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Grievors win thousands___


									The Guardian                                                        Grievors win
            March 2003
            Vol. I, no. 7

                                                             Now is the time to deal with workload issues!
                                                               Joshua Tabah, Grievance Officer       filed, though the members were in
                                                        Several grievances were resolved this        communication with the Union, as the
                                                 week, the two concerning workload issues            Workload Review Forms sufficed to trigger
Editorial/Opinion...............2                resulting in payouts of nearly $2000 a person.      solutions to these overwork problems. As well,
Corporate U: Yale to Toronto.....2                      In the French department, a member was       in both cases, a drastic underestimate of the
                                                 forced to spend hours preparing material for        actual amount of time required to complete the
Letters to the Editors..........3                tutorials without being paid. After several         duties was the source of the problem.
Workplace........................3               fruitless attempts at resolving the issue within           In a course in Italian studies at UTM, a
400+ apply for FAF.....................3         the department, this person contacted the Union     grievance was filed to address a rather
                                                 and submitted the Workload Review Form.             convoluted situation where two TAs/
External News....................6               Within weeks, we had an agreement whereby           Instructors were not being adequately paid for
Students call for anti-war action.5              our member would be paid an additional 63           preparation and office hours. The Employer
Your rights..................................5   hours, all remaining grading was removed for        attempted to justify this by arguing that because
World Bank praises unions.........5              the contract, and strict assurances were given      they were hired as Instructors and as each
                                                 that all necessary materials would be provided      other’s TAs (yes, this is confusing) they did
British union refuses war goods.5                for the tutorials, greatly reducing the amount      not need to be paid for preparation and office
UBC TAs hit the bricks...............6           of preparation required. The French department      hours because these were covered by the fact
Adopt a UBC TA........................8          seems to recognize that there are fundamental       that they were already Instructors (though these
Sports/Culture....................7              problems with both the design and delivery of       were entirely separate contacts). They grieved
                                                 the course, and we expect significant                                     see ITALIAN on page 3
Sabbaticals for students..............7          modification to occur such that our members
                                                 are not placed in such an
                                                 uncomfortable position in
                                                 the future. For some
                                                                                                          UBC TAs
                                                 personal reflections about                   On    strike for tuition relief!
                                                 this process, see the Letter
                                                 to the Editors from this
                                                 member on page 3.
                                                        The      same      has
                                                 occurred in the department
                                                 of Philosophy. Simply
                                                 handing in Workload
                                                 Review Forms has brought
                                                 assurances that the TAs will
                                                 be paid for all the work
  “It is the newspaper’s                         required of them for the
  duty to print the news                         course - which will result in
                                                 thousands of dollars of
       and raise hell”                           additional pay for several of
                    Chicago Times, 1861          them. In both these cases,                                                    Photo: CUPE 2278
                                                 actual grievances were not
THE GUARDIAN March 2003, p. 2.

                  Corporate U                                                  that “since the archetypal
                                                                               case in which academic
    Academic freedom from Yale to Toronto                                      freedom is supposed to
                       Archana Rampure, Vice-Chair (Communications)            apply is...the maverick

