As individual workers, we have very little power to defend ourselves in our workplaces. Employers can ignore us, blame us, or even fire us if we speak out. Trade union organisation enables workers to fight for respect, fairness and dignity in our workplaces without fear of persecution or unfair dismissal by employers. How do unions do it? Union representation means in part having competent representatives to support you. Our representatives help to ensure that the rules are respected in a fair and uniform manner in all departments – that the employer respects the law and the collective agreement. Union staff represent you in all work situations if you need or need it. If you are a Teaching Assistant (TA), Tutor Marker (TM), Research Assistant (RA), Sessional Instructor, Graduate Facilitator in student Learning Commons or an English Language and Culture Instructor or an interpreter and translation program instructor, you are protected by the SFU-Teaching Support Staff Union Collective Agreement (CA). This legally binding agreement offers you a wide range of rights and helps you implement them. If you need help navigating through your rights within the certification body, you can contact TSSU at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778-782-4735. On April 21, 2016, the TSSU obtained the final result of the arbitration on an 18-month dispute with the employer Simon Fraser University, this new collective agreement applies until April 30, 2019. A collective agreement (CA) is a mandatory legal contract between employers and unionized employees. The Union acts on behalf of all its members in the bargaining unit and the AC covers working and employment conditions.
A CA sets the rules for our relationship with the employer. You can find the current TSSU collective agreement here. While TAs, professors and session instructors – along with other SFU workers – enjoy clearly defined working conditions from their CAs, RAI are too often left in the dark. The work of AR at SFU is murky, and when we talk to our RAs, we often see confusion and despair. We hear that RAs don`t know what is expected of them, what their hours should be and whether they are paid on time. . . .