TAKE ACTION: Sign the Restore Services at RSU Petition

On Sunday, September 13, 2020 CUPE 1281 released a petition
calling on the Ryerson Students’ Union Executive Committee to restore their services and reinstate their employees now!

During the tenure of the new RSU Executive Committee 5
full-time unionized employees have received layoff notice. This includes; the Campus Groups Coordinator, CopyRITE Printing Service Manager, Events Coordinator, Graphic Design
Coordinator and Good Food Centre Coordinator.

CUPE 1281 is fighting back against these layoffs and has organized an online petition that you can sign here. Please sign and share the petition widely to let the RSU know that you stand in solidarity with workers and that you are against these layoffs.

#RestoreRSU #ServicesNotCuts

Open Letter to the RSU: Reinstate your employees now!

Tuesday July 7, 2020

Since the turnover of the Ryerson Students’ Union Executive Committee on May 1st, 2020, five full time employees who are members of CUPE 1281 have received layoff notices. The complement of full time unionized employees at this students’ union should be ten, but with two vacancies yet to be filled they are now reduced to only three. This is gutting the bargaining unit at this workplace. Two of the recently laid off members were offered to continue doing their jobs, but part-time and outside of the bargaining unit. This is union busting.

Laid off positions:

  • Campus Groups Coordinator
  • CopyRITE Printing Service Manager
  • Events Coordinator
  • Good Food Centre Coordinator
  • Graphic Designer Coordinator

    Across the university sector and with students’ unions specifically there have not been mass layoffs like this, even with the COVID-19 pandemic. The RSU has an obligation as a students’ union to adapt and continue to provide students with services and programming.

    The rationale for the layoffs was lack of work, but do students not need access to the Good Food Centre (food bank) which they pay a dedicated levy for? Is the RSU not planning on engaging students by running online events, programming, or seeking sponsorship? Will campus groups not need the normal support they receive or training on RSU procedures and good governance? Is there really a great reduction in graphics or design work to be done? Will students not need access to CopyRITE, the print shop run by the RSU or will they be ending all operations? We worry that students at Ryerson were not consulted about these drastic cuts to their services and will wonder what they are paying for. It seems that all ideas to offer alternatives to in person service or run online events were not even considered by RSU Management.

    For months now governments and economists have been cautioning against layoffs and encouraging employers to utilize wage subsidies to keep employees working as normal. This is a time where the economy should be strengthened by continuing full time employment wherever possible and yet the RSU makes this move to “restructure.” In an email to the RSU Board of Directors on June 22nd Ali Yousaf, RSU President, claims they are concerned about the RSU’s financial standing with a reduced enrollment forecast for the upcoming academic year. Remember this is after the RSU fees for the past year, which were not released by Ryerson University are now set to flow freely to the RSU because a new operating agreement with the university has been signed. The prediction that enrollment will drop in a substantial way this upcoming year is likely to be false as Ryerson saw an increase in enrollment for online courses for the Spring/Summer 2020 term. Jobs are scarce, travel is restricted, what else are people to do besides go to school and try to gain an edge with their qualifications and improve their skill sets.

    CUPE 1281 sees these layoffs as very problematic as we recently supported the RSU in their legal battle against Ryerson University, which the RSU won. Now seeing the RSU cut full-time unionized positions is beyond frustrating. Will the President of the RSU hire his friends to do these jobs? We don’t know but we urge full time students at Ryerson to monitor this situation closely. CUPE 1281 is demanding the RSU to recall our members to maintain the important services and programming they run to support students.

    RSU we are calling on you to reinstate your employees now!


    Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1281

  • COVID-19 Community Resources

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic, communities across Ontario have come together in solidarity to support one another through resource sharing. If you know any additional groups to add to our list please contact us at communications@cupe1281.ca.



    Durham Region












    Niagara Region









    CareMongering Peel






    The People’s Pantry


    CareMongering Windsor

    York Region

    CareMongering York Region

    CUPE 1281 Convention

    *Updated as of May 14, 2020*

    The CUPE 1281 Convention will take place on Monday, July 20, 2020 from 10 am to 4 pm. The CUPE 1281 Executive have made the tough decision to hold Convention online this year to ensure the safety of members and so that online preparations for the meeting can begin.

    Who can attend the CUPE 1281 Convention?

