Sep 06, 2011

SFSS staff reject divisive, last-minute offer

BURNABY—In a last-minute effort to end its ongoing labour dispute, the Simon Fraser Student Society proposed a deal that would grandfather the wages of current staff, but would gut their employees’ collective agreement with pay reductions of up to 40% for future employees. That means $13 per hour for some employees, well below the region’s living wage.  In addition, the Board of Directors made it clear that they want to reduce the number of permanent staff positions.

The proposal also included a signing bonus for each member. The offer was valid until 4 pm on Friday, September 2, less than 24 hours after it was made. Representatives from the Board of Directors were not willing to enter into actual bargaining and they were not open to receiving a reasonable counter offer. To do so, the Board should end the lockout immediately and formally return to the bargaining table.

The Board’s proposal was designed to entice the current staff with a signing bonus as a last ditch effort before the fall semester begins and SFU students feel the deep impact of lost services.

The Simon Fraser Student Society Staff (CUPE Local 3338 Unit 5) felt strongly that the collective agreement must be protected and that reducing wages below the region’s living wage standard was unacceptable, unfair, and unjust.

The staff at the Simon Fraser Student Society care deeply about their work and the students they serve. Their professionalism and experience maintains valuable services that SFU students pay for: room bookings, 5¢ copies, graphic design, Club Days support, event planning, budgeting, administrative support, library resources, peer counseling, workshop training, referrals, references, year-round leadership development, and mentoring. The SFSS staff also run the Copy Centre, Out on Campus, the Resource Office, the Surrey Office, and the Women's Centre.

They are the backbone of SFSS support for clubs, departmental student unions and individual undergraduates through the General Office. They provide the consistency the SFSS needs because the Board of Directors changes every year.

It’s time for the Board of Directors to end this mean-spirited and ideological attempt to divide students, staff, and the entire SFU community. The SFSS staff want to return to their jobs and serve students, but they deserve a fair deal, not a deliberate attack on workers’ rights.

COPE 491