Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Last updated: 1 year ago

TAs hold workshops to train picket captains, but no strike called yet

Andrew Bates/The Ubyssey

UBC’s TA union is holding workshops to train picket captains as preparations increase for a possible call to strike over the long weekend.

While no strike has been called, CUPE 2278, the union that represents UBC’s TAs, posted on their blog that they would hold workshops for picketing on April 4 and 5.

“These workshops will be about how to run a picket, scheduling, and the legal requirements involved in successful job action,” it said on the blog.

Should a strike be called over the weekend, the repercussions could be felt as early as Tuesday, as only 72 hours notice is required.

UBC is remaining tight-lipped about what would occur in event of a strike, although Lisa Castle, AVP Human Resrouces, sent out a campus-wide memo stating “the University has intensified its efforts to prepare for strike activity by working to convene the ad hoc Senate Strike Prepardness Committee.” She also wrote that “The union’s apparent movement towards job action is perplexing.”

Last week, Public Affairs Director Lucie McNeill said that contingency plans for invigilating and marking exams would be arranged on a faculty-by-faculty basis.

“Regarding whether or not UBC would ask faculty to invigilate or mark exams, if we were to assess that job action is likely and could disrupt exams, then [we] would be having discussion with the deans,” she said.

McNeill added that if picket lines aren’t set up, the strike itself wouldn’t theoretically stop people from going in to supervise or take an exam.

Further complications could arise for students who commute if TransLink follows suit with refusing to cross picket-lines, as they did in the 2003 TA strike where buses turned around at Blanca Street.

“As unionized workers, we always honour other unions’ picket lines, and we do not cross those picket lines,” said Gavin Davies, VP of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) local 111, which represents TransLink. “That’s something that isn’t just for unionized workers, a lot of the time, even non-union people won’t cross the picket line, out of respect.”

Davies clarified that the transit workers would not likely be affected if the picket lines were at buildings around campus and avoided the bus loop.

“If they picketed the bus loop or the exchange there or a roadway, the buses wouldn’t cross the picket line, and that’s usually the rule of order,” he said.

—With files from Laura Rodgers and Kalyeena Makortoff