Welcome to the TSSU


The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) has been an independent, non-hierarchical feminist labour union since 1978.

We represent the Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers, Sessionals, and the English Language & Culture/Interpretation & Translation Instructors (ELC/ITP) only here at Simon Fraser University. 

Our current Collective Agreement expires April 30th, 2014.

Please feel free to explore our website for more specific information.
Want to see all of the Main Page posts of a certain topic? Click on one of the links below (or at the bottom of any post).

MLA Sub-Conference Announcement: Non-Negotiable Sites of Struggle (Vancouver!)


You’re invited:
Second-annual MLA Subconference Call for Papers
Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre
Joseph and Rosalie Segal Room
Vancouver, BC
January 7-8, 2015
Please join us on January 7th for an open bar at Heartwood Community Cafe, 317 Broadway E.  
Send 500-word abstracts by October 15, 2014 to: MLASubconference(at)gmail.com

More information here: http://mlasubconference.org/

Continue reading

Fall Candidates Election Statements


Unique voting tokens will be emailed to all members on November 18th, 2014.
Polls will be open until the end of November 22nd.
Winners will be announced at the November 25th General Membership Meeting,
(Nov. 25th, Harbour Centre, Rm 1500 @ 4:30 – 6:30pm).

If you do not get an emailed token, please email trustee(at)tssu.ca to get one.

Positions Available

Carl Mandy
Orion Kidder

Genevieve Lorenzo

Derek Sahota

MMC Commissioner
Phil Dluhy

Trustee #1
Melissa Roth

================================================================ Continue reading

Spooktacular Trivia | Tues Oct 28th

Dying to prove to that rival department that your department is better at trivia?

Spooktacular Trivia Night Moon
You are invited to TSSU’s 2nd annual ‘Spooktacular’ Trivia Night at the Highland Pub!
  • Tues Oct 28th
  • 5pm
  • Highland Pub
  • Free pool (billiards) from 4-5pm
For every team member in a costume, your team gets a bonus point!
(six players max per team)
Drink Specials (Soda, Dark n’ Stormys, and Beer Pitchers)
1/2 Priced Nachos!
It’s a stressful time with marking midterms, let’s unwind together.


Steward Training Workshop

What: Open to all department shop stewards who are looking to better understand unions, contract language, grievance/arbitration processes in Canada, and good ways to communicate in one-on-one and group situations. This workshop is flexible in that we will cover any question you have or concerns you would like to learn more about – feel free to email us so we can put it on the agenda.

Lunch and coffee provided. (When you RSVP include any dietary needs)

Next Steward Workshop:
Saturday October 25th, 10am – 4pm. Harbour Centre 1315
** Please bring your steward binder if you have one, if you don’t have one let us know so we’ll bring you one **

For more info or to RSVP: Email tssu(at)tssu.ca

TSSU 5 Minute Bargaining Survey

If you have TA/TM/SI/ELC/ITP in the last 3 semesters you should have gotten an email today (October 15th) in your SFU inbox containing a survey link.

Please take the time to answer the three questions, it is directly going to influence how we are bargaining at the table. Results will be announced at the October 22nd GM at Surrey 2740 (4:30-6:30pm).

If it’s not in your inbox, email tssu(at)tssu.ca so you can be added to our mailing list and not miss any other important emails.


Bargaining Update – October 7, 2014

The TSSU met with the Employer for a 5th and 6th day of bargaining on September 30th and October 7th.

TSSU focused on improving the working conditions and job security of Sessional Instructors, and ensuring Teaching Assistant (TA) and Tutor Marker (TM) jobs go first to graduate students. Sessional Instructors deserve real seniority rights, and graduate students need work that allows them sufficient time to complete their research. The employer disagrees with these basic principles, and proposed steps that reduce job security for Sessional Instructors, and increase graduate student workloads (see below for more details). TSSU does not accept that increasing insecurity and pressure on employees is a real solution to the problems facing our members.  Continue reading

Final Indoor Air Quality Report of the Education Building Available!

Did you know that the Education Building has had a comprehensive study completed about air quality and safety?

Summary: This report (consisting of a five page executive summary at beginning and eighteen page report) has found that there were many point of water ingress, and issues with communication between departments and services at SFU. It also has found improvements in many areas due to fixing deferred maintenance, and specific rooms that are deemed unsafe. It makes specific recommendations for SFU to enact to fix and monitor these issues.

Download the Final Indoor Air Quality Report (without appendix) HERE!

Mould peak cover

(for full report with appendix, download directly off of SRS’s website here)


FYI: All workers in BC have four basic Health and Safety Rights

  1. The Right to Know (about potential hazards in the workplace)
  2. The Right to Participate (in the process of identifying and resolving workplace health and safety concerns)
  3. The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work (any work they believe is dangerous to their own health and safety or to another worker)
  4. The Right to No Discrimination (You cannot be fired or disciplined for participating in Health and Safety activities)


Mould in West Mall Complex_SFU BBYPhoto: Mould found in the West Mall Complex

Guard.me and International Students Update from Townhall

“On this week, we talk to the Teaching Support Staff Union and international students about the exploitative tuition and medical plans international students are facing at SFU.”


