Like most other unions, the TSSU has in place a strike policy which comes into effect in the event that our membership votes positively in a strike vote, thereby activating a specific procedure. This policy does not determine what job action the membership engages in, nor does it set up any specific time-lines, but ensures that under a strike mandate all decisions are made openly and transparently, and with the support of the membership.
Strike Policy (Job Action Policy) Article Y of TSSU Bylaws.
Policy last amended by the TSSU General Membership on June 5, 2023.
a. “Member” shall mean a member of the Teaching Support Staff Union as defined in Bylaws,
b. “Member of the bargaining unit” shall refer to a member of the TSSU who is
employed with the University (i.e., possesses a contract) for the current semester in a position: covered by the Collective Agreement), for which TSSU is the voluntary recognized bargaining agent, or for which TSSU is the certified bargaining agent.
c. “Struck work” includes, but is not limited to, any work performed by a member of the bargaining unit that the Strike Committee has decided has been struck.
a. Where a directive in this policy is at odds with a directive elsewhere in the bylaws, the bylaws shall take precedence.
b. Where a directive here is contrary to the law, only that directive shall be
c. Where this policy outlines rates of pay that differ from a policy for pay for elected officers, then this policy shall apply.
Y.2. Access to Graduate Studies
a. The TSSU does not wish to negatively affect the ability of Members to complete their studies. No member of the TSSU shall be – by virtue of job action – barred from participating in activities required of them as students, including, but not limited to:
- i. Attending classes and completing assignments as students;
- ii. Defending theses and participating in comprehensive exams;
- iv. Performing uncompensated activities directly related to graduate progress.
Every member must make all reasonable efforts to reschedule or relocate all activities directly related to their graduate studies so as not to cross any picket line and not to diminish the impact of any struck work.
b. In the event the University (i) is picketed/under a work stoppage and (ii) a member must perform a task as allowed under a(i)-(iv), the member in question shall report to the Picket Captain on duty and provide:
- their full name;
- their student number;
- a brief description of what business they shall undertake on
- campus; and
- their signature.
The member in question shall also undertake to anonymously report any attempt by an officer or employee of the University to incite them to violate the strike by performing struck work.
y.3. Access to residences
a. The TSSU shall not stop a member from returning to their place of residence on an SFU campus or to a residence to which they have been invited, although a
Picket Captain may direct them to take an alternate route to avoid crossing picket lines;
b. In the event an SFU Campus is picketed/under a work stoppage, the member
should report to the picket captain.
Y.4. Strike solidarity
No Member shall:
a. perform any struck work
b. facilitate substitutions or in any way aid the administration/employer in getting said work done, i.e., by finding a substitute
c. perform struck work for another if ordered to do so
d. obscure the fact that another has done such work
e. notify the employer in advance of their willingness or unwillingness to cross a
picket line, unless directed by the Strike Committee. These decisions need only be made at the time a member encounters a picket line. The early notification
requested by the employer is meant to allow said employer to arrange for others
to scab your job, dock your pay, and reduce union solidarity, against the principles of the TSSU.
Y.5. Strike committee
a. Once a successful job action vote (“strike vote”) has been held, a Special
General Meeting (“SGM”) shall be called by the Executive to relate the
situation and to convene the Strike Committee.
b. The Committee shall consist of seven (7) committee members as follows:
- The Chief Steward I, Organiser I, and Organiser II, one of whom (to be mutually agreed upon) shall chair the committee as well as resource it;
- One (1) representative from the Executive Committee, who is not a Salaried Officer;
- One (1) representative from the Contract Committee;
- One (1) representative from the Membership Mobilization Committee;
- One (1) general member, who is not an Executive Officer.
c. Strike Committee members who are not salaried officers shall be eligible for
a stipend on the same basis as members of MMC, to be paid from the Strike Fund wherever possible.
d. The General Membership at the SGM shall select the general member by
simple majority of those present.
e. The members of the Executive and Contract Committees shall select the
representatives from their committees, though the Chief Stewards shall not
be permitted a vote in the selection of either. The General Membership at the SGM shall ratify the selections made by these Committees via simple majority
f. Any member who is not present for two (2) meetings shall be liable to
temporary or permanent removal by the Strike Committee, which may
appoint a replacement. Replacements must be ratified by a motion presented at a General Membership Meeting within 2 weeks of the removal.
g. The Strike Committee’s meetings shall be open to general members provided
it is not put in camera by a two-thirds majority of those present.
h. The Strike Committee shall be responsible for setting and implementing
policy relating to any and all job-action the Union shall undertake in
consultation with the Executive, Salaried Officers and the General
Membership, which it shall report to.
Y.6. Strike pay
a. Strike pay is not a substitute for one’s salary. The TSSU offers strike pay to
Members to offset the cost of living during a difficult time.
b. Strike pay shall not be given to any Member who violates this policy, an act of
the Strike Committee, the Bylaws or who performs struck work as defined herein
c. Strike pay shall only be provided to those who actively assist with job action
during the strike
- To be eligible for strike pay, a Member must be losing monetary compensation as a result of strike and perform job-action duties as assigned by the Strike Committee and verified by the picket captains.
