Local 4600 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 4600), represents all Teaching Assistants, internally-funded Research Assistants, and Contract Instructors at Carleton University. It is the largest union on campus.
CUPE 4600 represents nearly 2000 Teaching Assistants, as well as over 1000 Contract Instructors. The Executive Board, Union Stewards, and Caucus Chairs are elected each year from among the membership. Though CUPE 4600 does have some staff, the bulk of the work done comes from volunteer members, and we are always happy to see new members getting more involved.
As CUPE 4600 members, you are entitles to certain benefits and protections. As a new member, you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the Collective Agreement, which is the legal document that outlines your working conditions. Teaching Assistants can find their collective agreement here, and Contract Instructors can find theirs here. The collective agreement is bargained with the employer every three years. In the lead-up to bargaining, the membership will be consulted to establish bargaining priorities, which will then be taken up by each unit’s bargaining teams. During those bargaining years the membership is also called on to mobilize to put pressure on the employer to agree to our bargaining teams’ asks. This can look like info pickets, poster campaigns, and flyering, but can also escalate all the way to strikes and other job action. A successful bargaining round leads to improved working conditions for CUPE 4600 members.
Benefits are outlined on the Unit 1 (Teaching Assistants) and Unit 2 (Contract Instructors) pages, and we would invite you to check them out. It should also be noted that TAs who are also grad students have access to the Graduate Students Association plan. Find out more about that on this page. Get in touch with us if you have questions about accessing your benefits.
CUPE 4600 members are also entitled to certain protections while on the job, and TAs are entitled to some protection from tuition increases. Again, we would invite you to check out the Collective agreements to find out more about those, but if something seems not quite right in your workplace, please give us a shout, we are in your corner.
We are happy to have you as part of our union. If you would like to get more involved with us we can surely find a way for you to get active. Keep an eye out for the CUPE 4600 Digest, which will be emailed to you weekly and outlines upcoming events, meetings, and other union related activities. you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Carleton does not issue the first pay check to Teaching Assistants until the end of the first month of each term. Teaching Assistants holding a TA position of 130 hours can apply for the TA Advance, and receive short-term funding to help them bridge the gap in income. Via the TA Advance, you can receive up to $750 in the middle of the first month of the term. Any amount received via the Advance is repaid to Carleton through automatic deductions on your first three pay checks.