(Excerpts from this story were aired on the national grassroots news program GroundWire September 15)

Bargaining Today! (Update: October Dates Announced)

~TSSU’s Contract Committee is in Bargaining Today~

- Sessionals
- Bargaining Process



October 7th  ||  10am – 6pm
- TA language
- Payment of Wages

October 21st  ||  9am – 5pm

Agenda: TBA

For more information, contact the office, talk to your steward, or check out our website here: http://bargaining.tssu.ca/

CUPE’s university locals call for end to funding cuts

The campaign encourages people to take action by sending a letter to the Minister of Advanced Education, Amrik Virk, at: http://universitieswork.cupe.ca/stop-the-cuts/


BURNABY – CUPE’s Universities Coordinated Bargaining Committee (UCBC) has launched a new campaign to draw attention to the BC Liberals’ abysmal record on funding post-secondary education.

Earlier this year, the Christy Clark government announced a three-year budget plan that will see the total operating grant for post-secondary institutions drop by almost $50 million.  By 2016, per-student operating grants will have dropped by more than 20 per cent since 2001, when the BC Liberals took office and changed how universities and colleges receive core funding.  Meanwhile, tuition fees have increased more than 80 per cent under the BC Liberals. Continue reading

Fall Election Nomination Period now open, closes Oct 22nd

Five executive positions are now open for nomination
(Organizer, Trustee 1, MMC Commissioner, Chair, and Coordinator).

  • Nominations close on Wednesday October 22nd at the October GM at Surrey.
  • Elections will be in early November.
  • Positions start with training in December (or January depending on schedules).
  • One year term for all positions.
  • All positions are paid or stipended.

To nominate yourself, download a nomination form HERE.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

More details:

Continue reading

Bargaining Update: Sept. 16th Meeting

TSSU met with the employer for a fifth day of bargaining on September 16th. TSSU completed the presentation of all of our language proposals and answered all the questions posed by the employer’s bargaining team. TSSU is now awaiting a reply on our package, which was originally tabled on June 4th, 2014. This package contains significant proposals which are designed to meet the current issues of our members on the ground and the future issues that will occur as SFU’s instructional model evolves.

The employer has finally provided TSSU with an enunciation of most, but not all, of its proposals. TSSU’s bargaining committee is now able to commence analysis and examination of the enunciated proposals. TSSU is still waiting for the employer’s bargaining team to provide sufficient clarity, or produce actual contract language, on several items.

TSSU is committed to bargaining a new collective agreement that moves SFU forward, not backwards, in its treatment of Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers, Sessional Instructors and ELC/ITP Instructors. TSSU’s proposed package includes:

  • a sustainable solution to the administrative problems of the childcare fund that gets money into the hands of parents, Continue reading

“More Ladders, Less Snakes!”

Do you remember Snakes and Ladders as a kid?

P1190548We had a very successful Week of Welcome on September 2nd with our Snakes, Ladders, Sessionals, and You game that talks about the real-life circumstances and cconsequences of tenuous adjunct labour such as Sessionaling.

Right now 1 in 4 classes at SFU are taught by a Sessional. These highly qualified individuals usually have a PhD, with a number of publications and research projects to their name. They are doing the same job as faculty in the classroom, however they are being paid pennies on the dollar comparatively. This effects not only their own lives, but their classrooms, and academic freedom itself.

Universities relying on these poorly compensated and overworked individuals is a growing trend in Canada and around the world. The CBC has released a few excellent articles on the topic.

CBC: Most university undergrads now taught by poorly paid part-timers

CBC: Exploitation in the ivory tower

P1190546We are working towards a system in which there is a system for sessionals to earn a way into a more permanent position with benefits and security. Many sessionals have worked for SFU for ten years, yet don’t have any benefits, job security, and even have to take on additional teaching jobs at other universities just to pay the bills.

More more information on our proposals and the research that we have completed on this topic, contact us. Also look for our research report that will be coming out later this semester.

Together we can do great things.




Good News Update: Tuition Deferment and Not Being Paid on Time

Hello TSSU,

Thank you for those who have responded to our previous poll, unfortunately it looks as though around 18% of our members where not paid on time this semester. Further this would mean that these members could not sign up for Tuition Deferment without financial penalty.
We have received assurance that this will not be the case, and all members who were not paid on time will be able to sign up for tuition deferment with no financial penalty!
As a reminder for those who are on payroll now, today (the 15th) is the last day to sign up for tuition deferment without financial penalty (as tuition is due by the end of the 15th). If you have not been paid, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help get you paid ASAP.
More info on wage theft: http://www.tssu.ca/?p=3172
More info on tuition deferment: http://www.tssu.ca/tuition-deferment/