Rising UBC child-care costs rankle union official

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      UBC has increased child-care fees by 25 percent in just three years, according to a union official.

      Trish Everett is the president of Local 2278 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents more than 3,000 graduate and undergraduate students at UBC who work as teaching assistants, markers, and tutors. Many of them have young families.

      “Our wages aren’t going up in a pace that matches: tuition goes up two percent every year; the cost of living in Vancouver goes up every year; and these are people who are in a vulnerable time of life making very little money and paying a great amount of that for childcare,” Everett told the Straight in a phone interview. “And UBC doesn’t seem to be doing anything to make that situation less dire.”

      UBC charges students $1,245 a month for toddler care. The fee for infants is $1,355. Regular UBC employees and outsiders pay more.

      For typical parent students, only $200 of their salary as teaching assistants is left after paying for childcare, according to Everett.

      International students are in an even tougher place. They are not eligible for provincial subsidy and university aid for childcare.

      On June 1, Everett wrote UBC president Stephen Toope, asking him to cancel this year’s five-percent increase in child-care costs. The rate hike, announced in April, comes on top of the back-to-back 10-percent increases made in the previous two years.

      In her letter to Toope, the CUPE official also asked UBC to “make affordable childcare a priority in order to provide a service befitting its reputation as a world-class institution”. She said she hadn’t received a reply as of July 23.

      “It’s in the best interest of UBC and British Columbia to support parents,” Everett said. “These are people who are highly educated, highly skilled, and will be entering the work force, going on to make B.C. a better province. And yet they are being held back because they can’t afford to take care of their children.”

      A UBC spokesperson could not be reached by deadline.




      Jul 25, 2013 at 10:06am

      CUPE apparently needs to talk to the BCGEU, who represents the child care workers at UBC. Those hard working people deserve their appropriate compensation as well. Is it any more palatable to have student fees increasing to pay for lower child care fees?

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      tiger 2010

      Jul 25, 2013 at 10:38am

      Pretty hypocritical for a union official asking daycares to lower their fees to suit their members. Perhaps she should unionize the day cares and move her poverty stricken exceptional students into those jobs. Then she could triple their wages and benefits and make it a really profitable business. Isn't this is what unions are all about?

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      Jul 25, 2013 at 11:03am

      The BCGEU workers at UBC childcare services have not seen any substantial wage increases as a result of the fee hikes. Their wages are addressed at the bargaining table, but childcare fees are increased at alarming rates with next to no dialogue or student input. Supposing the BCGEU workers' wages went up the 2% that all the other public sector unions got in the last round of bargaining, it it believable that the costs of running UBC childcare have gone up an additional say 20% in the last 3 years? I don't think so. Where is the money going?

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      Jul 25, 2013 at 11:30am

      There are many problems at childcare in BC in general and specifically at UBC Childcare. The 25% increase on fees seems to be out of nowhere since the BCGEU workers' wages went up only 2%. "Where is the money going?" Is what everyone is asking? It seems the money is being eaten by UBC. The article does not mention that grad students pay only 10% less (approx.) than UBC staff or profs who make often 10 times more than a poor grad student. Childcare is a right not a service. I hope one day this province and this country would change that. (An international PhD student who comes from a country where childcare is affordable)

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      Jul 26, 2013 at 7:02am

      Rafa who told you child care is a right not a service??

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      Jul 26, 2013 at 11:05am

      Reply to northislandgal: Quebec, Argentina, and many other places in which the neo-liberal policies have not yet formatted the minds of people like in North America where everyone thinks that education and childcare are services that have to be left to the market.

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      Jul 26, 2013 at 1:05pm

      the fee increase has *not* gone to caregivers, they only got a 0 % 0 % 2 % increase in the last bargaining with ubc. where is the increase going? that is a big part of the concern. the escalation was *not* to pay fair salaries to workers. the escalation remains unexplained.the ta union supported childcare workers in their fight to better salaries.

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      Jul 26, 2013 at 2:12pm

      It's pretty rich for a union official to rant about higher fees. High union salaries are a leading cause of ever increasing fees and consumer prices in general.

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      to blah

      Jul 26, 2013 at 4:34pm

      I guess those union-haters would like to work 16 hours per day, 7 days per week, with no vacation, and no labour rights. Without the union and other labour rights movements we would be having working conditions like in China or Bangladesh. As far as I know the UBC TA Union a minimum compensation for all the vast work they put there (while also being TAs and trying to finish their MAs and PHDs). Where do you get that "High union salaries are a leading cause of ever increasing fees and consumer prices in general"? So the problem of everything is the union? Those multi-millionaires, and corporations that have trillions of dollars out of the system on those tax heavens, who are sucking the resources of the Public and States, are not to blame I guess...

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      bob loblaw

      Jul 26, 2013 at 6:54pm

      It's absolutely ridiculous to blame on rising tuition on unions while admin make such exorbitant salaries.

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