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.