FOS decision posted – We have achieved sessional seniority

After many months of waiting, at 4:30 pm today we received a decision from Vince Ready. Like any Final Offer Selection process we have won some arguments and lost others. As workers, I believe we can stand tall knowing our efforts have brought an end to an inequity that has plagued SFU since 1965.

We have won one of the strongest and most comprehensive sessional seniority provisions in North America. Our collective action will allow hundreds of sessional instructors to have the confidence they can stand up and speak for themselves without fear of being fired. We have already emailed the employer to arrange for the implementation of seniority rights. TSSU has been fighting for sessional seniority since our inception in 1978, and now we have achieved it.

Collectively, thousands of members engaged in job action that lasted months. Students, faculty members and alumni fought alongside us. We stood together. We faced coercion. We received threats. We refused to break.

On wage and benefit issues, we were unable to make any improvements. This lack of improvement lies at the feet of our provincial government, who have imposed a draconian “PSEC mandate.” The mandate results in a slow release of 5.5% in wage increases over 5 years with expiry in April 2019. As we look ahead to the next round of bargaining, the mandate has limited our wage increases from 2001-2019 to less than half the rate of inflation. This is a bubble that must and will pop and we are determined to find ways to work to change this.

The contract committee will be meeting to write up a full report over the coming weeks. In the interim, questions can be directed to tssu@tssu.ca.

The entire decision can be viewed here:
33161 SFU and TSSU (Final Offer Selection) AWARD

SFU Admin chooses ultimatum over negotiation

You can find a complete copy of the Employer’s Final Package here.

TSSU’s Contract Committee spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at mediation, working to find a path to a settlement with SFU Administration. Throughout the weekend, your Contract Committee was hopeful of reaching a deal, since SFU Administration’s spokesperson expressed interest in TSSU’s positions and distanced himself from SFU’s proposed concessions and cuts. However, the language of SFU Administration’s proposals did not deliver on this hope. Rather than following TSSU’s lead by moving toward a settlement on each issue, SFU Administration proposed an all-or-nothing Final Package with numerous poison-pill proposals.

Members who are interested in organizing to get a fair deal should attend the next Greater Committee Meeting:
Monday September 14 on Burnaby Campus 5:30-6:45pm – meet at AQ 5129 (TSSU office).

To discuss this offer, we have called a Special General Membership Meeting for:
Wednesday September 16 on Burnaby Campus from 11:30am-1:30pm in MBC 2290.

At this meeting, the Contract Committee will propose the membership hold a vote on SFU Administration’s Final Offer. SFU Administration’s Final Package will be available in full to members at this week’s Special General Membership Meeting.

SFU Administration’s Final Package includes a fix to the Childcare Fund, they are only offering this fix if TSSU accepts extensive takeaways.

SFU Administration’s Final Package cuts pay for the following members:

  • For Sessional Instructors who team-teach, their preparation pay will be cut 50%,
  • For ELC/ITP members, their work week will increase from the legal standard of 40 hours per week before overtime to 47 hours,
  • For TMs, SFU Administration did not clearly propose a wage cut, but their language on the mixed-delivery classroom opens a potential loophole for a cut to current distance education Tutor Markers.

SFU Administration’s Final Package removes existing rights:

  • strips all rights of return (including ROFR) from Sessional Instructors; while their proposal claims to offer seniority, it delivers less right of returns than our current Collective Agreement,
  • removes the right of members to receive a physical copy of the Collective Agreement.

Particularly, SFU Administration singles out our language instructors from ELC/ITP for numerous cuts. Their Final Package:

  • delays the review of ELC/ITP instructors for consideration from continuing status,
  • demands more weeks of work from ELC/ITP Instructors,
  • makes it easier to remove ELC/ITP Instructors from the laid-off list,
  • allows the department to convert continuing ELC/ITP Instructors to temporary instructors via layoff,
  • cuts ELC/ITP sick time from 72 contact hours (12 days) to 36 contact hours (6 days)

Additionally, SFU Administration’s Final Package fails to address TSSU’s core issues as defined by our members:

  • does not address TA priority or access to work for graduate students,
  • undercuts the law on the Health and Safety training required by Worksafe BC,
  • undercuts the law on the Employment Standards Act for payment of wages,
  • claims to address the increased workload of in-person/online classes without guaranteeing additional compensation for increased work,

In addition, SFU Administration’s Final Package requires TSSU to report to Human Resources any time we meet with a Department Chair to discuss a problem. This step would erode current rights of Department Chairs to decide when to involve HR in disputes, and would bring the same bargainer who has stalled our Contract Negotiations for 16 months into every step of the informal problem-solving process.

