TSSU Proposals

Teaching Assistants (Article 13)

One of the key issues we aim to address is overwork.  It is difficult for TAs to raise concerns of overwork without facing consequences in their student roles. We propose (1) updating the TA compensation model (2) putting a cap on weekly hours, and (3) removing or updating equivalencies.

Our updates to the compensation model for TAs include compensating for all forms of student contact (e.g. office hours, lecture assistance, online assistance), linking pay to class size, and extra pay for hybrid / blended / mixed formats. In 2020 we won an updated compensation model to increase prep time for writing intensive “W” courses, and that has greatly reduced workload complaints. Updating the general formula will do the same. 

A perennial issue for TAs is the unevenness of the workload throughout a term, particularly caused by heavy marking loads during exam periods. We’ve proposed that assigned duties must not require more than 3 hours of work per week per Base Unit, and non-scheduled duties (such as marking) shall be assigned such that their completion does not require work outside the regular business hours of the University. 

Many “equivalencies” attached to Collective Agreement date back decades and pay labs half the rate of tutorials, open labs ⅓ the rate, and for some reason 2 hour tutorials in Geography and Sociology & Anthropology get paid at 83% of the rate of tutorials elsewhere. In the case of labs and 2 hour tutorials, we frequently receive complaints that these require more preparation time than a 1 hour tutorial, yet the Employer continues to pay them less. We propose to remove many of those equivalencies which lower rates of pay, and update others.

Sessional Instructors (Article 14)

After winning seniority rights in 2015, we are now focussed on (1) improving compensation to address overwork caused by new modes of teaching and increasing class sizes, (2) reducing the burden of applying, (3) creating access to funded pro-D,  and (4) extending the promotion pathway to include not just limited term positions, but continuing positions as well, while still respecting the collegial process. 

Overwork is a serious problem faced by Sessional Instructors. Like for TAs, TSSU has proposed updating the compensation model for Sessionals to account for increased class sizes and remote, blended, and hybrid work. SIs are asked to submit full application packages for each course every term, which is a waste of everyone’s time when people have been teaching for years. TSSU has proposed that when an SI has recently taught a given course they need only  indicate in writing their desire to teach the course and skip the full application.

As it stands, Sessionals have second-rate rights and benefits compared to their faculty counterparts despite teaching equivalent—or even greater—courseloads. TSSU has therefore proposed that Sessional should have pro-D funds access on the same basis as other SFU workers. 

Last, many Sessionals find themselves in a precarious purgatory wherein Sessional experience actually makes it more, not less, difficult to obtain a full-time faculty position. Currently, Sessionals who teach a full-time equivalent courseload for four years have the right to an equivalent Limited Term Appointment position of at least one year. TSSU has proposed extending this right into a bridge to Continuing faculty positions. Sessional Instructors with years of experience, seniority, and an LTA would thereby be included in the Continuing Position Pool for faculty appointments.

Graduate Facilitators (current Article 16)

Graduate Facilitators (GFs) in the Media Maker Commons (MMC) voted to join TSSU in 2022 and. TSSU has proposed incorporating MMC GFs into the already existing language with minor adjustments to account for differences in their work. We’ve proposed that all GFs are entitled to similar rights and protections. Moreover, TSSU has proposed increased protections for the preparation time of GFs in the Student Learning Commons, who often find this is not provided.

ELC/ITP/ITA Instructors (current Article 17)

Instructors in these programs have continuing positions but actually have to reapply for their workload every 8 weeks and if they want to take a vacation they must take off a whole term without pay. Other comparable programs have moved to a complete teaching year model where instructors teach about 40 weeks a year, and the remainder of the year is left for curriculum development, administration, vacation and other critical but non-classroom tasks. We demand the same sort of model for ELC/ITP/ITA instructors. 

As with TAs and SIs, ELC/ITP/ITA instructors face increased workloads due to increasing class sizes and from composition courses. We propose a class size cap of 15 students and an increase to just over 2 hours of outside class work for each hour of composition class time, from the standard 1.33 hours.

Education Mentors

TSSU has proposed including Education Mentors into the Collective Agreement as a “special qualification” TAs, an existing classification. Our goal is to ensure Mentors have rights and benefits equivalent to TAs and protect against SFU using different job categories to weaken rights over time. As part of the proposal, Mentors would have flat-rate base unit amounts for first and subsequent semesters that would be a substantial initial pay increase, and also increase over time as other wages do.  TSSU’s proposal also outlines a compensation model calculated according to Base Units.