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 are eligible to 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 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.

The 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

Recent and upcoming webinars, town halls, socials, info tables, and more

Afternoon of Board Games

Join us for free food, refreshments, and swag starting at 2PM this Thursday. See you there!

TA/RA Orientation

Finding your way as a graduate student can be challenging. Hear from experienced TAs and RAs who will share what they’ve learned and what they wish they had known when they started at UW. You’ll also hear from UW graduate students about unionizing and how that can make things better at UW. Snacks and refreshments starting at 4 PM.

Meet the #OrganizeUW Team at the GSA Orientation

Meet the #OrganizeUW team next week at the GSA Orientation 😍 We’ll have a table at the GSA Services Fair happening on Tuesday, September 6 from 3:15 pm to 4:45 pm in the GSA Lounge (Student Life Centre, Room 3216).

Summer Fun Fair

Calling all TAs, RAs, and Sessional Instructors at the University of Waterloo! Join us for the OrganizeUW Summer Fun Fair happening this Friday, July 8 from 2 pm to 4 pm on the Waterloo campus at ML Green.

News

The latest blog posts, media coverage, announcements, and more

Sessional Filing Announcement

BREAKING NEWS: The OrganizeUW Sessionals’ union campaign has filed an application to certify our union at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB)! We've exceeded the requirement of 40% of Sessional Instructors signing union cards, demonstrating loud and clear that Sessionals at the University of Waterloo want to form a union!

'I'm a TA... so what?' (Opinion|Imprint)

Three graduate student organizers just published an Op-Ed in Imprint, the UWaterloo student newspaper, in which they discuss an important question: ‘Does UW have a Teaching Assistant problem?’ (Spoiler alert - the answer is yes). click here to read an excerpt and the link to the full opinion piece!

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.

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 (aka Stammtisch)

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

Join on Mondays at the Graduate House from 5:00pm onwards for Stammtisch.

What's that, you ask? Stammtisch (German for “regulars’ table”;ˈʃtamtɪʃ) is an informal group gathering held on a regular basis, at the same time and place. It's not a structured meeting, but rather a friendly get-together. Most often, the group will meet weekly at the same table in their favourite local restaurant or beer garden. And since our favourite watering hole is the Grad House, that's where you'll find us, every Monday!

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!