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Support striking teaching assistants at SFU

Bradley Hughes

October 10, 2023
Members of the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) at Simon Fraser University are on strike. As of Setpember 28 all teaching work by TSSU members has been suspended. Picket lines are roatting through the three campuses in Surrey, Vancouver and Burnaby.
The collective agreement with the union expired on April 30, 2022. The union represents Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers, Sessional Instructors, Research Assistants and other support staff at the three campuses of the university. In June union members voted 91% in favour of strike action.
The TSSU is a feminist, non-hierarchical trade union. It was founded in 1978 as Local 6 of Association of College and University Employees (AUCE), a feminist labour union that emerged from the Vancouver Women’s Caucus in the early ‘70s
The administrators at the university are trying to use this round of bargaining to claw back wages and benefits from workers who collectively do the bulk of instruction.
The union is demanding wage increases that are tied to inflation. The administrators are offering wage increases less than the rate of inflation. They have also proposed removing the scholarship portion of the wages of Teaching Assistants, thereby dramatically cutting the wages of those teaching assistants who are also graduate students.
TAs and Sessional Instructors also need to have the wage scale modernized to account for the bigger classes. administrative tasks, remote instruction and other increases to their workload that have been imposed on them over the past few years.
The union is also demanding paid professional development and a pension plan for instructors.
The administration has refused to bargain meaningfully with the union, dragging them through 41 bargnining sessions so far.
You can find the latest updates on pickets lines at In addition to joining the picket lines, the same website has links to support letters that current students, other workers on campus, and community members can sign. Anyone who is an alumni of SFU and/or a former member of the TSSU should email the SFU president Joy Johnson at to show your support for decent working conditions on campus.
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