MPSGSA Statement on Union Busting

MPSGSA Statement on Union Busting

The McMaster Political Science Graduate Students’ Association has issued a statement condemning McMaster University’s decision to deny out-of-province TAs union membership, in the midst of a pandemic, urging the administration to sign the Letter of Understanding (LOU) proposed by CUPE 3906.

The McMaster University Political Science Graduate Students’ Association (MPSGSA) unequivocally condemns the University’s decision to expel out-of-province Teaching Assistants (TAs) from the bargaining unit, in the midst of a pandemic. We call on the administration to immediately reverse this unjust, cruel, and damaging action, and to sign the Letter of Understanding (LOU), proposed by CUPE 3906, to reinstate all TAs’ union rights.

McMaster University responsibly cancelled classes in March, due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. Hence, TAs have been mandated to work from home. Furthermore, many TAs have been barred from crossing the Canadian border and/or entering the province, due to travel restrictions, health concerns, and other factors. Rather than compassionately supporting remote workers – during this most difficult and volatile time – the University has nullified their basic union rights to wage protections, protections against unjust termination, protections against harassment and discrimination, and more. As highlighted by CUPE 3906, the administration is not justified, legally or otherwise, to take this callous step.

To build a brighter world, McMaster must make use of its vast resources to further support its workers, instead of engaging in union busting, negatively harming us all as workers. We have already been struggling with wages below the poverty line before the pandemic. The University reputation as a leading academic institution that safeguards the interests of its workers and students is at stake. We expect the administration to make the right decision and sign the proposed LOU to extend the membership of TAs working outside of Ontario for the mandated duration of remote work.

Special General Meeting 2020

The GSA invites all members to our Special General Meeting (SGM) on October 15th at 9:00AM. At our SGM we will present a revised budget for our GSA operations for this academic year given the pandemic as well as what the GSA has done for you over the past few months since our last AGM in April. We will be hosting our AGM virtually via WebEx! Please use the following information to enter the meeting:

Additionally, please find other important documents attached below which will be discussed at the AGM on October 15th:

Recruitment for GSA CRO position

Recruitment for GSA CRO position

The GSA is recruiting for CRO position, if you are interested to be part of the GSA please email macgsa@mcmaster.ca by October 1st. The CRO term will end on April, 30th, 2021.

The main role of the position is as follows;

  1. Be responsible for the conduct of election and referendum procedures; and
  2. Present a report to Council on the validity/invalidity of any election/referendum process; and
  3. Chair the AGM 

This role would be well suited for someone with a working knowledge of Roberts rules and an interest in Graduate student life! A small financial honorarium is provided to the CRO for performing their duties. 

Description

From there Council shall elect from within the candidates nominated by the Board, a Chief Returning Officer (CRO) to preside over elections and referenda of the Association.

1. Eligibility Requirements

a. Any Graduate Member is eligible to be the CRO of the Association.

b. A CRO shall not serve as a Faculty Representative, a Member of a Faculty Association executive, or hold another Director, Officer or staff position within the Association at the time of taking up office.

 

2. Rights and Privileges

a. Act as the official representative of the Association in matters pertaining to elections/referenda; and

b. May delegate any of their powers, duties and functions as they see fit; and

c. Strike an election committee; and

d. Limit campaign expenditures; and

e. Receive nomination forms and publicize elections and/or referenda.

 

3. Responsibilities

a. Be responsible for the conduct of election and referendum procedures; and

b. Present a report to Council on the validity/invalidity of any election/referendum process; and

c. Perform such other functions as the Council may determine.

 

4. Decisions

a. Appeals of decisions of the CRO may be made in accordance with Article 4, Section 4.3, in the case of Referenda, and Article 3, Section 3.0 (1) in the case of General Elections.

 

5. Remunerating the Chief Returning Officer

a. The CRO shall receive an honorarium, the amount of which shall be set by the Board.

b. The CRO shall not receive any monetary or in kind benefits other than the honorarium referred to in Article 1, Section 1.5 (5a), without the consent of Council. This shall not affect the use of Association facilities and funds reasonably associated with the carrying out of their duties.

c. If the CRO does not fulfill the complete term of office, the honorarium shall be prorated for the time served, unless determined otherwise by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of Council.

 

6. Nominating the Chief Returning Officer

a. Candidate(s) for the position of CRO shall be nominated by the Board. In the event that the Board nominates a single candidate, this nomination must be ratified by a majority of voting Councilors at the next Council Meeting.

b. Where there is more than one candidate, an election by secret ballot shall be held.

c. In the event that the CRO’s position is not filled, the President shall nominate a new CRO prior to the next Council meeting.

 

7. Term

a. The CRO shall hold office until a successor is duly elected following the regulations in the Bylaw.

b. The term of office of the CRO shall be one (1) year: starting on the first (1st) of  May and ending on the (30th) of April the following year.

UPDATES FROM THE GSA 2020-09-08

UPDATES FROM THE GSA 2020-09-08

Welcome to a new academic year, the Fall 2020 semester. For many of you this may consist of teaching, learning, or supporting others in their academic journey. We thank you for your efforts in getting to this point and we believe in you every step of the way. The GSA is here to support you! 

