With another three bargaining sessions gone by this week, the Employer still does not have a monetary proposal for RAs, and responses on other outstanding issues remain inconsequential. To avoid tabling monetary proposals the Employer used the same excuse they have been making for over a year—that they are still discussing it internally over email. RAs cannot wait any longer for wage increases as our rent, food and bills continue to skyrocket.
Two of the sessions this week focused on issues for ELC/ITP/ITA Instructors. Currently ELC/ITP/ITA Instructors must reapply for assignments every 8 weeks. Rather than proposing a long-term fix to the precarity these instructors face, the Employer proposed a temporary two-year trial where instructors would do that process every 26 weeks instead. There is no reason why Instructors should only have temporary and time-limited reprieve from an arbitrary course assignment process that leads to our members not knowing from where their next paycheck will come every 8 weeks.
For RA’s, minor progress was made towards resolving some non-monetary items, but the key dispute between the parties is essentially the same as November 2021:
- TSSU believes that all RAs should be included in the Union, and receive a living wage that includes a scholarship portion like graduate student TAs receive, as well as benefits and leaves equivalent to TAs. This is why RAs decided to join the Union back in 2019, and this is what we are still fighting for 1,182 days later.
- SFU wants to pay RAs as little as $17/hr, exclude the vast majority of grad student RAs, provide less sick leave than all workers receive under the Employment Standards Act, provide no health, dental or MSP benefits, and maintain the ability to terminate any RA at any time for any reason.
With almost no progress and continued disputes, the Employer is not showing any willingness to get to a Collective Agreement any time soon. TSSU will continue to fight for a fair contract both inside and outside the bargaining room.