CUPE BC Convention!

Your exec is at CUPE BC Convention this week advocating for the representation of young workers within CUPE and support for international students and BC’s universities. Below, CUPE National President Paul Moist addresses the delegation at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver this morning.



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Richmond IKEA still out on strike!

Teamsters Local 213 members at IKEA in Richmond have been locked out since May 2013 after the workers rejected IKEA’s proposed concessions. It is important to note that over 80% of IKEA workers currently make under $20.00 per hour and 40% make less than $13.00 per hour – $3.75 less than what First Call BC calculates as an hourly living wage for Metro Vancouver. IKEA’s proposals would make employees work 20 years before reaching the top of the pay scale, as well as reducing benefits and cutting hours of work.

Workers are still standing strong just to defend the wages and benefits they already had, while IKEA is making record profits.

There are two simple things you can do to show your support for locked out IKEA workers:

1. Do not shop at IKEA. It’s important to avoid shopping at any IKEA location or online because IKEA is not franchised. All locations are owned by the parent company so shopping at either helps the company profit at the expense of the employees.
2. If you use Twitter, join in the Twitter campaign by replying to tweets from @IKEACanada and using the hashtag #HouseRules. Here are some example tweets suggested by Teamsters 213:

• #HouseRules @IKEACanada mean unfairness to workers
• @IKEACanada’s #Houserules mean making more and asking employees to go with less
• #HouseRules @IKEACanada has locked out Richmond workers for over 300 days
• My #HouseRules mean I don’t shop at @IKEACanada while they lock out their workers

Thank you for supporting these workers who have spent nearly a year on the picket line by sending a strong message to IKEA that their treatment is unfair.

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“Open Table” Wednesdays, April 9th and 16th

Join us Wednesday, April 9th or Wednesday, April 16th for the union’s “open table” from 4 to 6 at Koerner’s Pub.  This is an opportunity for members to informally meet with members of the executive to discuss whatever work-related issues or concerns are on their minds.

Stop by anytime between 4 and 6 to ask a question, to talk about TA work in your department, or to comment on other work-related matters and we will buy you a beverage for your troubles!  All discussion will remain strictly confidential.

Look for the bright orange “CUPE 2278, TA Union” sign.  Come on down if there’s anything that needs answering!

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Spring issue of the Steward is out

THE STEWARD SPRING 2014 is now available!  Check out our quarterly newsletter!

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College Sports Players in the States Can Unionize

CHICAGO — A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that a group of Northwestern football players were employees of the university and have the right to form a union and bargain collectively.

For decades, the major college sports have functioned on the bedrock principle of the student-athlete, with players receiving scholarships to pay for their education in exchange for their hours of practicing and competing for their university. But Peter Ohr, the regional N.L.R.B. director, tore down that familiar construct in a 24-page decision.

read more here

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Solidarity with other CUPE locals is alive and well at UBC. CUPE 2287, CUPE 116 and CUPE 2950 are getting geared up for upcoming bargaining and finding ways to work together in the upcoming round of bargaining.





Presidents Trish Everett, Karen Ranelleta and Colleen Garbe

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GSS Grad Student Demonstration

There will be a Graduate student demonstration on Jan 10th 2014 @ 11am at the GSS. Free lunch will be provided.

The GSS wants your feedback on issues affecting you during your graduate studies. Come out and voice your voice heard in an effort to change UBC graduate studies for the better (or just grab lunch and listen in!)

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CUPE 2278 continues to work for a safer campus

A few weeks ago, in light of the spate of sexual assaults on campus, we asked our members to send us information about places and practices on campus that caused students and workers to feel unsafe. The response was overwhelming and we’re happy to report that many of the safety issues were resolved shortly after we managed to contact the people responsible. Campus safety is the product of a complex network of building and facilities managers, UBC administrative departments like UBC Housing, security agencies and of course, the Health & Safety Committee; so it can be difficult to track down exactly the right person. But CUPE 2278, the local for UBC teaching assistants, markers, and tutors, along with our sister CUPE locals on campus, are here to help. We’re proud to announce the following positive changes to campus safety that occurred shortly or immediately after we intervened.

A number of broken or missing bulbs in public lighting have been replaced or fixed. Some of the broken lighting our members alerted us to was located close to where some reported sexual assaults occurred. One member claimed to be trying to get her building manager to address broken lighting in Acadia Park for two months without any success. Within a week of us contacting UBC Housing and the building managers, the lights, located near residences and the playground, were fixed. We would like to thank the facilities managers who fielded our calls, in particular the manager of the Auditorium Annex Chris Skipper, who took time out from his vacation to personally inspect one of our queries.

