 when 30,000 people

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                                                                                                               CONTRACT UPDATE

             What’s in the New
     Changes to the contract mean more than
                              just a pay raise.

Sean Hillman                                                          article, "Why the GTAF had to Die" for a history of the GTAF/
Staff CUPE 4163                                                       UTAF and the problems with it.

We began bargaining the new Component 1 and 2 collective              We anticipated at the start of bargaining that dealing with the
agreement in May 2006. The Component 1 bargaining team in-            fellowships would be the most difficult part of the process. This
cluded members Peter Hampton (Electrical & Computer Engi-             turned out to be true, mostly because the University’s bargaining
neering), Brian Moss (Greek & Roman Studies), and Rebecca             team did not seem to take us seriously when we explained what
Michaels (COUS & non-students), along with Business Manager           needed to be done to fix the system. Eventually, we were able to
Sean Hillman and CUPE National Rep Suze Kilgour. With the             convince the University that without changes to the fellowship
provincial government’s deadline of August 31st looming over          system, we were prepared to ignore the government deadline,
our heads, we were able to complete bargaining and reach agree-       risk losing the signing bonus for our members and even resort to
ment with the University in mid-August. The members voted to          job action to get the changes we needed. The University finally
ratify the agreement, with an 89% yes vote, during voting be-         heard us and got approval from the Public Sector Employer’s
tween August 16 and 18. Although we did not have much time            Council (PSEC), the government’s wage control body, to turn
to get through all our bargaining issues (typically, CUPE 4163        the fellowships into wage increases.
bargaining takes more than a year), the bargaining team was
pleased with the gains we were able to achieve.                       We were able to take the GTAF budget and include it in the Sen-
                                                                      ior Assistant wage rate. We added the UTAF budget to the Jun-
                                                                      ior Assistant rate, and were also able to make significant
WAGES                                                                 changes to the Cultural Assistant and Chief Cultural Assistant
                                                                      rates. The wage increases also included a 1.67% general wage
The most significant change was the elimination of the Graduate       increase for September 1, 2006. The table below shows the ef-
and Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Fellowships (GTAF &              fect of these changes.
UTAF) in favour of a large wage increase. See Peter Hampton's

                                                           Previous Rate                  Sept 1, 2006 Rates
                                                                                                                             All TAs
             Senior Assistants                                    $17.49                           $21.95
             (includes grads, undergrads, &

             Junior Assistant                                     $12.51                           $13.31

             Junior Assistant                                     $12.18                           $12.97

             Chief Cultural Assistant                             $15.06                           $17.78

             Cultural Assistant                                   $12.21                           $13.00

             Cultural Assistant                                   $11.85                           $12.68

 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                       The Leaked Memo Page 5
                                                                         $3,150 signing bonus for a full TAship of 392 hours, which
                                                                         would be pro-rated for smaller appointments. This worked out
                                                                         to just over $8 per hour for all hours between September 1, 2005
                                                                         and August 31, 2006. By comparison, the signing bonus other
                                                                         public sector unions received amounted to approximately $2 per

                                                                         In addition to the signing bonus, there was a large surplus in the
                                                                         GTAF/UTAF fund, as the University had vastly overestimated
                                                                         the amounts they would pay out in fellowships. This surplus
                                                                         was given out to members who had received a GTAF or UTAF
                                                                         in either 2004/05 or 2005/06.

                                                                         NON-MONETARY CHANGES
Rebecca Michaels, bargaining team member from CASS, and Sean Hillman,
Business Manager, having an inexplicably fun time at the voting booth.   Although turning the GTAF/UTAF into a proper wage increase
                                                                         was probably the main accomplishment of this round of bar-
                                                                         gaining, we also made a few significant gains in non-monetary
There will also be additional wage increases of 1.97% for each           language in the new agreement.
September from 2007 through 2009. Finally, the Cultural Assis-
tant rates will increase a bit more each year, so that by Septem-        One major achievement was getting the University to add 4th
ber 2009, they will equal the Junior Assistant rate. These               year PhD students to the top level of the Appointment Priority
changes mean we have significantly closed the gap between our            Policy. Since there are very few PhD students who are able to
members and TAs at the other BC universities. Our Senior rate            finish within three years, this gain represents a significant im-
is very close to the SFU Masters’ student rate. If you include the       provement in the amount of funding PhD students will receive
Academic Income Supplement (AIS) that many of our members                through TAships. This also brings us in line with most other
receive by virtue of their TAships, we are also not that far be-         universities in Canada, who provide four years of guaranteed
hind UBC TAs. We still have some ground to make up in future             TA funding to their PhD students. Note that this change is only
rounds of bargaining, but we are much closer than we were.               for those students who start their PhD studies after September 1,
                                                                         2006. If you started prior to this, you will still drop to level 3 on
OTHER MONETARY CHANGES                                                   the Priority list in your fourth year.

