OrganizeUW is a grassroots drive to unionize TAs, RAs, and sessionals currently underway at the University. We know our members have questions about what this would mean for you and for UW, and OrganizeUW is here to address these questions and concerns!
Please visit their website, especially the FAQs, for more information about eligibility, the unionization process, upcoming events, and more. And if you can’t find an answer to your question, leave it in the comments!
Who is OrganizeUW? Who’s running it, and who on campus would be unionized if you succeed?
OrganizeUW is a grassroots campaign to unionize TAs and RAs at the University of Waterloo. The campaign was started by a small but passionate group of graduate students who wish to improve conditions for student workers at UWaterloo. We come from various faculties, departments, programs, and backgrounds. The campaign is supported by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
There also is a drive to unionize sessional instructors within OrganizeUW. By “sessional instructors” we mean various categories of academic workers (students and non-students) who have contracts less than one year in duration, for which there are many terminologies in use—e.g., “special (sessional) faculty,” “adjunct professors,” “definite-term lecturers,” “research fellows.” Workers in this group are normally not represented by FAUW.
[Ed. note: FAUW represents definite-term lecturers with appointments one year or longer. The term “definite-term lecturers” does also accurately describe sessional instructors.]
Where is the process at right now?
We are in the midst of our card-signing campaign to sign 50% of workers, after which the next step will be applying for Labour Board certification.
What happens once TAs, RAs, and sessionals unionize?
Initially—nothing! Well, mostly. If we decide to unionize, our working conditions will be legally frozen in place until a first collective agreement is negotiated with the university. This provides stability while we work to establish our independent CUPE local. Locking in the current state of affairs also secures an official baseline for future negotiations and protects against cuts. Finally, it allows time to develop proper procedures for the eventual transition to new terms of work. This helps to ensure that everything goes smoothly (in contrast to the disruption from UW’s recent, sudden restructuring of grad funding).
Continue reading “A Q&A with OrganizeUW”