FOS Approved by Membership, Job Action Ceases

Since we commenced “Marking for Education not Administration” in the summer of 2015, our members have shown tremendous solidarity withholding grades from the Administration. We know this action had an incredible impact on the Administration who, on Oct 21, agreed to the Contract Committee offer to recommend final offer selection binding arbitration as proposed by Labour Arbitrator Vince Ready.

Over the last two days, the membership had its say and you voted to accept binding arbitration. Here are the next steps:

  • Job Action will cease immediately (see below for full details)
  • SFU will not terminate benefit payment as they had threatened to do
  • Over the next 21 days, bargaining will occur to narrow the issues
  • Members are encouraged to attend bargaining as advisors, please email kdean@tssu.ca if you want to attend
  • Following those 21 days, all remaining issues will go to Vince Ready to be decided via Final Offer Selection Binding Arbitration

You may email grades@tssu.ca or chief_steward@tssu.ca for assistance in the grade release process.

We know once your students find out the strike is over, they will all want to email you immediately. Please direct these students to http://bargaining.tssu.ca/grades where we have posted a statement indicating the timelines involved and asking them to be patient.

Grades from the Fall Semester

For assignments & exams you have not yet marked, you may mark them as normal.

For assignments you previously withheld grades from, you may return the grades to the students through a process you find reasonable.

  • If your course uses an electronic interface to report marks and grades this may be the best path.
  • If your course does not have an electronic reporting system, you might choose to hold office hours to allow students to receive their grades.
  • All time spent releasing these grades is paid work as part of your current contract and you should keep track of those hours in your logbook.

Grades from the Summer Semester

The return to work agreement allows members to pick up grades from the Archives for a period of one week. We are currently awaiting SFU’s response on pick up times and will communicate those to you as soon as we have them. If you are unable to come to the archives, you may designate a course supervisor or other TSSU member assigned to the same course to pick up the grades for you. After the one week has expired, any remaining grades will be returned to SFU Administration for them to deal with. Some things to note:

    • All time spent compiling and entering grades will be paid in addition to your summer contract. Please keep track of hours and instruction on how to claim these hours will follow.
    • SFU has agreed to open up SIMS to allow sessionals to enter grades, but they have not yet done so, we will send a follow-up email with more details.

If you were a TA/TM last semester and do not want to, or unable to, deal with the grades, please inform your course supervisor and you may give them permission to pick up the grades on your behalf.

Thank you again on behalf of the Contract and Strike Committees for your incredible displays of solidarity and support.

[French Translation Below]

La Sélection de l’offre finale est approuvée par les membres du TSSU : cessation immédiate moyens de pression.

Depuis les débuts de notre campagne « Noter pour l’Éducation, pas pour l’Administration » (Marking for Education Not Administration) durant l’été 2015, nos membres ont démontré leur immense solidarité en ne publiant pas les notes des étudiants à notre employeur. Nous savons que cette démarche a eu un impact incroyable au sein de l’équipe administrative de SFU qui, le 21 octobre dernier, a accepté l’offre du Comité des Contrats concernant la recommandation de l’arbitrage de l’offre finale proposée plus tôt par le médiateur Vince Ready.

Durant les deux derniers jours, les membres du TSSU ont eu leur mot à dire et ont accepté l’offre d’arbitrage. Voici les prochaines étapes à suivre :

  • Tout moyen de pression doit cesser immédiatement (voyez plus bas pour plus de détails).
  • SFU ne coupera pas son financement de nos avantages sociaux, contrairement à leur menace.
  • Durant les 21 prochains jours, des périodes de négociation seront mises en place afin de réduire toute question présentée à la table de négociations.
  • Les membres du TSSU sont encouragés à assister au séances de négociations en tant que conseillers. Veuillez envoyer un message à kdean@tssu.ca si vous voulez assister à quelconque séance.
  • Après cette période de 21 jours, toute question demeurant en suspens sera présentée à Vince Ready afin d’être résolue via la Sélection de l’offre finale.

Vous pouvez envoyer un message à grades@tssu.ca ou chief_steward@tssu.ca pour obtenir de l’assistance par rapport au protocole de remise des notes.

