UWOFA supports graduate teaching assistants at Western

Graduate teaching assistants at Western University are currently negotiating their next collective agreement with the university administration. Stephen Pitel, UWOFA president, sent the following letter of support for graduate teaching assistants to university president Amit Chakma and Paul Jenkins, chair of the Board of Governors.

Dear Mr. Jenkins and President Chakma,

I write to express the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association's strong support for Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 610 in its current negotiations with the University on behalf of Graduate Teaching Assistants.

As educators we recognize the contributions of Graduate Teaching Assistants to the exceptional undergraduate education that Western delivers. Our Graduate Teaching Assistants are not only our employees but also our graduate students, and as such many of them are under significant financial pressures at this pivotal point in their careers. They deserve fair compensation. How Western treats this group of employees says a great deal about the type of employer it aims to be.

In discussions about compensation, it is crucial that we all recognize that the years of very low inflation have ended. Inflation has been rising over the past few years and the expectation is that this will continue. Compensation has to keep pace.

UWOFA is committed to the collective bargaining process, and we know that you share this commitment. We look to you to provide sound leadership and to give the administration's bargaining team a clear mandate to reach a fair and equitable collective agreement with our Graduate Teaching Assistants, especially in the area of compensation.

Yours truly,

Stephen G.A. Pitel
President, UWOFA