Work Learns at UBC are unionizing

Graduate Academic Assistants have officially voted in favour of joining CUPE 2278
Graduate Research Assistants have surpassed the threshold to automatically join CUPE 2278
Your support can help organize more workers at UBC

Why organize UBC?

The University of British Columbia is the largest university in the province and one of the largest in the nation. And yet, it lags behind many other schools who already have unionized research assistants, academic and lab assistants, and other student worker positions. This is despite the fact that the University cannot run without us.

Without a union, individual student workers are left to advocate for themselves and risk being taken advantage of by their employer. The most effective way to advance the rights of student workers on campus is to organize into a union and be protected under a collective agreement with the university.

Entry into the union means we can fight together for:

  • Fairness: Transparency, clarity, and standards at work
  • Equity: Enforceable protections for all
  • Security: Job security and clear rules for access to work
  • Safety: A safe and healthy workplace
  • Respect: Recognition as essential academic workers
  • Support: Proper training and supervision
  • Dignity: Improved mental health supports
  • Democracy: A collective voice for all student workers over working conditions

Together, we can make the University of British Columbia a better space for student workers.

Are you ready to take action to improve your workplace?

Sign a card today

Get involved

The Committee to Organize UBC is a student-led campaign to unionize ALL student workers at the University of British Columbia (UBC). It was started by workers all across campus to fight for better employment rights for all of our student workers. We want everyone to be able to not just survive while studying in Vancouver, but to be paid a fair wage and have the protections of a collective agreement. This includes protection against vulnerabilities like being let go for any reason at any time, and having recourse with actual teeth when facing discrimination or bullying on the job.

The primary aim of the organizing committee is:

To bring all student workers into a directly democratic, inclusive union (CUPE Local 2278) where worker participation in their union is at the core of everything we do. Only by ensuring full, meaningful, and equitable chances for everyone to participate in our grassroots group can we hope to build a successful movement that will truly improve the lives of everyone at UBC.


Inside the Movement: Organize UBC in The Ubyssey

UBC’s student newspaper, The Ubyssey, published two stories last week about the ongoing campaign to organize student workers at UBC. “Building stronger together: The people behind CUPE 2278” The first story, by Renée Rochefort, offers a personal look at some of the organizers behind the unionization effort, including Sam Connolly (CUPE 2278 President), Jessica Wolf (CUPE 2278 Component 1 Chair), and three member organizers: Jose Reyeros, Tina Rothchild, and Adrian Matias Bell. Read on to learn more about what motivates these committed activists to fight for better working conditions for UBC student workers. “CUPE 2278 Work Learn unionization drive kicks

Read More »

Graduate Academic Assistants latest UBC workers to join CUPE

More than 800 Graduate Academic Assistants (GAAs) who work at the University of British Columbia (UBC) will join BC’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). GAAs will join CUPE 2278, the union that already represents Teaching Assistants, English Language Instructors, and Exam Invigilators at the university. “We’re excited to welcome Graduate Academic Assistants to our local,” says CUPE 2278 President Emily Cadger. “These workers play an integral role in the research and education community at UBC, and their work deserves to be recognized and fairly compensated.” The representation vote for GAAs took place online from Monday July

Read More »

UBC Research Assistants to join CUPE in the largest successful union organizing campaign in recent B.C. history

More than 3,200 Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) who work at the University of British Columbia (UBC) will join B.C.’ s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). GRAs will join CUPE 2278, the union that already represents Teaching Assistants, English Language Instructors, and Invigilators at UBC. “We’re proud to welcome Graduate Research Assistants to our local,” says CUPE 2278 President Emily Cadger. “Research Assistants play a crucial role in the academic community, and they have sent a clear message that their compensation and working conditions need to improve.” UBC has filed several objections to the union’s application for

Read More »

Organize UBC in the Ubyssey

The Committee to Organize UBC received coverage in the Ubyssey following the success of our presence at Imagine Day. Authors Anabella McElroy and Nathan Bawaan note that “[in] previous student unionization campaigns at UBC, eligible employees have voted overwhelmingly in favour of unionizing after well-over 45 percent signed cards”, and mention the years of maintained interest in union representation from research assistants, academic assistants, and other student workers on campus not currently part of CUPE 2278.  Local president Phyllis Pearson is quoted as “[wanting] to show you a strong campaign”, and since launch, interest and engagement with the campaign to

Read More »

It’s time to Organize UBC!

We have now launched our campaign to unionize student workers at UBC! For far too long, research assistants and academic assistants have endured low wages, no job protections, and poor working conditions. We say enough is enough! All student workers deserve enough money to live and the job security that a union provides. We are a collective of graduate and undergraduate students coming together to unionize ALL research student workersat UBC. Today marks the start of card signing, which we encourage all RAs and AAs to sign now. Thanks to BC’s new one-step process, if we can get 55% of

Read More »