Equal pay for equal work

One of the first issues that galvanized our union was ensuring that women were paid the same amount of money for doing the same work that men do as Teaching Assistants.

Paid statutory holidays, limits on hours of work, and making your work visible to the SFU administration

Prior to the founding of the TSSU, TAs did not receive pay for statutory holidays; there were no limits on the number of hours assigned to TAs from semester to semester; and attendance at course lectures and meetings was not even considered work. In 1978 the TSSU fought for and won paid statutory holidays, established limits on the number of hours TAs could be assigned, and ensured that a TA’s attendance at course lectures and meetings was counted as paid work.

TA/TM Day professional development

The TSSU fought for and won the right to have TA/TM Day. Even though SFU admin currently promote this as their program, the TSSU established this as a means of providing ongoing professional development for our members, and up to 6 hours can be paid by putting it on your Time Use Guideline (TUG).

Accessible space

In the early years of SFU there were fewer than five accessible washrooms for disabled students on the whole campus. The University administration’s solution was to put up signage directing people towards those few locations. The TSSU fought for and helped win to get all washrooms on campus made wheelchair accessible.

Childcare Bursary & Childcare Fund

Creation of the SFU childcare bursary in 1998: This helped pay for childcare for all student members, and in a recent round of bargaining we expanded this to include assistance for any form of in-home care to provide the most choice and flexibility for working students like ourselves. We have now successfully campaigned for a childcare fund that is easy to apply to, and is also accessible to all members -- not just those who are currently students.

Feeling sick? Don’t go to work!

Sick Leave: TSSU members are entitled to up to one month of sick leave per contract (one of the best agreements on campus).

Compassionate Leave: TSSU members have up to five days of paid leave in the case of the death or serious illness of a family member or close friend.

Family Care Leave: TSSU members are entitled to up to five days unpaid leave each year to care for children or family members.

Centralized job-posting system and a single posting date

We now have a single website that will advertise all TA, TM, and Sessional jobs. This makes it much easier for people who teach in multiple departments to apply for work. There is now a single posting date for TA/TM positions, so applicants can more easily find available positions. Departments must now include the qualifications required for a position and the qualifications that will be used to make hiring decisions, thereby improving transparency.

Have Class; Will Travel

TSSU members are entitled to reimbursement for their travel costs if a teaching contract requires travel outside the Lower Mainland or between two different campuses for the same class.

100% MSP Coverage for International Students

The University now pays 100% of MSP (previously, they paid only 50%). In addition, the TSSU fought for and won 100% MSP coverage for International TAs, TMs, Sessionals and Language Instructors. We went to the BC Supreme Court for our members and won this right for International students and those with working visas to be eligible for MSP in BC.

ELC and ITP join forces with the TSSU

Teachers of English Language and Culture, in the Interpretation and Translation Program, and Language Instructors, after much resistance from SFU admin, are now legally entitled to bargain for working conditions. If you are interested in workers in your sector becoming part of the TSSU, please contact tssu@tssu.ca.

Compensation for working over hours

Thanks to the TSSU, if you work over your contracted hours you will be paid for that work. This is why our Stewards are always reminding you to complete your Time Use Guideline with your supervisor and to track the hours you work in your logbook.

Seniority for Sessional Instructors

We've achieved one of the strongest seniority systems for Sessional Instructors in North America. Every course taught counts toward seniority and all positions are hired on the basis of the most senior qualified applicant (exception: departments may reserve up to 25% of Sessional Instructor positions for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows). Within the Sessional Instructor language we've also achieved a method for Sessional Instructors to be temporarily promoted into the SFU Faculty Association as Limited Term Lecturers after a defined amount of service.

Intellectual property

TSSU members are now covered under SFU's intellectual property policy, which guarantees that you retain ownership over any course materials you create. Previously, this applied to faculty only.

Employee internet accounts active for three semesters

The employer will now ensure employees have access to the library and other SFU internet and computing accounts for at least three semesters past their last appointment. This helps workers who teach infrequently and end up losing access between appointments.

For all of the accomplishments we have won, read our Collective Agreement

Since 1978

The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU)