The working conditions of CUPE 2278 members are regulated through a Collective Agreement, negotiated between the Union and UBC’s Adminstration and UBC Human Resources. The collective agreement regulates the working conditions of employees and the duties of the employer. These conditions include wages, job security, and benefits of members such as sick leave and access to various hardship funds.

CUPE 2278 uses collective bargaining as a method to negotiate a labour contract for members with UBC.  Without our collective agreement, gained through collective bargaining, each employee would have to negotiate an individual contract with UBC; by bargaining together, we gain more influence over our wages, hours, and various aspects of working conditions.

A collective agreement is a fixed-term agreement, and we begin negotiations for a new collective agreement shortly before the previous one expires.  We last bargained in the summer of 2015 for a contract covering 2014-2019.

What is in the current collective agreement?

Our current collective agreement with UBC lasts from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2019.  A two page summary of the collective agreement, along with the full collective agreement, can be found in the links below:

We were able to achieve several important improvements in the 2014-2019 collective agreement,  including:

  • Wage increases according to the provincial governments’ mandate.
  • Improved language about department orientations and allocation of hours so that TAs are better informed of their rights and responsibilities.
  • Establishment of new hardship fund to help members partially offset costs related to employment.
  • Establishment of an auditing process to ensure that departments respect the collective agreement and treat their TAs fairly.
  • Hours of work established at 7:30am-8pm, with certain TAships expanded to include more paid hours and flexible TAships.
  • Reappointment preference no longer jeopardised by parental leave.
  • Right to bereavement leave extended to any family member or significant other.
  • New Undergraduate Teaching Assistant and Lead TA positions created as a result of reclassification process with the Employer.

When will a new collective agreement be negotiated?

Negotiations for a new collective agreement will begin in the summer of 2019.  We will survey the needs of our members and examine the terms and language of collective agreements recently signed by other unions in BC and Canada before we enter these negotiations. Bargaining can often take up a great deal of time, depending on many factors, including the political climate and even the state of negotiations with other unions at UBC and elsewhere.

How can I find out more about bargaining?

When the next round of bargaining occurs, we will share information about the process through this website, social media, department representatives, our mailing list,  office hours, and  membership meetings.  We will aim to post all information as soon as we can following each meeting with the employer or as related events unfold.

Members with questions or concerns about bargaining are welcome to discuss specifics with us in person through office hours announced on social media, or by appointment with the Union President or Contract Committee Chair. Due to the amount of time our contract committee invests in bargaining, we will likely not be answering complex questions and concerns via email or social media, so please come visit us if you would like to know more about how negotiations are going.

Bargaining Bulletins from the 2015 negotiations can be viewed here.

What happens if negotiations break down?  Do we go on strike?

As workers who are also students, it is not our goal to disrupt other students’ education, and we view job action (up to and including strikes) as a last resort, to be carried out only when negotiations and mediation with UBC have failed for an extended period of time.  In the 2010-2012 round of bargaining, we went through approximately two years of bargaining and mediation before beginning job action.

Job action will only be carried out following a vote by union members.  If we are unable to reach an agreement with the employer, we will hold meetings with the union membership in order to inform everyone of the state of negotiations before asking you to make any decisions regarding job action.