SFU Works

Because We Do!

Local 3338 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees represents over 1200 workers, mainly at SFU campuses. Our diverse membership is spread among 7 Bargaining Units, with 7 different employers.

Broken Promises: CUPE BC President Paul Faoro responds to the death of Alex Gervais in provincial care

Written by Dave Chokroun. Posted in News

February 7, 2016

As you likely know from media reports, BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, Bernard Richard, yesterday released a scathing report on the death of Alex Gervais, an 18-year old Métis youth in care.
This report is a devastating indictment of the BC Liberal government’s handling of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and Alex’s death puts a human face on the real-life consequences of misguided, wrongheaded political priorities.

I strongly encourage you all to read the report, but I want to quote briefly from the Executive Summary here:

On a mid-September morning in 2015, in an act of obvious desperation, an 18-year old Métis youth named Alex took his own life by smashing through the window of his fourth-storey Abbotsford hotel room and plunging to the ground below.

Through an in-depth investigation into the life and death of this troubled youth, the Representative for Children and Youth has developed an understanding of what led to such a tragic outcome. It is hoped that this report and its recommendations will help prevent other children and youth from experiencing a similar fate.

Alex lived a life that none of us would wish on our own children, or any child. He experienced repeated abuse while in the care of his biological parents, both of whom were dealing with significant mental illness. Although child welfare authorities in two provinces were involved with Alex early on, his subsequent journey through the child welfare system was marked by constant instability, repeated missed opportunities for permanency, and trauma.

As I’ve said before, while I don’t agree with the BC Liberals on almost anything, their record on the issue of kids in care – particularly First Nations and Métis kids – makes me angry. I can’t imagine anyone reading this report and not being absolutely furious about the way Alex Gervais was treated by government his entire short life.

Surely in BC we can do better than this. If you share my anger, I encourage you to join me and your fellow CUPE members in working to defeat this mean-spirited regressive government on May 9.

Paul Faoro, President, CUPE BC

Executive Board Report 2016

Written by jan. Posted in News


Current Executive Board Members: President – Fiona Brady Lenfesty, Vice-President – Lynne Fowler, Secretary-Treasurer – Craig Pavelich, Recording Secretary – Chika Buston, Member-at-Large – Devyn Davies, Sergeant-at-Arms – Tom Peacock, Sergeant-at-Arms – David Chokroun, Unit 5 Representative – Adrienne Marino, Communications Committee Chair – David Chokroun
Staff: Business Agent – John Bannister and Member Services Coordinator – Jan Gunn



The total membership at October 31 was 1128 members.


The Executive Committee meets regularly either once per month, or bi-weekly, depending on the amount of business which needs to be conducted on behalf of the Local. The Executive has met 17 times to-date in 2016, and held 1 Special General Meeting on June 29, 2016.


Current elections (Jan 1, 2017 – Dec 31, 2018): President – Fiona Brady Lenfesty, Vice-President (2) – Lynne Fowler and David Chokroun, Secretary-Treasurer – Craig Pavelich, Member-At-Large (1) – Judy Zhu, Trustees: all positions remain vacant.


Unit 1 (SFU)

As part of the “Grievance Resolve Exercise” the Local’s President and Business Agent meet regularly with Chris Hatty (Director, Labour and Employee Relations) to work on resolving the many outstanding grievances. We have successfully resolved seven grievances, including three disciplines, and a vacation service grievance. Although this may not seem like much, it is actually more resolutions than all the grievances from the past 10 years.

We have also resolved four grievances (using the normal procedure), including denial of leave, credit for service, and denial of compassionate leave. This is also more than we have resolved in years.

With the aid of a mediator from the Labour Relations Board we have been able to agree to a process to deal with a toxic work environment at the Burnaby campus. This was a long-standing problem that we hope will be resolved if the recommendations of the mediator are followed.

These are positive steps to improving the relationship between SFU and the Local.

The Employee Joint Pension Committee continues work with SFU on making improvements to the Pension plan.

Unit 2 (Canadian Union of Postal Workers)

We represent the two staff members who work for the Vancouver Local of CUPW. The collective agreement between the parties has expired and negotiations should commence early in the New Year.

There was one grievance filed in the last year (denial of leave), but the grievance was ultimately withdrawn.

Unit 3 (SFSS Food and Beverage Services)

The collective agreement with FBS has expired. The situation at FBS is not good. The business is in a precarious financial situation. Four of 7 permanent staff have left their jobs in the past year.