Nous savons que lorsque vos étudiants apprendront que la grève est terminée, ils voudront tous vous envoyer des messages immédiatement. Veuillez dirigez ces étudiants à http://bargaining.tssu.ca/grades. Nous y avons publié un communiqué indiquant l’horaire à suivre par les membres du TSSU. Il est demandé aux étudiants d’être patient pendant ce protocole.

Notes de la session d’automne

En ce qui a trait aux devoirs pour lesquels vous avez retenu les notes plus tôt cette session-ci, vous pouvez maintenant retourner ces notes aux étudiants d’une manière que vous trouvez raisonable.

  • Si votre cours utilise une interface électronique dans laquelle les notes doivent être soumises, cette alternative est probablement la meilleure.
  • Si votre cours n’utilise pas un système de rapport de notes électronique, vous pouvez décider d’organiser des heures de bureau pour permettre aux étudiants de recevoir leurs notes.
  • Tout temps consacré à la remise de notes est considéré comme du temps rémunéré par votre contrat actuel et vous devriez inscrire ces heures dans votre carnet de bord.

Notes de la session d’été

L’Entente de retour au travail permet aux membres d’aller récupérer leurs notes au sein des Archives pour une période d’une semaine. Nous sommes présentement en attente face à SFU. En effet SFU doit nous fournir une réponse quant aux heures à laquelle ces notes peuvent être récupérées. Nous allons vous communiquer ces informations aussitôt que nous les possédons. Si vous êtes incapables de vous présenter aux Archives, vous pouvez désigner un superviseur pour votre cours ou tout autre membre du TSSU faisant partie de votre cours et leur demander d’aller récupérer ces notes pour vous. Lorsque cette semaine touchera à sa fin, toute note subsistante sera retournée à l’équipe administrative de SFU, qui s’occupera du reste. Ci-dessous quelques points importants :

  • Tout temps consacré à la compilation et à la remise de notes sera rémunéré en surcroît de votre contrat pour l’été dernier. Notez ces heures de travail. Les instructions vous permettant de percevoir ces heures suivent ci-dessous.
  • SFU a accepté l’ouverture du SIMS afin de permettre la remise de notes aux chargés de cours, mais cette ouverture ne s’est pas encore présentée. Nous allons donc vous envoyer un message avec plus de détails quant à cette procédure. Si vous étiez un auxiliaire à l’enseignement la session dernière et ne voulez pas, ou n’êtes pas capable, de vous occuper de la remise de notes, veuillez en informer le superviseur de votre cours. Vous pouvez lui donner votre permission de récupérer ces notes en votre nom.

Encore une fois, le Comité des Contrats et le Comité de Grève vous remercie pour vos incroyables manifestations de solidarité et de support.

Final Offer Selection – Frequently Asked Questions

1. What happens if we reject the Arbitration offer?

The proposals listed in point 6 of the MOA (both SFU and TSSU proposals) would be returned to the bargaining table (i.e. not withdrawn). TSSU would continue to strike (withholding grades), as well as discussing other ways to pressure the employer into a reasonable settlement. We would return to the bargaining table to try and find a way to reach agreement with the Employer. Benefits would be cancelled by November 1st, except for those benefits the Union is able to afford to pay for. The TSSU argues that we can pay for some but not all. The Employer says that we must pay for all. Eventually the Labour Relations Board would have to make the final decision.

2. What happens if we accept the Arbitration offer?

The Strike Committee will advise you when strike activity will cease; that could come as soon as October 29th. The grades for this semester would be entered into the system or provided to course instructors as usual. The process for returning last semester’s grades is outlined in a Back to Work agreement (which only applies if TSSU members approve this MOA). Starting on October 29th, TSSU and SFU Administration would commence a 21 day period of bargaining. If any issue remains outstanding at the end of that period, (November 18, 2015), they will be decided by Final Offer Selection, Arbitrated by Vince Ready.

3. What is Final Offer Selection (FOS)?

FOS is a type of arbitration, it’s a binding process to resolve a dispute. What makes FOS unique is that the arbitrator chooses a proposal from either the employer or the union, but cannot craft a “middle ground”.

 

4. If we stop job action, how do we pressure meaningful bargaining before the FOS arbitration?

Even though job action would cease, we still have lots of tools at our disposal to pressure the process. We can hold demonstrations, invite observers to bargaining, and continue to get the word out in a multitude of ways in order to hold the process accountable.

