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Labour Unrest at BC Schools

from CLASSroom's newsletter

by Classroom

On October 29th, members of CUPE local 2278, which represents undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants, graders, as well as some sessional instructors, walked off their jobs at the University of British Columbia. Their main bargaining issues include wages, job security and tuition costs. After more than a week of job action, the union’s bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the administration, which was ratified on November 15th. While it resisted concessions, the bargaining team failed to make gains in the key areas it had prioritized: cost-of-living adjustment, childcare, preferential hiring for Master’s students. In a blog post, the bargaining team noted, “we strongly believe that it is the very best deal we could secure given the current bargaining climate in this province.” The union’s contract will be up in less than 2 years.
Meanwhile, at Simon Fraser University, support staff organized with CUPE 3338 began work actions on November 1st. Teaching assistants in the Teaching Support Staff Union (TTSU), which is also in bargaining, have refused to cross the CUPE picket line, resulting in class cancellations.
Additionally, CUPE college support workers at five BC colleges are on strike, demanding the same deal the government approved for similar work at BC universities. The striking locals have been without a contract since 2010.
Folks in the labour movement have often said, “the longer the picket line, the shorter the strike." It’s with this in mind that we’re encouraged by the coordinated work actions in BC and happy to see solidarity put into practice in the most direct way by the labour movement.

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