Testimonial from an RA in First Nations Studies, Labour Studies, and English 

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I worked on three projects simultaneously – one paid me via a grant with paid a lump sum of 1/2 my pay for the semester with a biweekly salary which paid out the other half with expectation of 30 hr/wk, one was a simple biweekly salary for 8 hr/wk for work, and the final was an hourly wage. The stress from having to navigate these uncoordinated projects with very different labour, as well as PI [Annie: what does this stand for lol] expectations, was immense. The salaries were not sufficient to pay for my rent and living expenses. Thus, I had to work 30-40 hr/wk at my hourly wage job. I spent 50-60 hours a week on campus. But in terms of mental and emotional labour, I was never not at work.

From May until August this was my schedule, and on august 20th, I got news that the funding I was relying on to pay my tuition in the fall would no longer be coming my way. on top of the obvious shock and horror at no longer being able to go to school, I learned that the jobs Iworked were contingent on grants only available to student hires. if I wasn’t able to secure a student loan in 3 weeks, I would be out of school, and unemployed.

I didn’t realize how precarious I was until I could see the bottom falling out. The union would not only have prevented this, but protected me from the predatory circumstances I fell into in the first place.¬†