General Membership Meeting – June 26th

Our next General Membership Meeting (GMM) is happening this Saturday from 10AM-12PM. We encourage all CUPE members to join! If you are interested in getting involved with the union, coming to a GMM is the best way to start. 

During this meeting, we will be giving an update on the union’s activities, a financial report,  nominations for nine positions, and will discuss any other concerns or issues members may have. The following positions are up for election: 

  • Vice President
  • Treasurer
  • Chief Steward
  • Health and Safety Officer
  • 89 Chestnut Representative
  • Faculty Club Representative
  • Full-Time/Part-Time Representative
  • UofT Press Representative
  • Casual Unit Representative

Nominations will be held at the meeting. If a position is contested (more than two people), a formal election will be held at the next GMM in October. To learn more about the positions, please consult our bylaws here

Here is the final agenda for the meeting: 

  1. Roll call of officers
  2. Reading of the Equality Statement
  3. Reading and approval of minutes of the previous meeting
  4. Treasurer’s report and approving expenditures
  5. Executive Board report
  6. Nominations for: 9 Positions Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, 89 Chestnut Rep, Faculty Club Rep, Health and safety officer, Full Time/ Part Time Rep, UofT press Unit Rep, Casual Unit Rep, Chief Steward 
  7. Unfinished business 
  8. New Business


The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. The link can be found here at the bottom of the email. 

Hope to see you there! Let us know if you have any questions. 

Correction for 1% Retroactive Wage Increase

Main Unit Full-Time/Part-Time,

This is an update regarding our 1% wage increase retroactively starting from July 1st, 2020. The employer has informed us that they have processed the retro-pay on the 1st of June; however, this payment will be applied to the members on the next pay cycle within June 2021.

The Union apologizes for this mistake and any inconvenience this may have caused.

CUPE 3261 Executive

1% Retroactive Wage Increase

To all Full-Time/Part-Time members of the main bargaining unit and 89 Chestnut members,

The Union has negotiated with the University a 1% wage increase, retroactive to July 1st, 2020, for all members of your two units. This retroactive pay, which applies to any hours worked from July 1st, 2020 to the present, will be received as a lump sum added to your first paycheque in June.

If you would like to read the Memorandum of Agreement that was signed by the Union and University in full, you can find it here. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Local using any of the methods listed below.

CUPE 3261 Executive

Service Worker Study

Dear CUPE 3261 Members,

A research study at the University of Toronto is looking for volunteers to participate in an interview regarding work and the impact of COVID-19.

The interview will be one hour and you will receive a $30 gift card for your participation.

Anybody in cleaning, food services, or security is encouraged to participate!

If interested, please email the study team at or call/text 416-317-9882.

CUPE 3261 Executive

More information below:

Update and Vaccine Rollout

Dear CUPE 3261 Members,

It’s been a challenging year for all of us, and we want all our members to know that our union is working hard for all members, and we are here for you if you have any questions or concerns. Many members continue to have important questions about when things will return to normal.

With the instability caused by the third wave, and the messy rollout of the vaccine, the union nor the university can guarantee a date for when normal operations will resume. As soon as we receive any updated information, we will inform you as soon as we can.  Please keep an eye out in your inbox and check our website periodically (

As far as we know, the university is committed to a safe return for September 2021 and is looking to resuming in-person instruction and other activities, with the possible exception of large-scale gatherings. The university expects to see most administrative and support workers returning in person at this time.

You can keep track of the University’s plans for reopening by visiting the “UTogether” website here.

For specific details on COVID-19 for staff, visit the HR and Equity website here: The University’s Response to COVID-19 – The Division of Human Resources and Equity (

In the event you require self-isolation due to symptoms or test positive for COVID, you must inform your supervisor. You should also email U of T’s Occupational Health Nurse at


Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible. The University will allow anyone who is getting vaccinated to get time off without loss of pay and will not count toward sick, vacation, or personal days. If you have a vaccination booked during work, please inform your supervisor or manager. 

