UBC TAs: “I strike for 2 hours and I TA for 2 hours”

by Stephen Petrina on November 6, 2012

CUPE 2278 President Trish Everett advises pickets at the Physics Building

CUPE 2278 Teaching Assistants at the University of British Columbia are continuing with rolling pickets across campus and the picket lines continue to grow. Pickets at the IK Barber Centre / Library on Friday and the Physics Building on Monday drew large numbers of 2278 members, supporters, and students refusing to cross the picket lines. ┬áThe Union’s Bargaining Team heads into mediation with Vince Ready today. “In the mean time,” the Union advises, “job action on campus will continue.”

One graduate student summed up the situation: “I strike for 2 hours and I TA for 2 hours.” She is joined by hundreds who have now moved on to the picket lines. Another decried: “I love being a student but my bank account does not.” CUPE 2278’s information leaflets indicate the basic issues for bargaining and striking: A fair wage increase; Tuition waiver to protect increases from immediate claw back; TA job security for the graduate students; and child-care assistance. Child-care fees on campus have risen by 20% while TA wage have remained stagnant or lost ground to inflation over the past seven years. Geography TA Alejandro Cervantes explained these challenges: “The yearly fee for daycare is more than I get as a TA.”

See Videos and Slides:

CUPE 2278 Graduate Teaching Assistants Picket Line (Physics Building) at the University of British Columbia, 5 November 2012 (SlideShow) Election mix… oh well!