The key priorities on the bargaining table are:

No Concessions

  • McMaster is trying to make it harder to TAs with graduate guarantees to work 260 hours
  • Under the current agreement, your TAship in your next year of study is at the same or greater number of hours as in your current year. For example, if your guarantee is for 130 hours and you get hired for an additional 130 hours, your guarantee for the next year is 260 hours. This means the hours in your guaranteed TAships can expand over the duration of your guarantee period
  • The employer is proposing to remove this language, meaning that it will be harder for TAs to secure a guarantee for any additional hours; your guaranteed hours would be frozen as they are in your first year

University-wide Paid TA training

  • We have proposed a university-wide program of professional education (TA Training) to include instruction on topics in pedagogy, anti-oppression, and other matters. Under this proposal, Unit 1 members will be entitled to 5 (five) hours of paid training per academic year at their current rate of pay.
  • We’ve proposed the creation of a committee to finalize some of the finer points, such as the integration of existing resources and training opportunities, frequency, duration and logistics, and method of delivery
  • We know this will take time, so we have proposed that this training program will be established and up-and-running no later than January 2021

Minimum Hours of Work

  • Under the current agreement, a TA contract must be for no less than 32 hours.
  • We are proposing an increase to have contracts be for a minimum of 40 hours.
  • This applies largely to undergraduate TAs, who tend to work shorter contracts (and who are paid considerably less than graduate TAs to begin with).

Protection Against Tuition Increases

  • We have proposed the following language to protect against tuition increases: “Should an employee pay an increased rate of tuition from the domestic student rate in their program of study in the 2018-2019 academic year at McMaster University, the Employer shall reimburse the employee the difference paid.”
  • This would effectively freeze tuition for members at the 2018-19 rate
  • This is especially important to international members; at a recent Board of Governors meeting there was agreement to increase international tuition by 8% to 10% as soon as they are legally able

Better representation for Indigenous members

  • We have proposed that for appointments to positions in the Indigenous Studies Program, preference will be given to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit persons who indicate a desire to work in the Indigenous Studies Program

Family Support

  • We have proposed language to provide members with paid family medical leave, a provision that many bargaining units on campus enjoy.
  • Under this proposal, an employee would be eligible for up to 8 weeks of leave with pay equaling 95% of their regular salary


  • McMaster’s offer of 1% in each of three years (plus an additional .35% if they believe that legislation permits them to) falls well below inflation
  • This amounts to a de facto pay cut


Unit 1 Bargaining Team

Chair: Nathan Todd (Philosophy)
Chris Fairweather (Labour Studies)

Chris Shankula (Mathematics)
Mehrshad Kafi (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Avijit Mallick (Biology)
Leah McGrath-Reynolds (Labour Studies)
Mollie McGuire (Sociology)
James Watson (Sociology)