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UNBC, CUPE 2278 ratify new deal for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Over 100 Graduate Teaching Assistants at UNBC have a new contract.

Today (Friday), the university along with CUPE 2278 ratified their second collective agreement in relation to the province’s Shared Recovery Mandate.

“We are very pleased that the bargaining process was done in a mutually amicable fashion and that we continue to foster positive working relationships with UNBC,” said Lisa Koetke, Chairperson – CUPE 2278 Component III.

“As our second negotiated collective agreement with UNBC, this settlement demonstrates the growth of the relationship between the parties.”

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The parties reached a tentative agreement on January 23rd; CUPE members ratified the agreement two days later while UNBC’s Board of Governors gave the green light on the 27th of last month.

“Graduate Teaching Assistants play a vital role at UNBC, providing support for faculty and students while contributing to the excellence of UNBC’s academic programming,” said UNBC President and Vice-Chancellor Geoff Payne.

“The priorities of both parties were addressed in this agreement, which is a hallmark of collective bargaining. On behalf of the UNBC community, I thank the bargaining teams for their commitment to the process and for all they do each day to contribute to UNBC’s continued success.”

Highlights of the collective agreement include the following:

  • A three-year term (July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2025).
  • General wage increases in line with the Shared Recovery Mandate.
  • Year 1 – a flat increase of $0.25/hour which provides a greater percentage increase for lower-paid employees, plus 3.24%
  • Year 2 – 5.5% plus a potential Cost of Living Adjustment to a maximum of 6.75%
  • Year 3 – 2% plus a potential Cost of Living Adjustment to a maximum of 3%
  • Added an article to support Indigenous employee leave of up to 2 days.
  • The University provides members $100 per GTA towards benefits.
  • Added a Letter of Understanding (LOU) meant to address barriers and start discussions surrounding GTA recruitment and retention.
  • Added a process to address Graduate Teaching Assistant workload concerns
  • Added an LOU regarding guiding principles for GTA hiring criteria.
  • Provisions for Office space for the Union to conduct business.
  • The Collective Agreement uses 100% gender-neutral language.
  • Migrated the Collective Agreement to digital delivery as opposed to print.
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