The following are the issues that TSSU believes need to be addressed in the collective agreement – and a basic explanation of the solutions we are proposing.
- Fair employment opportunities, including:
We are proposing changes to the posting process to bring it in line with other employee groups on campus – we want positions posted centrally on line so that everyone can see what is available. This is important both as it will facilitate TA’s accessing cross department opportunities, and it takes us away from a paper system. We are also proposing a fair way to deal with positions that need to be reposted.
b) Priority for employment
We want TA and TM positions to go to Graduates as a priority over non-graduates. We are proposing a system to ensure that that can happen. We also believe that Sessionals who have succeeded as teachers, should be able to continue to teach based on earned seniority – more and more teachers are coming from the ranks of Sessionals who have no real seniority rights. This threatens quality teaching and academic freedom.
As well, the current system for TAs, TMs and Sessionals allows dept’s to make up to 50% of all appointments “conditional”. This number is far too high, and is never necessary. It creates unnecessary uncertainty for our members. We are proposing to lower this amount, to a realistic maximum, one that allows the departments to deal with enrollment fluctuation, but doesn’t create unnecessary stress on our members.
c) Fair system of evaluation
We are proposing a fairer system of evaluation. This means a system in which regular evaluation evaluations are guaranteed, done on the basis of bona fide job requirements set out in the job postings, and which are done with a view to advancing the professional development of our members.
d) Seniority rights
As mentioned, seniority rights are critical not only to securing employment for our members, but to ensure the quality of the education we deliver and the safeguard the academic freedom of scholars who teach.
e) Hours of work
All TAs and TMs should have the right to a brief meeting with a supervisor at a point in the semester when their workload can be assessed. Our members should have the right to sufficient preparation time to allow them to teach well. Sessional Instructors should receive sufficient contact hour calculations to allow for proper course preparation. Sessionals should also be provided with a semester for research purposes, to ensure that they remain current and some professional development is possible. This proposal would provide for unpaid leave and would count as service.
g) Access to work
The process of posting, and awarding jobs should be fair and reasonable. Only where there are no qualified Graduate students, should non graduate students be appointed.
- Ensure equity in equivalencies
We want to ensure that the workload and pay in courses is fair and comparable to each other.
- Reasonable access to improved benefits, perquisites, vacation
Our full time continuing employees should have the same rights and benefits as other continuing employees at the University. Currently they are given the minimum standards of the Employment Standards Act.
- Improve commitments to professional Development
TA/TM day was created by TSSU through bargaining. We want to make it work better – by having something to say about the content, and by making it serve the needs of those who have experience. We also believe that you have to give your teachers – Sessionals, Continuing Instructors, the respect of providing similar professional development monies to other continuing SFU employees.
- Update Occupational Health and Safety language
We propose that the language be brought up to date, and that our members have a right to know about their legal right to refuse unsafe work.
- Address Childcare Bursary inequities
The Childcare Fund doesn’t work for our members with children because it is a “Bursary” – bursary criteria should not be applied to the Fund. We are proposing to make changes that would put the money into the hands of teaching parents in our membership.
- Reasonable Monetary improvements
We have been waiting for some reasonable conversation around our non-monetary proposals before we table a monetary package – but we have advised SFU that our members are experiencing a significant loss in terms of their financial status.