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Enough’s Enough – article on Sessional Lecturers

“Today, I had a perfectly reasonable request from a student who wanted to review an exam from last term. I was unable to comply with this request because to do so would be to give my employer more of my time for free. As a dedicated teacher, I am extremely sad about this, because I would like to give my students the very best learning experience that I possibly can.”

Read the rest of this timely and painfully truthful article by Andrew Robinson from Carleton University


Highlights of CUPE4163 Executive meeting Jan 20, 1015

Highlights of CUPE4163 Executive meeting Jan 20, 2015:

  • CUPE4163 will acknowledge the First Nations Territory (UVic Stands on the traditional territories of the WSANEC and Songheese nations and this land was stolen through the ongoing process of colonization) at the beginning of meetings with members.
  • Bargaining is continuing for Component Three and for Residence Life workers; and about to get underway to renew the collective agreement which expired Aug 31, 2014 for Component 1 and 2.
  • Component 1 membership are actively gearing up to support their proposals at the bargaining table. Watch for posters and other actions designed to support bargaining.
  • Some Component 3 Term Sessional Lecturers have experienced difficulty in accessing resources since the implementation to “OneCard”; currently being discussed with the Human Resources Director in hopes of finding a lasting solution.
  • Component 1 Communications members are overhauling CUPE4163 facebook page;TA page is now inactive and all TAs and other members of all components are encouraged to “like”
  • CUPE4163 will be moving to Mail Chimp for most membership communication.
  • Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held March 26, 2015 Doors open 5:15 with meeting starting at 5:45. Location TBA . Matters: Election of Officers; Vote to be held on motion “CUPE4163 to endorse Divest UVic Campaign”; Social Justice Fund recipient; possible Trustee Bylaw change; Please mark your calendars and watch for more info in the coming weeks.


Announcement re proposal ratification meeting jan 14 2015 Component 1 members

Component 1 members (Teaching Assistants, Lab Assistants and Instructors, Scientific Assistants, Computer programmers, Teaching Assistant Consultants and others) met Wednesday to put the final touches on proposals for bargaining.  The Component 1/2 Collective Agreement expired August 31, 2014.


Component 1 members expressed extreme frustration with their working conditions, including:

  • TA wages consistently below similar jobs at other universities;
  • Wages not keeping up with Tuition increases;
  • Component 1 positions and hours being slashed while class sizes continue to increase;
  • Reduced opportunity for Grad Students to gain valuable teaching experience;
  • Less time to spend with each Student which negatively impacts the Student’s educational experience


Components 1 &  2 will be going to the bargaining table with the University of Victoria in the very near future.

Component 1 members will be kept up to date on the issues at:

Facebook: CUPE4163 Education Members

Facebook: UVIC TAs (CUPE4163)



Component 1 Bargaining Proposals Ratification Meeting

Attention Comp 1 members! 

Come out to learn and vote on the proposals for changes to your contract in the upcoming bargaining.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Room C118 David Strong Building

Fairness Works!

A message from the folks at the Canadian Labour Congress

Fight for $15 Campaign

The BC Federation of Labour has launched a campaign calling for an increasing B.C.’s minimum wage to $15, which, as they point out, “will put a worker above Statistics Canada’s low-income-cut-off. ”

Check it out! Sign the petition!


2014 Municipal Election Information

November 15th is election for municipalities and school boards. While CUPE 4163 has historically refrained from endorsing candidates, there is no denying the importance of municipal elections.

If members wish to support labour-friendly candidates in their municipalities, the BC Federation of Labour has a list of endorsed candidates.


The UVic Students’ Society has arranged for  advance polls in the SUB on November 6 from 12 to 4. Check out their “UVic Votes” site for responses to questions on student issues from candidates running in different municipalities.

Social Justice Fund Recipients & New Component 1 VP

CUPE 4163 held its 2014 SAGM last Friday. Members approved a new budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year and heard a report from James Rowe of the Divest UVic campaign.

Ryan’s Well Foundation and the Together Against Poverty Society Employment Standards Legal Advocacy Project were voted co-recipients of the Social Justice Fund.

And a warm welcome to Gordon O’Connor, who joins the CUPE 4163 executive as Vice-President for Component 1.

Nominations for Social Justice Fund awards

The following organizations are the Social Justice Fund Nominees to be voted on at CUPE4163  SAGM October 31, 2014.   As there were no Social Justice Fund nominations at the AGM, there are two SJFs to be disbursed at the SAGM.  The nominator or previously determined designate must be present at the SAGM in order for the nominee to qualify for the vote.  


My proposal for a charity is RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs).

