SFU Faculty Association bargaining explained

August 17, 2023

Communication Standards 

Communications from the university are guided by standards in the BC Labour Code. In accordance with the labour code, statements by the university must be accurate and reasonably complete. 

Current status of bargaining between SFU and the SFU Faculty Association (SFUFA)

The university and SFUFA have been engaged in respectful and collegial collective bargaining since fall 2022. The parties have exchanged Settlement Offers twice and the most recent bargaining session took place in June.

What has SFU offered to SFUFA?

The university recognizes the impacts that inflation is having on SFUFA members and other members of the university community. Accordingly, the general wage increase tabled in our most recent offer is the maximum allowable amount under the Province’s Shared Recovery Mandate. The mandate provides the most generous wage increases negotiated in B.C.‘s public sector in nearly 30 years. Currently, 96% of provincial public-sector employees have reached tentative and ratified collective agreements under the mandate, including faculty agreements at other B.C. post-secondary institutions.

We tabled our most recent settlement offer on July 28th, which includes:

  • A Three (3) year term, from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025.
  • General wage increases for all SFUFA members:
    • 2022: 3.24% plus $520
    • 2023: 6.75%, inclusive of a cost-of-living adjustment of 1.25% that was fully triggered in March 1, 2023
    • 2024: 2.0%, plus a potential Cost of Living Adjustment to a maximum of 3%
  • In addition to the general wage increases above:
    • Commitment of $2.105M annually to increase base salaries for SFUFA members who have not reached the ceiling of their salary scale. This translates to approximately $2,000 on average per year for each eligible SFUFA member.
    • Commitment of $1.145M for lump sum payments (not added to base salary) for SFUFA members whose salary is above the breakpoint within the salary scale. This translates to approximately $1,725 on average for each eligible SFUFA member.
  • Increases to Department Chair and Associate Chair stipends, totalling approximately 10% over the life of the agreement, in addition to ongoing increases tied to future general wage increases.
  • Commitment of $1.35M annually to create a new Health Spending Account for all SFUFA members. While the exact individual benefit amount will be set jointly by the parties, this translates to approximately $1000 per year for each SFUFA member.
  • An additional one-time adjustment of $325 per SFUFA member for professional development.
  • Continued commitment to current provisions permitting market differentials and retention awards to facilitate the recruitment and retention of members, and the delivery of excellent teaching and research.
  • Commitment to strike a joint committee at least every five years to study salary equity based on designated equity groups that encompasses all ranks.
  • A new provision for SFUFA members to have their workload reviewed by their Chair. 
  • Commitment to strike a joint committee on reforms to Teaching Faculty Ranks and Titles, including processes for appointment and evaluation, introduction of tenure and external review, and implications for workload.

SFU’s settlement offer provides SFUFA members with the maximum general wage increases under the Province’s Shared Recovery Mandate. On August 3rd, SFUFA rejected SFU’s settlement offer. The parties are currently exploring scheduling additional bargaining dates into the fall in an effort to reach agreement.

Outstanding Bargaining Issues 

SFUFA and SFU have reached agreement on many important negotiation proposals, however, there are still several outstanding bargaining issues. These include wage adjustment eligibility criteria, market differentials and retention awards, Chair stipends, study leave options and some university governance matters.  SFUFA proposals for compensatory items are matters that must be costed and therefore fall under the Province’s Shared Recovery Mandate where there is no additional funding available.

Collective Bargaining Background

SFU’s bargaining teams have focused on reaching deals that meet the core needs of each party, the sustainable interests of the university community while also working within the Province’s Shared Recovery Mandate.