Organize University of Waterloo

Sign-up for membership in the union if you are working at the University of Waterloo as a:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Graduate Research Assistant
  • Sessional Instructor (click for more info)

If you are ready to sign a card, click the appropriate link:

I am a TA/RA and ready to sign!

I am a Sessional and ready to sign!
I still need more information…

Contact an organizer directly

Committee to Organize uWaterloo

Committee to Organize uWaterloo

supported by CUPE

Organize uWaterloo

The Committee to Organize uWaterloo (aka OrganizeUW or OUW) is a grassroots campaign to unionize the academic workers at the University of Waterloo (UW). It was started in March 2020 by a group of graduate students hoping to make Waterloo a better place to work, and the movement has been growing ever since!

You can sign a union card if you are working as a:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA)
  • Graduate Research Assistant (RA)
  • Sessional/Contract/Adjunct Instructor

OrganizeUW is proudly supported by the Canadian Union of Public Employees. With over 700,000 members nation-wide, CUPE is Canada's largest union and a leader in the post-secondary education sector.

The primary aim of the organizing committee is to:

To build an inclusive OrganizeUW where human rights are built into everything we do, including in how we operate our current drive and what we plan for our future union local. By focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion we hope to make our spaces open, diverse, fair, equitable, representative, and ultimately incompatible with white supremacy and patriarchy. Only by ensuring full, meaningful, and equitable chances for everyone to participate in our grassroots group can we hope to build a successful union movement that will truly improve the lives of everyone at UW.

Our principles and goals for this campaign have been outlined by the OUW Committee for Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and can be found in full here.

Events & Talks

Recent and upcoming webinars, social events, info tables, and more!

A Union for UW Sessionals - Meet & Greet *Re-Boot!*

Calling All Sessional Instructors! Sessionals at UW are Unionizing, and we're stoked! Find out how, why, and what this means for each of us. Come meet the OrganizeUW Sessional Team you've been hearing from via email, plus other sessionals who are already unionized and can tell you all about it. There'll be refreshments, door prizes, and lots of fun, because – heh – it’s on a Monday.

Town Hall with UW Faculty Supporters

Join members of UWaterloo’s Faculty to learn about the ways in which their research and participation in academia fosters support for union presence at their home institution, as well as how unionization efforts can enhance course delivery and research at UWaterloo.

GSA Outdoor Movie Night & Scavenger Hunt

The GSA is hosting an outdoor movie night, with free popcorn supplied by OrganizeUW. Before the movie you can grab dinner or drinks at the Grad House, win some prizes in the scavenger hunt, and stop by our Info Table to learn more about the campaign for better working conditions at UW, sign a union card, and snag some swag.

Ice cream day - Get the scoop on OrganizeUW!

Beat the heat with a frosty treat! Want free ice cream and a chance to improve the working lives of all UWaterloo TAs, RAs and Sessionals? You and your family are invited to join us for a free ice cream this Thursday, Aug 12, between 4-7pm at Scoop du Jour in uptown Waterloo.

Recent News

FAQs

Want TAs, RAs and Sessionals to be consulted in the next campus reopening? Unionize!

On January 20th, an email was sent out to the UW Employees contact list by Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, and James W. E. Rush, Vice-President, Academic and Provost, to provide employees the chance to give feedback on the February return to campus plan. In text, the email was addressed to the UW Community. Didn't get that email as a graduate student worker (i.e., TA or RA)? Guess you aren’t considered a UW Employee.

Calling all faculty! Union Q&A with FAUW (Q&A|FAUW Blog)

Who is OrganizeUW? What happens once TAs, RAs, and sessionals unionize? Could student-faculty relationships be impacted? How can faculty best offer support? As a prof, lecturer, or other faculty member, you may be wondering what unionization would look like at UW and how it could impact you. In our new guest post on the FAUW Blog we work to directly address such questions and concerns. We also list some easy ways you can help, including spreading the word and filling in our quick form to register your support. Click here for the link to the full post!

COVID-19 health and safety measures for in-person events

Protecting the health and safety of all attendees, organizers, and the broader community is of the utmost importance to OrganizeUW. While our union drive has been almost entirely digital for over a year, we have slowly begun holding more in-person events as public health restrictions allow and best practices shift. This post outlines the current safety procedures in place for organizers and visitors at all in-person events, in accordance with current local and provincial public health restrictions. Please take note of these measures when planning your visit!

Scholarships awarded should be scholarships paid - #WhyNotWaterloo?

The next blog post in our ongoing series tackles the issue of unfair pay practices. This spring, UW announced a TA pay raise from $33.89 to $45/hour. But because it engages in scholarship clawbacks to offset such increases, as a grad TAs you will very likely see zero increase, or even a slight reduction, in your take home pay. But did you know that grads at other universities get to keep their scholarship pay regardless of their work? So #WhyNotWaterloo? This unfair, exploitative, and potentially illegal practice doesn’t happen where TAs have a union. Read on to learn more and find out how you can take action to protect your pay raise from university clawbacks.

UW working conditions creating mental health crisis for graduate students (Story|insideWaterloo)

OrganizeUW calls out the University of Waterloo with new survey data suggesting graduate students are doing much worse now than before the start of the pandemic

Campaign endorsements

Campus organizations continue to pass resolutions to endorse the grassroots campaign to unionize graduate student and sessional workers at the University of Waterloo. Read on to learn more about who has supported us and how we're teaming up to spread the word across campus!

Contact

Send a question directly to an organizer

Get in touch

Send us an email or DM us via social media and an organizer will contact you directly.

All inquiries are kept confidential.

Stay up to date

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to get the latest news/updates, including upcoming events, helpful tips and info, sneak peeks behind the scenes, and more!

#OrganizeUW #WhyNotWaterloo #WaterlooWorksBecauseWeDo #joinCUPE

Weekly in-person meet-up (Stammtisch)

TAs, RAs, and Sessional Instructors - We want to meet you!

Join on Mondays at the Graduate House from 5:00-7:00PM for Stammtisch.

What is a “Stammtisch”? Stammtisch (German for “regulars’ table”,ˈʃtamtɪʃ) is an informal group meeting held on a regular basis. It is not a structured meeting, but rather a friendly get-together.

In other words, it’s a great chance to kick back and relax. You’ll make new friends, meet your co-workers and have lots of fun!

Other ways to reach us

Want to learn more, but can't make it to Stammtisch or prefer to meet individually/online? No problem! Let us know and we will gladly set up a video call or coffee chat with an organizer at a time and place that works for you.


Talk to you soon!