Voices from the Picket Line

Striking CUPE 3903 Workers, in their own Words

Archive for the ‘Wages’ Category

Hi. I’m Gavan. I’m a TA, course director and PhD student at York.

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Let me take a quick moment to introduce myself: my name is Gavan Watson and I am a PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York University. This is my seventh year at York; for my first two I was a master’s student in FES and now I’m in year five of the PhD program. When I’m not on-campus walking the picket line, I’m busy collecting data (interviewing people) for my dissertation. I hope to defend my work sometime mid-2009. If I wasn’t on strike, I would be teaching in my faculty this semester: I am the course director for a first year course exploring the natural history of Toronto, which makes me a member of Unit 1.

I am the one responsible for starting the blog, in part because I’ve been disappointed in the way that our demands have been represented in the mainstream media and the paucity of individual voices from the union to explain why what we’re asking for is so important to us. So, rather than getting caught up rhetoric about 30% wage increases (which, just to clarify was a demand at one point in time, but has been off the table for weeks), I want to explain what it is like to be a graduate student who earned $16 353 in 2007 (I just looked that up on my pay stub).

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Written by Gavan Watson

November 13, 2008 at 3:43 pm