SFU Administration’s Final Package includes the following general Monetary & Benefits provisions:

  • 5 year agreement with a term from May 1, 2014 – April 30, 2019
  • the standard public sector wage increase of 0% for May 1 2014, 1% for May 1 2015, 0.5% for May 1 2016, 1% March 1 2017, 0.5 May 1 2017, 1% March 1, 2018, 0.5% May 1 2018, 1% March 1 2019.
  • offers an option to delay the above wage increases slightly to create a professional development fund for ELC/ITP instructors
  • proposes an “economic stability payment” which, in the opinion of your Contract Committee, will deliver nothing to members
  • increases the portion of salary maintenance that TSSU has to pay for ELC/ITP instructors who are on the Contract Committee (estimated cost to TSSU of $10,000 per bargaining round)

If you want to take part in this discussion of our next contract, covering a five year period, come to the meeting!

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.

TSSU Members Give 92% Strike Mandate – Press Release

In the largest strike vote turnout in TSSU history, 92% voted in the affirmative to take job action.

“Our members have spoken with a unified voice, and they are demanding that SFU’s Administration engage in serious, good faith bargaining to address their concerns,” said Derek Sahota, spokesperson for the TSSU.

Sahota continued: “Like many post-secondary workers across Canada, TSSU members have identified urgent problems and brought solutions to the table. We saw an especially large voter turnout amongst sessional instructors, whose poverty-level wages, lack of job security, and lack of basic protections is invisible to the students they teach.

“These accomplished instructors have had enough and, with the support of the wider TSSU membership, are demanding fair treatment and recognition of their dedication to SFU. Every four months, these career teachers are forced to re-apply for their jobs. This is a broken system which SFU’s Administration can repair at zero cost.”

“Our agreement expired on April 30, 2014, and in the ten months since, SFU’s Administration has been unwilling to address or even acknowledge the problems each of our member groups face,” said TSSU’s Chief Steward, Reagan Belan.

“Our key issues include: job security for sessional instructors, benefits and equity for continuing language instructors at Harbour Centre, priority access to Teaching Assistant work for graduate students, and equal pay for equal work for all Teaching Assistants,” said Belan.

“Most Teaching Assistants balance the responsibilities of their jobs with full-time work as graduate students, while many Sessional Instructors maintain several jobs to earn a living,” said Belan. She concluded: “In addition, our members are spread throughout three campuses with disparate schedules. We expect SFU’s Administration to recognize this resounding mandate as a clear message that our members are invested in the issues and support the work of TSSU’s bargaining committee.” The TSSU membership will hold a Special General Meeting tomorrow to elect a Strike Coordinating Committee. That Committee will be responsible for coordinating job action.

The TSSU is scheduled to return to the bargaining table with the Employer on April 16, 2015.

For more information contact tssu@tssu.ca

Job Security & Fairness for Sessional Instructors

Sessional instructors are a critical part of the teaching team at SFU. Improving the rights of sessionals is fundamental to sustaining an education system based on the principles of academic freedom and teaching excellence.

Job security through seniority

What rights do you have if exercising them costs you your job? TSSU fields regular conversations with sessionals who are being mistreated, often in violation of the Collective Agreement, and unable to bring their complaints forward because asserting their rights may result in not being rehired.

TSSU wants a Sessional seniority system that recognizes and values those who successfully teach for SFU. Some TSSU Sessionals have taught courses dozens of times and have been fixtures in their departments for decades. Attaining recognition that Sessionals perform valuable work will benefit future teachers at SFU, just as the work of unions at other Universities will benefit TSSU members who may go there to work.