5. What is the point of the “bargaining period”?

Knowing that there is an arbitration at the end of the time frame can often pressure one side or the other to reach agreement in advance of the referral to arbitration. It is conceivable that all issues will be resolved, thus precluding the need for an arbitration. At a minimum we should see some narrowing of the issues, bringing us closer to agreement.

6. What does the actual arbitration involve?

The party making the proposal will have to make a written submission. The party answering will make a written reply. Following these submissions the arbitrator will decide either to accept one package or the other, or to pick issue by issue from each position.

7. Why is the Contract Committee and the Strike Committee recommending this?

  • As the FOS Arbitrator, Vince Ready, said when he proposed this process: “bargaining has not gone well with these parties following 16 months of negotiations along with two mediation efforts.” Our progress thus far in bargaining has been small, despite tremendous efforts by our members to withhold grades over two semesters.
  • We believe that we can reasonably expect the same or better outcomes from FOS, as if we continued to bargain. However, the cost of losing benefits, and potentially being locked out, must be weighed against any potential gain we can make by bargaining and job action versus this arbitration route. If our employer had conducted themselves more reasonably in the bargaining process, we would have achieved a fair settlement by now.
  • The government wage guidelines (which have ruled throughout all of the government funded public sector to date) mean that the monetary settlement is going to be completely insufficient to address inflation and the monetary situation of our members, no matter what route we take to a settlement. This means that there is little to be gained, and much to lose if we just simply go back to the bargaining table, without an end to the process in sight.

8. If we say yes, what happens to the grades from the summer?

We have negotiated a back to work agreement. In that agreement it sets out how the grades will be accessed by the members, and that you are to be paid for any work you have to do to ensure that the grades are entered.

9. What else does the back to work agreement do?

It protects you from any consequences occurring for you as a result of engaging in strike activity, and allows us to ensure the orderly processing of grades, either through your input, or through giving them to the employer to deal with, should that become necessary.

Greater Committee Refers Final Offer Selection Arbitration to Membership Vote

On October 21, 2015, TSSU’s Contract Committee and SFU’s Administration signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) outlining a process to conclude a collective agreement. This included signing off on changes to the TSSU Childcare Fund that would give TSSU the sole discretion over the eligibility criteria. An information session for members will be held on Monday Oct 26 from 5:30pm-7:00pm in AQ 5118 on SFU Burnaby Campus.

Below are links to MOA, the recommendation for Final Offer Selection from Vince Ready, and also the back to work agreement that would be in place if the membership chooses to pursue this process.

Today the Strike Committee in conjunction with the Greater Committee voted unanimously to refer the Final Offer Selection process, as proposed by Vince Ready on Sept 14th, 2015, to go to an electronic vote. This vote will be held from 12 pm Tuesday, October 27th to 12 pm Wednesday, October 28th. You will receive a voting token via email. The results will be reported at the General Membership meeting Wednesday October 28th, 4:30 pm 7000 Harbour Centre. Until members are notified otherwise by the Strike Committee, we remain on strike and all job action continues.

If there is a “Yes” vote, there will be a 21 day period of collective bargaining at the end of which, any outstanding issues will go to a Final Offer Selection Arbitration. In addition, at the confirmation of the “Yes” vote, all job action would cease and the Employer’s threat to withdraw benefits would be rescinded.
If there is a “No” vote, we return to bargaining as normal and retain our striking position.

If you are a member and do NOT receive a voting token when the polls open on Tuesday, please email the Coordinator at coordinator@tssu.ca or tssu@tssu.ca immediately.

The Contract Committee, Strike Committee and the Greater Committee have voted to recommend a “Yes” vote to Final Offer Selection Arbitration (FOS).

