RA Bargaining Update

November 29, 2021

On Wednesday, November 10, 2021, SFU tabled a monetary proposal that sets out a competitive minimum hourly rate for Research Assistants working at the university.

In preparation for this proposal, we reviewed and considered compensation models implemented by other research-focused universities. We found that compensation model between research-focused universities varies greatly and therefore proposed a model that recognizes the invaluable contributions of Research Assistants to our community and best fits the needs of SFU.

When developing our compensation model, we needed to consider the highly diverse nature of work conducted by Research Assistants, the flexibility required by PIs who receive very limited grant funding, and not limiting PIs’ ability to increase hourly rates as required to attract and retain individuals in more generously funded or highly competitive fields.

The proposal includes an extended health plan and dental plan benefits for individuals not covered by an SFSS or GSS health and dental plan. Students who are already covered by an SFSS or GSS health and dental plan will receive additional pay in lieu of all benefits.

The onboarding of Research Assistants as SFU employees represents a pivotal change for research at SFU. While this is a positive and needed change, it’s also important that the monetary structure has flexibility so it does not negatively impact the ability to carry out research, now or into the future.

Our goal is to provide a solid foundation to foster rewarding working relationships between the Research Assistants, the Principal Investigators, and SFU, to ensure research programs flourish now and into the future.