As part of the government’s wage mandate, meeting the bar-               We also clarified an important distinction in the application of
gaining deadline would entitle our members to the public sector          the Priority Policy for hiring compared to the selection criteria
signing bonus. In most agreements, this bonus was approxi-               for specific positions. First, the department determines the pool
mately $3,700 for each full time employee. Since most of our             of applicants using the Priority Policy. For most departments,
members are students who are generally limited to an average of          this means first priority for appointment goes to 2nd year Mas-
14 hours per week, the University’s first offer of $3,700, pro-          ters and 2nd through 4th year PhD students who had an appoint-
rated for part-time, would have meant a maximum signing bo-              ment in the previous year, followed by incoming 1st year stu-
nus of $800, with most of our members getting much less, as              dents. Once the department determines the pool from which
their appointments do not approach the 392 hour maximum for              they must hire, they may then use the selection criteria
the year.                                                                (qualifications, pedagogical value, student preference, and other

The bargaining team was incensed when the University pre-
sented this offer. At both UBC and SFU, the TA locals there
received more than $3,000 for a regular TAship. We could not
understand why UVic did not get PSEC approval for a similar
bonus for our members, especially considering UBC and SFU
completed their bargaining back in March. This offer, combined
with the University’s apparent inability to adequately deal with
our GTAF/UTAF issues, nearly led to an impasse at the bar-
gaining table.

At a meeting in early August, the members approved a motion
to take a strike vote in September. With this strong support of
the membership, the bargaining team was able to convince the
University that there was no deal without fixes to these two
problems. Finally, the University came back with an offer of a
   __________________________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                             The Leaked Memo Page 6
                                                                                                                  CONTRACT UPDATE

                                                                      term. Now, the RAship must be ‘major’ to reduce your hiring
                                                                      priority. Although what a ‘major’ RAship entails may vary by
                                                                      department, ‘major’ is already used to describe fellowships and
                                                                      grants. For fellowships and grants, you must be receiving some-
                                                                      thing as significant as a SSHRC or NSERC grant, or a UVic
                                                                      Fellowship, to drop in priority, so we anticipate that similar
                                                                      guidelines will apply for RAships.

                                                                      TERM OF AGREEMENT
                                                                      As with other agreements in the public sector, this deal will
                                                                      expire in 2010, ensuring ‘labour peace’ until after the 2009 pro-
                                                                      vincial election and the Winter Olympics in 2010. Fortunately
                                                                      for us, this also means that we will finally negotiate our next
                                                                      agreement at the same time as TAs at UBC and SFU, allowing
                                                                      us to work together towards common goals, especially around
Erin Sikora, UVSS director with Peter Hampton at the National         tuition.
Student Day of Action to reduce tuition fees, February 7, 2007.
                                                                      We are nearly finished the process of editing the new agreement
                                                                      prior to sending it to the printers. Look for your printed copy of
funding sources) to determine which position a specific appli-        the agreement, early in the Spring term.
cant receives.

