SFU Administration Sets Bargaining Preconditions

The TSSU contract committee and a number of TSSU members acting as advisors met today to bargain with the Employer. We were looking forward to making progress at the table today, and during the morning we were hopeful that we might make strides forward. Before breaking for lunch, the Employer’s representative committed to coming back with an answer on one of our outstanding issues, the childcare bursary.

However, once we returned in the afternoon, the Employer’s spokesperson informed us that they objected to our bargaining process. Because of the Employer’s repeated attempts to coerce and intimidate our members engaging in grade withholding and other job actions, the TSSU declined to provide the names of our advisors attending bargaining. This choice is in line with the mutually-agreed upon bargaining protocol agreement, and TSSU felt this was the best option to protect our members in this highly contentious labour environment.

Unfortunately, the Administration’s spokesperson reacted with vitriol, dismissing our concerns as “absurd.” This tirade is in stark contrast to the VP Academic’s letter sent to the SFU community, which recognized the significance of respecting our members’ legal right to strike. Regardless of this procedural disagreement, the Union sought to continue with discussions and introduced new signing sheets to that effect. The Employer’s representative repeatedly refused to respond to these issues, saying that he would not take a position for the university until the TSSU would provide advisor names, thus setting a precondition for bargaining.

By setting these prerequisites for their engagement at the table, the Employer is again attempting to stall meaningful discussions. TSSU is optimistic that the Employer will have reassessed their position before our next bargaining session tomorrow morning.

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