For more information on the FOS and the MOU signed by TSSU and SFU’s administration see http://bargaining.tssu.ca or come to the info session Monday, October 26th 5:30 pm in AQ 5118

Next week is a busy week, here’s a summary:

  • Monday October 26th, Vote Info Session 5:30 pm AQ5118
  • Tuesday October 27th, Polls open 12 noon – if you don’t get a token email coordinator@tssu.ca
  • Wednesday October 28th, Polls close 12 noon; General Membership Meeting 4:30 – 6:30 pm Harbour Centre 7000 with social to follow at the Railway Club!
  • Thursday October 29th, GSS/SFSS hosted SFU Budget Consultation, 11 am SFU Theatre
  • Friday October 30th, Zombie walk, email mmc_commissioner@tssu.ca for more information

[French Translation Below]

Le Comité Supérieur du TSSU renvoie l’arbitrage de l’offre finale à ses membres par l’intermédiaire d’un vote.

Ce 21 octobre 2015, le Comité des Contrats du TSSU et l’équipe administrative de SFU ont signé un Protocole d’Entente (PE) délinéant un processus qui vise à conclure une convention collective. Celui-ci inclue la signature de changements auprès du fond d’aide à l’enfance du TSSU—changements qui feraient en sorte que les critères d’éligibilité de ce programme soient à l’entière discrétion du TSSU. Une session d’information rapportant à cette décision sera tenue pour les membres du TSSU ce lundi 26 octobre de 17:30 à 19:00 au local AQ 5118 du campus de Burnaby.

Ci-dessous les liens du PE, de la recommandation de l’offre finale par Vince Ready ainsi que de l’entente de retour au travail qui sera mise en place si nos membres choisissent de poursuivre cette démarche.

Aujourd’hui, le Comité de Grève, en conjonction avec le Comité Supérieur, a voté en faveur d’un vote électronique concernant le processus d’offre de sélection finale proposé par Vince Ready le 14 septembre 2015 dernier, et ce de manière unanime. Ce vote prendra place du mardi 27 octobre à midi au mercredi 28 octobre à midi. Vous recevrez un jeton de vote électronique par e-mail. Les résultats seront dévoilés lors de la prochaine assemblée générale ce mercredi 28 octobre à 16 :30 au local 7000 du Harbour Centre. Sauf indication contraire par le Comité de Grève, nous demeurons en grève et nous maintenons nos moyens de pression. Si le vote est un « pour, » il y aura une période de 21 jours de négociation collective à la fin de laquelle toute question restant en suspens se retrouvera dans l’arbitrage de l’offre finale. De plus, si un vote « pour » est confirmé, tous nos moyens de pression cesseront et la menace de coupure budgétaire envers notre assurance médicale sera annulée.

Si le vote est « contre, » nous retournerons à la table de négociations, nous poursuivrons nos négociations à la normale et nous maintiendrons notre position de grève.

Si vous êtes un membre et ne voulez PAS recevoir un jeton de vote lorsque les scrutins ouvriront ce mardi, veuillez nous envoyez un message à coordinator@tssu.ca ou à tssu@tssu.ca immédiatement.

Le Comité des Contrats, le Comité de Grève et le Comité Supérieur ont voté pour recommander un vote pour l’arbitrage de l’offre finale.

SFU Admin targets “economic weapons” on vulnerable members.

Late Monday, the TSSU Strike Committee was informed that SFU Administration intends to use “economic weapons” to cut off our members extended health, MSP, and dental benefits, effective October 31.

Rather than come to the bargaining table and negotiate, or accept binding arbitration as proposed by Labour Mediator Vince Ready, SFU Administration chose to escalate the labour dispute by cutting benefits to our most vulnerable members. These cuts to benefits are targeted at international graduate students, families, and sessional instructors: three groups that SFU Administration has repeatedly targeted with cutbacks and increased fees. By cutting benefits to our most vulnerable members, SFU Administration has chosen to exploit the poverty they’ve created by cutting education funding and bloating administrative overhead for the past decade.

The use of “economic weapons” will not bring the sides closer to settlement; instead they threaten to escalate a dispute that could have been resolved last month, had SFU Administration come to mediation with the intention of negotiating fairly.

TSSU members who would like more information are asked to attend the Greater Committee Meeting tomorrow:
Tuesday Oct 6, 2015
11:30am-1:30pm in AQ 5007 on Burnaby Campus.

TSSU Stewards are also reminded of the meeting:
Thursday, Oct 8, 2015
11:30am-1:30pm in MBC 2290 on Burnaby Campus.

*French Translation Below

L’équipe administrative de SFU brandit des « armes économiques » envers les membres du TSSU. 

