This week, members of the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) voted 86% in favour of strike. Union spokesperson Reagan Belan stated, “Our members have sent an overwhelming message: SFU Administration’s stalling tactics are unacceptable. Our members are focused on reaching a fair collective agreement that addresses our core issues.” TSSU will serve SFU with 72 hour strike notice on the morning of Friday July 17th, with renewed job action to commence on Monday July 20th, 2015.
TSSU has been without a contract since April 2014. In 14 months of bargaining, SFU Administration has either avoided or dismissed TSSU’s core issues:
- Seniority for Sessional Instructors, who now teach 25% of SFU’s courses
- Access to SFU’s standard benefits package for ELC/ITP Instructors
- Protection from underpay and access to work for Teaching Assistants and Tutor Markers
- The protection of existing BC law on Health & Safety and Payment of Wages
- A fix to the Childcare Bursary to get the currently allocated money to parents
These core issues can be addressed with negligible cost to SFU’s budget. TSSU will be returning to the bargaining table on Wednesday, July 22 and 23rd, 2015. Earlier this week, UBC reached a tentative agreement with their TA union (CUPE 2278) after 3 months of bargaining; there is no reason SFU Administration cannot follow suit.
TSSU’s initial phase of job action is an overtime ban for ELC/ITP instructors combined with an information campaign directed at the community we serve. This action begins July 20th, and job action will escalate until we reach a new Collective Agreement. All decisions regarding strike action are made at TSSU’s Greater Committee meetings, which meet weekly and are open to all members.