Technical issues, troubleshooting, and privacy

How do I sign a union card?

Click here to check our our new step-by-step tutorial on how to sign a card! It doesn't just explain the steps, but also gives advice on how to fill out certain fields (based on common questions we get). There's also a helpful short video on the Adobe Sign process (covers Adobe Sign aspects of Steps 3-6.).

I got an email newsletter that says I “forgot to sign” my card. What does that mean?

Due to Ontario Labour Board requirements, signing a card is a two-part process. First there is the online form on our website, and then there is a second step, which involves using Adobe Sign to sign the PDF union card. If you got this email, it means that you don't appear to have a signed card in our records. This could be for a number of reasons. First check out the steps in our new tutorial, “How To Sign A Card”. It may seem like a lot of steps, but signing a card actually only takes a few minutes.

Once you know how far you got, then this will help you know if you should either:

  • a) Finish up the process by completing additional steps you didn't get to (e.g. opening the card email, finalizing the signature), or
  • b) Troubleshoot, if you completed all steps but something went wrong along the way (see next two FAQs below).

At any time, if you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. This FAQ is provided as only one option for resolving issues. We're always happy to connect with you directly if preferred.

I filled out the sign-up form, but I didn't get an email with the electronic card to sign. What should I do?

Before continuing, please check out the tutorial on “How To Sign A Card”, which explains the steps and has lots of helpful screenshots and information. It may be that you missed a small step along the way.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Make sure you gave an email address on the card request form - a valid email is required to be able to receive the card.
  2. Look through your inbox, junk/spam folder, or any emails that might be filtered out of your main inbox by your email provider, such as by Gmail's inbox categories (e.g. “Updates, Social, Forums, Promotions”) or Outlook's Focused Inbox, Clutter or Sweep features.
  3. The sender's address will be echosign@echosign.com and the subject line will start with Signature requested on: “Form….
  4. However, because the sender name appears varies–it may show a CUPE staffer's name, “Canadian Union of Public Employees” or something similar–if you don't see the email, it is best to do a search for “echosign,” “Adobe Sign,” or “Signature requested.”
  5. If you used your UW email address and searching does not turn anything up, it could be that UW filtered out the email (we have had intermittent reports of this). You may want to re-submit the card request with a different email.
  6. Consider how long it's been since you put in your request. While emails are typically prompt, if it's been less than a week, there could be a short delay on CUPE's side. The Board's requirements mean that most steps beyond the very first in the card-signing process still require manual processing, i.e. actual humans need to trigger them. In addition, the pandemic has caused wide-spread, significant disruption in workplaces, which means a heavy workload for CUPE supporting their members. This can cause some delays, and sometimes staff will issue a bunch of card emails in a batch. Please be patient and understanding and leave some time before inquiring :).
  7. If you aren't sure if you filled out the card request form correctly, or you suspect UW filtered your card, the quickest and easiest solution is to simply re-submit it. Make sure the second time to give a non-UW email, plus a backup way to contact you (e.g. cell phone, second email) if there are any more issues with your card.
  8. Finally, if you have already re-submitted once before, have troubleshooted as outlined above, it's been more than 1-2 weeks since the new request, and you still haven't gotten an email with a card – please contact us and we'll gladly check into it for you!!

Don't worry about your name being there twice, or not being counted. Like Santa's elves, organizers periodically check the list to fix issues, including merging duplicates. We also send out periodic reminder emails to people who filled out the online form (part 1), but do not appear to have a completed card on file (part 2). This is to help make sure no one who wanted to sign falls through the cracks. If you get such an email from us (see FAQ above), this is why! :)

At any time, if you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. This FAQ is provided as only one option for resolving issues. We're always happy to connect with you directly if preferred.

I signed my card using Adobe Sign, but I didn't get a confirmation email. What should I do?