    Each sub-unit delegation consists of the sub-unit delegates elected from among the membership of the sub-unit. One delegate position is held by the Steward, and the others are determined according to the PBUs (number of positions in the bargaining unit ). Please see below for how many delegates your sub-unit is permitted to bring.

    1-5 PBUs = 1 delegate
    6-10 PBUs = 2 delegates
    11-20 PBUs = 3 delegates
    21-40 PBUs = 4 delegates
    41-80 PBUs = 5 delegates
    Sub-locals with 80 PBUs or more are entitled to 6 delegates

    Example: if your sub-unit has 15 members total (including the Steward), you are entitled to your Steward’s attendance plus 3 additional delegates, i.e. your total voting delegation will consist of 4 people.

    What elections and appointments will take place at the CUPE 1281 Convention?

    CUPE 1281 Executive positions

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Secretary-Treasurer
  • Recording Secretary
  • Two (2) Co-chief stewards
  • Communications Officer
  • Equity Officer

    CUPE 1281 Committee appointments

  • Membership Committee
  • Governance Committee
  • Organizing Committee

    CUPE 1281 Trustees

  • Trustee (Three-year position)
  • Trustee (Two-year position)
  • Trustee (One-year position)

    Delegates to District Labour Councils and CUPE Council

  • Toronto & York Region Labour Council (1 positions)
  • Ottawa District Labour Council (2 positions)
  • Hamilton District Labour Council (2 positions)
  • Peterborough District Labour Council (3 positions)
  • Guelph District Labour Council (3 positions)
  • Waterloo Regional Labour Council (1 position)
  • St. John’s Labour Council (1 position)
  • Kingston District Labour Council (1 position)
  • Windsor District Labour Council (1 position)
  • Peel Regional District Council (1 position)
  • Central Western Ontario District CUPE Council (Guelph and Waterloo) (2 delegates + 1 alternate)
  • Eastern Great Lakes District CUPE Council (Kingston) (4 delegates, unlimited alternates)
  • Durham Region Labour Council (2 positions + 2 alternates)
  • Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council (3 positions)
  • Toronto District CUPE Council (4 positions)
  • Ottawa District CUPE Council (4 positions)
  • Hamilton District CUPE Council (President + 3 delegates + 4 alternates)
  • Windsor District CUPE Council (2 positions)
  • Durham & Northumberland CUPE Council (4 positions, unlimited alternates)
  • Niagara District CUPE Council (2 delegates)
  • Region of Peel CUPE Council (3 delegates)

    Delegates to CLC events, CUPE events and committees

  • Canadian Labour Council Conference (1 delegate)
  • CUPE-Ontario Convention (President, 4 delegates, 1 retiree delegate)
  • CUPE-Ontario Racial Justice & Human Rights Conference (4 delegates)
  • CUPE-Ontario University Workers’ Coordinating Committee (2 delegates + 1 alternate)
  • CUPE National Convention (President + 2 delegates)

    The full listing of the CUPE 1281 Election Positions can be found here.

  • COVID-19 Resources for Workers

    We are living in challenging and fluctuating times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Responses by the government and our employers mean major impacts will be felt by all workers in Canada. 

    Here are some resources that will help you navigate some of the issues. If you have any specific concerns regarding your CUPE 1281 Collective Agreement and a situation with your employer, please follow up with the Local or your Staff Representative.

    CUPE Coronavirus fact sheet: https://cupe.ca/coronavirus

    Government links

    Union COVID-19 resource links

    Related resources


    This is a check list for people in work that is necessary for operations to continue, where there is the expectation from the employer to continue to go to the workplace, or for work to continue remotely but you cannot maintain full levels of productivity. Even though we disagree with the direction such as this, workers should be following directives from their employer to file sick leave, vacation, sick bank, overtime bank, personal days, and the like to stay home and not work if they are needing to.

    Direction to employees in this position:

    1. Collect all correspondence with employer.
    2. Mark every day why you are home and why the employer thinks you are at home (sick leave, vacation, personal days, etc.)
    3. Mark why you decided to stay home (childcare, self-isolation, sick, etc.). This will not be shared with employer, but the union will be collecting the information to file grievances and other complaints later.

    The goal is to get those days back from the employer.

    Employment Insurance

    Official Employment Insurance links

    The federal EI program has waived the one week waiting period and have set-up call lines to deal with the influx:

    •         Canada EI Notice on COVID-19
    •         EI Sickness benefit
    •         Make sure the local reviewed the CA and ensure the employer is following it.
    •         Be advised that there is already a delay receiving EI payments.
    •         The length of time will impact members depending on how long the wait is to receive the ROE and start receiving EI payments.

