FAQ for students

Who are the TAs?

Teaching Assistants are graduate students employed by Western. Our primary occupation is research. We also contribute to Western’s teaching as TAs. Teaching assistantship is the only part of our numerous roles that constitute our employment. We are 30% international; one in five of us have dependents; 73% of us are 25 years old or older.

How will the strike or lockout affect me?

Western requested something called a “no board” report on March 23rd; this enables a strike or a lockout to take place on 17th day after the issuance of the “no board” notice. Without the filing of a “no board” request, there couldn’t have been a strike or a lockout. If Western locks TA’s out, we won’t be able to answer your emails, proctor your final exams, or mark essays or finals. This could disrupt the final exam schedule.

What can I do to support?

You can send President Chakma (amit.chakma@uwo.ca) and Provost Deakin (provostvpa@uwo.ca) an email telling them you support us. It would be helpful if this came from your uwo email address. A sample email can be found below: https://goo.gl/Si2dSa

How much is a TA paid at Western?

The base funding for PhD is $19,915 per year. Subtracting tuition ($6,991) and fees ($1,590) leaves net income of $11,334. This is $944.5 per month for living expenses, with an apartment in Western housing costing $950/month. International TAs have to pay additional $612 for health insurance. TAs pursuing Masters degree do not have this base funding guaranteed. 43% of TAs report net income less than $11,000/year (half the poverty line).

What are TAs bargaining for?

Our demands are clear and reasonable: TAs should not fall behind inflation and tuition increases. We also asking for our employment period to better match our actual program duration.

Why did TAs vote “Yes” to strike?

The university proposed a wage increase below inflation. They refused to address increasing tuition fees. They failed to address the gap between the actual duration of a program and the funding period. By overwhelmingly voting “Yes”, TAs demonstrated to the university that they are behind their bargaining demands.