Membership calls Strike Vote for March

Last week, Contract Committee called a Special General Membership Meeting (SGM) to seek guidance from the membership on how to proceed with bargaining, given the concessions demanded by the Employer as well as their prolonged stalling tactics. At a packed SGM, our membership unanimously voted to cancel the remaining bargaining sessions for March and instead hold a Strike Vote. Polling dates for the Strike Vote have been set for March 22–28 with advance polling on March 16. See below for more details on where to vote. Members will receive detailed instructions by email.

It has been 314 days since the TSSU/SFU Collective Agreement expired on April 30, 2022 and 1211 days since the RA Voluntary Recognition Agreement was signed. For RAs, who were supposed to be included into the 2019-22 Collective Agreement, we've had 16 bargaining sessions, several "off the record" negotiation sessions, and two attempts at mediation. For the renewal of the 2019-2022 Collective Agreement we've had 18 bargaining sessions. At these sessions, TSSU has time and again put forward proposals to address our members' needs, and the response from the Employer has been to say No outright, to keep delaying, or to claim improvements would have to be offset with monetary concessions.

Many of our proposals are not new and represent solutions to problems that we've been facing for over a decade. In many cases, TSSU and SFU had productive conversations in 2019–20 towards solutions to these issues under the previous Senior Administration. Those conversations were cut short by the pandemic, and now we've seen very different behaviour at the bargaining table.

The Employer has proposed numerous concessions, including:

  1. demanding the ability to fire RAs at any time for any reason with minimal amount of severance, which violates the Labour Code;
  2. still demanding sick leave rights for RAs lesser than required in the Employment Standards Act
  3. Effectively eliminating Sessional Seniority  and the earned right of Sessionals to a temporary promotion to a Limited Term Lecturer at a higher rate of pay and with longer duration and more benefits;
  4. removing guarantees of TA priority by allowing Departments to vary how many, if any, base units they must provide to graduate student TAs before moving on to those with lower priority; and
  5. extending the ELC/ITP/ITA Instructor probation period so that it could last several years, from the existing 4 months.

In response to these concessions and the Employer’s unwillingness to bargain on TSSU’s proposals, the membership voted unanimously to hold a strike vote.

Polling Dates [updated]
Advance Poll
March 16 4pm - 8pm on Burnaby campus (pre and during General Meeting)

Fixed polling Stations (10 AM to 5 PM)

Mobile polling stations (10 AM to 4 PM)

SFU Administration is ramping up their misinformation and union-busting campaigns in an attempt to get TSSU members, faculty, and the public to believe that a Union and a fair contract is bad for research and teaching. We need to stick to the facts: SFU has a lot of money, and most of that money is generated by research work and teaching undergraduate students. RAs drive research work at SFU, and teaching support staff make up the foundation of undergraduate instruction at this institution. The only way we will win this contract is together. We need all members to make a plan to come out and vote yes. As a reminder, your first opportunity to vote will be just outside the TSSU General Membership meeting on March 16th: the polls will be open from 4pm to 8pm.

Since 1978

The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU)