Faculty Job Action FAQ - Students
The following questions and answers for students are intended to help you understand what is happening with faculty contract negotiations. We will update this page on a regular basis, and inform TRUSU when these updates occur.
1What is ‘72 Hour Strike Notice’?
A union is legally required to provide 72 hours notice before engaging in any kind of job action. At 8:18am January 11th, 2016, the TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) provided TRU and the BC Labour Relations Board with this required notice. In November, TRUFA received an 80% approval vote in favour of using job action, if necessary. Since then, the TRU Faculty Association’s bargaining team has been working hard to avoid having to take this action. However, the Employer has not acknowledged our members’ issues at the table.
2What is ‘Job Action’?
The term ‘Job Action’ refers to any number of collective actions that a union may legally undertake after negotiations break down. These actions can range from relatively minor work-to-rule activities to a complete shut-down of the university. The goal of any strike is to encourage a return to meaningful and productive bargaining.
3Isn’t there another way to end this dispute?
TRU faculty have been without a contract since March 2014, and we have been in negotiations with the Employer for over 11 months. During this time, the TRU Faculty Association’s bargaining team has worked diligently to negotiate in good faith and move the bargaining forward. However, the Employer has not similarly engaged in meaningful attempts to reach a settlement.
4What about mediation? Isn’t that an option?
Yes, mediation is an option that both sides have discussed. As has been expressed repeatedly to the Employer, the TRU Faculty Association welcomes mediation. However, mediation only works when both parties recognize and address each other's issues. To date, the Employer has refused to acknowledge the issues that TRUFA members deal with on a daily basis.
5What are the issues at stake?
The issues at stake are pressing and involve the quality of education you receive at TRU. TRU’s bargaining demands are unreasonable and will do irreparable harm to the quality of the educational experience at TRU. TRU’s proposals include:
- Removing limits to class sizes Class size is directly related to quality of education. Removing class size limits is a blatant cash grab by TRU Administration that is sure to reduce the quality of instruction that students receive.
- Removing the limits to the number of courses a professor can teach Removing limits of courses assigned to each teacher will hurt their ability to provide high quality instruction to their students.
- Cutting instructional support staff (Libraries, Career Education Centre and Writing Centre) Reducing essential student services makes no sense! These unreasonable demands seem to indicate that TRU Administration does not have students’ best interests at heart.
6Aren’t students caught in the middle of this dispute?
Students are the heart of TRU and we, your faculty, recognize this. We do not undertake job action lightly or recklessly. However, it is now our best hope for a speedy resolution to a lengthy labour dispute. One of our major concerns in this labour dispute is the way in which the Employer’s demands will undermine students’ educational experiences at TRU. We are already seeing some of the effects of the Employer’s disregard for student needs. For example, while tuition and other fees on campus keep increasing (tuition has more than doubled since 2005), course offerings--even for required courses--are dwindling. This means that students often take longer to graduate and have a larger financial burden to shoulder during and after their studies. The TRU Faculty Association is fighting for sustainable, quality education. We care about students, the university and our community. At this point, job action places pressure on the Employer to reciprocate our efforts at fair and meaningful negotiations and end this dispute in a timely fashion.
7I support the faculty. What can I do to help?
Thank you! TRU faculty care about the university, our students and our community. We are fighting for a better TRU and for sustainable education. Please share your support on social media, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.. Be sure to let the administration know that you want them to start bargaining meaningfully. You can do this by emailing, tweeting and calling Thompson Rivers University.
8I just paid my fees? Can I get a refund?
Refunds for tuition are wholly in the Employer’s control, and these questions should be directed to TRU’s Administration.
9Will this affect my classes/exams/graduation?
It may. Some of these issues will be negotiated in any future back-to-work agreement and the answers will depend in part on how long the strike lasts. Our hope is that the Employer will begin to engage in meaningful negotiations in order to end this dispute as quickly as possible.
10Where can students go to get the latest information on the strike?
More information relating to contract negotiations and job action can be found at trufa.ca, on Facebook or on Twitter (@TRUFaculty).