TSSU plans strike action for July 19

July 17, 2023

The university has been made aware that the Teaching Support Staff Union is planning two forms of strike action on Wednesday, July 19th:  

  • Picket lines at the SFU Surrey Campus at the 13450 102nd Avenue location and Sustainable Energy Engineering building, and; 
  • A work stoppage for teaching activities by TSSU members across the university. This means that TSSU members will not hold classes, tutorials or labs, invigilate exams, grade or correspond with students at any campus or online, on July 19.

SFU’s bargaining team met with TSSU leadership on July 6 and 13, tabling an updated proposal package that includes enhancements to benefits and movement on key issues and packaged proposals that would support both parties to meet bargaining goals.

The university has requested additional bargaining dates to continue making progress toward a negotiated settlement that meets the core needs of both parties and the sustainable and best interests of the entire SFU community.

We recognize that strike action can put a strain on relationships between an employer and employees. As we work toward an agreement with TSSU within the province’s Shared Recovery Mandate, we wish to reassure our community that our focus remains the academic success of our students, supporting our outstanding faculty and staff and nurturing a thriving, world-class research environment. 

What you need to know about the teaching work stoppage

TSSU’s strike action to declare all TSSU teaching work as struck work means that TSSU members may choose to withdraw services even where there are no picket lines. 

  • Withdrawing teaching services on July 19th could mean that TSSU members do not: 
    • hold classes, tutorials, workshops, office hours, etc. 
    • invigilate exams 
    • grade or input grades 
    • conduct class or tutorial prep 
    • correspond with students 
  • TSSU leadership has indicated that TSSU members can communicate about the work stoppage directly with students in their classes.
  • Research is not considered struck work, however Research Assistants have been encouraged by TSSU leadership to join the picket line in Surrey.

Pickets are currently only planned for the Surrey campus. This means SFU community members attending the Burnaby or Vancouver campuses or working remotely from those campuses that day will not be crossing a picket line. 

What you need to know about picket lines

The right to respect a picket line is legal, as is the decision to enter a picketed building. Union or APSA members are encouraged to seek guidance from their union or APSA representatives about respecting or crossing a picket line.

If you plan on respecting the picket line, please: 

  • Check in with your union or APSA representative for guidance. 
  • Notify your dean or supervisor about your intention as soon as possible. 
  • Communicate with your students about if and how picket lines will affect classes and let them know your intention and expectations. 
  • Be aware that faculty and staff who respect a picket line and do not report to work will not be paid for the time missed.  
  • Read the Collective Bargaining FAQs for more information about your rights and responsibilities during a strike.  

If you plan to enter a picketed building, please: 

  • Remain calm and respectful and avoid confrontation.  
  • Consider alternative entrances and buddy up with a colleague as you enter and exit the building. 
  • Expect banners, noise and cameras – picketers may photograph you if you enter the building or engage with the picket line. 
  • Be aware that picketers cannot physically prevent you from entering a building.  
  • TSSU may ask you to support them by joining the picket. It is your choice to engage or respond to requests from picketers. 

If you experience difficulty entering a building, you can contact Campus Public Safety at 778-782-4500 to report the incident and/or request a Safewalk. Please also take the time to complete a Strike Incident Report Form

Learn more about picketing and what you might expect by visiting the Collective Bargaining FAQs