union of student workers at the university of ottawa


CUPE 2626 represents thousands of Teaching and Research Assistants, Markers, Tutors, Lab Monitors, Demonstrators, Proctors, Lifeguards and Residence Life workers at the University of Ottawa. CUPE 2626 operates under the broader organization of CUPE National (the Canadian Union of Public Employees), Canada’s largest union with approximately 600 000 members across the country. As part of a dynamic and democratic union, all CUPE members operate on the basis of solidarity and equality: an injury to one member is an injury to all members.

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Upcoming event

2023-04-20 15:30:00
PRESS RELEASE: What are we asking for, and why are we asking for it?

For the university to take immediate action to address the declining quality of education by: 

  • Reducing professor to student ratio, to allow professors to better support students through their learning process, for instance, by providing more effective feedback on their assignments, meeting with students who need extra support, etc.
  • Reducing TA to student ratio to allow TAs to provide a higher quality, more individualized learning experience for students. 
  • Bringing back discussion groups (DGDs) and decreasing class sizes to improve the quality and experience of undergraduate learning. 
  • Stopping the closure of “smaller” programs and services (e.g., the School of Translation and Interpretation, the Academic Writing Help Centre, MA in Classics), which disproportionately affects Francophone programs and arts and social science departments.
  • Ceasing the ongoing cancellation of small-group seminars by lumping together students from different departments in large lectures for the sake of efficiency. This pedagogical aberration is motivated by financial interests and disproportionately affects Francophone programs and “smaller” departments such as anthropology. 
  • Releasing a transparent budget that prioritizes education over profits because postsecondary education is a PUBLIC SERVICE, meant to serve the public good, which is (or should be) publically funded. 
  • Reinstating the Academic Writing Help Centre (AWHC) and the services previously offered by the Student Academic and Success Service. The elimination of this service is evidence of the university’s lack of interest in student success. This particularly impacts international students who need language support. 

For the university to take immediate action towards addressing student poverty by:

  • Increasing funding packages to above pre-pandemic levels and further indexed to the cost of living. The successful completion of any degree is only possible if students are given reasonable funding which allows them to focus on their studies. Delays in program completion are a direct result of a lack of funding.
  • Equalizing tuition fees for domestic and international students. 
  • Ensuring guaranteed funding for all graduate students to match minimum wage for full time employment in Ontario ($32,240 annually) and index it to match cost-of-living increases, this would ensure that stipends and funding allow for periods of unemployment.
  • Ending discriminatory practices against international students such as denying work to distance students and imposing unreasonable requirements regarding SIN numbers which are stricter than the Employment insurance regulations. 
  • Ceasing and desisting lobbying efforts to end provincial tuition freeze and commit that future lobbying efforts regarding university funding will be to increase public government funding of Universities, advocate for student loan forgiveness, and to advocate for the total abolition of tuition fees.
  • Developing a plan of action to address student homelessness and poverty which is a consequence of a lack of funding, increasing tuition, cuts to work contracts, and little to no coverage for dental, drug, and medical expenses.  

For the university to take immediate action towards supporting graduate student workers by: 

  • Increasing wages to be consistent with inflation and indexed to cost of living. Current job security guarantees only 130 hours of work per year, which amounts to only $6,038.50 before tax. The Low-income cutoff for cities with a population greater than 500,000 is approximately $25,000 per year. 
  • Increasing the number of guaranteed work hours (job security) to match other universities and assist with elevating graduate students out of poverty. 
  • Ensuring that Teaching Assistant contracts contain a sufficient amount of hours to complete the work required. Concretely, this means stopping the practice of offering half contracts (i.e., 65 hours) and restoring all Teaching Assistant contracts to full appointments (i.e., 130 hours). 
  • Ceasing and desisting contract splitting, which is a tactic to avoid paying students full salaries for hours worked. “Contract-splitting” consists of creating two contracts out of one TA contract so that the university can pay TAs a lower rate on half of the contract hours.
  • Implementing teaching assistants in every class to improve undergraduate education, provide experience to graduate students, and to support overworked professors. This also means ceasing the practice of replacing teaching assistants with correctors. 
  • Acknowledging that student labour IS labour! Teaching assistants and research assistants are skilled workers providing a service, and the skills required to provide such a service take years of experience to develop.
  • Recognizing the intellectual property rights of research and teaching assistants whose contributions are the backbone of this university’s education and research mission, yet they receive little to no credit for their work.
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CUPE 2626

85 University Pr.
University Centre, suite 303
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5

T 613.562.5345
@ info@2626.ca

Office hours
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.