Signs are pointing to a full strike by Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) at the University of British Columbia within a week. The GTAs’ bargaining unit, CUPE 2278, put its members on alert and is taking measures to train picket captains for successful job action. In the meantime, the University is calling the escalation “perplexing,” despite its longstanding wage freeze / cut for the students under rising costs to their graduate programs, exploitive working conditions, and rolled over contracts.
Routinely, the University has placed the Vice Provost and AVP Academic Affairs, this time Anna Kindler, in charge of the notorious Ad Hoc Senate Strike Preparedness Committee. Following the CUPE 2278 strike in 2003, UBC’s Senate rushed through a series of changes to the University’s Strike Policy and Guidelines and the charge of the Strike Preparedness Committee is to enforce the new policy guide. In 2003, many faculty and students felt intimidated by the University in its use of the policy guide in a “captive audience” workplace setting to maintain business as usual against union job action, including the full 2278 strike.