            n 1999, graduate students at Yale University were threatened       researcher working on
           with academic failure for striking over “Yale Corporation’s”        unconventional material,
           unwillingness to recognize their union. Currently, Yale’s TAs       the margins should be the
are looking at taking job action once again, in the face of renewed threats    centre of any discussion on
to their academic lives, in another attempt to force the University that       the topic”
graduated Dubya to recognize that teaching at Yale still counts as                   Prior to the end of
working.                                                                       CUPE 3902’s last strike in
       Buried in the depths of the social contract that binds us all to        2000, the Administration
graduate work is the notion that academic threats ought not to govern          here threatened to fire all
political activism - a complicated notion which goes by the short form         the TAs and hire scabs to
“academic freedom.” Like the all pervasive miasma of chalk dust in             do our work. And some of
yesteryear’s classrooms, always there but almost always invisible, the         our own professors
discourse of academic freedom is both crucial to and concealed from            approved of this draconian
the business of being a university.                                            measure to bring “erring”
       Academic freedom is concealed from the business of the university       students back to work. I
because it fundamentally questions the idea of university as business.         know of at least half a dozen
Businesses produce products for consumption. Universities produce              doctoral candidates here
people who have learnt to think. And academic freedom is crucial here          who have had conflicts with
because teaching people to think is about teaching them to question.           academic and teaching
       Academic freedom, at the very least, includes the “freedom” to          supervisors over what were
research, critique and teach according to one’s own interests, without         essentially issues of
having to endure any governing body’s interference in one’s academic           academic freedom and who
life. According to UTFA, faculty have the right to “ the freedom to            are no longer here because of these conflicts. What happens when
examine, question, teach and learn and it involves the right to investigate,   academic freedom isn’t explicitly available to these student instructors?
speculate and comment without reference to prescribed doctrine, as well              What if you’re a TA who disagrees with your professor’s
as the right to criticize the University and society at large.”                interpretation of data? A graduate student whose research findings
       In the last couple of years, we’ve seen some of the biggest scandals    negatively implicate, say, any one of the 25 major corporations
here - Nancy Olivieri/Apotex and David Healy/ CAMH - taken up under            represented on the Governing Council of the University of Toronto?
the rubric of academic freedom. Unfortunately, the process of                        Graduate students and sessional instructors are often the most
professionalization through which faculty members are produced can             vulnerable teaching staff when it comes to academic freedom. Many of
almost have been designed to socialize them into not wanting to criticize      us teach classes at the margins of the curriculum, incorporating new
the University or society at large too harshly. Some do, of course. The        paradigms of knowledge into disciplinary structures. Our research is
vast majority have no need for academic freedom since their own                equally current: many of us question received opinion or even the
investments in the system act as adequate checks to any honest critique.       assumptions about the nature of knowledge itself in our work.
Professors whose actions as administrators are direct affronts to their              In a world that is Texas-two-stepping toward war we need a strong
own research and stated beliefs are legion.                                    commitment to the principles of academic freedom for all researchers
       Those at the stages when one is most susceptible to outside             and teachers - a commitment that will make it possible for us raise our
pressures - when one is a graduate student or a barely fledged sessional       voices as independent public intellectuals who do care about our
instructor - are most in need of academic freedom. Susan Vincent argues        communities.

                                                                  The Guardian
     Giovanna Andreana, Editor-in-Chief                     180 Bloor Street West, Suite 902                  The Guardian is a member of the
      Mikael Swayze, Managing Editor                          Toronto, Ontario M5S 2V6                     Canadian Association of Labour Media,
      Rob Penfold, Chair, CUPE 3902                               Tel: 416.593.7057                           Canada’s national labour media
        Archana Rampure, Vice-Chair                               Fax: 416.593.9866                                    organization.
       (Communications), CUPE 3902                  

   The Guardian is published monthly and is             The Guardian is
    the official publication of CUPE, Local               produced by
    3902, the representative of 4,000 educa-          volunteer and union
  tional workers at the University of Toronto.              labour.
                                                                                                            THE GUARDIAN March 2003, p. 3.

   Settlements in Italian, French and Philosophy
                       ITALIAN from page 1          members. The Employer does not seem to               they can follow the rules. In addition, a long-
and the Employer has agreed to pay an               understand that the Collective Agreement sets        standing issue between the Union and the
additional 65 hours to each of them for these       out a discipline procedure that must be              Employer has been resolved regarding an
duties.                                             followed. Arbitrator Martin Teplitsky has been       underpayment from several years ago. The
       Each of these situations reinforces the      appointed to hear this grievance and we look         Employer has agreed to the Union’s demand
fact that we win overwork cases. It is that         forward to having Mr Teplitsky remind them           of a recognition payment of $1 per bargaining
simple. If you are required to do more work         of this.                                             unit member.
than you are being paid for, this is a problem             Other grievances have had more                       We continue to work on other issues, but
that we can help you address. Keep a log of all     satisfactory outcomes. The Union will be             I want more grievances. I know they are out
the hours you work, file a Workload Review          sending a letter to all departments which did        there. Call me. We don’t have much time left!
Form before all the hours of your contract have     not have, or did not invite us to, TA training
been worked, and contact the union (the             sessions for new TAs. This letter, which the
Grievance Officer at 416.460.3902 or the            departments will be required to send to all TAs
Union office at 416.593.7057). With the end         who did not receive the required training, will
of term, and the bulk of most of our grading,       explain the importance of TA training, the risks
fast approaching, now is the time when most         of overwork, and the department’s culpability
people will realize whether or not they have        in not arranging such a training. As well, letters
sufficient hours to complete all the required       from the Human Resources Department will
duties. Now is the time- hand in your Workload      be sent to the Deans responsible for each of
Review Forms and call us! See                       these departments, explaining how the
w w w. c u p e 3 9 0 2 . o rg / m e m b i n f o /   department heads have violated this article of
dontworkforfree.html for more info.                 the Collective Agreement. We are pleased with
       In other grievance news, the Union is        this outcome, though I have a hunch the
going to arbitration (on May 29) over an OISE       department heads might not be (can we
prof’s illegitimate discharge of one of our         embarrass them any more?). Oh well, next time

