CUPE Local 3908
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Full edition in .pdf available here: Front/Back, Inside.


1. Member Profile: Suresh Kandaswamy

2. Social Events

3. Fall Logsheet Lottery Winners

4. Feature: A Little DAP'll Do Ya?, by Dave Tough, VP Unit 2

5. At the Yvonne LaRose, office manager

6. CUPE 3205, the Other CUPE Local on Campus

7. Bylaw Amendment Update

8. About this Newsletter

9. From Your Collective Agreements...

10. Unit 2 Stewards Network

11. CUPE 3908 Executive 2011-2012



1. Member Profile: Suresh Kandaswamy

Suresh Kandaswamy is by day the Program Manager at the Kawartha Heritage Conservancy, a small but active non-profit organization that works to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the Kawarthas. Two years ago, on the recommendation of Environmental and Resource Studies professor Stephen Hill, Suresh was approached by the ERST Department at Trent to teach a course in natural resource economics and project planning. With his two Master’s degrees, work experiences in business, environmental consulting and the non-profit sector, as well as his certification as a Project Management Professional, Suresh was offered the position to teach the course. And so Suresh became a member of CUPE 3908, one of many members dedicated to sharing their spec- ialized knowledge and experience through teaching at Trent.

Grateful for the opportunity to share his skills and knowledge, Suresh is also well-attuned to the realities of contract teaching. “I enjoy teaching and it is wonderful to be able to share my knowledge and experience with students. I try to combine both theory and practice in my teaching. I also learn a lot from teaching. It is challenging for sure but it also enhances my own skill set and knowledge. I almost view contract teaching like a hobby because you cannot make a living doing contract teaching alone. The amount of time required during the initial years to deve- lop the course, prepare lectures and assignments, and mark assignments can be quite a lot, which could result in a very low per hour rate. But once you have developed the course, it becomes a matter of  making it more effective based on student feedback and your own teaching experience.”

Suresh thinks there is significant potential for project managers to incorporate and advance principles of sustainable development through the projects they manage. “Many project managers are not conscious about incorporating environmentally friendly aspects into their projects. There are many ways to make projects green. For example, you can reduce project travel thereby reducing carbon emissions, or when making a purchasing decision, you can ensure that the products you buy are  environmentally friendly or the company you are dealing with has environmentally sustainable policies.” Suresh hopes to not only incorporate his vision for a more holistic approach to project management into his professional work but also be able to convey this to future project managers through his teaching.

Know a CUPE 3908 member who you think should be profiled?
Let us know! Email


2. Social Events

Upcoming CUPE events:

           Pub Night at the Trend, Thursday March 1st.
           Games afternoon at Dreams of Beans, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, March 18th.

CUPE 3908 had a great month of social events. Our second Nature Walk, led by Trent Professor Emeritus John Wadland, was a great success, with over 15 people coming out for a sunny Sunday afternoon walk west of Mount Pleasant. We will be organizing more nature walks as the spring approaches. Family, friends, and pets are always welcome!     

CUPE also held its first Labour Activist Cafe, which saw our Local's president, Stephen Horner, discuss his experience at the Labour Start conference in Istanbul. In addition, Unit 2 Chief Steward Sean Carleton spoke about the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 27 struggle in London, Ontario, and Indigenous Studies PhD student Christine Sy shared her research about the resurgence of Anishinaabe economic practices. The evening was full of information, laughter, and (occasionally heated) discussion!

Keep checking your emails and our Facebook group for more information! If you want to get involved with the CUPE social events committee, our next meeting will be held on Monday March 5th at 9am in the Stewart House meeting room. If you have any questions, or ideas for potential social events, please contact Diane Therrien at


3. Unit 2 Fall Logsheet Lottery Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Fall CUPE Logsheet Lotto Kristi Allain, Ryan Kwan, and Beth McIntosh. We had many submissions, and the average number of hours worked was 124.5. That is, on average, 4.5 hours over what we are being paid, or almost $200! Keeping a log of your hours and talking about them with your fellow workers, students, and your course supervisor can help ensure that your paid work does not get in the way of your school work.

Don’t forget to log your hours this term for a chance to win the next $50 draw in April.


4.Feature: A Little DAP'll Do Ya? Trading a Focused Vision for a Renewed Collegiality - Dave Tough, VP Unit 1

After a few months of input and feedback from the university, Gary Boire, Trent University’s Provost and Vice-President Academic, released an updated version of Radical Recovery, the university’s first comprehensive academic plan, for approval by Senate this week.

