During the month of November, TSSU met for bargaining with SFU Administration as part of the terms of Final Offer Selection (FOS). The Administration agreed to complete the changes to TA/TM Priority and the Centralized posting system that were left incomplete at the end of the 2012 bargaining round. While SFU Administration initially expressed interest in addressing TSSU’s other core issues, they withdrew their counter-proposals just before FOS, reverting to the status quo on all other items. This unwillingness to change is a continuation of SFU Administration’s pattern of behaviour over the last 15 years of Labour Relations.
On November 27th, your Contract Committee and the SFU Administration appeared before arbitrator Vince Ready for full-day FOS hearing. The TSSU presented our outstanding non-monetary issues to the arbitrator, including our three remaining core issues of sessional seniority, equity for instructors in ELC/ITP, and protecting the integrity of the TA pay system. The Administration, despite describing the significant increase in precarity for instructors across North America, told the Arbitrator there should be no changes to the contract for ELC/ITP and Sessional Instructors and also argued that the current workload review process is sufficient to protect TAs from overwork. TSSU was able to preemptively counter all of these arguments with results of member surveys, stories from members, and research from comparable Collective Agreements across Canada.
In addition, your Contract Committee presented our monetary package, including proposed wage and benefits changes within the PSEC mandate, as voted on by members. SFU Administration refused to provide the Union with complete or accurate reports on the University’s finances or the costs of our proposal — which they had agreed to do as part of FOS — while claiming that the Union’s monetary proposal was “substantially over” the mandate of the provincial government (without providing empirical evidence). TSSU urged the arbitrator to withhold a monetary ruling until Administration provides this information, giving TSSU an opportunity to resubmit a monetary proposal if necessary. In addition, TSSU demonstrated that the Administration’s monetary offer was substantially below the PSEC mandate, a fact which was not rebuffed by Administration during the hearing.
Your Contract Committee awaits either confirmation that our costing is correct or provision of accurate numbers to adjust our proposal accordingly. TSSU will announce the arbitrator’s decision or any developments on the monetary process as they occur.