Before continuing, please check out the tutorial on “How To Sign A Card”, which explains the steps and has lots of helpful screenshots and information. It may be that you missed a small step along the way.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. First try clicking the link in the initial card email to “review and sign” the PDF again. If it allows you to do so, this means it was not completed the first time around, either because the signature was not “applied” and then also “signed” (see first FAQ, above), or because of a technical issue. In case it is the latter, it may be best to try a different signing method the second time (e.g. signing on your phone instead of typing your signature) as a precaution.
  2. However, if this gives an error message like “This document has already been signed”, it means the card should have been successfully transmitted.
  3. Look through your inbox, junk/spam folder, or any emails that might be filtered out of your main inbox by your email provider, such as by Gmail's inbox categories (e.g. “Updates, Social, Forums, Promotions”) or Outlook's Focused Inbox, Clutter or Sweep features.
  4. The sender's address will be echosign@echosign.com and the subject line will start with Completed: “Form….
  5. However, because the sender name appears varies–it may show a CUPE staffer's name, “Canadian Union of Public Employees” or something similar–if you don't see the email, it is best to do a search for “echosign” “Adobe Sign,” or “Completed form.”
  6. If you used your UW email address and searching does not turn anything up, it could be that UW filtered out the email (we have had intermittent reports of this). You may want to re-submit a new card request with a different email, or contact us to check if we tried to send you the confirmation.
  7. Consider how long it's been since you signed the card. While emails are typically prompt, if it's been less than a week, there could be a short delay on CUPE's side. The confirmation email is not sent until the document is finalized, which happens only once both parties (i.e. you and a union representative) have signed. Even though we're able to use digital tools to aid us, the Board's requirements mean that most steps beyond the first in the card-signing process still require manual processing, i.e. actual humans need to trigger them. In addition, the pandemic has caused wide-spread, significant disruption in workplaces, which means a heavy workload for CUPE supporting their members. This can cause some delays, and sometimes staff will sign off on a bunch of cards in a batch. Please be patient and understanding and leave some time before inquiring :).
  8. Nevertheless, if it's been a few weeks and you haven't gotten the confirmation email, you can either re-do the initial card request form or contact us. We will gladly check if your card was received, and CUPE clerical can re-send the confirmation email or generate a new card if needed.

Don't worry about your name being there twice, or not being counted. Like Santa's elves, organizers periodically check the list to fix issues, including merging duplicates. We also send out periodic reminder emails to people who filled out the online form (part 1), but do not appear to have a completed card on file (part 2). This is to help make sure no one who wanted to sign falls through the cracks. If you get such an email from us (see FAQ above), this is why! :)

At any time, if you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. This FAQ is provided as only one option for resolving issues. We're always happy to connect with you directly if preferred.

I experienced another tech issue not mentioned here/I want to report a bug

To report a bug/problem with our website, sign-up form, Adobe Sign, or another tehnical issue, we would be really grateful to hear from you. You may also wish to check out Adobe Sign's help resources at Adobe Sign Learn & Support.

I don't want to/can't sign a digital card. Can I sign a paper one instead?

Yes! If you don't feel comfortable signing a digital card for whatever reason, we also have traditional paper cards available. [Email us]((mailto:organizeuw@joincupe.org) and we can find a way to get one to you.

Waterloo Region & GTAOther locations
Contactless dropoff/pickupSend by mail with a pre-paid return envelope
Send by mail with a pre-paid return envelope

The advice in this tutorial would still apply as to how to fill out the fields in the card.

Can I request extra paper cards to share with others?

Yes! You can request extra paper cards if you have colleagues, classmates, or friends who want to sign too. It is also possible to host an in-person outreach event, as long as all public health restrictions in your area are adhered to. For more info check out this section of the Volunteer FAQ. We also have general posts on card-signing and volunteering.

What information do I need to provide to sign a card?

There are two steps to signing a card.

  1. When filling out the initial card request form, you will need to submit at least your name and email.
  • We recommend providing a non-UW personal email, since it makes sure the card doesn't get filtered out by UW's email filters (we've had intermittent reports of this), and because it protects your privacy (keeps union-related emails off UW servers!. However, you may use your UW email if you prefer.
  • We also recommend providing a backup contact method (e.g. cell phone, secondary email) so organizers can contact you if there are any issues with your card.
  • All other information on the form is optional. We ask for it since knowing more about who is signing cards (e.g. department, faculty, job title, student status) helps us gauge progress towards our goal and better target our outreach efforts (we are a small, student-led, volunteer team!).

Important: Email address is not designated as a required field on the form, but this is due to a technical limitation in our system, which needs to be able to capture workers who sign paper cards or who don't have an email address. Because this drive is digital, however, we need an email to send you your digital card!