RAVEN is a non-profit charitable organization that provides financial resources to assist Aboriginal Nations within Canada in lawfully forcing industrial development to be reconciled with their traditional ways of life, and in a manner that addresses global warming or other ecological sustainability challenges. RAVEN’s vision is a country that embraces the caretaker values of First Nations and their equitable access to the justice system within a thriving natural habitat.


Ryan’s Well Foundation

 I would like to nominate the Ryan’s Well Foundation for the Social Justice Fund contribution.

 This organization was started by a 7-year-old boy after he learned in his grade one class that people were dying due to lack of clean water. The organization is committed to delivering access to safe water and sanitation as an essential way to improve the lives of people in the developing world.

Ryan’s Well has helped build over 878 water projects and 1120 latrines bringing safe water and improved sanitation to over 823,238 people.

 I am nominating this organization for two reasons:

1) Clean water is the key to development. Without it, children get sick and cannot attend school to get the education necessary to improve their lives, adults get sick and cannot work, and medical services in developing countries are unncessarily burdened treating those sick and dying of preventable diseases caused by drinking dirty water.

2) My ESL students have chosen to support this organization for our charity project this session. I always tell them that doing good things encourages others to do good things. Let’s show them that their efforts will be supported by CUPE 4163′s commitment to helping those less fortunate in our global community.


The Redfish School of Change

 The Redfish School of Change is a non-profit program designed to train and inspire new leaders in movements for social justice, labour rights and environmental sustainability. Every spring the program works with 15 aspiring activist leaders from across the country and takes them through an intense six week experience to build skills and analysis. Each student enters the program with a proposed Community Action Project that is developed in concert with mentors from across the province. At the conclusion of the program students leave with both a well developed plan for their community action project and a network of advisors and connections that help make it a reality. Past projects have included food security initiatives, community mapping projects and youth empowerment programs for girls in East Vancouver.

The uniqueness of the Redfish program is also its biggest challenge. Redfish uses an immersion style expedition based program to create transformative learning experiences for its students. Each year students travel through a different bio-region (Fraser Valley, Kootenay Mountains, Salish Sea…) and meet with community leaders and first nations elders along the way. In exploring the human and natural of one region from a social justice perspective students develop a stronger sense of the politics of social change. While this expedition based model has been shown over and over again to have powerful and inspiring results it is logistically demanding. Redfish struggles each year to fundraise enough money to provide this amazing experience and a donation from CUPE 4163 would be an enormous asset for the program.


Canadian    Centre    for    Policy    Alternatives    

 Since 2012,    the    Canadian    federal    government    has    undertaken    a    project    to    audit    a    number    of  Canadian charities1.    While    the    Canada    Revenue    Agency    (CRA)    was    initially    granted    $8    million    to    investigate    charities    suspected    of    exceeding    the    allowed    budget    of    10%    of    their    annual    income    to    be    spent    on    political    activities,    that    funding    has    recently    been    expanded    to    $13.4 million    over    5    years    (2012-­‐2017);    this    expansion  of  funding    also    included    new    reporting    requirements    for    charities2.      Research   undertaken    by  Royal  Roads  graduate    student    Gareth    Kirkby    has    shown    a    widespread    ‘advocacy    chill’    as    a    result    of    the    audits    that    have    already  taken   place,  whereby   the   government is    ‘muffling’    and/or    silencing    charities’    abilities    to  contribute    to  public    conversation    because    of    these    audits;    and    further,    his  research    (and    that    of    others3)    showed  that    there    was    a  singling    out  of   charities    in   four   particular    sectors:    environmental,    development/human    rights,    and    charities    receiving    donations    from    labour    unions4.    A    number    of    organizations    have    commented    on    the    selective    nature    of    the    audits,    and    questioned    the    impartiality    of    the    CRA5.    What has become clear is that the government is attempting to silence its critics: the audits are frequently expensive, time- consuming, and draining for charities’ (often small) staff. I think that now would be a wonderful time to choose a charity to send a bit of financial support and a letter of support and encouragement to.  Continue reading ‘Nominations for Social Justice Fund awards’ »


  cupe logo                                                           Snap Shot of Collective Bargaining

Labour Relations Law:

  • Most workplaces in BC are covered by BC Employment Standards Act or in the case of unionized workplaces by the BC Labour Relations Code;
  • Most of the workers at universities in British Columbia are unionized;
  • BC Labour Relations Board is an administrative tribunal with the mandate to mediate and adjudicate employment and labour relations matters related to unionized workplaces;
  • BC Labour Relations Code governs unionized workplaces and provides the regulations for unionization, fair collective bargaining, union’s duty of fair representation and other labour related issues;
  • Canada Labour Code only applies to specific industries such as Telecommunications, transportation, Federal employees and some others;


Quick Background:

  • Post war (1950s and 60s) in BC was packed with turbulent Labour Relations and endless strikes under a Social Credit government;
  • A short term NDP government replaced the Mediation Commission and Labour Relations Act with the BCLRB and the BC Labour Relations code in 1973 which has remained relatively unchanged although there have been changes to particular areas of the code leaning more toward labour and back again toward business today.


