We are writing to you live from the picket line at Burnaby campus, which is holding strong through wind and rain, with an update on bargaining. Last week we successfully converted the leverage built through picketing into real progress at the bargaining table, and the trend continues this week, again thanks to our work stoppage and picket lines. We are bargaining with the Employer tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday.In our most recent update we mentioned that mediation is being explored as well. Having found a mediator who is both agreeable to both parties and available as soon as possible, TSSU and SFU will enter mediation this Friday and Saturday for the second time this bargaining round. With TSSU’s work stoppage in full swing, we expect mediation to be more productive than last time—but only if we keep the pressure of picket lines up.
We still need to reach agreement on three big items; (1) the compensation model for TAs and SIs, (ii) a yearly teaching model for ELC/ITP instructors, and (3) a pension for SIs and ELC/ITP instructors. Since last week, the Employer has been urging TSSU to take down all our picket lines and get back to work during bargaining. We know from 11 months and 41 bargaining sessions, however, what the Employer does in bargaining when TSSU members go along with business as usual. Nothing.
Mediators are typically paid by both parties, but the Employer offered to cover the full cost from the first time they suggested mediation. This and begging us to take down picket lines are the surest sign that our work stoppage is working and our pickets must continue. We win in bargaining when we are strong on the picket line.
After 528 days, the Employer is finally interested in getting to a deal because of all your tireless work on the picket line. This is an absolutely critical juncture in our strike. We need the strongest lines Burnaby has ever seen so that we have maximum leverage in bargaining and mediation this week.
The sun is beginning to peek through the clouds on our picket lines today and in bargaining. All of us must seize this opportunity to get the contract we need.