                                                                                                         More than 400
           Letters to the Editors                                                                        apply for FAF
                                                                                                          New fund attracts attention
                                                                                                             Giovanna Andreana, Secretary-Treasurer
      The following letter was written to the Union following a successful resolution of a very                The Union office has received between
serious overwork issue in the French Department. The Guardian reprints this letter with permission.      400 and 450 applications for the Financial
                                                                                                         Assistance Fund. The new fund was created
       Dear Mikael and Joshua,                                                                           through collective bargaining last year and will
       I can’t tell you how relieved I am that      the fact that the process became significantly       be making its first payouts this April.
it’s resolved. I am perfectly satisfied with the    easier thanks to your involvement. It’s a shame            According to the Collective Agreement,
outcome. I am also feeling a sort of an             that more TAs don’t address overwork issues          the Union receives $225,000 each year from
acknowledgement from the department about           with an organization like yours to represent         the University of Toronto. Although interest in
the worrying TA situation we have and some          them and help them assert their rights in their      the fund was higher than expected in its first
willingness to change, especially through the       workplace, which are too often violated and          year, Union staff are pleased that so many
open forums our department started having.          which, for numerous reasons, they don’t feel         members will soon be receiving cheques. The
       I am sure you know how difficult it has      comfortable or accustomed to asserting               Financial Assistance Fund Committee
been at times to go through this process but I      themselves. UofT knows just how important            comprised of the Chair, the Secretary-
have never once doubted myself nor felt that        its TAs are, which should reassure TAs who           Treasurer, the two most senior Trustees, the
my reasons for pursuing this weren’t sound,         feel too intimidated to speak up, that their say     Local’s accountant and the Staff Rep will be
especially after having talked to you. I just       is powerful.                                         meeting next week to begin the review process.
wish all TAs realized the seriousness of                   Well, I hope this is sounding like a thank          Although final figures remain to be
overwork situations and that improvement is         you, because that’s what it is, even though I        worked out, it is estimated that each successful
possible even in a large institution such as our    don’t think I can thank you enough.                  applicant will receive roughly $450.00.
university, just as long as people are willing to          Thanks again so much for everything,          Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by the
voice their concerns. I am sure you have heard                                                           end middle of March. Successful applicants
this before but you deserve to hear it again,             A member of the French department              will be notified at the beginning of April.
THE GUARDIAN March 2003, p. 4.

 Rally for Peace at Dundas Square [Photo: A. Hanson]                               Sign seen at a recent Peace rally [Photo: A. Hanson]

                                                                                         The local constabulary [Photo: A. Hanson]

                        Rally for Peace at Nathan Philips Sq. [Photo: A. Hanson]

                   Sign seen at a recent Peace rally                               March for Peace, University Ave. [Photo: A. Hanson]
                                [Photo: A. Hanson]
                                                                                                          THE GUARDIAN March 2003, p. 5.

