CUPE 2278 encourages all members to participate in Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Today, Wednesday September 18, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will take place on unceded Coast Salish territories at the Pacific National Exhibition to gather testimony from survivors of Canada’s Residential School System. The University of British Columbia has suspended classes for the the occasion and will host its own events at the Belkin Art Gallery, the First Nations Longhouse, and the Museum of Anthropology. The Executive of CUPE 2278 would like to encourage all members to take part in the day’s activities, either at the PNE or at smaller events held on campus.

The Indian Residential School system—active from 1875 to as recenty as 1996—constituted a major part of Canada’s colonialist project. Canadian officials forcibly removed Aboriginal children from their families and moved them to boarding schools in remote locations. In most cases, the schools forbade use of traditional languages and cultural expressions. Sexual, physical and cultural abuse was rampant—the full extent of the trauma suffered by Canada’s first peoples has not yet come to light. The residential schools were infamously studied by South Africa’s Afrikaner National Party and used as a model for apartheid.

The consequences of the schools have been horrific and massive in scope. Entire generations of Aboriginal children, stolen from their parents from as young as five, were robbed of their cultural patrimony and traditional knowledges by the Canadian government. The legacies of abuse persist in communities across Turtle Island: the missing and murdered women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Highway of Tears are overwhelmingly Aboriginal, the suicide and incarceration rates in Aboriginal communities are disproportionately high, and indigenous land claims to traditional territories, both treaty and non-treaty, continue to languish in Federal courts.

The TRC hopes to bear witness to the full implications of the schools, decide how best to educate Canadian citizens of this shameful history, and work towards reconciliation between Aboriginal peoples and wider Canadian society.

As educators, our members, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike, bear special responsibility to hear these stories and silenced survivor voices. We all have Aboriginal students in our classes and UBC’s historical place on Musqueam traditional territories means that the reverberations of Canada’s colonial past and present should inform our teaching whenever possible. It is our hope that participation in TRC events will add sensitivity, understanding and generosity to our work.

Please join your union executive at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission today.

CUPE 2278 will be promoting a number of pedagogy and instructional skills workshops over the coming year to assist our members in anti-oppression and inclusive pedagogies. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

For more information, see:

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Statement on the Y-O-U-N-G chant at UBC

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 2278 represents over 3000 graduate and undergraduate students at UBC who work as teaching assistants, markers, and tutors. We advocate for the working conditions and equity of our members. As such, we are deeply troubled by emerging reports of chants encouraging rape on our campus. We write to urge the University to acknowledge the gravity of what has occurred, and to take seriously its responsibility to female students and workers.

On September 6 – hot on the heels of similar reports from Saint Mary’s University – UBC’s campus paper, The Ubyssey, exposed the presence of chants encouraging both rape and preying on underage girls at undergraduate orientation events. Reports indicate that these chants were well known as having been established for a number of years beforehand, and have until now been allowed to continue without consequence for those involved.

If the reports from The Ubyssey,  Sauder students’ social media posts, the CBC and CTV news are to be believed, the response from Frosh week organizers and the Commerce Undergraduate Soceity (CUS) to past complaints about this chant has been to ensure that it ‘stayed in private’. If this is the case, it is wholly inadequate. Two-fifths of Canadian women have experienced sexual assault; four out of five female undergraduate students report having experienced violence in a dating relationship. There is wide-ranging evidence on the difficulty women face in coming forward about assault; trivializing sexual assault adds to the burden placed on women (and men) who have survived it. There is no context – ‘private’ or otherwise– where rape should be condoned. Nor is there any context in which encouraging rape is either ‘harmless’ or ‘fun’.

In light of this, pending the ongoing investigation already underway, we strongly urge the following:

  • Firstly, the University must issue a full apology for allowing a chant such as this to be perpetuated year after year.
  • Secondly, the University must follow the example of SMU in dealing with the latest incident: at the least, those responsible — either directly or through indifference — should face serious disciplinary consequences. Future orientation coordinators must be provided with anti-oppression training, orientations must fall under more substantial departmental oversight and proper avenues for reporting misconduct must be established.

We must see this incident as an opportunity to reform our University’s broader institutional culture. After graduation, our University’s students move into positions of authority in institutions across Canada and worldwide; UBC has a global responsibility to ensure that misogyny is not carried with them.

-This statement was drafted by Catriona Gold on behalf of the Executive of CUPE local 2278

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Logging your hours

We encourage members to keep tabs on their hours to make sure they aren’t working more than they are paid for. For an easy to use excel document, check out our documents section or click here:

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CUPE 2278 concerned about skyrocketing child care fees

In April, UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS) announced that child care fees would be increased by five per cent — after two back-to-back increases of ten percent in each of the previous two years. CUPE 2278 finds this fee increase unacceptable in the context of rising tuition and inflation in Canada’s most expensive city. Last month, President Trish Everett sent a letter of concern requesting a renewed commitment to affordable child care on campus to UBC President Stephen Toope; as well as to VP Finance, Resources and Operations, Pierre Ouellet; and Andrew Parr, SHHS Managing Director. Here is that letter in full:

June 1, 2013

Dr. Stephen Toope, President
The University of British Columbia
6328 Memorial Road
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z2

cc: Pierre Ouellet (VP FRO), Andrew Parr (Managing Director SHHS), GSS, AMS, CUPE Local 116, CUPE Local 2950, TSSU, CUPE Local 4163 (Victoria) and Mark Hancock (CUPE BC President)

Dear Dr. Toope,

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 2278 represents over 3000 graduate and undergraduate students at UBC who work as teaching assistants, markers, and tutors. We are writing to express our increasing alarm at the escalating cost of registered child care on the university campus.