There are four outstanding grievances: work of the bargaining unit, job descriptions, and two discipline related grievances.

Unit 4 (BEST Service Pros)

The collective agreement with BEST is up for renewal in the spring of 2017. There was a grievance filed on behalf of member who was forced to resign to receive her vacation pay.

Unit 5 (Simon Fraser Student Society)

The Local’s President and Business Agent regularly attend the monthly membership meeting.

The new CEO has brought a more structured work environment to the workplace. It has been difficult for some of our members to adjust in part because the CEO has a very top- down management style, which is a departure from the egalitarian environment of the past.

There has been an increase in the number of grievances – three grievances have been initiated this year, zero last year.

Unit 6 (Graduate Student Society)

The collective agreement was successfully renegotiated this year. The agreement includes improved wages & benefits.

Unit 7 (Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group)

The collective agreement is in place until July 2018. There are no Labour relations issues at this workplace.

Communications Committee

We have been without a chair of this committee for any significant length of time since Joel Blok stepped down as Chair on September 30, 2015. David Chokroun has agreed to take on this responsibility as of November 2016.


The local was successful in organizing the 2 workers of the IRMACS (Interdisciplinary Research in Mathematical and Computational Sciences) Centre. These 2 members were clearly performing work that belonged in the bargaining unit. The IRMACS Centre has subsequently been rebranded as the Big Data Hub.


The Local was able to send our Staff and a number of members for training and/or sent them to attend other important CUPE BC committee meetings throughout the 2016 calendar year. The Local believes that it is important to educate its members and participate on the CUPE BC Committee.

Some of the education opportunities, and committee meetings throughout 2016 were as follows:

JAN 2016 – Universities Committee
FEB 2016 – the SHARE Pension Forum
APRIL 2016 – the CUPE BC Convention in Victoria, BC
MAY 2016 – the Accommodation Law Conference, and the BC Library Association Conference
OCT 2016 – the Sector Council Conference, Winnipeg, MB, RiseUp! Conference, Ottawa NOV 2016 – CUPE BC Education Conference

Employee Council

The council is comprised of representatives from all five employee groups at SFU (Faculty Association, APSA, TSSU, PolyParty and CUPE) and it meets on the 2nd Tuesday every month to discuss issues of concern to all employees working for the university. The Employee Council also meets as a group with senior administration every semester to discuss issues that affect all workers on campus, and once a year to hear the university’s budget presentation. Attendance at these meetings gives us an opportunity to keep informed about the most recent issues, and how they affect each employee group.

Senior Administration

The Local is able to meet with senior admin staff once a semester to discuss issues of mutual concern. Agenda items are agreed to and circulated in advance of the meetings. In the instances where the issues of concern affect more than one employee group on campus the Employee Council meets with senior admin staff to discuss these (sometimes) more substantive issues of concern, such as health & safety issues, the general tone of labour relations on campus, and most recently the need for a stand-alone sexual violence and misconduct policy covering everyone on campus.

Personnel Committee

Three members of the Executive sit on this sub-committee, currently the president, vice-president, and secretary-treasurer.

In 2016, this committee bargained new agreements for both of the Local’s office staff with Move Up 378, representing the Member Services Coordinator, and Unifor 467, representing the Business Agent. We were able to stagger the end dates for these two collective agreements so that we are not faced with the prospect of bargaining both agreements in the same calendar year next time. The Unifor agreement expires on August 31, 2020, and the Move Up agreement expires on August 31, 2019.


The CUPE Pension Committee continues to meet on its own, as well as to participate on the Employees Joint Pension Committee (EJPC). Meetings have recently recommenced between the EJPC and the university to discuss proposed improvements to the pension plan, but that process is moving ahead slowly.

Joint meetings have been set for late November, December and January.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Grievance Committee

The Grievance Committee has been meeting regularly. The Committee members have taken an active role in representing members.

There have been 16 grievances initiated this year including three lay-off, two hiring (one of which was resolved), one discipline (which was resolved), one scheduling of hours, two compassionate leave (one which was resolved), one denial of unpaid leave, plus the ones in the other units as noted above.

In September we had a mediation session on the Aggregation grievance. Unfortunately, mediation was not successful. Arbitration dates now need to be scheduled.

A harassment compliant has recently initiated. An investigation is underway.


The Local has been without a dedicated National Rep again in 2016, due to the leave of Sister Rachel Champagne. We continue to be ably assisted by her temporary replacement, Ryan Boyce, with assistance from our previous rep Ross Idler.