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).

Task Force for Flexible Education (TFFE)

Have you heard about the task force for flexible education (TFFE)? It could change everything about how you teach in the classroom.
TSSU will be hosting our own focus groups – email Chief_Steward(at)tssu.ca to learn more!
SFU has set up focus groups you can sign up for: (https://websurvey.sfu.ca/cgi-bin/WebObjects/WebSurvey.woa/wa/survey?175896839) or give feedback directly on the site.
Spread the word in your department that there’s an opportunity to put yourself in the process and be heard.

Fall Professional Development Opportunities

Did you know that all TAs & TMs have up to 6 hours of PAID professional development opportunities each semester you have a contract?

Pro D

Anything that is related to teaching counts, however many members choose to use their hours taking the excellent offerings of the Teaching Learning Centre (TLC) at SFU.

Fall professional development is available in multiple formats and modes, here is a preliminary list:

  • Intense and practical: Instructional Skills Workshops (ISWs) are an excellent way to enhance your teaching practice in a fast-paced, concentrated three-day format. The August 20–22 session still has space. Reserve your spot.
  • Technology in Surrey: The fall 2014 Teaching with Technology series at the Surrey campus will include five events on teaching topics ranging from how to perform on camera to using visual resources. The kick-off takes place on September 24. Sign up for the kick-off.
  • Educational Goals symposium: If your department is preparing for an external review, consider attending “Educational Goals Planning and Assessment: Exploring Challenges and Opportunities” on August 20. This one-day symposium will include  Continue reading

Midsummer Social (SURREY EDITION)

Want to come to a TSSU social but don’t want to go up Burnaby Hill?

Midsummer Social Surrey July 24 2014

Good news – we’re social-ing @ Surrey this month!

July 24th  |  6:45-9pm  |  Central City Brew Pub

Immediately after our Surrey General Membership (GM) Meeting, 4:30-6:30pm in SUR5140
(Free Indian food as always at Surrey GM)

Come enjoy FREE Truffle & Parmesan Fries & Thursday Night Drink Specials!


central city

Former SFU resident blames decline in health on mould

The latest instillation of our MOULD at SFU campaign was found in the student newspaper this week. Remember as a worker you have more rights than a resident. If you ever suspect your work environment is unsafe (air quality included) 1) remove yourself from the environment 2) tell your supervisor and your union of your suspicions so the space can be investigated and remedied: 

Former SFU resident blames decline in health on mould

June 30th, 2014 by | Photos By 

A former SFU graduate student is still searching for answers after finding the presence of potentially toxic mould spores in his suite in Hamilton Hall in 2007.


George Kaufmann, who was recovering from lung cancer surgery when attending SFU, told The Peak that his health sharply declined over the course of his residency, during which he developed a “weeping body rash” and “difficulties in breathing,” according to a document he later filed under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in 2009.

Continue reading

MMC Commissioner By-election Closing @ July GM (24th)

Interested in getting more involved & getting paid?

TSSU nominations for Interim MMC Commissioner close on July 24th at the Surrey GM. Email tssu(at)tssu.ca for more information & a form.

(Start will be between July 24th thru the beginning of December, with possibility of re-election in November.)


  • Coordinating the MMC committee & MMC campaigns
  • Coordinate with union volunteers, outside partners, & vendors to make outreach materials
  • Attend Executive Meetings as a voting member (twice a month)
  • TSSU Organizer is the committee’s (and your) resource person to help!


  • $525 a semester for being on Executive committee
  • $150 a month for the first 12 hours work, $20 an hour for each additional hour

A Few Past Campaign Examples:

Continue reading

RSVP Requested – Your Rights: Protesting & Civil Disobedience in BC Workshop

Civil Disobedience…

civil dis. easier than you think

… it’s easier than you think!

We have some great news:

One of BC’s premier labour & civil rights lawyers, Leo McGrady, has agreed to put on a free workshop/seminar detailing your rights in a protest and the laws around civil disobedience. He has been doing these workshops for over a decade, recently traveling by request to a series of First Nation and northern BC communities in the path of Enbridge pipelines.

Spots are limited – however feel free to invite others to RSVP – this will be open to the public.

