How will the union help with reducing tuition in cases when benefits, such as access to labs and equipment, have been removed? For example, in the case of COVID-19.
There are several ways that the union can affect tuition fees. But, these will depend on what you can negotiate and get the employer to agree to. Things that you could attempt to negotiate (and have been negotiated in other CUPE agreements in the Post-Secondary Education sector) include:
- Reduced tuition fees for graduate students.
- Wage protection for any tuition fee increases the university brings in. So, if tuition fees go up $1000, you would be paid an extra $1000.
- Tuition fee rebates for certain conditions if outlined in the collective agreement.
However, tuition fees are more of a political issue than a strictly “labour union contract” issue. CUPE supports its locals in the struggle for a more fair and equitable society beyond the limits of a collective agreement. CUPE is a fighting union and its members engage in democratically decided political campaigns to change society for the better.
So, a CUPE local can provide support for political action against tuition fees by:
- funding a campaign at the local, provincial, federal level for more funding for universities and reduced tuition fees.
- working with coalition partners who share your goals for the university such as reduced tuition fees, increased needs-based grants to lower the bar for access to university, increase research funding for graduate students to be able to do the research we all need, fight for safe and clean university campuses, and protections for vulnerable communities on campus.
- You do not have to reinvent the wheel on any of this. CUPE has many active campaigns in the sector already being driven by the near 40,000 university workers in Ontario that CUPE represents.
Join us, and we will be that much stronger in our fight for the change we want in our post-secondary education system to make universities and colleges the driving force for knowledge generation, skills, and critical understanding our society needs.
I have a question that wasn't answered here. How can I get more information?
Contact us! Organizers will be happy to answer your question, no matter how specific or general, big or small. You can reach a student organizer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also collecting student questions and using this feedback to continually expand our FAQs and improve our campaign and engagement with people like you. So, if there is something you would like to know, we want to hear from you!
Weekly video chat and FAQ: OrganizeUW hosts a weekly Q&A video call at 1:30pm EST every Tuesday. Please join if you'd like to discuss the drive, ask any questions, or simply say hello and meet our organizers! See here for the current link.