Last Wednesday, the Employer threatened to cut all of our members’ extended health benefits, as well as International Student Health Fee coverage, in retaliation for only three days of mild strike actions. In response to this extortionate tactic, TSSU members came out in full force on picket lines the very next day to shut down key parts of campus.
At this time, the overtime ban and teach-in strike actions remain in place. There will not be any picket lines on Monday, please stay tuned for future announcements.
TSSU members are angry, and we need to show the Employer that our demands for higher wages, better working conditions and our earned rights to health care cannot be ignored.
TSSU will be holding a BBQ for members and supporters from 3:30pm-6:00pm on Friday the 23rd at Burnaby campus on the TASC 2 lawn where picket headquarters was located. We’ll be celebrating the incredible work of our membership to make the first pickets a success and all of our organizing efforts to date. Come out to meet fellow members from different departments and disciplines—and for free food! We’ll also have plenty of cards on hand for RAs who haven’t yet signed in 2023. We encourage members working at Vancouver campus to come out to Surrey and Burnaby for the GM and BBQ. Job actions might be coming downtown soon as well.
Withholding our labour—our labour that sustains the mission of the University—is a powerful form of collective action, and our best strategy for getting the contract that we need. The Employer is trying to turn the community against us, sending out multiple communications not only instructing students to cross the picket line, but also accusing TSSU members of harassing and intimidating people. However, there was not one word from SFU on the fact that faculty, staff, and students have the right under SFU policies to not cross the picket line.
We want to reiterate some key facts and references that the Employer continues to ignore and obfuscate:
- SFU policy GP-05 outlines the right of all workers to respect picket lines at SFU;
- SFU Senate Motion S 00-18 passed in February 2000 confirmed an equivalent right for students to respect picket lines including how to notify their instructors to make arrangements; and
- The Supreme Court of Canada in 2013 established that taking pictures and shaming those crossing a picket line is Charter protected expression.
This is just the beginning. We need to keep up pressure so that the Employer’s only option is to withdraw their threats to our healthcare coverage and meet our demands at the bargaining table. The Employer thinks we’re not organized enough to fight back against their union busting, but they’re mistaken.