Unit 1 Membership


CUPE 3908 Unit 1 represents approximately 300 sessional faculty members, clinical instructors, markers, tutorial leaders, workshop leaders, academic counsellors, academic skills counsellors and lab demonstrators at Trent University. 

Your Collective Agreement

The Unit 1 Collective Agreement (CA) is effective September 1, 2023, to August 31, 2027. A digital copy of the new CA will be made available in the new year. The Memorandum of Settlement (MOS) and a highlights document are available for all members to review in the interm.

You will also find the Memorandum of Understanding regarding Employment Insurance which details the insurable hours for Unit 1 positions. Physical copies of your collective agreement will be available at the CUPE 3908 office soon. 

NEW Collective Agreement and Updates coming soon!

Your Rights, Benefits, and other important information…

As a Unit 1 member, you have many rights and benefits. We’ve collected some of the most important ones below, however for a full look at your rights and benefits please review your collective agreement.

Right of First Refusal

What is Right of First Refusal and how do I get it?

As a Unit 1 member, if you teach (or tutor or lead) the same course multiple times, we have a mechanism for you to be offered that position before it is offered to those who have never done so before. We call this our Right of First Refusal (RFR) and it is our primary means of job security as Contract Faculty at Trent University. Sessional Faculty Members, Tutorial/Workshop Leaders, Clinical Instructors, Academic Skills Instructors and ESL Instructors can all earn RFR. You can have Right of First Refusal in any number of courses at the same time. Use the information provided to find out how to apply. 1

More of a visual person? Download our RFR guide, or view it as a slideshow.

When am I Eligible for RFR?

To be eligible for RFR, you must have held your appointment for that course or a closely-related course twice, and have requested an evaluation for each. You must have received at least generally satisfactory on the first and at least fully competent on the second.2

How Do I Request an Evaluation?

To earn RFR, you must request a performance evaluation. This may be done by checking the appropriate box on your Acceptance of Offer. Alternatively, you may submit a request in writing to your Chair, copied to the Dean’s Office, within the first 30 days of your appointment for courses of 12 weeks or longer, and within 10 days for courses of less than 12 weeks. RFR is established after the second successful evaluation.

What Is The Evaluation Process?

Departments determine their own process for conducting evaluations. Members are encouraged to contact their Chair in order to learn what the process is in their department.

It may include:

  • A review of student evaluations in the given course
  • A Departmental Committee’s assessment of teaching effectiveness, which may include an in-class visit (with a minimum of two weeks notice–one week in compressed summer courses)
  • A Departmental Committee’s assessment of administrative effectiveness (e.g. submitting grades on time etc.)
  • Assessment of a teaching dossier, should you wish to submit one

Results of the Evaluation…

The Department is required to deliver a written report summarizing the results of the evaluation, within 60 days of the end of the course (completion of duties).

Right Of First Refusal By Default:

Where the Department fails to meet the deadline above, members may earn RFR by Default.
According to the CA:

“Failure on the part of the department to deliver the written report to the member within this time-frame will result in a default evaluation of the member as “generally satisfactory”. A second failure on the part of the department to deliver the written report will result in the member being evaluated as “fully competent”.

Who Can Appeal The Evaluation Results?

Members may dispute the results of the evaluation, and departments may also dispute a claim of RFR. A member must appeal in writing within 10 working days of the evaluation results to the appropriate Dean, who will investigate and make a decision within 10 working days. If the member disputes the Dean’s decision, a grievance may be filed.

How Do I Retain RFR?

You retain your Right of First Refusal as long as:

  • You have worked in the Department within the last 24 months
  • The course continues to be offered at least once every five years

What About Closely Related Courses?

Right of First Refusal also applies to “closely related courses”, defined as those which “encompass substantially similar subject matter”.

IMPORTANT: More than one person can have Right of First Refusal for the same course.

When two (or more) CUPE-1 members with RFR apply for the same position, it is awarded to the person who has the most teaching experience as a member of the bargaining unit.3


1. All information is based on section 5.08 of the Unit 1 CUPE 3908 Collective Agreement.
2. Eligibility can differ for different positions, please read section 5.08.03 for specific information about your position.
3.Section 5.07.05 of the collective agreement

Professional Expense Reimbursement

What is Professional Expense Reimbursement?

