Sessional Instructors

UPDATE: Sessionals have Voted to Unionize!

In December, sessional instructors at UW voted overwhelmingly to unionize. This has been certified by the labour board.

This was truly a team effort - from the group of UW academic workers who met with union organizers from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) a couple of years ago, to the many OrganizeUW volunteers and supporters who have contributed since then in so many important ways, to all the Sessional Instructors who voted in an overwhelming majority to unionize – what an incredible achievement!

What’s next?

Stay tuned for details of a celebration of Sessionals’ new union and the scheduling of their first union meeting. Once Sessionals have had their first union meeting and elected their union leadership, we’ll have more news to share.

In the meantime, we ask all Sessionals who are not getting updates to their personal / non-UW email address to please email us at It’s very important for all Sessionals to have access to these updates and union meeting notices.

Please also join us in thanking the GSA for their continued support of OrganizeUW. The GSA’s endorsement and ongoing support of our collective work is invaluable.

Lastly, let’s continue to build on our collective success by supporting the ongoing work of OrganizeUW with TAs and RAs. We look forward to the day when TAs and RAs join Sessionals as unionized workers. To that end, we’re always looking for new Organizers and there truly is a role for everyone. We’d love to hear from you at

When reading the information below, keep in mind that much of it is now out of date.

Who we are

As sessional instructors at UWaterloo, we began this organizing drive to bring our workplace up to the standards of other Ontario Universities.

We are instructors from all departments working together to create a better workplace for everyone.

What can I do to help?

The first step is to sign a union card, which you can do at At least 40% of all sessional instructors must sign a card before a vote can happen. Your card is confidential, and the employer will never know who signed cards. But unless you sign a card, there cannot be a vote.

Why organize?

Sessional instructors at other Ontario universities have:

  • Health Benefits
  • Paid parental leaves
  • Paid medical leaves and sick days
  • A transparent hiring process
  • Financial support for professional development
  • Representation on university committees impacting sessional working conditions
  • Better job security
  • Higher wages
  • Regular wage increases
  • No clawbacks from grants or scholarships
  • Better protection from harassment and discrimination
  • Free legal support for workplace issues
  • Ability to make a complaint without fear of reprisal

Why Not Waterloo?

Waterloo is a world-class university. It is time sessional instructors got treated as well as sessionals at other universities in the province.

What is CUPE?

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is the largest union in the country for university workers and has the best collective agreements for academics employed part-time and or through contracts.

We will elect our own executive and bargaining committee here at UWaterloo and will have our own collective agreement just for sessional instructors.

We will be surveyed on priorities, will vote on what goes to the bargaining table and will vote on any agreement made.

CUPE will provide many supports, but we at UWaterloo will make the decisions.