Why is TSSU on Strike?

It has been over a year since the TSSU/SFU Collective Agreement expired on April 30, 2022. For the renewal of the 2019-2022 Collective Agreement, we’ve had over 40 bargaining sessions. At these sessions, TSSU has time and again made proposals to address our members’ needs, and the response from the Employer has been to say no outright, to delay, or to insist improvements would have to be offset with monetary concessions.

TSSU’s proposals aim to address 3 core demands:

  • Cost of Living Adjustment: We want wage increases tied to inflation and to ensure that graduate student workers see increases in their take-home pay. While the Employer claims to be offering the maximum available under their PSEC mandate, the reality is that their wage proposals do not keep up with inflation; they are proposing a pay cut. When we look back, our wage increases since 2009 total 17% while inflation was nearly double at 33%. Our members cannot fall further behind. 
  • Stop Wage Theft: We need to modernize the compensation model for teachers, whether TAs or Sessional Instructors, so that bigger class sizes, more administrative tasks, blended, remote, and other forms of instruction are fairly compensated. We also need to eliminate antiquated “equivalencies” in some departments that pay less for more work.
  • A Better Future for Instructors: Instructors need paid professional development opportunities and pensions so they can retire securely. We are fighting for ELC/ITP/ITA Instructors to have continuing jobs with full teaching years and to improve Sessional Instructors’ bridge to temporary Faculty jobs.

The Employer opened bargaining by proposing numerous concessions, the vast majority of which we’ve battled off the table with our collective power. A few of the major concessions, however, still remain. These include:

  1. Removing the scholarship portion of TA pay, which would decrease the take-home pay for graduate students.

Further, the Employer’s monetary proposals remain below the rate of inflation, effectively forcing a pay cut on our members.

In response to these concessions and the Employer’s unwillingness to bargain meaningfully with TSSU’s proposals, the membership voted with a 91% mandate to go on Strike in June.

Given the movement on mental health benefits and the withdrawal of the Employer’s many, many concessions, it is clear to us that the only way to get to a new Contract is through Strike Action.

How can you support the strike?