The Draft Academic Plan, or DAP, as Radical Recovery is more colloquially known, has been shorn of many of its most radical elements, and had many of its rough edges smoothed, through the consultation period.

The academic planning process arose out of the controversy surrounding the release of the Draft Integrated Plan (DIP) last year, which was criticized for being a business plan without any basis in an academic vision for the university.

Far from an institutional indulgence, the planning exercise is supposed to serve as a blueprint over the coming years for cuts to programs as the university seeks to hoist itself out of financial crisis through increased enrolment and improved academic standards. CUPE 3908 has been involved in the process continually along the way, meeting with Boire during initial consultations and responding in writing both to the planning process itself and the first DAP after it was released at the end of 2011.

The centrepiece of our contribution to the process was a letter Vice-President Bridget Campion wrote to Boire on the eve of the DAP’s publication, calling for Trent to embrace a vision of social justice as its core identity. This institutional ethos, the letter clarified, would be reflected in course content, in pedagogy, and in how the university administers and governs its human, natural, and financial resources.

To some extent, this was reflected in the first version of Radical Recovery, but whereas CUPE’s letter talked about social justice as a way of running the university, the DAP talked about it as a brand identity. Because of this, CUPE’s response to the DAP offered general support for the direction of the document while suggesting ways that nice ideas could be reflected in actual practices.

The overall weakness of the DAP was that its ideals were generally not tied to its calls for fiscal restraint. Rather than articulating a vision of how these things can go together in innovative ways, the DAP simply affirmed that both existed. But whereas one loomed heavy in the document, the other was apologetic and often incongruous.

To be politically useful, the AP would need to be stronger, more explicit and more realistic in order to kick-start the renewal process it purports to envision. The latest version, though, makes the AP even less of a radical document than it was.

A major factor in this smoothing down of DAP’s ambitions was the administration’s acknowledgment of TUFA’s influence over the direction of the university. Much of what DAP aimed to do vis-à-vis the changes to teaching delivery will effectively be decided in bargaining with full-time faculty; once Boire decided to delete all those items, the document essentially became inert.

On the question of the renewal of colleges, which Radical Recovery lists as a major priority but doesn’t connect with a single other recommendation, more detailed plans would, according to Boire, violate the veto power of students over the governance of the colleges.

This kind of deference to others power on behalf of the administration is enough to make old Trent folks ask if we are indeed back in Kansas. Open acknowledgment of Trent’s politics of collegiality died out dramatically and violently during the radical reforms of the Patterson regime, when no power was allowed to stand in the way of the destruction of the colleges.

The loss of focus and force in the university’s statement of academic purpose is disappointing, and may cost us when the time comes to fight over the exact contours of austerity measures, but the return to a university where the administration has to make allies and build consensus in order to make change happen would be a positive. On balance, that may turn out to be not a bad trade.

5. At the office… 
      - Yvonne LaRose, Office Manager

CUPE 3908 members in both units are entitled to funding support for extra activities they undertake that enhance their professional work at Trent. So, if you went to a conference, took a workshop, subscribed to a professional journal, or you are thinking about doing something like that, you may be entitled to some funding as a benefit of your CUPE contract with Trent.

For both the Unit 1 Professional Development Fund and the Unit 2 Professional Development and Employee Assistance Fund the deadline for Winter 2012 Funding Applications is March 15th.

Here’s how to apply:

Unit 1 Professional Development Fund (PD Fund)
Submit a completed application form together with your CV and a brief description of the professional activity you are undertaking and how that relates to your work at Trent. You can apply for activities that took place six months before the deadline or that will take place up to six months after the deadline – so, for example, if you are planning to go to a conference sometime between February and August 2012, or if you attended a conference that took place anytime between September 15th, 2011 and March 15th, 2012 you can apply for this round of funding that closes March 15th, 2012. To read all the details about the Unit 1 PD Fund and obtain the application form, please download the full application package at

Unit 2 Professional Development and Employee Assistance Fund (PDEA Fund)
Submit a completed application form together with original receipts for the conference, workshop or other professional activity you are seeking funding for. The receipts must be from the same academic year in which you are applying. Also, student academic workers who are international students and who demonstrate financial need are entitled to additional funds to help cover the cost of their UHIP premiums. You can read all the details about the PDEA Fund at

Please be sure to keep a photocopy of your application, especially any receipts, for your records and as a backup in case anything goes wrong. If you have any questions about the funds or the application process, please let us know at and we will be happt to assist you. These funds are not competitions; if an application meets the criteria funds will be disbursed.


