RA Bargaining Update

Update #9: A proposal full of precarity

At our last bargaining session on December 2, we saw an employer that is unwilling to bargain. The proposals that they have passed across the table since they changed spokesperson this summer have shown no movement toward the TSSU’s proposals. Although the Union’s bargaining team has made numerous moves towards the administration’s position, this employer has enjoyed a $53 million surplus this pandemic year alone and yet says it can’t afford a living wage for RAs.

SFU Admin brought the same position on wages and benefits as the November 10th session, but added harmful language that allows for quick and easy terminations of RAs, erodes the rights of work-study RAs, and proposed a sick leave policy below what is required by the Employment Standards Act: 

  • Termination
    • SFU proposed that RAs should be at-will employees who can be terminated without cause at any point during the life of their contract. The language in SFU’s proposal would allow the employer to terminate RAs without a valid reason and with minimal notice, which would further contribute to the precarity of research work. 
  • Wages
    • SFU proposed a maximum wage rate for Work-Study student RAs should be $17/hour, yet their proposal allows for other RAs at SFU to be paid above $17/hour. SFU Admin is not interested in providing a living wage or fair working conditions for some of the University’s most precarious and financially compromised workers. 
  • Sick Leave 
    • SFU’s proposal blatantly ignores the upcoming legislation on sick leave which will provide all employees in BC with 5 paid sick days beginning on January 1, 2022. SFU’s proposal on wages and benefits states that “​​Eligible employees will receive three-and-three-quarter (3.75) hours of sick leave for each full month of employment completed.” SFU Admin still hasn’t defined who an “eligible employee” is! In their proposal they continue to deprive student RAs, including Work-Study RAs, of sick leave and other basic employment benefits. 

The members of the university community should not accept these actions of SFU Admin. RAs deserve better. SFU Admin continues to demonstrate their lack of care or understanding for the thousands of people providing the labour of carrying out research at SFU. They came to the table without listening to our members and allies, 800 of whom have signed onto our petition demanding a fair contract for RAs.

We need YOUR help to get a fair RA contract! 

  1. Continue to sign our petition which will send an email to SFU’s President
  2. Talk to your supervisor about RA Bargaining. 
  3. Spread the word to other SFU community members!
  4. Get in touch with us at if you have any questions and to know more about how you can be involved with bargaining.

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