CUPE 4163 Preparation for Bargaining Process:

  • canvasses concerns that have risen since previous bargaining and canvasses members for ideas about what to propose at the bargaining table
  • CUPE 4163 participates in University Coordinated Bargaining Committee (UCBC) by sharing bargaining objectives and coordinating proposals where appropriate, with other University CUPE locals
  • Members are surveyed electronically to get a sense of concern related to areas of the collective agreement;
  • Individual components use various methods to communicate with membership getting a sense of members priorities for bargaining
  • Bargaining committee fine tunes bargaining proposals for exchange with employer.


 The Negotiation Process:

  • CUPE4163 and UVic exchange proposals for bargaining (in the same meeting) and agree that no new proposals can be brought to the table once the exchange has been made;
  • Other rules such as not negotiating in the press; protocols are established before bargaining continues;
  • As a matter of law, the University has authority to manage everything related to working conditions and wages with the only exceptions being those items that are collectively bargained or contained in law, in which case the collective agreement applies;
  • The parties go back and forth exchanging proposals and revised proposals sometimes reaching agreement and sometimes at impasse (this can take several weeks/months);
  • The parties at negotiations are only representatives of their principles; the component union membership and the University Board of Governors have to ratify any agreement before it can be implemented;
  • During the bargaining process, the parties at the bargaining table continue to monitor their principles positions on various issues to be sure that movement made at the bargaining table is going to be acceptable to their principles;
  • Often the use of a Mediator (process identified in the BC Labour Code) can be helpful to get the parties to a place where a settlement can be reached;
  • When the parties don’t reach agreement there can be a strike (on the part of the union membership) or a lock out (on the part of the employer);
  • The purpose of a strike vote (to say the bargaining unit is prepared to strike if required) and / or a strike is to pressure the other side into moving their position at the bargaining table and conversely the purpose of a Lock Out on the part of the employer; both processes are ultimately tools which are sometimes used to get to a place in bargaining where a settlement can be reached.


How Free is Free Collective Bargaining for members of CUPE4163?

  • As with many other sectors “there is safety in numbers”. Together CUPE members prepared to take a stand to improve their wages and working conditions would send a strong message to the Employer during bargaining;
  • Free collective bargaining is hampered by the existence of the Public Sector Employer’s Council (PSEC) which dictates the government bargaining mandate. There is a PSEC requirement that Employers, including UVic, who are funded or partially funded by government, not exceed the mandate. The current PSEC mandated settlements are 5.5% increase over a 5 year contract with no increase in the first year of the contract;
  • The pattern for public sector employees in BC has been set, as above, by settlements reached in other sectors (Health, Teachers, BC Government Employees, etc);
  • UVic has suggested at bargaining tables with other unions, that the ability for the university to sign off 5.5% over 5 years is tied to finding savings in the current collective agreement (concessions); Other unions have not had the wage increase tied to concession(s).


What is happening now?

  • Component 3 canvassing dates with employer to resume bargaining which started in May;
  • Comp 3 members will receive updates as the process continues;
  • Res Life (new addition to Comp ½ agreement) canvassing dates to resume bargaining which started in May;
  • Res Life members will receive updates as the process continues;
  • Comp 1 /2 The Collective Agreement expired August 31, 2014;
  • Bargaining Committees have been formed for Component 1 and Component 2;
  • Proposals are being developed;
  • Component 1 and 2 share one collective agreement, however, for the majority of the process they bargain language separately and component specific;
  • Dates are being coordinated through the CUPE National Representative, with the employer for the bargaining process to begin for Component 1 / 2;
  • CUPE4163 continues to coordinate bargaining with the University Coordinated Bargaining Committee (CUPE local unions at Universities throughout BC);


CUPE 4163 is made up of people working in the following positions:

Component 1 = Teaching Assistants, Lab Assistants, Lab Instructors, Research and Academic Assistants not paid for under externally funded special purpose grants or employment contracts, athletic assistants, supervisors – sports camps, non-PEA computers and others;

Component 2 = Second Language Instructors, Cultural Assistants, Residence Life positions;

Component 3 = Sessional Lecturers and Music Performance Instructors .


UPCOMING: Semi Annual General Meeting: October 31, 2014

1:30pm Cornett B135

ALL MEMBERS WELCOME!      250-472-4778             250-853-3863