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This announcement comes less than a year after the Residence Advisors (RA) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Vancouver campus, successfully launched their unionization campaign.
Now the RAs at the UBCO campus are excited to reveal they plan to do the same, as they launch their union campaign to join the British Columbia General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) Local 707.
Central issues to the campaign include compensation for RAs for the long, unpredictable, and often unsustainable work hours these student workers undergo.
Many RAs have expressed their concerns about having to work a second job just to make ends meet, all while making sure their academic needs are met.
According to the UBCO Collective Action for Residence Employees (CARE), 66% of the Residence Life student staff pay more in housing and meal plan fees than they earn from their salary; even with a $1,200 meal plan subsidy from the University.
“This job is very rewarding and a great opportunity for personal growth, but it is important to remember that we are workers too, and students first. We have a right to advocate for our interests and make our workplace work for us,” stated one RA involved in the campaign.
“The changes we’re seeking don’t happen on their own, they have to come from a unified movement and they require that workers have a permanent seat at the table when it comes to workplace decision-making.”
Members of the proposed bargaining unit include 85 Residence Advisors, Senior Residence Advisors, and Program Resource Advisors–all student workers–who live and work in UBCO’s student residence buildings.
Organizing efforts so far have included student staff in all three positions and from all ten residence buildings.
If successful, the RAs will join foodservice workers, library employees, teaching and research assistants, administrative staff, and other workers at UBCO who are already represented by the University’s collective agreement with BCGEU.
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