Professional Expense Reimbursement offers support in the form of reimbursement for professional development expenses (including research, travel, and professional skills development) to all eligible Unit 1 Members. Eligible members are entitled to professional development expense reimbursement of up to $125.00 per 0.5 course equivalent.


Who is eligible?

  • All Unit 1 members who work more than 100 hours and more than 3 months are eligible! That includes members who are on educational leave.
  • You are ineligible if you were appointed as a replacement or have an hourly rated position less than 100 hours and less than 3 months in length.


What is eligible for reimbursement?

You can submit reimbursements for conference attendance, research, hardware to facilitate remote delivery and online course components, professional skills development (i.e. course fees and related costs associated with the general development of professional skills in the areas of research, teaching, etc.). Please see “Limitations” below for further clarification.

Eligible members can accrue professional expense funds for a period of up to 24 months from the term in which it was earned. Professional expenses may also be claimed for up to 8 months following the end of your last contract.


What are the limitations?

  • Reimbursements will not be granted for the costs of degree or diploma-related courses.
  • Non-degree or non-diploma courses, conferences, research, and professional skills development will all be valued equally in regards to expense reimbursement.
  •  You are eligible to purchase hardware to help facilitate your remote delivery and online components of your courses. This includes computers, printers or faxes.
  • CUPE Unit 2 members hired into a CUPE 1 position only qualify if they were awareded their position via competition, not through an appointment.

Travel and Per Diem Costs

Please keep in mind that professional expense reimbursements towards per diem costs are limited to the following:

  • Accommodation: Hotel up to a maximum of $100/night
  • Stay with friends or relatives: $20./night compensation
  • Meals: $50.00 domestic and $75 international and for all other University funds the usual $45 domestic and apply the National Joint Council rate to international travel depending on the destination.
  • Automobile expenses: Compensated at university rates: $0.43 per kilometre
  • Conference fees: 100% reimbursement


How many times per year can I submit a claim?

You may submit up to two claims per year to the Dean of Arts and Science Office for processing as per the eligibility criteria as established in 1987/88, except as amended by the Professional Development Fund Committee after approval by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Science.


How do I submit a claim?

Step 1: Review detailed instructions on “How to Claim an Expense Reimbursement.

Step 2: Please log into MyTrent. Click on “Finances” and select “Chrome River Travel and Expenses” under Departmental Finances

Step 3: Submit your New Expense Report. If you type “CUPE” into the Allocation box – account “10-61771 CUPE 1 Professional Expenses” will be at the top of the list to be selected.  If you do not select the above account, the correct approval process will not be followed and your claim will be sent back and cause delays in your reimbursement.

Please note: You must include your last hire contract date (month/year) posting number and course code in the comment section/box in Chrome River to verify eligibility. You must submit your expenses using Account 10-61771 CUPE 1 Professional Expenses. All expense claims under this code will be sent to the Office of the Dean of Arts and Science.


Please contact Accounts Payable – accountspayable@trentu.ca – if you have any issues with submitting an expense reimbursement in Chrome River Travel and Expense reimbursement.

Health Benefits

As a Unit 1 member, you may be eligible for one of two health benefit plans:

  • CUPE 3908 Unit 1 Health Benefits Plan through TCSA/Student VIP
  • Trent’s Extended Health and Benefits Plan

CUPE 3908 Unit 1 Health Benefits Plan through TCSA/Student VIP

    Effective September 1st, 2022, eligible members will be automatically enrolled in the TCSA/StudentVIP benefits plan.

    The employer has stated that there will be an “expected” blackout period of approximately 1 – 1.5 months following the start of each term. Once coverage commences, it will be backdated to the beginning of the term. Claims during that period can be submitted manually.

    Benefit coverage commences in the second term in which an employee has worked greater than 100 hours in a term. When coverage begins, eligible members will receive a “welcome email” with details about the plan, coverage, how to opt-in family members, and more.

    Members are eligible if:

    1. You must not be in receipt of an alternative benefit plan from Trent, another employer, or have coverage from a spouse.
    2. You work greater than 100 hours in any two terms in the preceding 12 months.

    For a copy of the plan, please click here.
    For more information, please visit the employer’s site.


    Extended Health and Benefits Plan

    If you choose, you can purchase the Extended Health and Benefits Plan offered by Trent University at their group rate — while you’re working. Please note that you must apply to Human Resources within the first 30 days of employment to be considered eligible.