Positions will now be posted for a minimum of two weeks, at
least 12 weeks before the position starts, and all members will        Important ote for Probationary Employees:
be advised that the postings are up. This should prevent a situa-
                                                                       If you are a Junior Assistant or Cultural Assistant, you
tion where a department chair may let only a few students know
                                                                       should only receive the probationary pay rate for the first
about a posting, thus limiting the pool of potential candidates
                                                                       term of your appointment. Although you remain on proba-
and defeating the purpose of the Priority Policy. Because of this
                                                                       tion for the first two terms, once your second term starts,
change, we also agreed to emergent hiring procedures, where
                                                                       you move up to the regular pay rate for your position. For
positions come available after the 12-week deadline.
                                                                       example, if you were first hired in September 2006, you
                                                                       should now be at the post-probationary rate (see rates in
One seemingly minor language change that we hope will have a
                                                                       the table).
larger impact is the explicit reference to the ‘Checklist of As-
signed Duties and Work Schedule’ form. The previous agree-
                                                                       Contact the Union office if your pay is incorrect.
ment referred to the Checklist by different names in different
sections, so we anticipate that clarifying that there is only one
form to use will prompt more departments to use them properly.
You should use the Checklist (see the sample in Appendix ‘E’
of the agreement) both for your initial work assignment and
your mid-term review.

For Interdisciplinary students, we were able to ensure that one
of your departments will be your ‘home department’ for deter-
mining where your priority for appointment is. In the past, we
had interdisciplinary students who had each department in
which they studied say that their department was not the ‘home
department’, so the student was lower in hiring priority than all
the other students in the department.

The University will now provide the Union with our members’
home phone numbers as part of the membership information
they give us each term. This will ensure that we can meet our
legal duty to provide our members with proper representation.

We also increased the amount of money received in an RAship
before it affects your hiring priority for a TAship. Previously, a   CUPE 4163 staff member Melissa Moroz with daughter Aviva
department could avoid providing a TAship if you had a               at the February 7th rally to reduce tuition fees.
‘comparable’ RAship, which could be a little as 25 hours in a
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Deadline for submitting
fellowship corrections                                   Call for
April 1, 2007                                                  Volunteers
Don’t be fooled. There are 22 members
who haven’t cashed their GTAF/UTAF                       Without committees the union would not run. It’s ex-
                                                         tremely important that members from a diverse group
cheques. Are you one of them?
                                                         of departments participate on committees. Commit-
                                                         tees are where the 'participation' in participatory de-
We discontinued the Graduate and Undergraduate           mocracy happens! Lack of skills or experience need
Teaching Fellowships (GTAF & UTAF) at the end of         not inhibit anyone from joining a committee, as there
August 2006, and replaced them with wage increases.      is free training available.
The union local has continued to handle cases involv-
ing these fellowships, such as missed or incorrect
payments dating between January 2003 and August              Communications Committee
2006. The local will no longer handle cases involving        Members on this committee create posters, newsletters,
the GTAF or UTAF after April 1, 2007.                        websites, emails, press releases and more.

If you have a question or concern regarding your pre-        Education Committee
vious GTAF or UTAF payments, please contact us               Members of the Education Committee keep 4163 members
                                                             up-to-date on union training, conferences, and educational
before April 1, 2007. We also encourage you to pass
this information on to former members who may
have left the University.                                    Health and Safety
                                                             Members sit on the University’s Health and Safety Committee
                                                             and investigate claims.
Next CUPE membership
                                                             Labour Management Committees (LMC)
meeting - March 13                                           The LMCs for each component deal with the administration of
at the Grad Lounge                                           the collective agreement at a policy level. Members on the
                                                             Labour Management Committee are paid a stipend of $21.95
5pm snacks, 5:30pm meeting begins                            for every hour they sit with management.
The Annual General Meeting will have a new budget,           Political Action Committee (PAC)
financial summary, and free food. There will also be         In recent years this committee has worked on tuition fee re-
by-elections for open positions on the CUPE 4163 Joint       duction, anti-poverty, and the CUPE BC Solidarity Action Plan.
                                                             Stewards' Council
                                                             Stewards represent their departments to the union, and the
CUPE 4163 Social Justice Fund                                union to their departments. Stewards who work on grievances
Once a year CUPE 4163 members donate $1 from their           are paid $21.95 for every hour they sit with management.
pay cheques. You will decide on March 13 which or-           There are several free workshops to train CUPE stewards.
ganization will receive our money. Past recipients in-
clude the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Save the Chil-           Other committees
dren, and the Mustard Seed Food Bank.                        There are various ad hoc committees that run throughout the
                                                             year dealing with various issues.

 Please mail to:
                                                             Please contact us to get involved!

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