The members of the University of Victoria Educational Workers’ Union/CUPE 4163, Component 3, and the university’s Board of Governors have ratified a renewed collective agreement. The agreement, reached last month at the bargaining table, covers over 400 continuing and term sessional lecturers and music performance instructors.

“This renewed collective agreement will bring some real improvements in working conditions for CUPE 4163 Component 3 members and will go a long way in helping some of the most precariously employed workers in our campus community,” says Greg Melnechuk, a worker at the University of Victoria, and President of CUPE 4163.

The three-year collective agreement, in place retroactively from May 1, 2022, to April 30, 2025, includes annual general wage increases, addresses the long-standing low wages of many instructors, and opens more appointment opportunities for lecturers.

The agreement also includes new provisions to meet the cultural needs of Indigenous workers at the university. The provisions include cultural leave, expanded compassionate leave, and allowing Indigenous union members the aid of an Elder in the grievance process.

“These changes are our first steps to decolonizing our collective agreement. Working together with the university, I hope we can build on this in the future to make campuses better and safer places for Indigenous workers,” says Melnechuk.

CUPE 4163 Component 3 is one of three components represented by the CUPE 4163 at the University of Victoria, with over 1500 members. The local’s three components perform two-thirds of the instruction at the university and work as teaching assistants, sessional lecturers, second language instructors, residence life workers, cultural assistants, and many other positions.