In April it was announced that the cost of on-campus child care would increase by 5 per cent. This is in addition to an increase totalling 20 per cent in the last two years alone. A student with an infant in care paid $995 per month in June of 2011; in 2013 a student will pay $1245 per month. This is of course in the context of escalating inflation and UBC’s 2 per cent increase in tuition each year over the same period.

As representatives of students with families hoping to pursue a UBC degree, we concur with the university’s belief that accessible child care is essential to providing a holistic educational environment capable of attracting the best and brightest international candidates. Student parents unable to secure quality, affordable care for their children will experience significant stress and financial hardship which will certainly harm their academic performance, and put their ability to complete their program at risk.

Students in need of care for their children can still expect to wait for an average of two years for a spot to become available. This waiting list crisis has been a perennial concern of the GSS, the AMS, and the Faculty Association as well as with our local; yet this increase will do nothing to address it. Furthermore, despite the sizeable gap in wages and funding, students only pay about $100 less than faculty in childcare fees per month.

We find that this severe increase in fees will disproportionately affect students with families in a negative way. Costs are already far out of reach for students with more than one child in need of care. Child care fees for a forward-looking, world leader like UBC should be decreasing, not quickly accelerating in the opposite direction.

We request that the University reverse the latest increase and make affordable child care a priority in order to provide a service befitting its reputation as a world-class institution.


Trish Everett
President, CUPE Local 2278

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THIS Thursday, April 25 at 7pm @Wolf and Hound!
To celebrate another successful year of teaching and marking, your union would like to offer you each a free drink at the Wolf and Hound this Thursday.  Located at 3617 West Broadway (at Alma).  Bring your marking buddy and/or come relax and share a beer with your exec members.
See you there!
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You can do better

The Liberals just aren’t into you.

Learn more from CUPE BC about your failed relationship with Christy Clark and the Liberal Party of BC at!

If you’re a Canadian citizen and have lived in BC for more than six months you are eligible to vote in the upcoming provincial election. Learn how to register here.

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New office!

Exciting news! We’ve moved our office! We can now be found in McGavin amid the engineering and health sciences buildings! We’ll give you more updates as the office gets set up and we get a phone number etc., but in the mean time, email is the best way to be in touch.

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Tax time

In case you are wondering how to get your tax forms from UBC, here are some instructions.

How to download your T4 Statement:

  • Log-in to the Faculty and Staff Self-Service portal, using your Campus-Wide ID Login (CWL). If you are off-campus, you will need to connect using VPN. (If you can, it is also much easier to just get these forms while you are using the UBC network on campus without worrying about the VPN).
  • In the My Pay column of the screen, select Year End Slipsto see the content agreement to receive your Statement electronically for the current and subsequent years.
  • Note: Faculty and staff who choose not to accept the agreement will receive their T4/T4A Statements in late February, consistent with the requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency.

Technical difficulties? Visit the Payroll FAQ Page.

How do download your UPass tax credit and other student tax forms:

  • Log into the Student Services Center using your CWL here
  • Click on Financial Summary
  • In the lefthand navigation pane you will see links to various tax documents. Click on each and save as a PDF or print.

Good luck and happy number crunching!

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Budget: Government makes $46M in cuts to higher education

Budget: Government makes $46M in cuts to higher education
By Lindsay Kines
Victoria Times Colonist
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The B.C. government stiff-armed all levels of education Tuesday with a provincial budget that froze block funding to public schools and pushed ahead with cuts to colleges and universities.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the government has made significant investments in education over the years and that spending has never been higher. But critics said students young and old will pay the price for stagnant or decreased investments.

The budget said the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology will receive $46 million less over the next three years, even as the province faces a severe skills shortage.

Universities, which have been calling for more spaces to meet that demand, will have to find savings in administration and discretionary spending.

De Jong noted that the government will add buildings and equipment at colleges and universities to boost skills training.

But that’s one-time money that “won’t create a single new student space,” said Robert Clift, executive director of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of B.C.

Clift said the ongoing cuts, combined with rising costs, will hurt students and the economy.

De Jong also offered little relief for public schools struggling with rising costs. The provincial budget freezes block funding to districts at $4.7 billion for the second straight year, even as school boards face higher utility bills, medical service plan hikes and pension-fund increases.

De Jong noted that the Education Ministry will get an increase of less than one per cent this year. Most of that money will come from a previously announced $30-million boost to the Learning Improvement Fund, which cannot be used for district operating costs.

“It’s definitely not an education budget,” said Teresa Rezansoff, vice-president of the B.C. School Trustees’ Association.

“I think public school trustees are very concerned about this being a year where the increasing cost pressures are not being funded through government.”

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation said school boards have no place left to trim costs after years of cutbacks.

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New Stat Holiday!

A reminder that Monday the 11th of February is a *NEW* stat holiday in British Columbia! This day is listed in our collective agreement as a day off for TAs! You cannot be compelled by our employer to work or teach on this new “Family Day”. Have a wonderful long weekend! – In Solidarity, Your Union Exec Team

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