       Students call for teaching                                                                        What you can
      moratorium in event of war                                                                         and cannot do
               Kevin Reynolds, Liaison Officer
       The Students Against Sanctions and War       at U of T to stop this war.” Finally, participants
                                                                                                                If you are a Teaching Assistant, you
on Iraq (SASWI) are calling for a two-day           in the action will gather each day at 5 pm at
                                                                                                         should ask your supervisor (i.e., the person
moratorium on teaching at the U of T after an       the US consulate on University Ave. near
                                                                                                         who oversees your work as a TA) whether
eventual attack on Iraq by the US and its allies.   Dundas St. to demonstrate their disapproval
                                                                                                         you can cancel classes or conduct teach-
SASWI requests that all classes between 9 am        of the war.
                                                                                                         ins as called-for by SASWI.
and 2 pm on the two days after the bombing                  The Executive Committee of CUPE
                                                                                                                If you act on your own and without
“be turned into Iraq teach-ins, where professors    3902, in line with the peace resolution
                                                                                                         permission of the instructor, you may be
and instructors can talk about the details of the   approved at the last General Membership
                                                                                                         liable for disciplinary penalties. In the
war that they are familiar with, and why they       Meeting and with the policies of the national
                                                                                                         event that this occurs, please contact the
are opposed to it.”                                 Union and the Canadian Labour Congress,
                                                                                                         Union and we will help you.
       Should instructors be able to focus their    supports the teaching moratorium within the
                                                                                                                If you are a Course Instructor, you
lessons on issues concerning the war within         parameters of the Collective Agreement but
                                                                                                         obviously have more latitude to teach your
their courses’ prescribed curricula, they are       advises caution. It is recommended that those
                                                                                                         course as you see fit. However, you would
invited to do so. TAs are encouraged to discuss     who choose to protest a potential war inform
                                                                                                         be unwise to cancel your class without
this issue with course supervisors.                 themselves of their rights and duties as
                                                                                                         permission of the Department Chair or
       From 2 pm to 5 pm on those same days,        described in the Collective Agreement by
                                                                                                         Course Coordinator. Again, this could lead
SASWI encourages a classroom-free time,             following the tips laid out on this page and by
                                                                                                         to discipline.
whereby students, staff, and faculty may            contacting the Local (416.593.7057;
                                                                                                                The Union’s view is that members
“gather in the lobby of the Bahen Centre for a For any other
                                                                                                         are entitled to academic freedom, namely
big rally/teach-in. Professors, students and any    information concerning the actions, please
                                                                                                         the freedom to teach critically without fear
other participants will be encouraged to speak      contact SASWI directly (416.533.6026;
                                                                                                         of reprisal.
about the issue and discuss what can be done
                                                                                                                We also support the right of each
                                                                                                         member to take a position of conscience
     World Bank highlights good                                                                          on matters like the current Iraq conflict.
                                                                                                         While you must discharge you obligations

          effects of unions
                                                                                                         to the Employer as provided by the
                                                                                                         Collective Agreement, you may not be
                                                    of unions and collective bargaining.                 disciplined for your position on this or
      ICFTU/CALM Special to The Guardian
                                                           “Although it comes as no surprise to the      other issues. The non-discrimination
       A new World Bank report says that high
                                                    ICFTU, this public acknowledgement by the            clause of the Collective Agreement
unionization rates often lead to less inequality
                                                    World Bank, backed by in-depth research is           specifically protects you from
in earnings, less wage discrimination against
                                                    welcome,” said ICFTU general secretary Guy           discrimination or harassment on the
women and minority workers and improved
                                                    Ryder, “The bank must now go on to translate         grounds of “...religious or political
economic performance.
                                                    these important findings into policy, which may      affiliation or belief...academic school of
       The book, Unions and Collective
                                                    involve a significant shift in its organizational    thought...”
Bargaining: Economic Effects in a Global
                                                    culture.                                                    If you have any questions or
Environment, finds that the positive effects of
                                                           “In contrast to the worker-friendly           concerns about your rights or
unionization tend to be greater in countries
                                                    statements at the global level, country-level        responsibilities in this regard, please
with highly coordinated collective bargaining
                                                    bank staff still routinely advise governments        contact the Union at 416.593.7057 or
than in countries where the labour movement
                                                    to, in effect, violate the core labour standards
is more fragmented.
       The study is based on a survey of more       by making access to unionization and
than a thousand studies on the economic effects     collective bargaining more difficult.”