A note about HSR Bus Pass: We have confirmed that students assessed the HSR fee for 2019/2020 academic year will be credited $65 for the months that HSR was free due to the pandemic! You should see this reflected on your student accounts over the next two weeks. We are actively working with the city of Hamilton to continue to bring financial relief for our members.

Have you wanted to learn more about what the GSA does? Do you want to be the connection between the GSA and your Faculty? We would like to announce the vacant positions for Faculty Representatives of the Council (FRC), view the nomination form here. Their role consists of attending Council meetings, representing your faculty, organizing faculty specific events and communication, and voting at Council meetings! Please note the due date is September 21st. Current vacancies:

  • 2 FRC of Social Science 
  • 2 FRC of Humanities
  • 1 FRC of International graduate students (current member of IGSA)

Please send your cover letter and nomination form to Mona at macgsa@mcmaster.ca

GALLERY OF OPPORTUNITIES

GALLERY OF OPPORTUNITIES

Check out the Graduate Writing Support Centre for writing services, the thesis writing toolkit, and the writing support bootcamp dates.

International Students: Click on this link to take this anonymous research survey about your experience during COVID-19. 

Are you a returning International TA? The MacPherson Institute is looking for returning International teaching assistants to participate in a 1-hour panel, “Teaching in a Canadian Classroom” on September 10, 12:30-1:30 pm. If you are interested in sharing your TA or sessional experience as an international student/teacher (what did/did not work, what you learned from your role) please fill out this form and we will reach out to you with more information. Panelists will receive a $30 gift card to Amazon, Indigo, or Starbucks for their time.

Seeking to hire a graduate research assistant to start around mid-September, 2020. The project explores blues and hip-hop geographies and their influences on cultures of resistance, both globally and among Asian(workers). All of the work can be done online. Candidate should be highly organized, independent, and responsible. Ideally, the theme is somewhat aligned with your own research interests so that the work may contribute to your own project. Pay is commensurate with your experience in conducting research but will be in the range of $25-$30/hr. Estimated total hours is 30 with potential for more. More details for the responsibilities of this job can be available upon request. 

Please send resume/CV with a 1-page cover letter to Dr. Tommy Wu (wu21@mcmaster.ca) asap and preferably before September 1st, 2020.

PARTICIPANTS NEEDED For Graduate Education Study
I am doctoral candidate looking for current graduate students to complete a survey on their psychosocial and learning experiences. As a participant in this survey, you will be asked to think about and answer questions about your experience as a graduate student.

The survey will take approximately 25 minutes for you to complete and can be completed online. In appreciation of your time, you will be entered in a random draw to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

If you consent, you may also be asked to participate in an individual interview with the researcher to have a more in-depth discussion of your experiences.

If interested in participating, please follow the link to Graduate Education Survey.

If you have any questions, please contact Newsha Ziaian-Ghafari.

UPDATES FROM THE GSA 2020-08-28

UPDATES FROM THE GSA 2020-08-28

Thank you for your responses on GSA Political Involvement. At the GSA Student Issues Action Committee meeting on Monday, August 24th, we discussed replacing the Policy and Political Neutrality and Anti-Discrimination with a new Policy on Anti-Oppression. We are very thankful for the graduate students who have given their time over the past two months. As this work continues, we are committed to updating this document to reflect the current needs of graduate students. If at any time you want to elicit feedback or join the Student Issues Action Committee, please email Sydney Valentino, GSA VP External. The GSA Academic Workshops survey is still open – the deadline is next week on Friday! We would love to hear from you, please see more details later in this email.

A note about Student Events: Since we opened up the Student Groups Events Management portal in May, please be aware we are only allowed to have virtual student group events – no in person or on campus events will be approved. Please email us if you have any questions.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Calling all International Students! Would you be willing to share with Carleton University Professors, Professor Saul Schwartz and Professor Anil Varughese, your experience during COVID-19 and your concerns for the upcoming school year by participating in a 10-minute survey?

Your completely anonymous answers will help them to better understand the major challenges faced by you and by other international students during COVID-19 outbreak.

Click on this link to take the survey.

UPDATES FROM THE GSA 2020-08-21

UPDATES FROM THE GSA

On August 14th, the GSA met with University Administration on campus, including President David Farrar. At this meeting, we spoke about international student issues, services offered by Athletics and Recreation (follow The Pulse on Instagram for free classes), and actions in support of oppressed groups on campus. They reported to us about the ongoing External Review on Black Student-Athletes’ Experience and actions taken to support Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on campus, including the hiring of Dr. Arig Al-Shaibah. We will keep you updated on these items and others as they come to hand! We established more regular communication between us and the University Administration and we look forward to advocating for you at these meetings. If you have specific concerns you would like to address for future meetings, you can reach out directly to Shawn Hercules at gsapres@mcmaster.ca

A note about HSR: Some students experienced a disappearance of the HSR tile and were unable to obtain their voucher for the upcoming expiry as of August 21, 2020. This issue should be resolved. If you are a student in the upcoming academic year, please redeem your new HSR voucher as soon as possible to avoid paying for your HSR transit on August 22, 2020.

A note about social media: Please follow the GSA on Twitter or request to join the GSA Facebook group for more regular updates on workshops and news! We post daily about workshops and information for you to stay updated. It is important for us to read your updates, so please expect us to request to follow you back!

Further information on both the GSA Value Proposition our website
For an update on HSR fees please see this link.