With more vaccines on the way, the provincial government has announced that vaccination efforts during the month of May will be sped up. Here is the expected timeline: 

Week of May 3
• Individuals aged 50 and over
• Individuals aged 18 and up in hot spots
• High-risk health conditions
• Cannot work from home Group 1

Week of May 10
• Individuals aged 40 and over
• At-risk health conditions
• Cannot work from home Group 2

Week of May 17:
• Individuals aged 30 and over

Week of May 24
• Individuals aged 18 and over

To see if you’re in a hot spot, visit Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination plan | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario

How to get vaccinated? 
If you live in Toronto, you will likely book your appointment via the provincial portal. Visit COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated – City of Toronto

For Peel Region residents, book an appointment here:
Durham Region residents: Region of Durham (
York Region residents: COVID-19 Vaccinations Clinics | York Region

Everyone above the age of 40 is also eligible to receive the Astro-Zeneca vaccine, which you can receive through a pharmacy. Book your appointment here:

For those living in hot spots, you cannot book an appointment through the provincial portal unless you are above the age of 45. For those between 18-44 and living in hot spots, we encourage you to visit the vaccine website of your city (listed above) or the website of your closest hospital to see if they are offering vaccinations. 

Vaccine Webinar

CUPE National is hosting free informational webinars on the vaccines on May 4th and May 5th from 11am-1pm. The webinar will discuss the current vaccines available and how they exactly work. The aim is to help educate members to be better advocates for themselves and to understand the vaccination process better. There is a lot of misinformation going around right now and it’s important everyone know what is false and what is factual. 

If you are interested, please register here: 

Other News

New Interim Chief Steward

We are happy to announce that Wilson Franco, currently our Full-time and Part-time Representative will be serving as temporary Chief Steward. Our previous Chief Steward Patty Varvouletos has stepped down. We thank her for her many years of service and the value she brought to our union and wish her continued success in the future. Wilson Franco was initially elected to the executive in the February General Membership Meeting. He is a maintenance technician at UTM and will be an invaluable addition to our team! Moving forward, he will work with stewards to address their concerns and an election for a new Chief Steward will be held this June. 

CUPE 3261 FT and PT members get 1% compensation increase

Good news! Full-time and part-time members ratified a 1-year rollover agreement (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). Now the University has agreed to re-open the agreement to add a 1% wage increase. This wage increase will be retroactively applied beginning July 1, 2020.

CUPE 3261 and our labour and student partner organizations have been working hard over the last year. In addition, the efforts of CUPE 3902 Unit 1 members to build strike-readiness has helped to boost worker power and solidarity on campus, and has also helped us welcome this good news. More information on their bargaining is available here:

We will update you as more details become available. Please read the University’s announcement here:

If you would like to speak to someone at the CUPE 3261 office, please call 416-946-7620, or email your president Allan James at

February 27 GMM Update

Thank you to everyone who attended the last General Membership Meeting. 

Here are a couple of updates from the meeting: 

  • We are happy to announce that Wilson Franco has been acclaimed as the Full-time/part-time Unit Representative. Wilson is a maintenance technician at UTM, and we are excited to have him as part of the executive team. Welcome, Wilson! 
  • We encourage members who are interested in joining the fight for decent work to join the next meeting for UofT’s Decent Work Chapter on March 11th from 6-8pm. If you are interested, please email us at The Decent Work chapter is about:
    • Minimum labour standards at U of T are winnable through a campaign approach – and can be coordinated to boost bargaining power
    • We can help boost the provincial campaign to win Paid Sick Leave for all workers in the ESA. This is about winning meaningful racial justice, as well as reducing community transmission.
    • Doing this campaign work now will position us well to organize members of our community (at U of T) to help get rid of anti-worker and anti-student governments
  • Members also discussed issues with lack of transparency by U of T on reporting cases of COVID-19. The union will continue working with the employer to make sure our members are informed and kept safe. 

