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

Call for Volunteer: Parking Appeals Review Committee

Parking Services has recently reached out to CUPE 3338 regarding their efforts to restart the Parking Appeals Review Committee (PARC).

As you may or may not be aware, the Appeals Committee is comprised of one representative from each of SFUFA, APSA, CUPE, PolyParty, TSSU, and SFSS.  The purpose of the committee is to review appeals which have otherwise been denied by the Director, Parking & Sustainable Mobility Services, or his designate.

The committee has the authority to confirm, vary or overturn any parking infraction and its associated penalty, their decision is final.

For those that are not familiar with SFU’s appeal process, please see the parking regulations here: https://www.sfu.ca/parking/Parking/parking-regulations.html

The PARC Meeting is held on the last Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. There are no meetings in July, August, or December.

Volunteers may contact Parking Services directly at parking@sfu.ca for more information and further details.

In Solidarity,
CUPE 3338

SFU (Unit 1) Notice of Restructure

Dear Unit 1/SFU members,

On March 6, 2024, SFU served Notice of Restructure to the Union as per Section 54 of the Labour Relations Code and Article 14 of the CUPE 3338 Collective Agreement.

Since then, CUPE representatives have been in multiple meetings with SFU to advocate strongly against this action and continue to work hard in the background to protect members’ rights.  Ultimately, CUPE is not able to prevent the layoffs from happening, it is a management right.

We understand that many of you may have additional questions regarding CUPE’s decision to decline signing a Memorandum of Agreement with SFU on a “Voluntary Severance Program”.  Please be assured that this decision was not made lightly and all factors were considered before CUPE concluded we could not agree to the terms presented.

Discussions with the Employer

CUPE 3338 met with the employer on March 11, March 21, March 25 and April 10 to discuss a Labour Adjustment Plan, as provided for under Section 54 of the British Columbia Labour Code.

CUPE proceeded with the understanding that the employer thinks it is in a financial position that necessitated triggering Section 54.  Discussions centred mostly around their ‘Voluntary Severance Program’, where workers could submit interest to voluntarily sever their employment relationship with SFU.

Your Union’s discussions focused on the best possible terms for the membership as a whole.  Unfortunately, the parties were unable to come to an agreement on the terms of the program for the following reasons:

  • Approval to the Voluntary Severance Program would not be done by seniority. This decision would be based solely on operational requirements.  This led to concerns about the potential for arbitrary decision making by some departments.  Seniority is a fundamental union principle that cannot be bypassed.  CUPE could not agree to this.

  • The Employer to date has not provided concrete information about which departments will be  restructured and/or affected.  CUPE has requested actual layoff numbers at every meeting and the presented numbers were always “fluid”.

  • There was no union oversight with how the voluntary severance program would be administered or who would be “selected”.

What This Means

CUPE has told the employer to contact us again when they are prepared to proceed with the process outlined in Article 14 – Involuntary Transfer, Layoff and Recall.  Any further updates will be provided as we have additional information.

Questions can be sent to info@cupe3338.ca, which will be compiled for an FAQ on the website (and may not individually be responded to).

You can be assured that your union is working diligently to ensure your rights are protected and we will continue to advocate for the best interests of all our members.

In Solidarity and on Behalf of the Executive Board,
Shaneza Bacchus, President

BEST (Unit 4) Layoffs

Dear 3338 Members,

It is with our deepest regret that CUPE 3338 has to provide this update. SFU has been engaged in several measures across all employee groups to cut operating costs due to its budget constraints. One of these measures included reducing the levels of work needed by BEST Service Pros, which will result in fewer shifts and positions for BEST workers across all of SFU’s campuses.

As a result, last week (April 4-6, 2024), Best Service Pros issued 23 Notices of Layoff between April 4-6, 2024. CUPE was blindsided by the Notice of Layoff announcement, as we were given the impression by SFU senior leadership that SFU’s cost-cutting would not result in layoffs within BEST.

CUPE representatives were in meetings with both BEST and SFU over the past two weeks strongly advocating against this action and to protect our members’ rights. CUPE was not able to prevent the layoffs from happening and CUPE reps were present with members as they faced one of the most stressful situations in a career.

Our members working for BEST, your colleagues, are among the most marginalized and vulnerable staff working on all three SFU campuses and they provide an essential service to all of SFU.

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. CUPE is currently seeking mediation with the Labour Relations Board (LRB) under Section 54 of the BC Labour Code.

We will update the membership once we have more information to share regarding these Notices of Layoff, the impacts these will have on the entire CUPE 3338 membership and what we can all do to show our support for these members in this uncertain and concerning time.

In Solidarity and on Behalf of the Executive Board,
Shaneza Bacchus, President

CUPE GWI Pay Adjustments (SFU/Unit 1)

The GWI for April 1, 2024 has been processed so employees will receive their new rates of pay effective April 1, 2024 on-time.  The new wage scale is available at https://www.sfu.ca/human-resources/cupe.html.

The increase reflects the full 2% GWI plus 1% COLA adjustment that was confirmed on March 19, 2024 as having been met. Members will see their increases in the wage statements available online through MyInfo.

If members have any questions they can reach out to the HR specialist for their group, or send an email to Labour Relations.