Summary of Wednesday’s Meeting

A brief recap of Wednesday: An overwhelming majority of hands in one of the biggest rooms on campus shot up and told our executive that we have their mandate to bargain as aggressively as necessary. TAs are tired of struggling year after year against rising inflation and tuition costs while some UBC employees are financially protected from these concerns. For example, we told the employer that extended hiring preference was a priority for our members and the answer was ‘no’.

Frankly, it’s embarrassing how many other collective agreements at other universities are so much better than ours. However, it is refreshing to see, because it shows us how possible and attainable our asks really are, especially when you look at the surpluses available in the UBC budget.

If the employer continues to be ‘surprised’ when we ask for the same tools that other universities have for their TAs, then there is a problem. Higher debt and empty bank accounts are not an appropriate solution no matter how you phrase it.

Have we set a date for a strike vote? No. Has there been an official strike vote yet? No. Have we been given the mandate to stop taking crap and use every tool available to us to get taken seriously at the table? You better believe it.

We’ll be in touch with further updates, including the long overdue Job Action FAQ page that was requested by our members. We are having a legal professional look it over and we will post it right away.

-CUPE 2278 Exec

‘Tuition Increase’ = ‘Pay Cut’

To All Teaching Assistants,

As a student at UBC you recently received an email outlining proposed tuition increases for 2012/2013. Here are some of the points mentioned:

* Domestic tuition is tied to inflation, at a rate set annually by the Provincial Government.
* International tuition is set annually by the Board of Governors and is not regulated by the Provincial Government.

There will be a:

* 2% increase in tuition for domestic undergraduate students.
* 2% increase in tuition for domestic and international students in graduate programs.

TAs at UBC must also be students in order to be employed, and so must pay tuition in order to get a paycheque. For TAs without any form of tuition protection, an increase in tuition is effectively a pay cut. Why? If a precondition for employment is paying tuition, a tuition increase is de facto a deduction on your paycheques.

The increase of tuition due to inflation raises a second issue — while UBC protects its revenue (tuition) against inflation, it does not protect TA wages against inflation. A cost of living adjustment (‘COLA’) clause in our contract that ensures our wages increase with the rate of inflation is sorely needed, and is one of the monetary proposals tabled by the Union.

#fairnessfromhere

-CUPE 2278 Exec

Job Action Consultation and Info Updates

Dear Teaching Assistants,

At the last membership meeting, teaching assistants told us that we need to discuss whether or not to engage in job action. We want to have that discussion with you and we will be having it on Wednesday Feb, 15th @ 5 PM-6PM in the Woodward Building, Room 2 (map).

It doesn’t get more important than this. This will be a very focused meeting running 1 hour, so please do not be late.

Note: We had to change locations from the previously announced GSS location. We do not want to turn anyone away so we got a bigger room. So, please arrive at Woodward, Room 2 for 5 PM.

Meeting Agenda:
Present bargaining update
Answer questions from members
Take a vote on our next course of action

Click here if you want to see a simplified excel version of UBC’s public remuneration documents.

The exec used publicly available UBC documents (hosted on our blog post below) for this information and to the best of our knowledge it is accurate. We present it here for your convenience.

We appreciate all of your feedback and know that some of you want more updates. We have to be careful with what we say when making public releases and so this can make the wait between posts longer. We plan on being much quicker on posts in the coming week, so stay tuned.

Sincerely,

The CUPE 2278 Exec — #fairnessfromhere

Bargaining PDF and Other Documents

Dear Teaching Assistants,

Our powerpoint slides presented at the January 31st meeting regarding bargaining have been uploaded as a PDF: bargaining presentation – cupe2278. We are so thankful for the tremendous support shown on Tuesday. It was great to hear from you and update you on bargaining.

Accountability is really important to us, so we are hosting another meeting.

When: Wednesday, February 15th @ 5 PM.
Where: The GSS ballroom (6371 Crescent Rd)
, same as before.
Share this with all teaching assistants! Your voices at these meetings are so important to all of us and to the bargaining process.

Also, at some point after our last membership meeting, the links provided by UBC for some of their reports have gone dead and we cannot find the files on their website at this time. Below are the two public documents that UBC had released earlier regarding remuneration figures. As researchers, we all know how important it is to share information. We saved the reports for your convenience and will be hosting the original documents here so that you can have a look for yourselves.

UBCMarch312010ScheduleofRemunerationEmployees.pdf

2011 – FIA Report.pdf

We will always do a coordinated post on all our social media, so stay tuned. Start some conversations on twitter (@cupe2278) and make sure to include the #fairnessfromhere hashtag. Also, feel free to add any other hashtags you think are relevant!