Remember, if you feel unsafe at work, including for reasons related to COVID-19, you have a right to refuse. Talk to your union and inform your supervisor. 

All the best,

CUPE 3261

General Membership Meeting on February 27

Dear CUPE 3261 Members,

Your union is having its next General Membership Meeting on February 27th, 2021. The meeting will be held online via Zoom from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. 

Join the meeting with this link here. More information on how to join the Zoom meeting can be found below. 

We encourage all members to join! Even if you’ve never joined a meeting before, it’s a great way to learn more about what your union is doing, our financial position, the issues we’re facing, and opportunities for getting more involved. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions on any general workplace issues and share your thoughts on what the union should do. Remember, this is your union! 

Agenda for the Meeting: 

  1. Roll call of officers
  2. Reading of the Equality Statement
  3. Reading and approval of minutes of the previous meeting 
  4. Matters arising
  5. President’s report
  6. Nominations for full-time/part-time representative
  7. Unfinished Business
  8. New Business
  9. Adjournment

Position up for election
There is a vacancy in the executive for a Full-time/Part-time representative. We encourage any member who is passionate about fighting for better workplace conditions to run for the position! Nominations will be held at the meeting. If the nomination is contested, an election will be held at the following Membership Meeting in June. Feel free to consult the bylaws on page 13 under “Unit Representative” to learn more about the position. 

Holiday Message

Dear CUPE 3261 Members,

As we navigate through this pandemic it is very important to remember and remain hopeful for everything you have. The people you care about, your family and loved ones. When we are faced with adversity in our life, we have a choice to make.

We can choose to give up, or believe in the notion that our life is defined by the action we take.

I believe there is good in everyone, we sometimes let our ego take over in trying to convince ourselves about trivial things, or what society taught us to believe.

As a creation of excellence, let us not ignore our humanity and the true purpose of life. We all want to be loved, we all want to be accepted, we all must live and we all must die at some point, this is called life.

We live in an imperfect society, life isn’t always fair at times. Let’s not be defined by this, but by how we react to the challenges that are put in front of us. We all have the capacity to overcome anything we put our mind to, however, we must also be willing to put in the work to achieve this.

As this year comes to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all members Happy Holidays.

Stay safe. Looking forward to seeing you in 2021.

Respectfully yours,

Allan James
CUPE 3261 Executive

Cancellation of Holiday Parties + Gift Policy

Dear Members,

At our last General Membership Meeting held on October 31st 2020 via Zoom, we regrettably informed you that there will be no holiday parties this December 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions currently in effect. We are disappointed we cannot meet one another, but we are committed to doing our part to limit community transmission by following these restrictions.

Some members have asked if it is possible to hand out gift cards or gifts to all members this year. After reviewing the CUPE National constitution and direction from the CUPE National President’s office, it became clear to the CUPE 3261 Executive Committee that this is not possible.

While CUPE National advises us that we can order food at events to encourage member participation and socializing, we are not allowed to hand out gifts to members using union dues. The main purpose of union dues is to advance our collective union work: to improve our working conditions and lives, and to make sure the employer respects our rights at work.

We work for an institution that has enormous resources at its disposal. But each of us pays dues so that, as workers, we can pool together our resources to fight for fairness at work, enforce our collective agreement language, prepare bargaining campaigns, book off members to build our power in the workplace, campaign against contracting out of our work, and contribute to CUPE National’s staffing costs to get the support of staff such as Leanne, Preethy, CUPE Legal, CUPE Research, CUPE Education, CUPE Health & Safety and more. Unions also often make donations to organizations that are also fighting for workers. These are some of the reasons why CUPE National does not allow the spending of union dues on gifts. Additionally, there could also be risk of tax implications for our members and our local if we violate this rule.

We value the health and well-being of all our members and hope to resume holiday parties next year.

In solidarity and always with you,

CUPE 3261 Executive Committee