    Questions to ask Employers

    1.   How long will it take for ER to issue ROEs?
    2.   Has the employer announced a full closure or is this just a group?
    3.   Who will be providing this service if the employer is still open?
    4.   If this is an outsourced service, how will the central employer be continuing to provide this service? How?
    5.   Will laid-off employees be approached to provide in-house services?

    Additional resources

    CUPE Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee

    Statement regarding Ryerson University’s termination of RSU Operating Agreement

    February 11, 2020

    CUPE Local 1281 strongly condemns the actions that Ryerson University has taken to sever all ties with the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU). This drastic measure starves the RSU of the fees that full time undergraduate students and all graduate students pay to their students’ union.This action also prevents these students from accessing advocacy services, important equity service centres like the Centre for Women and Trans People, Rye Pride, the Racialised Students Collective, Rye Access, Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support, and the Good Food Room are all jeopardy. 

    Ryerson University, because of their extreme decision to terminate the operation agreement with the RSU, is attempting to force the dissolution of a decades old community stronghold that employs eight full time staff who are members of CUPE 1281. Employees of the RSU are the original chartered members of CUPE 1281 from 1974. Our members should be able to continue to do their jobs; it’s inappropriate for the university to intervene this way and to put their jobs at risk.

    We stand with Ryerson students who deserve an autonomous students’ union that’s free to critique and challenge the University administration. Currently, Ryerson University is trying to set up a new student “government” with appointed students to determine it’s organizational structure, while the RSU is running it’s annual general elections without access to it’s membership lists because the university will not release them. This is a problem.

    We call on Ryerson University to re-open communications with the RSU, to fairly negotiate an operational agreement, and release the levy fees to the RSU so that their important services and advocacy can continue to support Ryerson students and the community at large.

    For more information contact Lyndall Musselman, President of CUPE Local 1281


    CUPE 1281 response to concerning CMG emails

    On Friday December 20, 2019, outgoing members of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) executive board made a number of incendiary and unfounded allegations against our unionized CMG staff, CUPE 1281 and our CUPE National Staff Representatives.  Such needlessly inflammatory statements do nothing to bring the Parties closer to concluding a  Collective Agreement that’s been outstanding since 2016 nor to repair a relationship frayed by months of hard line concessionary bargaining that took aim at cornerstone entitlements such as severance on retirement and sick leave. 

    Unionized workers are entitled to mobilize for a fair deal. Union staffers are no exception. Our campaign, which focused on the personal experiences of our members was true, accurate and always respectful. We continue to stand by the campaign and our members at CMG as they continue to bargain for a fair deal in the New Year, with a new CMG management team. 

    For more information, please contact CMG 1281 CUPE Steward Deb Hong at CMGSteward@gmail.com

    CUPE 1281 is Fighting Back Against the Ford PSE Agenda


    “CUPE 1281 is Fighting Back Against the Ford PSE Agenda”


    For Immediate Release

    January 27th, 2019

    The Executive of CUPE Local 1281 joins the chorus of  post-secondary students and workers on post-secondary education campuses to condemn the attacks from the Ford Government announced on January 17th. University and college students in Ontario now face a precarious and defunded future pursuing their education.

    Meanwhile, our members, many of whom are employed by students’ unions or other student run organizations on university campuses, are forced to consider whether or not their workplaces will survive the new Ford Government mandate to make their student levies optional. CUPE Local 1281 sees this announcement as a blatant attack on students’ rights, important services for equity seeking student groups, and our members’ jobs. Moreover, this new directive by the Ford Government is but one part of a wider undermining of the social safety net of the Province, adding to already under attack areas ranging from social assistance to health care.

    Our Local will fight back and do all that we can to support students’ right to organize and ensure post-secondary education in Ontario is not pushed out of reach or made unsafe for marginalized students or those coming from low-income backgrounds.

    To our fellow organizers across the Province, we call for unity and diversity in action against the direct and consistent offensives of the Ford regime. Together, we will win.


    For more information, contact:
    Naila Lalji, CUPE Local 1281 President
    Tel: 416-551-0057


    CUPE 1281 Convention

    CUPE 1281 convention is around the corner: Monday June 4, 2018.

    If you’ve been thinking of getting more involved with your union, there are a number of opportunities that you can put your name forward for! Positions elected at convention will include:

    Read More