The candidate statements are below, listed in alphabetical order, along with the position they are running for. Please note that the (I) symbol indicates the incumbent candidate.
Please be reminded that a Q & A session with the candidates is scheduled for Friday, February 17 at 3:00 PM. All members are welcome to attend and ask questions. If a second session is arranged, we will let the membership know.
Akshay Chadha (for President)
I am Akshay, a Ph.D. candidate currently serving as GSA President & CEO. I completed my master’s from the University of Delhi, India, and worked as a software developer in E-commerce. During my term at GSA as general director (2017-19), VP Finance (2019-21), and GSA President (2021-23), I had an opportunity to manage GSA operations and participate in different committees.
I understand the concerns of undergraduate and graduate TAs/SLs, and as a CUPE president, my focus would be on the following areas to foster a healthy workspace:
- Review honorariums for the CUPE staff.
- Increase in current wages for TA and SL positions and wage increases aligns with inflation, retirement security, and protections against overwork.
- Increased benefits, focused on families struggling to meet end needs with kids.
- The underrepresented and marginalized communities, including women, BIPOC, LGBTQ2IA+, and members with disabilities, often require accommodations and sometimes feel discriminated against in the hiring process. I would establish EDI practices focused on fair and transparent hiring practices.
- Improved negotiations for the stronger financial security of the student-centric workforce.
- Tabling a job priority posting system for Master’s and Ph.D. students beyond their program limit.
- Protection against tuition increases for domestic and international students with a focus on reflective wage increases.
My diverse experience in an executive position, consistent advocacy, and financial literacy make me hopeful that I can fulfill the aspirations of CUPE members. Looking forward to representing and serving as CUPE President this year.
Scott Duchesne (I) (for President)
My name is Scott Duchesne. I am the current president of CUPE 3913. I have been a Unit 2 member (sessional instructor) since 2001, and I have been directly involved with the Union, beginning as a steward, since 2016. In that time, I have worked with dozens of Unit 1 members, primarily Graduate Teaching Assistants. I am proud to have a deep and ever evolving institutional knowledge of the University, and its history with our Union. I use it every day in my work as president.
In September of this year, CUPE 3913 will begin bargaining a new Collective Agreement with the University of Guelph. Among other items. we will be seeking higher wages, tuition reimbursement, greater mental health support, and job security. This is a complex and crucial process that requires training and practical experience as well as knowledge. I led our Union through the last round of negotiations in 2019 – 2020, and we won a number of important gains for both Units. We hope to be able to do the same this time around for you as well, and for future members.
In the three years after bargaining, I have established and maintained important connections to campus group and Unions. As well, I have been coordinating with other local presidents of CUPE academic locals across Ontario to increase our solidarity in bargaining.
I believe that my knowledge as a member and my experience as your president will make me a powerful voice for you in bargaining, and beyond.
Farhan Chowdhury (I) (For Unit 1 Steward)
Dear CUPE 3913 members,
I am writing to express my interest in running for the position of Unit 1 Steward in our local union once again which I have been serving for the past 3 years, and it has been an incredible privilege to represent and support our members in this role.
During my time, I have gained valuable experience in handling workplace issues, negotiating with management, and advocating for the rights of our members. I have been able to make a positive impact in the lives of our members.
I believe that my continued service in the position would be beneficial for our local union. I am passionate about representing our members and ensuring that their voices are heard. I have a deep understanding of the issues that are important to our members, and I am committed to advocating for their rights and interests.
In addition to my experience, I also bring a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and a commitment to teamwork to the role of Unit 1 Steward. I believe that by working together, we can achieve great things for our local union. I am confident that I have the ability to bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to our local union, and I am eager to work with you to build a stronger and more united CUPE 3913.
I hope that you will consider voting for me in the upcoming election. Thank you for your time and consideration.