Universities recognize Faculty service with an advancement system toward tenure. In recent years, numbers of teaching staff without tenure or job security has been on the rise, often referred to as adjunct labour — at SFU they are called Sessionals. In the US, 70% of all teaching in universities is done by adjuncts. Sessionals at SFU currently teach an average of 25% of courses, and now form a critical part of the teaching team at SFU. The expanding use of adjunct sessionals without the protection of academic freedom demonstrates a need to improve seniority rights for Sessionals here, just as our fellow Unions are doing elsewhere.

Unions at both York University and the University of Toronto have engaged in struggles to improve seniority rights for their Sessional Instructors. Both of these Unions have real job security and a pathway to permanent jobs for their sessional instructors. Seniority ensures that sessionals are able to exercise their labour rights effectively and it also forms the basis from which all other rights, such as academic freedom, arise.

What are the bargaining issues?

TSSU has proposed a seniority system where successful Sessionals accrue seniority with teaching service, with a percentage of positions reserved for graduates (though graduates can also be awarded other positions).

The employer has proposed taking away all rights of first refusal (ROFR) from current Sessionals who have earned it. The proposal only allows “graduate students actively engaged in coursework at SFU” to attain and use ROFR and perversely this earned right to teach will disappear as soon as you graduate. This concession would eliminate the current limited rights of first refusal, while offering no benefit to graduate students. This proposal does not give Sessional work to graduates, and actually allows the employer free reign to “fire” any successful sessional(Graduate student or not), simply by not offering another appointment.

The following are problems with this proposal:

  1. 1) It removes the very limited job security Sessionals currently have
  2. Graduate students can already earn priority and ROFR! This proposal would limit the application of ROFR to Graduates “actively doing coursework” and stop them from using it to access work upon graduation.
  3. Sessional work is more time consuming, and therefore pays less per hour than TA work. While pressure builds to decrease completion times, graduates doing more sessional work to support themselves makes little sense. We would expect departments to tell those with Sessional work that they should not expect to receive TA appointments, because they could access Sessional appointments.
  4. It moves away from creating enough security for Sessionals to file a grievance to assert their rights. Seniority rights mean members can feel secure and able to step forward. As Sessionals are already unable to stand up for themselves, this proposal would allow the employer to worsen working conditions and justify their actions by the lack of complaints from those precarious workers.
  5. There are departments where graduate students need additional access to work. Across the university, almost 25% of TA work goes outside the graduate population. TSSU has proposed a solution that delivers work and funding to graduates through TA work. The Employers proposal does not deliver any additional support to the graduate population.

SFU’s proposal cynically asks TSSU members to give up the limited rights we have now, driving experienced teachers to other places where seniority rights have been won. We know our members understand this need to pay it forward – that is why for over 35 years, TSSU members have fought for rights which serve the interests of the institution and its purposes by supporting graduate work and good teaching.

The current limited Rights of first refusal (ROFR) for Sessional Instructors

Sessional instructors currently have a limited right of return called the right of first refusal. This right is very problematic and TSSU believes it needs to be replaced by a more comprehensive seniority system. First, a Sessional must teach as a “Sessional Instructor” for either three consecutive semesters, or for five semesters in three years. In addition, one must teach an identical course three times in order to earn this right. After those two criteria are satisfied, the next three times that identical course is to be taught by a Sessional, that Sessional must be offered the course, for first refusal. After those three offers, the Sessional must begin the process from the beginning to re-earn the right.

Sessional positions as a career path

Many great instructors find sessional positions are not a career path towards a permanent teaching job. University Administrators realize that they can hire sessionals at lower rates with minimal benefits and save significant money in their budgets. TSSU wants to ensure that successful sessional instructors have a ladder to a permanent teaching position.

This career path is the future for many current PhD students and securing seniority rights ensures current PhD students get the same opportunity for permanent work as previous generations. Without a ladder out of sessional work, current instructors will be stuck in an endless loop of precarious work without ever being able to belong to the university community. TSSU also recognizes that in some disciplines the ladder into sessional work starts during graduate studies.

Sessional instructors are dedicated teachers, often winning teaching awards, and valuing their work strengthens teaching excellence at SFU. These instructors should not be stuck in a system where they have to reapply for their careers every 4 months.

Let’s Stand Up Together!

