Monday, September 10, 2007

RA Drive announcement


Dear CUPE 3903 and GSA members,

This is an urgent request for anyone employed as a Research Assistant, (whether or not you also hold another position). If you are employed as a Research Assistant, or have been in the past year, we need your assistance immediately to help ensure that RAs are afforded the right to join a union.

We are very sorry for the short notice of this request, but it was unavoidable, due to very late-breaking information regarding the status and nature of our upcoming hearings.

This coming Wednesday, September 12th, we are back at the Labour Board after a long hiatus, due in part to employer cancellations of meetings, followed by sessions on the 14th and 17th, and we will likely continue into October.

If you are or have been an RA, forms of support you can provide include the following:

... a written statement that details the work you are doing, have been assigned to do, or have done as an RA, what hours you work/ed during a given term, at what rate, doing what tasks... Such statements (approximately 1/2 to 1 page) would be useful as early as possible, and are needed by this Tuesday evening if possible. (If you miss this deadline, still please send it.)

... actually attending a hearing date (above) and briefly giving verbal testimony regarding the questions above pertaining to the nature of RA employment. We are able to offer a small per diem for costs incurred (of approximately $40) for your time.

... any documentation regarding RA employment, such as contracts, communications of tasks to be performed, examples of work products, etc.

... the names and contacts of students you know taht are employed currently as RAs.

... the names of faculty supervising RAs.

Last year nearly 350 RAs signed cards requesting the right to join CUPE, and hundreds more have done so during the past three drives in 1975, 1981 and 1999-2000. RAs at other some Canadian universities already have this right, often voluntarily recognized by the employer. This drive is especially important in the context of recent graduate enrolment growth, which has been accompanied by a reduction in the proportion of unionized GAships available to our members. The unionization of RAs would also likely free up TAships that could be held by our contract faculty Unit 2 members, who have also suffered job losses in the past year due to enrolment growth.

Finally, it is important to note that YUFA (representing faculty) and the GSA supported the drive.

I can be reached at my cell at 416-577-3903 or at if you have any questions or can provide any of the above forms of support.

Thank you very much, and in solidarity,

Jesse Payne

CUPE 3903 RA Drive