UWindsor teaching assistants vote for strike

Grad students losing funding, overworked


Teaching and graduate assistants at the University of Windsor have voted 77 per cent in favour of a strike. Union president Denton Cockburn told the Windsor Star that his members are concerned over job security and workloads. For graduate assistants, Cockburn says, some of them had lost their funding despite being promised a set amount when accepted to the university. “This is pretty much the only source of funding for (graduate students). Some students have needed to withdraw or take time off,” he said. For teaching assistants, the union says, in some cases they are being asked to grade 100 papers in 10 hours. “This is upsetting for students. They spend hours on these papers,” Cockburn said. The union says it is urging students and parents to contact administrators to lobby a restart to negotiations.

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UWindsor teaching assistants vote for strike

  1. Talk about ‘high’ quality education when you cannot even get some decent feedback on your work.

    I do not blame these assistants one bit … they are seen as cheap labour who are easily exploited because most of them are desperate for cash.

    It is absolutely ridiculous to see that University of Windsor values a low standard of education (feedback on papers and projects). They’ve just moved up in MacLean’s ranks a few months ago. This article clearly shows that they deserve to stay near the bottom.

    As hard as it is for these grad students to go on strike and loose some pay – I applaud them for standing up for their selves; as well as the quality of education for all 15,000+ students at this school!

  2. I am one of the undergraduate teaching assistants who, in fact, voted for a strike. However, in terms of my own personal experiences, I felt I was not over worked or pressured to mark assignments. This is how my assistantship works: I get paid 100 hours over the semester, which means I am supposed to spend 10 hours a week on duties related to my assistantship (i.e. go to the class, mark assignments, answer emails, preparation by reading course materials, or holding office hours). However, I have never, ever taken 10 hours to fulfil my duties a week. Therefore, when you’re slammed with 100 essays to mark in 10 hours — which is unlikely since if there were 100 students in a class, there would be at least two teaching assistants — you have racked up hours to fill. Also, when it comes to essays or major assignments, they are never given back the next week. I spend at least 2-3 weeks marking them to ensure quality and consistency. If I was forced to rush mark them, I would not wilfully degrade the quality of students’ feedback just because I was not getting paid to do so.

    In response to Dave, such rhetoric in regard to quality of education is unnecessary. I spend lots of time making sure students receive quality feedback when I mark assignments. In fact, I would probably do my job for free since I feel I contribute better to the educational environment when my commitment is not motivated by monetary gain.

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