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Graduate teaching assistants, UNBC ratify contract

Three-year deal provides 10.84 per cent wage increase
The entrance to the Prince George campus at UNBC.

UNBC and its graduate teaching assistants represented by CUPE 2278 have ratified a collective agreement that will give the employees a 10.84 per cent increase over three years.

The three-year contract for approximately 100 employees covers a term that started July 1, 2022 and runs through June 30, 2025 and follows terms outlined in the province’s Shared Recovery Mandate

Their annual wages will rise are as follows:

Year 1 – a flat increase of 25 cents per hour, which provides a greater percentage increase for lower-paid employees as well as a 3.34 per cent increase;

Year 2 – a 5.5 per cent increase plus a cost of living adjustment to a maximum of 6.75 per cent;

Year 3 – two per cent plus a cost of living adjustment to a maximum of three per cent.

The contract also includes an article that supports Indigenous leave of up to two days. UNBC will also provide members $100 towards benefits.

“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 CUPE 2278 chairperson Lisa Koetke. “As our second negotiated collective agreement with UNBC, this settlement demonstrates the growth of the relationship between the parties.”  

The contract also provides a letter of understanding to address barriers and start discussions to help with graduate teaching assistant recruitment and retention. It also addresses workload concerns, provides guiding principles for hiring criteria and provisions for office space for teaching assistants to conduct business.

A tentative agreement was reached on Jan. 23. The union ratified it in a vote on Jan. 25 and UNBC’s board of governors approved the deal on Jan. 27.

“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.”