Synopsis of the 2010-2012 Bargaining and Strike

TSSU and SFU commenced bargaining for a new collective agreement in 2010, after the agreement expired on April 30th, 2010. SFU refused to engage with TSSU on any substantive issues and bargaining dragged on for 2 years without any movement from SFU.

In the summer of 2012, TSSU held a strike vote among its members. 90% of members voted in favour of a strike. TSSU leveraged this mandate to get mediation with SFU at the Labour Board. This mediation produced some minor tentative agreements on Health and Safety Language, but no significant movement from SFU. In October of 2012, TSSU members voted to engage their job action, first by holding an overtime ban and putting stickers on assignments marked by TSSU members. Members then voted to escalate the job action by withholding grades from assignments. TSSU members would still mark assignments and thus still receive their pay, but would refuse to give the numeric grades to their departments or supervisors.

In November of 2012, TSSU and CUPE 3338 again to escalate their job action to picket lines. The picket lines resulted in SFU agreeing to mediation with Vince Ready, one of the province’s most senior mediators. SFU also agreed to put an academic on their bargaining committee. During these 5 days of mediation, SFU finally started to budge, but still didn’t move in significant ways.

TSSU continued to hold small rotating pickets and “micro-pickets” impacting just one portion of one building. Then TSSU held a march on Strand Hall, using hundreds of postcards signed by supporters to “hug” the building. These postcards were delivered to VP Academic Jon Driver and VP Legal Judith Osborne. At this time, Jon Driver committed to coming to the table himself.

On November 20th, SFU and TSSU commenced around-the-clock bargaining. SFU came to the table willing to actually bargain, allowing the sides to move towards a possible settlement. At 4:03am on November 21st, a tentative agreement was signed. This agreement was ratified by both SFU and TSSU members by the end of November and implemented in the Spring of 2013. That particular negotiated agreement expired on April 30, 2014 and the sides are now both in negotiation.

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