Lundi soir dernier, le Comité de Grève du TSSU a été informé de l’intention de l’équipe administrative de SFU d’utiliser des « armes économiques. » Celles-ci visent à retirer les contributions de notre employeur au financement du régime d’assurance de soins médicaux complémentaires, du régime de soins médicaux de la Colombie-Britannique (Medical Services Plan, MSP) ainsi que du régime d’assurance dentaire à partir du 31 octobre, et ce pour tous les membres du TSSU.

Plutôt que de se présenter à la table de négociations, ou plutôt que d’accepter l’offre d’arbitrage exécutoire proposée par Vince Ready, médiateur-arbitre, notre employeur a choisi d’intensifier le conflit de travail en coupant les prestations de nos membres les plus vulnérables. Tout particulièrement, ce moyen de pression ciblant les avantages sociaux de nos membres affecte en grande partie les étudiants internationaux inscrits dans des programmes de 2e et 3e cycle, les familles, les auxiliaires à l’enseignement et les chargés de cours. L’équipe administrative de

SFU a d’ailleurs attaqué ces groupes à plusieurs reprises dans le passé en mettant en place des réductions budgétaires et des hausses de frais. En coupant les prestations de nos membres les plus vulnérables, notre employeur décide donc d’exploiter la pauvreté qu’elle a créée au cours de la dernière décennie non seulement en coupant le financement à l’éducation, mais également en gonflant ses frais administratifs.

L’utilisation « d’armes économiques » n’orientera aucunement les deux partis vers un règlement imminent. Au contraire, l’équipe administrative de SFU menace d’exacerber un conflit qui aurait pu être résolu le mois dernier, si seulement celle-ci s’était présentée aux séances d’arbitrage avec l’intention d’y négocier de manière équitable.

SFU Admin Threatens Lock-out & Disruption of Education

Following a NO vote of TSSU members of SFU Administration’s “final package”, TSSU’s Contract Committee has informed SFU Admin that we are ready to return to the bargaining table. However, they have yet to agree to come to the table.

TSSU has now learned that SFU Admin is considering a plan to move us further away from a settlement, through the use of “economic weapons” such as a lockout. A lock-out of university teachers will only lead to lengthening the dispute and serious disruption of the education of students. SFU Admin may also be considering targeting their “economic weapons” on our most vulnerable members by cutting their benefits or pay. TSSU members will not be intimidated and are committed to finding solutions to our core issues. The road to a fair and timely settlement with the most vulnerable employees of the University is at the bargaining table.

TSSU wants to get back to bargaining to reach a fair collective agreement and settle this labour dispute. The use of “economic weapons” will only serve to delay settlement and the return of grades from both this and last semester.

SFU Admin has a clear choice between two options: a) return to the bargaining table and bargain constructively; or b) extend and expand the labour dispute by using “economic weapons” against our members.

Members are encouraged to contact their stewards or tssu@tssu.ca for more information.

We encourage all members of the SFU Community to contact the SFU Administration at driver@sfu.ca to urge them to choose negotiation.

Prospect of Picket Lines Brings VP Academic to the table

The prospect of pickets during SFU’s 50th anniversary celebration and your solidarity in “marking for education, not administration” has caused significant movement. The VP Academic, Jon Driver, has agreed to takeover as Chief Spokesperson for SFU Administration. We will enter into continuous bargaining starting at noon on Tuesday September 8th. Mediator Vince Ready will join the process on Friday Sept 11 and is available throughout the weekend as well.

As a result of negotiations throughout today, we have agreed to change our picketing plans, and will no longer be picketing on Wednesday Sept 9. Here’s an outline of next week’s job action:

“Marking for Education” continues, for those who did not teach in the summer, you can find the instructions here: http://strike.tssu.ca/marking-for-education/ and more stickers are available in the office.