      British train drivers boycott
              arms convoy
Labor Notes/CALM Special to The Guardian                  The rail company urged the drivers’
      The Guardian of London reported train         union-ASLEF (Associated Society of
drivers in northern England refused to move a       Locomotive Engineers and Firemen)-to force
freight train they believed was carrying            the drivers to move the cargo, but the union’s
ammunition bound for the British troops in the      leaders refused to do so because the union has
Persian Gulf.                                       taken a stand against British Prime Minister
                                                    Tony Blair’s support for a war in Iraq.
THE GUARDIAN March 2003, p. 6.

                                                    External News
                                          UBC TAs hit the bricks
          Carey Hill, Special to The Guardian       difficulties, our first big action
       University of British Columbia Teaching      - picketing the main gates of
Assistants CUPE Local 2278 has been on strike       UBC – did not take place until
since February 10, 2003. TAs have been              February 13, 2003. Reading
without a contract since August, 2002. The          week (Feb 15 through 23) was
three main issues for UBC Teaching Assistants       a time to prepare for job action
are tuition, health benefits, and wages. CUPE       and to attend a forum organized
Local 2278 are fighting for tuition waivers, but    by UBC administration. The
the administration has refused to even discuss      forum about the labour
tuition at the bargaining table. We had tuition     situation on campus was
insurance up until August, but UBC has taken        intended to address issues
it away and refuses to discuss tuition in any       raised by all three CUPE unions
form now. UBC also took away our health             including the Teaching
benefits last September,                            Assistants, Maintenance and
       On pay, the university’s chief negotiator    Plant Operations workers, and                 300 UBC TAs on this picket line; 63% good enough for the Prez
told us, he would “not give [us] the spare          the Office Support staff. In her                                                      [Photo: CUPE 2278]
change in his pocket.” Previously, he had taken     speech, Martha Piper told us,
out his wallet, laid it on the table and told us,   “I know you. You cleaned my house and tended                The Math and Music buildings were also
“Look inside, there’s nothing in there for you.”    my garden.” She could not have sounded more          big successes this week. Music included
However, as a result of strike action, the          like a queen. When asked about our absence           performances on the line and Math involved
administration offered us 3-2-2 in late January,    of health benefits she claimed that we were          students drumming, singing songs, and
and just last Wednesday they offered us 3-4-3.      “not on a career path” so we did not deserve         chanting. One group brought spoons and
Some money was found for us, after all. The         benefits. Since when does teaching not go            tapped the railing and the pipe for a great
university’s refusal to even discuss tuition or     hand-in-hand with research? She told us about        sound. Another student took the megaphone
health benefits has kept us from accepting their    her 63 percent raise to put her on par with the      and began leading aerobics on the line. He also
wage offer. Our wage rates rank 10th out of 15      University of Toronto. When asked if she             taunted the students who tried to cross
in Canada. We are asking for 6-6-6 on wages,        would ensure we had wage parity with Toronto,        explaining, “The TAs are giving you a holiday.
to bring us up to Simon Fraser University who       too, she refused to answer. As one of our TAs        Take your vacation. Don’t give up your
are both local to us, and 9th in the rankings.      later mocked, “Wage parity…it’s a good thing         vacation.” The university has a policy that
       Strike Vote and 72-Hours Notice              for me.” UBC TAs make about $7 per hour              protects students who do not cross picket lines.
       The days and months leading up to our        less than U of T TAs.                                       Withdrawal of Services
strike have been full ones. We had a                       Strike Action                                        Coinciding with our picketing of
membership meeting in October which was                    To date, we feel our strike action has        buildings, all TAs withdrew their services on
attended by over 400 TAs. Another meeting           been successful as evidenced by movement at          February 24 th. This has already created
was held a few weeks later giving us the            the bargaining table. Our picketing of buildings     considerable pressure on the administration as
direction to hold a strike vote. Our strike vote    has achieved considerable disruption and UBC         all labs in chemistry have been cancelled for
took place during the last week of November         administration has admitted this. When we            safety reasons and most labs in other science
and first week of December. 87 percent of TAs       picketed the anthropology and sociology              faculties are not taking place. Several mid-
voted in favour of going on strike. The             building, administration said only 20 percent        terms have not been marked and one student
university, however, did not react. We gave 72      of students and faculty crossed our lines. We        told a story of a mid-term with 300 students
hours strike notice in late December, and they      believe it was much less. Several faculty joined     involving considerable talking but no action
applied for mediation and essential services        the lines despite the administration’s guarantee     on the part of the professor who obviously
designation.                                        they will lose 1/22 of their monthly pay for
                                                                          nd                             relied on TAs to ensure no one cheated.
       “Breakfast at Martha’s”                      each day they do not cross a picket line. There      Professors have told us if the strike does not
       In January, we held “Breakfast at            was a story of a professor coming out of the         end soon, the content of final exams will have
Martha’s”, a rally at UBC’s President Martha        building and telling the TAs he had gone to          to change. The impact of our actions is being
Piper’s home. The event received considerable       class but no students showed up.                     felt.
media coverage and involved participation                  Part of our strategy has been notifying              If you want to find out more about our
from other CUPE unions on campus, Locals            everyone of the next day’s pickets at 5pm the        strike or our union, please visit our website
116 and 2950. Unfortunately, Martha did not         day before. This allows students to check   We will keep you updated
heed her wake-up call.                              where the pickets are, to decide whether or not      about our struggle. In the meantime, if you can
       Legal Strike Position and Martha’s           to study for their exams, and also provides the      spare the change in your pocket we desperately
Forum                                               media a change of scene each day. Everyone           need money for our strike fund – please send
       We were in a legal position to strike on     is curious where tomorrow’s pickets will be.         donations to CUPE 2278 Box 379, 101-1001
February 10, 2003. Due to some legal                                                                     West Broadway, Vancouver BC, V6H 4E4.
                                                                                                               THE GUARDIAN March 2003, p. 7.

