Dear TSSU members and the SFU Community,

Today we celebrate the overwhelming vote of facilitators in the Student Learning Commons (SLC) at SFU to join as members of TSSU. The SLC facilitators assist undergraduate and graduate students with writing and other learning skills and design and deliver workshops, such as the very successful thesis boot camp. They also teach and support other teaching staff in the classroom. When you put one of the “SLC writing referral” stickers on an assignment, they’re the workers on the other end who help those students. They’re a small group of workers, but another vital part of the teaching team at SFU.

We’re excited to be able to advocate to protect their working conditions and to ensure they receive benefits and rights, such rights of return, salaried payments, tuition deferment, childcare, a benefit plan, as well as the other priorities these members set for bargaining. At our General Membership meeting last night, we approved making additional spots on our Contract Committee to ensure SLC workers are represented.

These workers are the first to join TSSU since ELC/ITP instructors voted to join in 2004. For over a decade of darkness, the SFU Administration and the former Executive Director of Labour Relations staunchly resisted the addition of any new job categories to TSSU, in our view in violation of our Collective Agreement and our certification. To be able to unionize, the SLC workers started by talking to their fellow workers and built their own organizing capacity from there. Their effort shows that collective organizing and power is key to winning better working conditions and demonstrating the importance of our labour.

If you are aware of other non-faculty teaching support staff toiling in precarious jobs, or incorrectly classified as “contractors” or “other” on SFU’s campuses, TSSU stands ready to advocate for them. all precarious teaching support staff on SFU’s campuses and you can confidentially contact the Union at tssu@tssu.ca if you have any concerns or questions about the status of your work. We are teachers, and without us the University would not function.