Over the past 35 years, TSSU members have fought for rights that support the core principles of education at SFU. At times, our members have also had to defend the interests of the institution, our members, and the public when these have been threatened. Today we must defend the rights of Sessionals by standing together. We must defend against a proposal that threatens SFU’s founding principles of academic freedom and teaching excellence by further eroding the job security instructors need to assert their rights. We must stop this proposal that weakens our members’ fair access to decent work by taking away the existing rights of return from all current sessionals, and, upon graduation, eliminates any right to work graduates have earned. Finally, we must make it clear that this proposal doesn’t deliver any additional funding to the graduate population and cynically asks TSSU members to give up the limited rights we have now. A better future is possible. We need to collectively say YES to earned job security for successful teachers.

Strike Vote Polling Information

At the general membership meeting on Tuesday, Feb 24th, 2015 the General Membership voted unanimously to hold a strike vote. For specific information about the legal process of a strike vote, please see our Strike Vote FAQ. All 4 information sessions have already been held. If you still have questions please contact tssu@tssu.ca, or just drop by one of the information tables that are located near the Strike Vote Poll.

TSSU’s Chief Returning Officer has set the following polling times and locations:

Advance Poll

  • March 18, 9am-5pm, Northeast AQ near Renaissance Cafe on Burnaby Campus

Burnaby Campus Polls

  • Tuesday March 24, 9am-5pm Northeast AQ near Renaissance Cafe
  • Tuesday March 24, 12pm-4pm Mobile poll
  • Wednesday March 25, 10am-6pm Southeast AQ near the A/V helpdesk
  • Wednesday March 25, 12pm-4pm Mobile poll
  • Thursday March 26, 9am-5pm WMC Lounge (near Tim Horton’s)
  • Thursday March 26, 12pm-4pm Mobile poll

Surrey Campus Polls

  • Tuesday March 24, 9am-5pm Mezzanine (top of main stairs)
  • Tuesday March 24, 12pm-4pm Mobile poll
  • Wednesday March 25, 10am-6pm Mezzanine (top of main stairs)
  • Wednesday March 25, 1pm-5pm Mobile poll
  • Thursday March 26, 12pm-4pm Information Kiosk (3rd Floor)
  • Thursday March 26, 12pm-4pm Mobile poll

Harbour Centre / Vancouver Campus Polls

  • Tuesday March 24, 3pm-7pm Outside Belzberg Library
  • Tuesday March 24, 2pm-5pm Mobile poll (including Segal and Woodward’s)
  • Wednesday March 25, 11am-6pm Outside Belzberg Library
  • Wednesday March 25, 2pm-5pm Mobile poll (including Segal and Woodward’s)
  • Thursday March 26, 3pm-7pm Outside Belzberg Library
  • Thursday March 26, 2pm-6pm Mobile poll (including Segal and Woodward’s)

For further information about the bargaining process thus far, see the bargaining updates on this site. If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at tssu@tssu.ca. Information is also available on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TSSU.ca

TSSU members authorize a Strike Vote

This is a brief announcement to let you know that at the general membership meeting on Tuesday, Feb 24th, the General Membership voted unanimously to hold a strike vote.

Your Union Executive is finalizing the dates and a details will follow next week via email. For specific information about the legal process of a strike vote, please see our Strike Vote FAQ.

The TSSU has tentatively scheduled four information sessions for the first weeks of March. There’s no need to attend the whole session and all members of the SFU community are welcome. The dates and times are:

  • Burnaby: Thursday, March 5th, 2:30pm – 4:30pm (MBC 2294/96)
  • Surrey: Wednesday, March 11th, 1pm – 3pm (Sur 5320)
  • Harbour Centre: March 17th, 2pm – 5pm (HC 1315)
  • Burnaby: Thursday, March 19th, 10am – 12pm (MBC 2290/922)

For further information about the bargaining process thus far, see the bargaining updates on this site. If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at tssu@tssu.ca. Information is also available on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TSSU.ca

Bargaining Update: SFU’s Admin Feels No Need to Negotiate

SFU’s Administration continues to ignore TSSU’s proposals to improve working conditions and address the changing nature of our workplace. They feel no urgency to address the serious concerns we have brought to the bargaining table. TSSU’s Contract Committee believes that fruitful negotiations will only occur after the Administration begins to feel pressure. In light of this conclusion, your Contract Committee has cancelled our two scheduled bargaining dates in March, in order to seek direction from our members. TSSU members should come to the General Membership Meeting on February 24th from 4:30-6:30pm in Harbour Centre 1600 to hear a full report.