  • Tuesday Sept 8 Morning: Pickets will commence as scheduled at 7:30am around the Applied Sciences Building and continue until noon. Please see below for clarifications about this picket.
  • Tuesday Sept 8 Afternoon: Your contract committee will commence bargaining with VP Academic Jon Driver as SFU Administration’s spokesperson and bargaining will continue through the weekend.
  • Tuesday Sept 8 5:00pm: join the Greater Committee meeting at 5:00pm in AQ 5049 to help plan the next stages of job action.
  • Wednesday Sept 9 Evening: There will no longer be picket lines, instead join us outside Strand Hall from 5:30 pm-9:00 pm for the TSSU Celebration of Solidarity.
  • Thursday Sept 10: Join TSSU at the Week of Welcome to try your hand at sessional snakes and ladders, pin the collective agreement on Starfleet Captain A. Petter, and more.
  • Friday Sept 11: All members are welcome to join TA/TM day at Halpern Centre and the social afterwards starting at 4:30pm in the Highland Pub. Mediator Vince Ready will join the bargaining process at 9:00am
  • Saturday Sept 12 & Sunday Sept 13: Your contract committee is available for continued mediation throughout the weekend.

Picket lines announced – first week of classes

TSSU’s Strike Committee, with the overwhelming mandate from our members in our summer Strike Vote, has decided unanimously to hold picket lines at the following times:

Tuesday, September 8, 7:30 am – noon – Applied Sciences Building

The picket line for Wednesday September 9 has been cancelled as a result of negotiations between SFU Administration and TSSU. Instead, we’ll be having a TSSU Solidarity Celebration from 5:30pm-9:00pm outside Strand Hall on SFU Burnaby Campus

Members interested in being picket captains should attend training on Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 2:30pm in AQ 5135.

To be involved in planning and decision making, members should attend the next Greater Committee Meeting on September 8th at 5:00pm in AQ 5049.

Below is the full email sent to our membership tonight.

Today was the first day of mediation between TSSU and SFU’s administration at the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB). In the morning, TSSU’s Contract Committee familiarized the mediator with our working conditions and core issues, before a joint session with SFU Administration. SFU’s committee informed TSSU of a new concept for their proposal on the TSSU Member Childcare Bursary, but did not table a proposal. Your Contract Committee responded with a new draft of our position, incorporating their concerns while proposing a system which would deliver money to the hands of members with children.

With six weeks since our last bargaining session, SFU Administration’s lack of preparation for mediation demonstrates that even more pressure is required to reach a fair Collective Agreement.

Acting on the mandate provided by this summer’s strike vote, the Strike Committee in consultation with members at the Greater Committee, has voted unanimously to begin picketing. Spread the word that we need every member and supporter to be present at the Applied Sciences Building from 7:30AM on September 8th. Your presence and solidarity at these lines is crucial to show SFU Administration our collective power. Further details and rallying points will be available at http://strike.tssu.ca .

To become more involved in strike planning and activities, contact Phil at mmc_commisioner@tssu.ca. To volunteer as a picket captain, attend training on Sunday, September 6th at 2:30PM in AQ 5129.

TSSU Strike brings SFU Administration to the Bargaining process

Thanks to the pressure from TSSU members withholding grades, SFU Administration has finally agreed to respond in detail to each of TSSU’s proposals, including our core issues and to attend mediation at the Labour Relations Board. We need to keep up the pressure so SFU Administration comes to mediation ready to bargain.

In an email to TSSU, VP-Academic Jon Driver stated that SFU Administration will, in writing, provide TSSU with “a clear statement about any problems we see with the Union’s proposal(s), a rationale for our position, and a statement about areas of agreement and/or where we could move closer to satisfying the Union’s interests.” In its own written statement, TSSU will compile its earlier responses to SFU Administration’s proposals.

These documents will be exchanged by the 18th of August, in preparation for mediation at the BC Labour Relations Board on September 1st-4th. Though SFU Administration previously attempted to use mediation to prevent TSSU members from striking, it is no longer using this strategy. Since we are currently on strike, mediation will not interfere with grade withholding or any subsequent escalation of job action.

In 2012, mediation at the Labour Relations Board did not lead to significant progress because we were not in job action. It took sustained job action and pickets to finally bring SFU Administration to the table to bargain. SFU Administration’s new commitment to provide detailed and reasoned responses to our proposals demonstrates the effectiveness of our current job action.

As this round of bargaining has shown, our members’ collective action motivates SFU Administration to bargain. Exercising our power through grade withholding has brought SFU Administration to address our core issues, and continued pressure will be necessary for us to reach an equitable collective agreement.