    Members are eligible to purchase the Extended Health and Benefits Plan when:

    1. You are not eligible for benefits coverage under another plan and;
    2. You must be employed for more than 3 months during the academic year or 6 weeks during the summer semester.

    For more information, please visit the employer’s site.
    For a copy of the plan, please click here.

    Comfort Fund

    The CUPE 3908 Comfort fund celebrates and recognizes important moments in the lives of our members through a $50 gift card from the local. These moments may include but are not limited to: a birth, a marriage, an illness, a passing of a loved one.

    Please make all submissions no later than two months after the date of the event.

    To submit a request, please click here and fill out our online form: https://goo.gl/forms/qPCaqzr1unH6N7MA3

    Tuition Waiver

    As a Unit 1 Member, your spouse or children could be eligible to have their Trent University tuition fees waived!

    Members who are employed in the respective current session and hold a Right of First Refusal, or have been employed for at least 3 academic sessions (at least 2 must be fall/winter) may have the equivalent of undergraduate academic fees waived. Ancillary fees are not waived.


    • Spouses: Tuition will be waived for your spouse or common law partner.
    • Children: The applicable definition of children shall include adopted children, foster children, and married children, subject only to the condition that the children in question be 25 years of age or under.

    Download the application for waiver of tuition fees here.

    Marking Assistance

    As a Unit 1 member, you may access the Teaching Support Fund. It shall be used to provide CUPE members, who teach a course in excess of 50 students, with marking assistance and teaching support.

    In exceptional circumstances, applications to the appropriate Dean may be made for courses with less than 50 students.

    Once teaching support fund allocations are approved, course instructors will be contacted to provide allocation information and additional instructions pertaining to the hiring of markers/graders.

    Sessional Faculty Members applying for marking assistance, for courses in which they have no additional support, will have the option to indicate that they would prefer to perform the marking for students in excess of 50. In this case, they will receive the CUPE Unit 1 Marker/Grader rate for the number of marking hours approved by the Dean.

    To request marking assistance, Sessional Faculty must email the Department/Program Chair no later than ten (10) working days following the commencement of the fall and winter term and one week following the commencement of the summer terms. Be aware that late applications will not be considered.

    Course Load

    As a Unit 1 sessional faculty member at Trent, you can teach up to 3 full credits per academic year (September-August). You can teach 2 half-credit courses in the Fall term, 2 half-credit courses in the Winter term, and another 2 half-credit courses between the two summer sessions (S61 from early May to mid-June and S62 from mid-June to early August).

    This “cap” applies only to the Sessional Faculty member position, thus you could take additional positions such as Workshop Leader, Lab Demonstrator, Course Assistant or Marker-Grader.

    It is also important to note that this rule is not in the CUPE 3908 Unit 1 collective agreement. Rather, it arises from the full-time faculty (TUFA) scope clause (which defines TUFA members as anyone who teaches greater than three full credits per academic year).

    Should you have any questions about this clause, please reach out to us.

    Home Office Expenses

    Disclaimer: CUPE3908 and Trent University do not give tax advice. The information provided here is general, and members are advised to seek the guidance of a tax professional to determine its applicability to their specific circumstances.

    In 2013, we gained a provision in our Collective Agreement that would ensure members without adequate office space at Trent could claim the “Home Office” deduction for employees. The T2200 form allows employees to deduct certain expenses that they are required to incur as a condition of their employment, including using a portion of their home as an office.

    Eligible employees should download, complete, and submit the form to the Dean’s Office by the deadline–March 15th. Please note that the form states it is to be filled out by the employer, however Trent expects Unit 1 members to fill the form out and send off for approval.

    The exact language of our Collective Agreement states that:

    It is acknowledged that when the employer only provides shared office space, subject to future changes made to the declaration of conditions of employment (T2200) form the Union and the Employer agree that the employee is required to work from home and will issue an appropriately completed T2200 indicating that more than 50% of work is done from home. All requests must be submitted to the appropriate Dean’s office by March 15 of each year, and signed by the Employer within 5 days of being submitted.

    For more information, see the following:

    Revenue Canada, Workspace in the Home Information
    Revenue Canada, T2200 Form Download

    Lead Steward Unit 1


    Laura Greenwood

    Laura Greenwood

    They/She| Lead Steward Unit 1 | steward1@cupe3908.org

    Vice President Unit 1


    Brent Ryan Bellamy

    Brent Ryan Bellamy

    He/Him| Vice President Unit 1 | vp1@cupe3908.org