6. CUPE 3205: The Other CUPE Local on Campus

CUPE Local 3205 is made up of 85 foodservice workers employed by Aramark and working at Trent University. Many of those workers have been here for quite a while—twenty years and longer. They have worked under several contractors, Aramark being the latest (the Aramark contract with Trent University expires in 2013). The Local just renewed its collective agreement for an additional 3 years expiring on September 30, 2014.

A big issue for this Local is the closure of food courts and concession stands that occurs during University reading weeks, winter holidays and summer breaks. These closures not only reduce the selection of locations and foods available to students, but also cause wage losses for the members, who are laid off during these periods. At the same time, it makes higher profits possible for the contractor (Aramark).


7.Bylaw Amendment Update

Over the past year we have been going through the process of updating and amending some of the bylaws of the Local. Last year there was a meeting of the membership where the executive presented some of the main issues and proposed some changes, but through discussion it was felt that the issues needed to be studied further before final changes could be made and voted on. Four committees were struck to address four issues: quorum, the president’s stipend, duties and honoraria for stewards, and electronic voting. These committees wrapped up their work and made various recommendations, and the current leadership of the Local has now studied these recommendations and is ready to bring proposed changes to a general meeting of the membership for voting. The specific details of the meeting will be announced soon.  


8. About this newsletter

The CUPE 3908 Dispatch is published on a monthly basis througout the academic year. We welcome contributions from any member of the Local, including especially features (max. 600 words) and member profiles (max. 400 words). If you’re interested in writing for the Dispatch email


9. From your Collective Agreements...

Sick Pay for members of Unit 2 (student academic workers):
Did you know that Unit 2 members get sick pay? If you are not able to work due to illness, all you need to do is inform your Course Supervisor or Department Chair/Secretary that you won’t be able to perform your duties; it is their responsibility to find someone to take over your work or inform students that the tutorial is cancelled if need be. You can then count the time you would have been working (e.g. running tutorial, going to lecture etc.) as part of your 120 hours, which makes it a “paid” benefit. This way you can focus on resting and getting better.

Health Benefits for Unit 1 members:
Members of Unit 1 without other medical coverage are eligible to be reimbursed 100% of costs for certain medical expenses, up to $600 total per year. They can also claim for expenses incurred by their spouses and children. Eligible expenses include all medications prescribed by a doctor or dentist, basic dental care, eye exams, and eyewear.

Coverage begins on the first day of your contract, and ends on the following August 31st. In the last round of bargaining, we were finally able to add coverage for summer months, and to include Contract Faculty with 12-week summer courses in the fund. Because the fund is limited (to a maximum of $35 000 in total claims), we encourage members to submit their claims promptly. You can submit multiple claims in a year, up to the maximum total of $600. More info is available at index.php?id=52, or by calling our office.

10. Unit 2 Stewards Network

Stewards play an important role in unions, helping represent to the Local’s elected leadership the views of members, and also to keep members informed about the activities of the union. At Trent stewards are generally organised by department, with one steward volunteering to represent members in each employing department. Being a steward is a great way to learn more about how unions work. If you have any problems with or questions about your work, feel free to contact your friendly Unit 2 Steward!

If you would like to become a Steward or are in an employing department without a Steward and you have a question, you can contact the Unit 2 Chief Steward, Sean Carleton, at

Unit 2 Stewards:

Biology: VACANT
Business Administration: VACANT
Canadian Studies: VACANT
Chemistry: VACANT
Cultural Studies:,
Environmental Resource Sciences: VACANT
Forensic Sciences: VACANT
Geography: VACANT
Material Sciences: VACANT
Physics and Astronomy: VACANT
Politics: VACANT
Women’s Studies:,


11. CUPE 3908 Executive, 2011-2012

President: Stephen Horner. Stephen works in the Business Department and has been the Local’s President since 2010.
General VP: Diane Therrien. Diane is a recent graduate of the Frost Centre MA program and is a dedicated social justice activist. She works in the Canadian Studies and Sociology Departments.
Treasurer: Aimee Blyth. Aimee works in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department and is the co-ordinator for the Seasoned Spoon.
Communications: Andy Cragg. Andy works as a TA in the Politics Department and as a grader in the Philosophy Department. He blogs at
VP Unit 1: Dave Tough. A fixture of the local music scene, Dave is also a TA and sessional instructor in the Politics Department.
Vp Unit 2: Julia Smith. Julia is a PhD student in Canadian Studies and works in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department.
Chief Steward Unit 1: Vacant. Let us know if you’re interested!
Chief Steward Unit 2: Sean Carleton. Sean is a PhD student in Canadian Studies.

Last modified: 23-Feb-13