CUPE 2278 TA’s Mobilize for Strike at UBC

by Stephen Petrina on October 19, 2012

Teaching Assistants at the University of British Columbia, represented by CUPE 2278, will take a strike vote on Wednesday, 24 October. The University narrowly averted a TA strike in mid April (80% of the TAs in favour) through legal means of mediation.  Mediation predictably failed  and merely deferred job action.  Seven months later the union is once again mobilizing for a strike.  The University has fallen back on a comfortable  excuse that the graduate teaching assistants are net zero workers, and accordingly has offered 0%, 0%, 1.5%, 1.5% in increases to TA wages for the years 2010-2014.  As with CUPE 116, the university’s and government’s sentiment has been: ‘Let them negotiate, let them bargain,’ as long as they remain net zero workers.  For the TA’s facing tuition hikes and carrying increasing burdens of responsibility for the University, the 0%, 0%, 1.5%, 1.5% is blatantly unfair.  This is ever more the conclusion given that the University has been merely rolling over contracts for the TA union since 2005.