Update on negotiations with CUPE 3902 Unit 1

February 9, 2018

The University and CUPE 3902 Unit 1 reached a tentative agreement last night with the assistance of a provincially appointed conciliator. The Union has scheduled an ascension meeting for Monday, February 12th at 6:30 p.m. in Convocation Hall to present the tentative agreement to Unit 1 employees and determine whether it will proceed to a bargaining unit-wide vote for ratification. The University encourages all Unit 1 employees to attend the ascension meeting and participate in the process.


January 26, 2018

At a January 22 CUPE 3902 Unit 1 membership meeting, those in attendance voted to set a strike deadline of February 26, 2018. The University and the Union are continuing their efforts toward reaching a tentative agreement. Ongoing bargaining meetings are scheduled for January 29th and 31st. Conciliation at the Ministry of Labour with a government-appointed conciliator will continue on February 7th. The parties jointly filed for conciliation and jointly requested the appointment of a conciliation officer with the most experience to assist the University and the Union.

December 13, 2017

Members of CUPE 3902 Unit 1 have voted to give their bargaining team a strike mandate, the union announced today. A vote was held on all three campuses between December 5 and 12. The University and the union are currently in negotiations for a renewal collective agreement.

CUPE 3902 Unit 1 represents approximately 7,000 part-time employees who work as teaching assistants, teaching laboratory assistants, markers, graders and course instructors.

“A strike mandate vote is part of the collective bargaining process,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice-president, human resources and equity, “This is the result we anticipated.

“We have three more dates scheduled for negotiations this month, and the University bargaining team is committed to continuing productive discussions toward an agreement.”

A strike mandate vote is one of the statutory requirements for a union to be in a legal strike position, but a positive strike mandate from the employees who vote does not necessarily mean there will be a strike. The union is not currently in a legal strike position and cannot legally strike before mid January at the earliest.

All academic activities are continuing as normal.

The University and union bargaining teams have met on 12 dates since the end of September. 


November 23, 2017

The University of Toronto is committed to reaching a renewal collective agreement with CUPE 3902 Unit 3, representing approximately 1,200 sessional instructors at the University of Toronto. These employees are engaged in teaching, demonstrating, tutoring and marking on employment contracts of less than one year. 

Talks between the University and the union are headed to conciliation on Friday, November 24th, after collective bargaining meetings on sixteen dates since July. 

A key issue in the negotiations is the union’s proposal that would require the University to “convert” a minimum number of Sessional Lecturers to full-time teaching and tenure stream faculty positions in each academic year, without them having to participate in the existing competitive and collegial hiring process applicable to all faculty positions at the University of Toronto. 

Employees represented by CUPE 3902 Unit 3 have always been welcome to apply for advertised teaching and tenure stream faculty positions, competing with all other applicants, said Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, the University’s Vice President of Human Resources & Equity, but the union’s “conversion” proposal is “fundamentally inconsistent” with the University’s open, collegial and competitive faculty recruitment process. 

On Wednesday, November 22nd, the majority of employees who voted gave the union a strike mandate. A strike mandate does not necessarily mean there will be a strike. Hannah-Moffat says “The University has been and remains focused on the best interests of its students in the context of achieving a renewal collective agreement with the union representing this very important employee group.”


November 16, 2017

The University of Toronto’s process for recruiting and hiring new teaching- and tenure-stream faculty appointments is being challenged in negotiations with CUPE 3902, the union that represents contract sessional lecturers on U of T campuses. 

The University and CUPE 3902 (Unit 3) are in negotiations for a renewal collective agreement.  CUPE  3902 (Unit 3) represents a diverse group of approximately 1,200  employees  working as sessional course and writing instructors on term contracts of less than one year. 

Continuing teaching- and tenure-stream faculty appointments at the University of Toronto have long been hired through a collegial and academic unit-based appointment process, consistent with the University’s commitment to an open and competitive process to recruit the best possible faculty members. In addition to the research and scholarship component of the tenure stream role, and the scholarship of teaching in the teaching stream, all continuing faculty hold considerable service responsibilities in their departments and programs, working closely with students and setting the academic direction of their units.

Sessional lecturers have always been welcome to apply for advertised teaching- and tenure-stream faculty appointments, competing with all other applicants.

However, in the current negotiations, CUPE 3902 has tabled proposals that would require the University to “convert” a minimum of eight sessional course instructors to full-time teaching and tenure stream faculty appointments in each academic year, without those individuals being required to participate in a competitive and collegial hiring process.

“As one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities,” said Professor Cheryl Regehr, vice-president and provost, “it’s imperative that we continue to use a rigorous and competitive recruiting process to fill all tenure stream and continuing teaching stream positions. Nothing is more fundamental to our past and continued success.”

U of T has worked to recruit an outstanding array of faculty to ensure students have exceptional research-based teaching, access to a wide variety of learning environments, and opportunities to benefit from the knowledge of professional practitioners. 

Sessional lecturers often bring professional and academic expertise that helps the University expand the range of choices and educational experiences available to students, Regehr said. “They are encouraged to apply for advertised full-time teaching and tenure stream appointments and be evaluated along with all applicants in our peer-reviewed process.” 

According to Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice-president, human resources and equity, the University has advised CUPE 3902 in negotiations that the Union’s ‘conversion’ proposals are unacceptable. They “are fundamentally inconsistent” with the University’s long-standing open, collegial and academic unit-based hiring and appointment process. The University remains committed to reaching an agreement with CUPE 3902, Hannah-Moffat said.