Event Details:
Saturday July 26th
10am – 3pm (One hour break for lunch at noon)
Harbour Centre Room 1530
(515 W. Hastings Street)
RSVP Requested: Organizer(at)tssu.ca

In these days of public opposition to pipeline approvals, drastic cuts to public education, and the undermining of Canadian public services & collective agreements – we believe many of us will find ourselves at a protest in the coming years. Thus it is our opinion that this workshop could not have come at a better time.

In Solidarity,
The TSSU Social Justice Committee


For more information or to visit/join our committee:
Email: Organizer(at)tssu.ca
Or visit: tssu.ca/about/social-justice/

Survivors’ Totem-Downtown Eastside Sacred Circle Society

Downtown Eastside Sacred Circle Society is one of the organizations that the TSSU General Membership voted unanimously to donate money to in 2013. The money was donated to the organization for the creation of their Survivors’ Totem Pole. And, now the Sacred Circle Society would like to invite the TSSU membership to the raising of this Totem Pole…

Survivors' Totem Pole


Assistant Organizer Position | June 9th Deadline

MAY 30, 2014

Assistant Organizer, Teaching Support Staff Union

Ten Month term-certain position.

The Teaching Support Staff Union seeks an Assistant Organizer to assist with member and community outreach within Simon Fraser University.  The successful applicant will:

  • Be well versed in trade union principles and structures, able to communicate the benefits of unions and collective representation
  • Have detailed knowledge of SFU and its campuses, departments, etc.
  • Be familiar with an academic work setting
  • Have experience which demonstrates that they are a self-starter, able to initiate, plan, collaborate and execute projects to completion
  • Have successful experience in all aspects of member and community mobilization, most importantly strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Demonstrate strong organizational skills, with a history of meticulous attention to detail

35 hours per week, 29.19 per hour.  Ten month term is inclusive of 2.5 weeks paid vacation.  This is a Union (UNIFOR) position.

Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on June  9, 2014, and include a C.V. along with names of references.  Applications should be sent via email tssu(at)tssu.ca.  Applicants are responsible to ensure that their applications were received.  The hiring decision will be made before the end of June and interviews will be scheduled accordingly.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. TSSU applies principles for Affirmative Action in hiring processes.

The Good, the Bad, and the Mouldy

Click HERE to See Original Article

Mould peak cover

Mould has been discovered throughout SFU’s Education Building — is it putting staff and students in danger?

May 20th, 2014 by | Photos By 

Every week, thousands of SFU students go to classes, office hours, and lectures in the Education Building, one of SFU’s oldest structures and the headquarters of several of its faculties. Beyond its reputation as one of the school’s more run down areas, the Education Building may be posing a significant health risk to students, as well as to faculty members and staff — many of whom remain unaware that any such issue even exists. Continue reading

Health and Safety Communication Breakdown at SFU

Read full article here: http://www.burnabynewsleader.com/news/257524611.html

Mould in West Mall Complex_SFU BBY


Mould in West Mall Complex (SFU Burnaby)


The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) at Simon Fraser University is raising the alarm about toxic mould found in the Education Building on the Burnaby campus.

TSSU spokesperson Melissa Roth said while it appears the problem has existed for several years, the union is concerned that it was never informed of the issue or potential dangers until it started asking SFU’s administration about rumours it had heard.

The TSSU represents 3,500 staff at SFU, including sessional instructors and teaching assistants.

Roth said at a recent town hall meeting on the subject she heard a member of another campus union say they had been working in the building for 20 years and experienced symptoms for much of that time.

Part of the problem is that people often aren’t aware what the symptoms are of air quality issues related to mould, she said.

When TSSU members were surveyed, few knew about the mould issue or remediation work in the building.

“However, when I started saying the symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, flu-like symptoms that never get better or that are associated with the space, I can tell you right now there are five members that believe this has happened to them.”

Some have had to take time off work or take migraine medications “all because of spending time in specific rooms in that building.”

Roth noted a U.S. study found 29 per cent of adult-onset asthma is due to indoor air quality.

“Because of this communication issue, people don’t know that they are being [subjected] to these conditions. This is not just staff and workers, but students. There are classrooms still being used in that building. If you don’t know that you’re being [subjected] to this, we are concerned they won’t know to tell their doctor.”