  1. Once you receive the PDF card, please fill in all fields to the best of your ability/comfort level. This is important because the official card will be used by the Labour Board to verify your identity and eligibility, and thereby protect the integrity of the process. Once we file our application (including sending in a copy of all cards), UW will also separately submit their employee list, and OLRB staff will then go down the list line-by-line and reconcile/match them.

The OLRB needs this information for three reasons:

  1. To confirm that you are who you say you are.
  2. To confirm that you are an eligible employee at UW.
  3. To be able to contact you with instructions about the vote, if needed.

\1. and 2. are key to determining if we have collected enough valid cards to meet the legal threshold to trigger the final e-Vote on unionization, which also determines whether you will be eligible to vote. And 3. essentially helps ensure you can actually exercise your right to vote!

What do I put for “Employer” and “Employer Address”? Should I include my building/office, granting agency, etc.?

For the great majority of people signing a card, your employer and their address will simply be:

University of Waterloo
200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

These sections are meant for recording which employer you work for, at which you want to join CUPE in order to unionize. “Employer” is your official, legal employer, and “Address” refers to their main location, i.e. corporate or HR headquarters. Therefore, this applies even if you are are working for UW remotely, in multiple buildings/areas/campuses, in a joint program, or at the site of an affiliated institute, as well as if you don't have a written or formal signed contract.

Please do not write the name of your faculty/department/school, lab/thesis supervisor, granting/funding agency, etc. or the address of your specific worksite (building/office). The former are not your official employer, but rather people who may supervise you, facilitate your pay, or indirectly fund your work. Similarly, the latter is your exact location as an individual worker, not of UW as a corporate entity under the law. Basically it doesn't matter where the funding for your position originally came from (whether grant, assistantship, etc.), but rather the entity who issues your paycheque (and T4 tax forms!).

Here is a handy formula:

If you get money (wages or salary) + paid via UW (payroll/direct deposit/WorkDay/HR or cheque/deposit/UW Finance) + in exchange for academic work (labour) = UW is your employer!

Note: even if you gave a building/office number, CUPE and OUW won't send you mail or anything at work. This is to maintain your privacy as a union member. In addition, work locations can change frequently and many (if not most) university workers don't have individual offices. This is why giving your home address is much more important. It stays more constant and we can use it to contact you in private regarding any important union matters (such as the final e-Vote, see FAQ above).

For more info check out our FAQ on eligibility and/or email us if you need more clarification about who is officially your employer and where they are located.

How will my personal information be used?

OrganizeUW only uses your email and contact information information in the following ways:

  1. For CUPE clerical to send you the initial card and the final confirmation of signing by email;
  2. For an organizer, CUPE clerical staff person, or Labour Board Officer to contact you if there are any issues with the card-signing process, or if needed in administering your card, as it pertains to the application to the Labour Board or subsequent ratification vote; and
  3. To send occasional newsletter updates from OrganizeUW. You can unsubscribe from email updates at any time.

Optional academic demographic information you choose to provide, such as department/school/institute, faculty, job title, student or employee status, degree program, level of study, etc. is only used to help inform our campaign strategy. In other words, it helps us gauge progress towards our goal and better target our outreach efforts. All information is kept internal to the campaign and not shared.

How is my privacy protected?

The confidentiality of the vote and card signer information is protected by law. No one will ever know how you voted and at no time before, during, or after the process will your employer know whether or not you have signed a union membership card.

The union drive database of who has signed is closely guarded and all information is handled on a “need-to-know” basis. The only person who will know you signed is you, the person who asked you to sign (if applicable), a small group of key organizers, and eventually, Labour Board staff involved in adjuticating our application and administering the vote (see FAQ above). This is the same as it would be with signing a physical, paper card. OrganizeUW and CUPE will never share a list of who signed a card during the card campaign with any third party.

A Labour Board Officer conducts the final e-Vote and they ensure that there is no interference by the employer or union to intimidate or influence the vote. The voting process is confidential and is similar to provincial and federal elections. Neither union organizers/CUPE, nor UW, have access to the private voting information, since the vote is solely conducted by the Labour Board, who acts as a neutral party.

I have more questions about privacy. Who can I contact?

If you have any questions or concerns about privacy and your personal information as it relates to this union drive, please contact us. You may also wish to contact CUPE Ontario or the Ontario Labour Relations Board directly.

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