FAQ re: SFU (Unit 1) Notice of Restructure

Hello everyone,

For those of you who missed CUPE 3338’s April 17, 2024 Q&A session regarding SFU’s Notice of Restructure, please find a list of frequently asked questions and answers below.

Q: What has prompted restructuring?
A: SFU has cited “financial challenges in 2023–24 due to a decline in international student enrolments, losses on divestments, and rising interest rates.” SFU’s own restructuring FAQ is available here: https://www.sfu.ca/human-resources/managers-supervisors/restructuring-faqs.html

Q: What is the timeline for the restructuring process?
A: SFU Labour Relations served their Notice of Restructure to CUPE 3338 on March 6, 2024, and are working with a 60-day timeline. This means that within early May, members could start receiving notice. This has to be confirmed with SFU.

Q: Why did CUPE 3338 not agree to SFU’s “Voluntary Employment Separation Program”?
A: Please see https://cupe3338.ca/2024/04/12/sfu-unit-1-layoffs/ for details.

Q: Who is participating in the Voluntary Employment Separation Program?
A: As per SFU’s “Strategic Measures to Address Budget Challenges” email on April 11, 2024, the Voluntary Employment Separation Program will be available to Administrative Professional Excluded Staff (APEX) only. Neither CUPE nor APSA could agree to the program, for different reasons.

Q: Is voluntary severance still on the table?
A: No. CUPE 3338 could not agree to SFU’s Voluntary Employment Separation Program as presented, primarily due to the fact that the terms would bypass seniority and disregard the Collective Agreement.  The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) we were presented did not match agreements from our labour adjustment meetings between CUPE 3338 and SFU. CUPE 3338 will advocate for enhanced severance for affected members, aiming for more than what is outlined in Article 14 of the Collective Agreement (Involuntary Transfer, Layoff and Recall).

Q: If a faculty or department is reorganized and a position is eliminated or becomes redundant, and if you have seniority, do you look at options to bump?
A: Yes, this is outlined in Article 14 (Involuntary Transfer, Layoff and Recall). Please refer to the full text in the Collective Agreement.

Q: What actions can we take to stop SFU? What can CUPE do?
A: This process cannot be stopped. We are doing our best to alleviate stress for impacted members. The employer serving Notice to Restructure is a management right. CUPE will continue to work tirelessly in the background on behalf of the members, ensuring impacted employees receive everything they are legally entitled to in this process.

Q: What resources are supporting the local through this time?
A: We have the advice of our CUPE National Servicing Representative, Legal, Communications, and the Universities Coordinator.

Q: What should I do regarding workload concerns?
A: CUPE was assured by Labour Relations that they are having conversations with management about what work will need to stop. Management should be having these conversations with their teams. If you are concerned about an increasing workload or “other duties as required”, we encourage you to initiate a conversation with your manager about priorities during the restructure. If you are concerned about retaliation, please contact the Union so we can provide support.

If you have further questions that are not on this list, please email them to info@cupe3338.ca to be added.

In Solidarity,
CUPE 3338

Last updated: April 18, 2024