In 15 bargaining sessions over 9 months, SFU’s Administration has made no effort to participate in meaningful negotiations, but instead have continually used stall tactics, come unprepared to discuss proposals, and refused to acknowledge that our members experience any problems. When TSSU has managed to convince the Administration that a problem exists, they have simply replied they will not address it. This is not bargaining.

On our most recent bargaining date, February 19th, SFU’s Administration brought forward their first example of a “quid pro quo” consisting of two proposals that gut our collective agreement in exchange for a “counter-proposal” that they claimed was responsive to one of our problems. When TSSU reviewed their counter-proposal, we found it takes away our members’ access to internet resources and is a clear example of a “receding horizon” in bargaining.

In addition to this receding horizon, SFU’s Administration has proposed significant concessions to our members’ current rights, including:

  • stripping away Sessional Instructors’ minimal job security by eliminating any rights of return (ROFR and priority) that exist within our current collective agreement,
  • “opting-out” of key parts of the BC Employment Standards Act and Health and Safety Laws,
  • making ELC/ITP workers more precarious by making seniority harder to get and easier to lose as well as making it harder to attain benefits and wage increases for length of service,
  • removing all benefits for all TSSU members and converting them to pay in lieu of benefits.

These goals are not consistent with the needs of the University or the needs of our members. Instead they would increase the precarity of our members working conditions. The Contract Committee will give a full report to the General Membership Meeting Tuesday February 24nd General Membership Meeting at 4:30-6:30pm in Harbour Centre 1600.

February 2015 Bargaining Update: “If you want to get something in the Collective Agreement, you’ll have to give up something”

TSSU met with the Employer on January 22nd for the 12th bargaining session since our collective agreement expired in April 2014. The employer has yet to table all of their proposals, despite having originally promised to do so by early June. This repeated stalling mimics their behaviour during the last round of bargaining, which the employer prolonged to over 29 months.

Where the Employer has responded, they have only been willing to deal with proposals that bring us in line with current BC Law. However, their counter-proposals consistently take us below the Employment Standards Act and Health & Safety regulations of BC.

The Employer’s theme of the January 22nd session was “quid pro quo,” where they repeatedly insisted that TSSU was going to need to give something up in order to get the minimum legal requirement of the Employment Standards Act. What the Employer is offering is nothing but concessions for all of our membership.  If TSSU agreed to proposals that are worse than our current Collective Agreement, it would do our membership and the students they teach a serious disservice by taking away teaching time and increasing class sizes. We need to find realistic solutions to the reduction of teaching resources at SFU, and the Employer is offering only to reduce them further.

The parties had a particularly disturbing conversation in the afternoon about the employer’s plan in the event of job action. The employer expressed its concern over how it was “going to deliver its product to students,” going on to characterize SFU as a business.  This entire discussion did nothing to get us closer to signing a new collective agreement, instead pushing the two sides further apart.

The next scheduled bargaining dates are Feb 12th and 19th. Contact tssu@tssu.ca if you wish to be an advisor to bargaining and see the process for yourself.

Report on Bargaining – December 2014

TSSU has been bargaining with SFU’s Administration since our contract expired at the start of May 2014. In ten bargaining sessions, they have tried to increase the precarity of our working conditions, slash our benefits, and degrade the learning conditions of SFU students. The following summary outlines the on-the-ground reality our members face, TSSU’s solutions to improve that reality, the Administration’s plan to make our reality worse, and finally, the bargaining process moving forward.

Our Reality

Sessional Instructors now teach one in four courses at SFU. The typical Sessional is an accomplished academic with a PhD and multiple years of teaching experience. They cobble together enough money to live by working at multiple institutions, sometimes commuting by bus as far as Vancouver to Chilliwack several times a week. Despite years of exemplary service, these instructors have to reapply for their own jobs every semester, and they end up unemployed without any notice or justification. The growing use of Sessional Instructors allows SFU to reduce their costs by 50%, as they receive limited pay and minimal benefits.

