RAs at UBC sign union cards, UBC submits objection to LRB


British Columbia’s Labour Relations Board has ruled that over 55% of graduate research assistants at the University of British Columbia have signed union cards to join CUPE 2278, report CBC and The Tyee. Though the cards signify that graduate RAs are ready to join CUPE 2278, the process was halted by an objection submitted by UBC to the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB). This objection asserts that the RAs are not employees in the traditional sense and that their compensation is in the form of scholarships rather than wages. CBC reports that it is unclear how long it will take for the LRB to resolve the objection. PhD candidate and campaign organizer Erica Mildner said that the union drive is necessary to address cost of living increases and challenges faced by international students paying mandatory Medical Service Plan premiums. Others told the Tyee and CBC that RAs often work multiple jobs, do not receive wage increases like teaching assistants, and are more vulnerable to academic repercussions.

CBC | The Tyee