                                      Sabbaticals for students:
                                 Attrition and time-to-completion in graduate education
                                      Klaus Jahn, Chief Steward                                dissertations, and as such, constitutes a significant factor

            n last month’s issue of The Guardian, I offered up                                 in accounting for the increase in time-to-completion
           some reflections on a recently released report by                                   numbers. The problem becomes particularly pressing for
           the Canadian Association For Graduate Studies                                       senior doctoral candidates (i.e. those beyond year four of a
(CAGS), which revealed some systemic shortcomings                                              PhD), who are often forced by lack of adequate funding to
plaguing Graduate Schools across Canada (Making the case                                       take on more teaching responsibilities than is prudent
for more money: Attrition and time-to-completion in graduate                                   precisely at the point in time when they ought to be most
education – The Guardian, February, 2003). In brief, the                                       focused on completion.
CAGS report noted – for the first time – a marked increase in                                         What can be done?
both the attrition rates (as high as 65%!) and the time-to-                                           It’s clear that the University will not likely be willing
completion numbers (going beyond 7 years!) common to                                           or able wean itself from the essential and inexpensive labour
Canadian Graduate programs in recent years.                                                    that we provide. It’s equally clear that graduate students
        One of the key factors flagged as accounting for this increase in        will not likely be willing or able to give up the opportunity to take on
attrition and time-to-completion rates was the woefully inadequate               more onerous teaching assignments. That having been said, however,
funding offered to graduate students at Canadian Universities. In                there are steps that can be taken to ensure that a balance is struck between
essence, the relation between the two manifests itself as a problem of           the demands of teaching and the need to find time to work on our own
having insufficient money to secure sufficient time to devote attention          projects.
to one’s studies. That is, at the risk of sounding pedantic, the problem                The solution that presents itself is a tried and true one, with roots
is this: the less money one has, the more one needs to work; the more            that go back to the foundation of the University itself - namely, the
one needs to work, the less time one has for one’s studies; the less time        sabbatical. For generations, scholars from all disciplines have managed
one has for one’s studies, the more time it will take one to complete            to strike the balance between the demands of teaching and the desire to
one’s degree; and, the more time it takes to complete one’s degree, the          research by appeal to the sabbatical. It strikes me that, should the
less likely one is to finish at all. In the end, then, attrition and time-to-    University continue to lay ever greater teaching responsibilities on the
completion rates increase as a function of inadequate funding.                   shoulders of graduate students, then it is equally obligated to provide
        Given this equation, the solution seems straight-forward. Should         these student/teachers the opportunity to pursue the research projects
Canadian Graduate schools take seriously the problem of increased                that brought them to the graduate school in the first place. The
attrition and time-to-completion rates, a new infusion of money dedicated        mechanism by which this can be done is the same as that which enables
to graduate funding is necessary. Not only must students have more               faculty to successfully pursue their research projects - the sabbatical.
money available to them to offset the need to find employment, but                      Now, it clearly sounds strange – even crazy – to suggest that
more importantly – given that the need to find employment increases              graduate students be eligible for the same kind of sabbatical as faculty;
once one passes out of the ‘funded cohort’ – Universities must ensure            and indeed, I’m appealing to hyperbole to make a rhetorical point. But,
