Fonds F-38 - Teaching Support Staff Union fonds

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Teaching Support Staff Union fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title of the fonds is based on the name of the body.

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  • 1967 - 1994 (Creation)
    Teaching Support Staff Union

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Physical description

2.25 m of textual records

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(1979 -)

Administrative history

The Teaching Support Staff Union is the representative bargaining agent for Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers, Language Instructors and Sessional Instructors at Simon Fraser University. The union negotiates terms and conditions of work, rates of pay, benefits and grievance procedures in a Collective Agreement with the University.

In 1971 graduate students organized the Graduate Student Union, an association that worked to improve teaching and research conditions. The GSU was inactive after 1974 but the discussion it had initiated regarding unionization continued until 1976 when twelve graduate students held a union organizational meeting in September of that year. They proposed affiliation with the Association of University and College Employees (AUCE) rather than the Canadian Union of Public Employees or the University of Toronto based Graduate Assistants' Association. The Teaching Support Staff Union, as it would be named, favored AUCE because of its relative smallness, democratic structure, local autonomy, strong representation of women's employment rights, and the established presence at SFU, since 1974, of AUCE Local 2 for office, clerical and technical staff. Accordingly, the TSSU received its charter as AUCE Local 6 on September 10, 1976.

The TSSU took additional steps to establish themselves as a legal entity under the British Columbia Labour Code. By April 1978 the TSSU had signed over 50% of the bargaining unit into the union. It then applied to the Labour Relations Board for a certification vote to make the TSSU the representative body for the bargaining unit. Before the vote could be held, however, the LRB conducted a hearing to define the membership of the bargaining unit, which had been disputed by the University. Following an LRB ruling in TSSU's favor, the certification vote was finally held in November 1978. The vote was positive despite an effort by some Language Assistants to have the LRB exclude them from the bargaining unit and the vote. The LRB certified the union on December 13, 1978.

In January 1979 the union began bargaining with the University for a first collective agreement. The TSSU and the University administration negotiated each article individually and resolved impasses through mediation. During negotiations, the TSSU successfully complained to the LRB that the University had violated Section 51 of the Labour Code by withholding an annual pay increase. The first Collective Agreement was signed by both sides on July 1, 1980, and has been renegotiated from time to time.

TSSU supported its sister local, AUCE 2, during the latter's strike in 1979. In 1983 and 1984, TSSU joined other campus unions in Operation Solidarity, a province-wide organization opposed to Premier Bennett's Social Credit restraint legislation.

TSSU remained as the last independent local of AUCE until the latter's dissolution in the early 1990s. Still functioning as an independent union, TSSU operates under a constitution and bylaws as a membership-driven organization. Union policy, bargaining positions, and the election of union officers and salaried officers are decided by the membership through meetings, mail-in ballots, and referenda. Departmental stewards serve as immediate contacts for TSSU members. In addition, a number of standing committees conduct on-going business and help direct the executive and general membership. Ad hoc committees have functioned from time to time.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records created and received in the course of the formation, establishment and operation of the union, primarily during the period 1976-1987. The records reflect the initial drive to charter, organize and certify the union; the internal administration of the union, including elections and finance; negotiations with the administration to establish and renew contracts; efforts to maintain, expand, represent and inform the membership; participation in the provincial organization of the Association of University and College Employees and cooperation with other AUCE locals, and other unions; and involvement in industrial action. Also included are records of the Graduate Students' union, a forerunner, though not direct predecessor, of TSSU. The records include the charter and bylaws; committee agendas and minutes; financial statements; correspondence; membership lists; election materials; reports; negotiation minutes and collective agreements; mediation and hearing records; convention minutes; strike materials; publications and publicity materials. The records as received had no obvious overall arrangement. Duplicate material has been removed where practicable, but the mixed nature of the files requires researchers to be prepared to search for records on matters of interest.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were received in a number of accessions from the union's office between 1986 and 1996.


The titles and arrangement of series were provided by the archivist. Included in the appropriate series are files that were marked as belonging to certain TSSU organizers and staff members (S. Marria, M. Pujol, and R. Wiseman). These files were intermingled with the other office files when received.

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Restrictions on access

Some files may contain personal or confidential information. Access to these files may be restricted as stipulated by Archives policy or the donor. Files marked 'pending review' must be reviewed by an archivist prior to release, and as a result of the review access restrictions may apply. Please see the file lists and consult the archivist for more details.

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Finding aids

File lists are available.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

Consult the inventories of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3338 fonds, which includes AUCE Local 2 (SFU), and the Heather Raven fonds. See also the inventory of the Simon Fraser University Non-Faculty Teachers' Association F-68. Additionally, see the SORWUC fonds at the University of British Columbia.

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All accessions have been processed as of September 2002. Further accruals are expected.

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Finding aid prepared by Peter Johnston, Frances Fournier, Enid Britt (January 1998).

Updated by Richard Dancy (March 2006). Finding aid updated by Enid Britt (July 2008).

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