SFU’s Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) will be ceasing job action and allowing its members to release grades effective immediately after voting to enter into binding arbitration with SFU administration.
The union voted by majority on Oct. 28 and with the recommendation of the TSSU Contract Committee to accept Final Offer Selection through binding arbitration.
As a result of this vote, job action ceases immediately and the two parties will return to the bargaining table over a period of 21 days.
If, after the bargaining period, there are outstanding items, arbitrator Vince Ready will have the final say on matters and his decisions will be binding.
One TSSU concern that was ironed out in a Memorandum of Agreement, pertained to the arbitrator’s authority to make a binding decision. “Initially, what we had received from SFU’s administration was something that did allow the employer to undo the binding arbitration,” said TSSU Chief Steward Reagan Belan.
That option has since been removed from the Final Offer Selection process. Belan explained that this removal was key to allowing the Contract Committee to feel comfortable recommending that members vote to accept the proposal.
“In an ideal situation, we won’t have anything to refer to Final Offer Selection — we’ll just deal with it all in bargaining and the arbitrator will not enter into it,” expressed Belan. She added that she is “optimistic” that will be the case.
SFU stated in an online labour update that it is “strongly committed to this process and anticipates a respectful and productive conclusion to bargaining.”
In the meantime, TAs and sessional instructors are allowed to release their students’ grades as soon as possible.
SFU warned students that this process might take a while: “The University is prioritizing the return of grades to students as soon as possible, but this may take a few weeks.”
All withheld grades are currently locked in archives and members will need to physically go and retrieve them. Belan concluded, “We would just ask those students to be patient, because it will take a little bit of time.”