CUPE 4163 launches campaign on Victoria buses

VICTORIA – CUPE 4163 Component 3 is shining a light on the University of Victoria’s poor treatment of sessional lecturers — and the impacts on both students and educators — with a public campaign on Victoria’s buses beginning this week.

Lack of job security and low wages have put these educators in a precarious situation. Sessional lecturers and music instructors who teach 30 per cent of students at UVic are low-paid, get very little notice about what courses they’ll be teaching, and need to reapply for their position every single term.

“For term instructors, it can be pretty tough,” said CUPE 4163 President Greg Melnechuk. “And the impact on students definitely limits their educational experience at UVic.”

Some educators have seen class sizes almost double which means that written assignments become eclipsed by quizzes and exams for student assessment. Teaching moments are lost, and student experience is compromised.

“Most people don’t realize that many of the favourite instructors at UVic are actually working under exploitative conditions,” said Melnechuk.

“The irony is that, while sessional instructors are demoralized by the willful neglect shown them by the University, they remain intensely dedicated to the students and the teaching.”

CUPE 4163 Component 3 took a strike vote after five months of exhaustive bargaining sessions but have not served 72-hour notice to take job action. They have no further bargaining dates and expect to go into mediation sometime in September. More information can be found online at

UVic sessional lecturers and music instructors vote to strike

VICTORIA—With more than 90 per cent in favour, CUPE 4163 Component 3 members voted overwhelmingly to endorse job action at the University of Victoria (UVic). The local has been bargaining with the employer for five months and are frustrated with the lack of progress at the bargaining table. This strike vote by Component 3 is the first ever in their 20-year history.

One of the main issues is the low pay and precarious working conditions that impact student experience at UVic and the amount of support they receive.  

“We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement at the bargaining table and avert any strike or job action in September,” said CUPE 4163 President Greg Melnechuk. “Most of the measures we are asking for are at little or no cost to the University.”

Melnechuk stated that proposals at issue involve basic job security measures that other universities and colleges already have.

CUPE 4163 Component 3 represents approximately 450 sessional lecturers and music performance instructors at the University of Victoria. They teach 30 per cent of all university students at UVic.

The local and employer are expected to return to the bargaining table on August 8, 2019.

“We are committed to working towards a negotiated resolution that fairly addresses the course-by-course precarious working conditions for our members, who are trying to do their best for students,” said Melnechuk.

CUPE 116 members at UBC ratify collective agreement

VANCOUVER­­ — CUPE 116 members working at the University of British Columbia (UBC), ratified a tentative agreement (TA) they reached with the employer on June 9. The ratification vote was completed late Tuesday night with members voting in favour of accepting the TA with a strong majority.

“This was a productive round of bargaining and we were happy to present to our members an agreement that improved both their working conditions and the content of the Collective Agreement,” said CUPE 116 President Dave Lance.

The agreement provides for wage increases of 2 per cent in each year of the agreement and includes retroactive pay.

As well as clarifying and improving existing language, highlights of the agreement include:

  • improved access to benefits and to regular employment for CUPE 116 auxiliary members;
  • development of an Apprenticeship Incentive Fund designed to encourage and facilitate more apprenticeships on campus for CUPE 116 members and provide financial support during their apprenticeship;
  • a pilot project to support sustainable transportation initiatives to help offset commuting costs for lower-earning employees at UBC;
  • increase in the Health Spending Account for members who are on extended health benefits;
  • increased premium for weekends and shiftwork, as well as Gasfitting ticket holders; and
  • new language for leave for the birth or adoption of a new child and domestic violence leave.

CUPE 116 represents approximately 2,500 support staff at UBC. This agreement covers approximately 2,300 of their members who work as tradespeople, technicians, service workers, food service workers and employees who work in the UBC Bookstore, ­­provide campus security, and manage parking. 

The agreement comes into effect when both parties have ratified it. The term of the new agreement is April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2022.

To learn more about CUPE members working in post secondary, visit

CUPE 3799 support workers reach tentative agreement at UNBC

PRINCE GEORGE — CUPE 3799 reached a tentative agreement with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) on Thursday, June 13. The local began bargaining with UNBC in March.

“We had a great working relationship with the people at the table,” said CUPE 3799 President Caroline Sewell. “I want to recognize the hard work and dedication of the 3799 bargaining committee members, the Bargaining Information Group (BIG), and our National Servicing Representative.”

CUPE National staff representative Mitch Guitard said that a mutually respectful relationship was integral to reaching the settlement. “The employer worked really hard to reach the fair and equitable settlement that we are taking back to our members for ratification,” said Guitard.

Further details of the tentative agreement will not be available until after ratification by all parties, expected to be completed in June.  

CUPE 3799 represents approximately 420 support staff including: recruitment, registration, advising, admin support, IT and AV services, counselling and wellness, groundskeeping, facility maintenance, and much more.  CUPE members work collaboratively with Faculty and non-union staff throughout students’ university experience at UNBC.

UNBC teaching assistants vote to join CUPE

PRINCE GEORGE — Teaching assistants (TAs) at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) voted overwhelmingly to join CUPE 2278 in a Labour Board vote held on Wednesday.

The 76 TAs will now be members of the union local representing teaching assistants and English-language instructors at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

“We are so pleased to welcome these TAs into our local,” said CUPE 2278 First Vice President Gillian Glass. “After years of neglected concerns, they will be represented by a union that understands their work and their issues.”

The local will be negotiating a first collective agreement on behalf of their newest members at UNBC. They are students as well as TAs, so wages are important to their quality of life. Other important issues include hiring fairness and due process, protection from academic harm, and achieving a fair first collective agreement.

“Solidarity among TAs will help make gains for our newest members,” said CUPE 2278 President Laura Bulk. “We look forward to meeting and working with our members from UNBC.”

UCBC launches campaign to stop cuts to post-secondary education

The Universities Coordinated Bargaining Committee is drawing attention to the BC Liberals’ abysmal record on funding post-secondary education through a public campaign that launches this week.

The campaign runs from mid-September to October and can be seen on buses, transit shelters, billboards and university campuses throughout B.C. The public is urged to visit universities to send a letter to Minister of Advanced Education, Amrik Virk.

Every single person in society benefits from post-secondary education – whether it’s receiving direct services from a trained public health professional or indirectly, such as by travelling on highways or over bridges designed by qualified engineers. A post-secondary education system that is fully funded and well-run is important to every community and every person in our province.

CUPE represents university employees whose work is as diverse in its scope as the backgrounds of the students who attend. From educators, TAs and research assistants to trades people, landscapers, support staff and technicians, we help maintain B.C.’s vibrant, diverse and high-quality universities.

CUPE members are committed to working with students and other university stakeholders to protect and enhance our public post-secondary education system. After all, post secondary education benefits us all.

Take action by clicking on the “Stop the Cuts” tab.