Instructors in English Language & Culture and Interpretation & Translation Programs (ELC/ITP) are teaching larger and larger classes with reduced benefits. Since 2005-6, the revenue at these programs has remained constant at around $2 million per year, while SFU has decreased instructional costs from $1.1 million in 2005-6 to $750,000 in 2013-14. This 35% reduction in compensation to teachers is a result of a 15% increase in median class size coupled with increased use of temporary instructors who receive no benefits or job security. While teachers have seen substantial cuts, the administration at ELC/ITP has seen substantial growth.

Teaching Assistant (TA) and Tutor Marker (TM) work is designed to be a part of the funding support and teaching mentorship for a graduate degree. Many grad students are being denied access to the TA & TM work they need to support themselves, and over 20% of those positions go outside the grad population. The advent of hybrid courses—mixing online, experiential, and classroom education—has meant the old formulas that ensured reasonable pay for TA & TM work need to be updated. Over the past 15 years, the increase in compensation for TA & TM appointments has been less than half of the increase in cost of living for these student workers.

The reality our members face in the classroom each day is unsustainable. The trend is clear: less pay, larger classrooms, and increasing precariousness. We need to reverse this trend if we want SFU to be a desirable place to work and learn.

TSSU’s Solutions

We want long serving Sessional Instructors to have job security through a seniority model. After teaching for years, these instructors deserve to know they have work for the next semester. We also recognize that a limited portion of the sessional assignments are used for teaching experience for senior PhD students, so we have proposed to allow departments to choose to reserve a small portion of the Sessional appointments for grads.

For ELC/ITP, we want to close the loophole that allows the Administration to replace continuing instructors with temporary instructors who have no benefits. We want to see ELC/ITP instructors receive the same benefits package as the administrative support staff who they work with every day. We also believe that, like their counter-parts at UBC, they deserve to be treated more like Faculty members.

The worlds of TAs and TMs are clearly merging, so we have proposed to get ahead of this trend by merging the two job descriptions, which would ensure teachers get paid more as more students are added to their classes. To ensure grads get access to that work, we have proposed graduate students only need to indicate that they want to work so that they can be matched to TA jobs. This system is already in place at UBC and delivers work to graduate students.

TSSU wants to make SFU a more supportive place to teach. When our members’ working conditions improve, the learning conditions for undergrads improve with them. We believe our solutions will make SFU a stronger institution both for teachers and students.

The Employer’s Goals

SFU’s Administration has made it clear with their proposals that they want to “opt-out” of the parts of the Employment Standards Act and Health and Safety Laws that they don’t happen to like. They ignore the law, the rights of their workers, and the working conditions of those who provide the majority of teaching at SFU. Instead, they only seem concerned with reducing costs, and they don’t appear to care about the consequences on workers and the institution.

SFU’s specific bargaining goals are…

  • stripping away Sessional Instructors’ minimal job security by eliminating any rights of return (ROFR and priority) that exist within our current collective agreement
  • making ELC/ITP workers more precarious by making seniority harder to get and easier to lose as well as making it harder to attain benefits and wage increases for length of service
  • saving money on TA & TM workers by forcing grads into arduous Sessional work and replacing them with lower-paid undergraduate and external TAs & TMs
  • removing all benefits for all TSSU members and converting them to pay in lieu of benefits

These goals reflect a pattern of increasing precarity, reducing costs, and ignoring the consequences for SFU as an institution of higher learning. The Administration’s approach is consistent with treating SFU like a corporation that has to minimize labour costs regardless of the consequences. This is a radical agenda designed to create serious conflict.

The Process Moving Forward

We will be back at the bargaining table in the Spring, and TSSU’s Contract Committee remains committed to negotiating a fair and equitable Collective Agreement. It’s been nearly a year since our contract expired, so it is critical that our members keep themselves informed. Our direct-democracy model requires members to participate in the process in order to achieve the gains we’ve outlined. To find out more:

  • Inform yourself! Go to http://bargaining.tssu.ca
  • Talk to your colleagues, including fellow grads students. sessionals, and tenured faculty.
  • Watch your email for our votes and surveys. Give us your input!
  • Join a committee! Attend a bargaining session! Email tssu@tssu.ca for more information.