SFUFA President’s Message, December 2011

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past term, our energies have been focused on preparations for bargaining. As you know, SFUFA has struck its Economic Benefits Bargaining Committee and Carl Schwarz (Statistics and Actuarial Sciences) has agreed to be the lead negotiator on behalf of our members. The other members of our Negotiating Team (who will be at the bargaining table) are David Broun (Physics), Maureen Fizzell (Beedie School of Business) and Doug Thorpe Dorward (Executive Director, SFUFA).  The Economic Benefits Committee is made up of members from across the University and it provides input and advice to the Negotiating Team. Throughout the course of bargaining, we will be sending updates via the Bargaining Bulletins and will be archiving them for your review on the SFUFA Website. We are also arranging Q&A sessions with Carl Schwarz and members of the Negotiating Team with Departments on campus. If you wish to meet and discuss concerns/issues about the bargaining process , please contact  either Carl Schwartz at [email protected] or Doug Thorpe Dorward at [email protected].

In addition to bargaining, we’ve been active in outreach. Part of getting to know our members and members’ concerns is through activities like site visits to Departments, social activities and our General Meetings.  This term we were pleased to speak to members of the Biology Department and look forward to visiting other departments like Sociology/Anthropology in the New Year.

Earlier in the term, Doug Thorpe Dorward and I met with Catherine Murray, Chair of Academic Women’s Caucus. We discussed several issues of mutual concern including support for AWC and the need for another salary equity study–the last being conducted in the 1990s. At its October 13th meeting, the SFUFA Executive voted unanimously to support the following two resolutions:

1) SFUFA supports the idea of ongoing University funding for the Academic Women’s Caucus

2) SFUFA supports in general a joint committee as put forth by the Academic Women’s Caucus to include a 7 person steering committee for design and identification of information needs, comprised of 2 SFUFA, 2 AW,  2 Administration and 1 Researcher from HR or IRP in addition to other members, to look at salaries in relation to equity seeking groups as defined by the BC Human Rights Code.

The resolutions were given to Jon Driver and I’m pleased to report that he agreed with both. AWC now has financial support from the University and we will be establishing a committee to look at equity issues on campus along with SFUFA.

The SFUFA Winter Social showcased the debating talents of Jerry Zaslove and Charles Crawford as they engaged the topic “SFU as Radical Campus”.  The Socials are an informal way to meet  current and retired colleagues from across campus. We will be hosting the next Social in the Spring and we will be requesting input in terms or programming and/or venue.

Each year, SFUFA sends delegates to the Fall CAUT Council in Ottawa where we participate in Parliament Hill Day. This year we met with local MPs Kennedy Stewart and Peter Julian.  This year we focused on the following issues:


  • Enhanced funding for PSE
  • Renewal of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program which SFU had been able to apply to the renovation of the Shrum Science Centre and the creation of more teaching and lab space through Podium 2 at SFU Surrey
  • Additional funding for research and teaching
  • Enhanced support for Open Access Publishing, highlighting the recent emphasis on open access by the Tri-Council Granting Agencies.
  • Support for renewing CANARIE’s mandate

Other issues of concern raised at the CAUT Council were:

o   Changes to Library and Archives Canada which would have detrimental impacts on research. As a result, CAUT has launched a campaign ” Save Library and Archives Canada”: http://www.savelibraryarchives.ca/

o   Corporatization of Universities

o   Attacks on Academic Freedom

In looking forward to 2012, we hope to expand our communication efforts with members and to provide more information on the issues outlined briefly above.

On behalf of the SFUFA Executive, I would like to wish you and your families the best of the Season.