Continue reading

Mould at SFU Media Release

April 28th, 2014

Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) members as well as other workers and students here at Simon Fraser University are being exposed to unsafe levels of toxic mould in the Education Building on the Burnaby campus. The Teaching Support Staff Union is conducting a mould awareness event on May 5th to pressure Simon Fraser University and the BC Liberal Government to comply with health and safety laws. This is being done in conjunction with April 28th, the National Day of Mourning for those that have been hurt and killed on the job.

Addressing the mould issue, Melissa Roth, the TSSU’s Organizer has stated, “Even though some of our members have reported adverse health effects from working in the Education Building during this time, the Union has not received any official communications in 1.5 years as to the extent of the problem.”

Ms. Roth further comments in reference to SFU’s poor communication on the issue, “We are disappointed but determined to solve this problem to ensure that our workers have a safe work environment in the future.”

TSSU represents over 2500 Sessional Instructors, Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers and ELC/ITP Instructors. These teachers provide the majority of face to face instruction and grading at Simon Fraser University.

The collective agreement between SFU and TSSU expires on April 30th, 2014. TSSU remains concerned that SFU continues to refuse to communicate with TSSU over these health and safety issues.

For further information:

Melissa Roth
TSSU Organizer

Member Mobilization Committee Commissioner Nomination OPEN

Interested in getting more involved & getting paid?

TSSU nominations for Interim MMC Commissioner close on May 27th at the GM. Email tssu(at)tssu.ca for more information & a form.

(Start will be between May 27th & June 10th thru the beginning of December, with possibility of re-election in November.)


  • Coordinating the MMC committee & MMC campaigns
  • Coordinate with union volunteers, outside partners, & vendors to make outreach materials
  • Attend Executive Meetings as a voting member (twice a month)
  • TSSU Organizer is the committee’s (and your) resource person to help!


  • $525 a semester for being on Executive committee
  • $150 a month for the first 12 hours work, $20 an hour for each additional hour

A Few Past Campaign Examples:

Continue reading

Wage Theft at SFU

Hello TSSU Member,

We have identified four different wage issues at SFU. These issues are illegal and are also known as wage theft. This guide explains all four and provides an excel template to help you determine if any of these issues have happened to you.

1. What is Underpaying?

2. What is Withholding Pay?

3. What is Deducting Pay?

4. What is Charging Business Expenses?


Click here for a guide on how to check your pay and to download the pre-made excel template to total up your own pay in.

*For ELC & ITP members please email kdean(at)tssu.ca


Continue reading

This Weekend! Workers at Rogers Arena NEED YOUR HELP!

Workers have until April 30th to write a resume and cover letter and complete an online application.  Many need assistance with these tasks.
Volunteers are needed to help complete and process applications.
UNITE HERE! Local 40 will be holding Job Application Workshops this week to help laid off workers re-apply for their jobs using an on-line application form.
Friday, April 11, 12 noon to 8pm – SFU Segal Building at 500 Granville St.
Saturday, April 12, 10am to 8pm –  SFU Segal Building at 500 Granville St.
Monday, April 14, 12 noon to 8pm – SFU Segal Building at 500 Granville St.
Volunteers with basic computer skills are especially needed and all volunteers who are able are asked to bring laptop computers.

For more information or to volunteer,
call Lianna at 604-813-2105 or email HireUsFirst@gmail.com

Fancy yourself an App designer?? The TSSU wants you!

We want to update the logbook & we’re looking for a capable member to design & implement a Logbook App!

The Logbook should:

  • Allow members to input their base units & tug
  • Allow members to time themselves performing specific tasks
  • Support multiple courses at the same time
  • Have an easy to use interface
  • Alert the member if they’re nearing their maximum hours
  • Have a the feature for an optional data push to a central server
  • Be operational on Android, iOS & Blackberry phones

You would work with the Member Mobilization Committee to design layout & esthetics and be expected to provide a manual to trouble shoot should issues arise after implementation. We would like to troubleshoot the app in the summer semester with a hard launch in the Fall of 2014.

Compensation is for up to 60 hours at the MMC overages rate ($20/hr).

Email MMC_commissioner(at)tssu.ca by April 22, 2014 if you are interested in this project.