- The system by which the duties shall be verified, the scheduling of said work and what form said work may take shall be decided by the Strike Committee.
- Any Member who performs struck work or crosses the picket line without reporting to the picket captain or for an illegitimate reason shall forfeit their pay.
Y.7. the rate of strike pay
The rate of weekly strike pay is set at:
- $70 for 4 or more but less than 6 hours
- $100 for 6 or more but less than 12 hours.
- $250 for 12 or more but less than 24 hours; and
- $400 for 24 or more hours.
In the case of a strike lasting more than one week where members are losing wages or scheduled pickets of the same or longer duration, elected officers of the union shall be paid strike pay at the rates above in lieu of any payments available under any policy outlining pay for elected officers. The same shall apply to members of committees with stipends that increase with hours, including the strike committee, contract committee, and membership mobilization committee. Subsequent to a strike, where members receive payments from the employer for periods of work which they were on strike, then elected officers of the union shall receive payments on an equivalent basis. The Strike Committee shall have the authority to account for unique or unusual circumstances and deal with matters of strike pay, accessibility, and accommodation, including, but not limited to:
a. $50/week is additionally available to those with one or more dependant minors. Where two members share dependents, only one shall be eligible for the pay
b. Where the member is working 36 or more hours per week and is also taking on a leadership role, such as an elected officer, strike committee member, picket
captain, or media spokesperson, they shall be able to claim for an additional $100 of weekly strike pay.
a. The strength of a strike is dependent on a strong membership. Performing struck work reduces the ability of the Union to function.
b. Where a Member performs struck work:
- Their name shall be liable to be published to the membership
- They shall pay a fine equal to 100% of the wages provided by the University for the work performed, regardless if the duties undertaken were undertaken for one’s own contract or in substitution for another; this amount shall include amounts deducted for health, vacation, income tax, EI & CPP benefits; it is for the gross amount of the salary.
- Moreover, they shall pay a fine of $500.00 (five-hundred dollars) in addition to the above. This fine shall be liable to interest at 3% above prime beginning 30 days after notice is served.
- The Union is authorized to pursue legal action against those who refuse to pay the above fines or levies provided for in this policy, in which case the settlement sought shall include all the above plus any and all legal fees accrued in securing settlement.
- In the event the individual guilty of performing struck work holds an office in the TSSU or is a member of a committee, their stipend and/or salary shall be withheld.
Y.9 Appeals process
a. Immediately following the ratification of the Collective Agreement by the
Membership, the Strike Committee shall be immediately dissolved and
reconstituted as the Appeals Committee (hereafter “the Committee”)
- Each member of the Strike Committee shall serve on the Appeals
- Committee unless opting out/resigning
i. If a member resigns, their replacement must derive from the same constituency (e.g. a Steward replaces a Steward)
ii. A Chief Steward may be replaced by another Signing Officer
iii. All replacements shall be elected and ratified by the General Membership as with the Strike Committee
b. Upon ratification of the Collective Agreement by the Membership, the TSSU shall use its legal writes to compel, by all reasonable and legitimate means, SFU to turn over lists of those Members who received pay during periods where such work was lawfully interdicted.
- Upon the receipt of the list, the Committee shall announce, via the TSSU mailing list, that the appeals process is opened and that appeals must be lodged within fourteen (14) days
- A reminder e-mail shall be sent 5 days before the end of this period
- Posters shall be dispatched to Stewards announcing the same
- Emails shall furthermore be sent to all involved, individually, and informing them that:
- Based on the preponderance of evidence, the Committee
believes the individual violated the Labour Code or the
policies of the TSSU by scabbing;
- Penalties shall be assessed;
- They have the right to appeal the decision to the
- To appeal the decision they must provide written notice
to the Appeals Committee by delivering said notice to the
Privacy Officer of the Union at AQ 5130
- The Appeals Committee shall develop, ratify, and publish its own mechanisms and processes for handling appeals that are consistent with the principles of natural justice, procedural fairness, and the TSSU bylaws and policies
- Moral or ethical disagreement with trade unionism or the
TSSU shall not be a basis for appeal.
- Any consideration of undue hardship or other such issues,
shall be considered in the context that Members have
been under hardship during a job action/strike.
- The Appeals Committee shall issue a progress report to
the General Membership at least every two months from
the deadline for filing an appeal, until the process is
- All decisions, proceedings and minutes from the Appeals
Committee shall be stored as confidential documents per
kept under seal by the TSSU Privacy Officer.
Y.10 expenses & use of the strike fund
a. The annual strike fund contribution line item in the budget may be accessed as follows:
- By the Executive, to organize a Strike Vote and to prepare for initial and special meetings; (i.e., to convene the Strike Committee)
- By the Contract Committee or the Executive, for legal consultation or strike avoidance; and
- At least 30% shall be reserved for the use of the Strike Committee
b. 95% of the accrued amount in the Strike Fund itself is expressly reserved for strike pay; the remainder is accessible for strike-related expenses and strike avoidance, through vote of the Strike Committee.