FAQs about your local union

By admin, November 2, 2009 7:45 pm

How do I know if I am a member?
If you are a Graduate Assistant at OISE, you are a member. To see what union dues you contribute each month, check the bottom section of your pay stub mailed to your home address from the Payroll Department at the University of Toronto. If you have a TEPA position, you are represented by CUPE 3902. If you have a R&D position, you are represented by the United Steelworkers.

I’m a TA at the University of Toronto and I’m an OISE student. Do you represent me?
No. Local 3907 only represents Graduate Assistants at OISE/UT. TEPAs, TAs, sessional instructors, invigilators and some other job classifications at the University of Toronto are represented by CUPE Local 3902. It is possible to be a member of both Locals if you work both as a GA and as a TA.

Do I have health and dental benefits as a member of CUPE 3907?
Currently our Local doesn’t have a health and dental plan for GA student workers. Instead, our employer pays a one-time amount of $250 to domestic students and $550 to international students. This benefit lump sum is distributed with your first paycheck. Please note if you are an international student and you have dependents, you can apply for another $150. Please contact Margaret Brennan at Student Services for details.

In addition, as a graduate student at the University of Toronto, you are entitled to health and dental coverage through the Graduate Students Union. Please check their website for specific coverage details.

How do I apply for a GAship?
Check out the hiring criteria, listed per department at the GA Application webpage. Application forms for the following year are normally available the beginning of August. We recommend that you attend a Tips & Tricks workshop, provided by CUPE each fall, in order to prepare a winning application. If you cannot attend the workshop, click here to dowload the handout we provide.

What is the deadline for applying for GAships?
For a Fall/Winter (Sept-Apr) GAship, the deadline is usually at the beginning of December for the following year (for example, December 3, 2007 was the deadline to apply for GAs in the 2008-2009 school year). Successful applicants will be notified by the end of March. GAships are guaranteed for MA students in their first year and for PhD students for 5 years. There is no need to reapply for GA positions once you become a part of this funded cohort.

For Summer GAships, the deadline is usually in mid January for the summer of the same calendar year. Summer GA positions are not a part of guaranteed funding. All summer GAships are open to competition.

You can submit your application for the summer at the same time as Fall/Winter. You should only submit two separate application packages if you anticipate your application to change significantly between the two application deadlines. (For example, you have a new publication in a referred journal)

Check Graduate Assistantships for the most up-to-date deadline information.

How come I didn’t get a fall/winter GAship?
As you will see on the hiring criteria form, students are assess on their Ability to Assist, Seniority and also Recruitment points. You are ranked competitively against all students applying for GAships in your academic department. If you would like to see your ranking position or contest your ranking, please contact us.

How come I didn’t get a summer GAship?
Each year, only 30 Summer GA positions become available. This means that the ranking for summer GAships is very competitive. Your local union believes that year-round employment is a critical issue for student workers at OISE, and we bargain to win increased summer employment during negotiation talks.

Where can I turn if I am having difficulties with my employer/supervisor?
For GAs, it can be especially difficult if you are experiencing conflict with your work supervisor when that person is also your academic supervisor. If you are experiencing difficulties around negotiating your hours of work, obtaining a safe workplace, including issues of harrassment, discrimination or other issues, please contact us.

I have a cause/community event/campaign that I would like my Local to support. How can I get funds or other support?
Send your request letter to the CUPE 3907 executive. The letter should outline your cause, what support you are looking for, and, if applicable, how much of a donation you are requesting and how the funds will be used. Other forms of support we offer include distributing events listings to our membership; posting events on our website; writing letters of support and sending speakers and delegates to rallies and community events. We review all requests for support at the next executive or General Members meeting. If you are asking for a financial donation, please note if your request is $200 or under, your union executive will make the decision regarding the funds; if over $200, your request must be brought to the General Membership as per our bylaws.

How are my union dues spent?
At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in October, the treasurer provides an annual report on how the past year’s funds were spent and a budget plan for the following year. At each General Membership Meeting, the treasurer gives an update, either oral or written, on how funds are being distributed. Our single largest expense is our union dues that are paid to CUPE National. If you would like to see more in-depth funding reports, please attend an upcoming GMM or contact our treasurer.

I want to be more active in my union. How can I get involved?
We need your enthusiasm! Check out our Get Involved page. We hold an election for the executive positions at our Annual General Meeting in October. Please consider offering your candidacy!

Where can I find my union office?
CUPE 3907 is located in Room 8-104. Our office hours are posted on the door. There are also designated CUPE bulletin boards on each floor of the OISE/UT building. Check these boards for notices of upcoming events, meetings, bargaining and general union news.

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