I’m a Unit 2 member teaching primarily in the Political Science department, although I’ve also taught in Social Science, Equity Studies, and Public Policy and Administration.
I first became a member of CUPE 3903 Unit 1 in 1997 when I started my PhD at York. I entered Unit 2 in 2003. I’ve also taught at Carleton, UOIT, Western and Brock. I know what it’s like to be an itinerant academic running the roads between different universities. Last fall, I was teaching Labour Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines and Political Science at York.
Despite being at York for a number of years, I (like many of my colleagues) have very little stability or security in my teaching. Every summer, as the fall term approaches, we anxiously wait to see if we will end up with a contract. Despite my mid-level seniority, in 2015-16 I didn’t get any work at York at all. After that shock (and financial hit), I’m lucky to have work again this year at York, getting back up to 2.5 Course Directorships.
I’m also working this year for CUPE 4207, which represents TAs and Contract Faculty at Brock University, as a Membership Mobilizer. CUPE 4207 is bargaining for a new collective agreement and held a successful strike mandate vote on January 18th and 19th. I’m bringing my experience with bargaining mobilization at CUPE 3903 to Brock and increasing my experience in membership outreach and mobilization.
I was the CUPE 3903 Chief Steward Unit 2 for two terms (2014-2016),working with two very different groups of Executive Committee members. No matter the composition of the Executive, it is always busy, stressful and contentious. I did my best to work constructively with a variety of people with their various personalities and interests. I think that is one of my strengths and something that I will bring to the Bargaining Team..
As the Chief Steward Unit 2, I co-chaired the Stewards’ Council, participated on the Grievance Committee and often attended Labour Management Committee meetings. During the last round of contract negotiations, I frequently attended bargaining sessions. All of this has given me insights into the patterns of common grievances for Unit 2 members and many of the significant problems with our collective agreement.
Before joining the Executive, I was an active rank-and-file member of 3903 for many years. I participated as a steward in the POLS department, attended an OUWCCC conference, and served on a Bylaws Committee and the Ways and Means Fund Committee. I’ve been a 3903 delegate to the Toronto and York Region Labour Council and the CUPE Toronto District Council. During the current year, back to being a rank-and-file member, I’m a member of the Distribution Committee.
I had just moved back from teaching and living in Ottawa when the 2008-09 strike occurred. As a newly returning Unit 2 member teaching only one course and primarily focused on child-care responsibilities, my connection to and ability to participate in that strike was limited. Often that meant dropping my daughter at the Student Centre daycare before picketing or bringing her to the picket line.
During the 2015 strike, as Chief Steward Unit 2, I served as our police liaison and co-chair of the Strike Committee. As noted above, I also frequently attended bargaining sessions, before and during the strike.
My partner and I have two children, a 15 year-old and a 9 year-old.