A number of our members expressed concern over the temporary pathway near the UBC Hospital construction site. One of our executives visited the site and found that not only was the lighting poor, but that the pathway was extremely isolated and difficult to navigate safely while travelling alone. Due to the number of organizations involved in the construction, it was difficult to identify exactly who could remedy this urgent problem. Fortunately, after the hard work of our Vice-President Ed Kroc to notify the appropriate facility manager, a security guard now patrols the pathway from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. each evening.

Again, CUPE 2278 would like to thank everyone involved in these positive changes, particularly those who listened to UBC community concerns. And we would like to encourage our members to come to us with safety and security concerns so that these improvements continue.

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Statement on campus sexual assaults and Sauder referendum

As executive members of UBC’s Teaching Assistants union, CUPE Local 2278, we feel compelled to speak up about the alarming increase in sexual assaults on campus and the community conversations surrounding the fallout from the Sauder rape chant incident. As part of our executive mandate to pursue equality on campus, it is our responsibility to confront any environment that renders women vulnerable to sexual assault or allows attitudes diminishing the gravity of such threats to flourish.

We believe that the failure to address any perceived danger to an individual, a recognized group or select members of our campus community is a collective failure—not an individual one. Therefore, we believe that the recent string of sexual assaults on campus clearly illustrate that as a community, we have to some extent failed to maintain a safe and secure space for our students, staff and faculty—particularly women and others vulnerable to sexual assault—to live, work and study.

So, we applaud the efforts on the part of the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) executive to pledge $250,000 toward sexual assault awareness training and counselling for its student body. Like them, we were extremely disappointed to learn that Sauder undergraduates emphatically voted down the initiative. Many reasons were shared publicly for this defeat—some bureaucratic, some ideological—but we hope that this failure to make good on the lessons learned from the rape chant incident is a lesson to all stakeholders at Sauder and elsewhere on campus, including the Dean’s office, that rape culture is not a problem for which you can offload responsibility onto student organizations, but a crisis of community in which we all are implicated and in which we all bear responsibility to repair.

We are heartened, then, by the Dean of Sauder School of Business’s announcement that the school will move forward with the Counselling position even if it needs to bear the full cost of the program irrespective of the referendum’s disappointing outcome. But we hope it’s clear that the incongruity between the Dean’s office’s position and that of his undergrads indicates that UBC students, staff, faculty and administration failed to take full responsibility for propagating a culture which implicitly (and at times explicitly) condones or diminishes rape. It is astonishing to us that at the same time UBC makes headlines nationwide for a sexual predator on campus, 70 per cent of participants in the Sauder referendum vote down measures that would make their school safer for women—and fail to see the connection between these two incidents.

We were further dismayed that The Ubyssey, despite their excellent work in making these stories public with the utmost attention to ethical reporting, published an editorial that appears to blame campus feminists for the failure of their brave actions to effect observable change. We stand in solidarity with feminists on campus who try, against popular opinion, to make UBC a safer and more equitable university. We are baffled by arguments rooted in privilege which take issue with the way women choose to make their world better; as if Sauder would have welcomed sexual assault counselling had UBC feminists simply been nicer.

We make this statement not to point fingers, but to request all UBC stakeholders take seriously the prevalence of sexual assault and rape culture on our campus at every level. We asked our members to report on any environmental issues which made them feel unsafe—unlocked doors, broken or insufficient lighting, etc.—and the response has already been overwhelming. Our colleagues at CUPE 116 and AMS Security have been working extremely hard to keep students safe in the wake of these attacks, but more needs to be done.

We ask that all members of the UBC Community, acknowledge that campus safety, primarily that of women and others vulnerable to sexual assault, is a priority—and one that cannot be secured through closed circuit television, but from registering that a campus free of sexual violence begins with us.


In solidarity,

Executive of The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 2278

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Come join your union executive in Leonard S. Klinck 201 NEXT WEDNESDAY October 16th from 5-6pm. We’ll be talking about our upcoming election for the union executive, going over the highlights of the current collective agreement and taking your questions about CUPE 2278! Come meet other TAs, chat with your exec and hear about what we have planned for 2013/2014!,n,n,n,n,y&bldg2Search=n&locat1=308&locat2=#showMapCampus

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