I am a 2021-22 UTM postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT). I have been a long-time member of CUPE, first as a PhD student at York University in CUPE3903 (walking the picket line on two strikes) and then as contract faculty in Unit 3 at U of T. I am also on the Joint Sustainability Committee with U of T. I am excited at the possibility of serving postdocs as the Vice Chair; after a few years with a heavy teaching load in Unit 3, I am now focused on research, which also means I have more time for other activities, like being more involved with the union.
Postdocs are a diverse group, from the sciences to the humanities. My aim as vice-chair would be to help develop a collective voice for the unit, which is especially important right now as the current collective agreement expires at the end of next year. In the short-term, I believe the place to start is the CUPE website for Unit 5. My goal for the balance of the year (to the end of April) would be to work on the Unit 5 member guide as well as a Welcome Letter to new postdocs. Most of the information we as postdocs receive come from the university, but the union is an important voice in our work at the university. To that end, I would also like to see the union become more proactive organizing information sessions and professional development workshops. One of my first tasks as vice-chair would be to solicit responses from members as to what kinds of professional development resources they are looking for and then draw on the resources we have as a union to run workshops. These would be my three main priorities as vice-chair, in addition to the business of representing postdocs at CUPE3902 meetings and addressing any grievances or issues that you have.