RA Bargaining Update

RA Update #5: The bargaining table is waiting, and so are our members!

The virtual bargaining room is sitting empty again. Date after date has been set and cancelled by SFU Administration. This has been extremely disappointing, especially since they delayed  the commencement of bargaining for almost 11 months from the agreed May 1st, 2020 start date. In our voluntary recognition. It took public pressure to get SFU Administration to our first bargaining session on March 23rd, 2021.

In the sessions we’ve had so far, we were able to achieve one of our bargaining priorities, to extend existing TSSU Collective Agreement rights to RAs such as human rights and harassment protection, health and safety protections, grievance procedures, access to the childcare fund, intellectual property protections, and tuition deferment, among other common rights. SFU Administration is again dragging their feet and refusing to meet us at the bargaining table. Until we have a Collective Agreement members will continue to go without the key protections they demanded when they joined our union back in November 2019. Delaying bargaining is a common tactic used by the employer, since delays benefit the employer at the expense of TSSU members.

SFU Administration has also made it clear they intend to leave hundreds of RAs without a Union. They continue to argue that grad student RAs who receive compensation as scholarship/stipend should not be included. This would exclude most RAs in Sciences and Applied Sciences. Our binding agreement explicitly states these individuals are included.

SFU Administration will not acknowledge the harm their delays and actions are causing for Research Assistants and Grant Employees. We have been in a pandemic for over a year now and members continue to go without protections such as sick leave, mental health coverage, and more. SFU Administration’s hurry to get back to campus needs to be matched by a similar urgency to provide RAs with benefits and rights they deserve. The first step is for SFU Administration to meet TSSU at the bargaining table. The Contract Committee will continue to hold SFU Administration accountable until we reach a tentative agreement that addresses the key concerns of RAs at SFU! However, we can only get the Collective Agreement Research Assistants and Grants Employees deserve through the collective power of our members and allies!

How to get involved:

  1. Sign and Share our petition! You can share our social media posts (Facebook, Twitter)
  2. Share your RA Stories (either anonymously here or send them to
  3. Get involved in our campaign! Join our Membership Mobilization Committee (contact for more info) 
  4. Share this bargaining update with your caucus & discuss the details with your department stewards. Does your department have questions? We’d be more than happy to come answer them. Email or 

Want to see the details of TSSU’s proposal? No worries! Email