that funding is available for the full duration of a program of study.           the fact remains that even if a proper ‘paid-leave’ for graduate students
        But, beyond dealing with the capital side of the money = time            is impossible, some variant of such a strategy is possible given the current
equation, Canadian Graduate schools can do a great deal more to ensure           funding format. In essence, one of the provisions we at CUPE 3902
that adequate time is available to their candidates for higher degrees to        proposed in our recent ‘Green Paper’ submission constitutes just such a
actually work on those degrees.                                                  de facto sabbatical for graduate students.
        Given the realities of the modern University, it’s a fact that our              According to that provision, the University would offer graduate
labour is needed. Increasing undergraduate enrolment (soon to be even            students ‘flexible teaching contracts’, in which two terms worth of
more marked here in Ontario), and decreasing operating budgets have              teaching responsibilities could be compressed into one term, thus freeing
forced Canadian Universities to become ever more reliant on the labour           up the remainder of the year for research and writing of the dissertation.
that we offer. Massive introductory undergraduate courses require small          Payment for employment would extend throughout the academic year,
armies of TA’s to hold tutorials and labs, at which the bulk of real teaching    thus ensuring that in no one term, the student suffers undue hardship.
is undertaken. Moreover, the inability of individual departments to              According to such a scheme, the student would work for the money,
replenish faculty lost to retirement has ensured that senior graduate            and as such, it differs from a proper ‘paid-leave’; but at the same time,
students will more and more be called upon to serve as sole responsibility       it provides an income even while the student isn’t employed in teaching,
Course Instructors. Clearly, this need on the part of the University,            and as such, shares in the spirit of the sabbatical.
translates into a real opportunity for graduate students as well. That is,              Absent a massive infusion of new capital devoted to providing
most of us are more than willing to take on greater responsibility for           better funding for graduate students, the University had better start
teaching in tutorials and labs, and are genuinely appreciative of the            thinking of novel ways to use the resources that are available to it, or
chance to teach a class of our own.                                              risk seeing an even more marked increase in time-to-completion and
        However, that having been said, it’s equally clear that this increased   drop-out rates. While the ‘pseudo-sabbatical’/‘flexible teaching contract’
responsibility – which serves to both meet the needs of the University           might not be the ultimate solution to the attrition and time-to-completion
and the desires of graduate students - costs graduate students time that         problem, it at least constitutes an effort to think creatively about this
might otherwise be devoted to the researching and the writing of their           problem, which the University ignores at its own peril.
         Sponsor a UBC TA Today
1800 UBC Teaching Assistants are on strike against an employer that said they wouldn’t give
TAs the change in their pocket. The strike issues are tuition hikes, healthcare and wages –
the defining theme is access to education. These workers who only make $9000 per year
need your help today.
         Pamela Bastante                             is a TA in Spanish

She/He is 27 years old and hopes to
  Finish her program and eventually teach
..when the strike is over.

Pamela           needs your help to buy groceries and pay the
rent while UBC President Martha Piper gets a 63% wage hike to

Your donation of $50 will help buy a bus pass to the picket line.

$200 will pay for a full week’s strike pay.

I want to donate $50, $100, $200, ______ other, to the CUPE 2278 strike fund to
help win tuition relief, health benefits, and decent pay for Pamela .

My organization wants to donate $500, $1000,                    $5000, _______ other, to help UBC workers win a
contract that respects the work that they do.

  Please make cheques payable to CUPE Local 2278, and send to Box 379, 101 –
                  1001 W. Broadway, Vancouver BC, V6H 4E4.
    For more information please visit CUPE 2278’s website

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