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SFU Students Occupy Society Board Office

by murray bush - flux photo

The occupiers
SFSS CEO Jeff McCann gets the UR SFSS press release
SFSS CEO tries to claim student board office is  'private'
Getting comfortable
Outside the SFSS board offices
Outside the SFSS board offices
In for the long haul

SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY - A student group calling itself UR SFSS has taken over the offices of the SFU Student Society to demand an end to the 79 day lockout of society staff.

About a dozen members of the United Responsibe Students For Staff and Space have vowed to occupy the offices for an hour for every week the SFSS has locked out its own staff.  

 From the UR SFSS press release:

 [Burnaby, BC] - At approximately 1pm, a group of eight students entered the office of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Board of Directors and launched a peaceful occupation. Outside the office, the hallway is filled with student and campus supporters. Students organized the non-violent act of civil disobedience independently to show their dissent against the Board’s decision to lock-out its unionized workers, members of CUPE 3338-5. 

Twelve weeks ago, after having put forth an unacceptable offer that would have introduced a two-tier wage structure, rolled back hard-fought benefits, and virtually eliminated job security, the Board resorted to one of the most extreme anti-worker tactics -- a lock-out. The students inside have vowed to occupy the office for twelve hours, one hour for each week that SFSS services have been cut back due to the lock-out.

Women, queer, and trans campus community members are among the most detrimentally affected by the lock-out. The Women’s Centre and Out On Campus, both necessary safe-spaces at SFU for marginalized students, have been closed for the past three months due to the lock-out. “I am supporting this student occupation because my fellow queer, trans and women students need those services and spaces. Services like those are exactly why we need a student society,” said undergraduate student Neem Maness.

The volunteer Board members voted to double their own honoraria for the lock-out’s duration, supposedly covering their overtime incurred from the workers being barred from doing their jobs. That brings the Executive Board members' honoraria up to $3500 per month. 

“It means that each of the directors have a high personal financial stake in preventing these services from resuming,” stated Chelsea MacKay, one of the student participants in the occupation. “We elected the Board to run the Student Society, but now they've turned around to dismantle it. It’s time the Board stops avoiding its responsibilities and returns to bargaining”.

Students participating in the action see the lock-out as an ideological attempt by the employer to break a union under the rhetoric of cost-cutting. The Board refuses to budge on wage cuts, including those that would slash student workers’ current living wage down to a poverty-level wage. 

“The Board’s primary justification for the lockout is that they don’t have the money to pay the workers their due wages. Meanwhile they have just spent tens of thousands of dollars on yet another pub renovation and gifted themselves a shameful raise,” said student participant Maria Persdotter. “All these locked out workers provide vital services that only student societies can. It takes incredible gall and malice to argue that new booths and cheaper beer are somehow more important than providing real services to students, and paying these workers fair, living wages.” 

Students occupying the SFSS Board office have promised future actions if the Board continues to shirk its responsibility to its members through its mismanagement, and calls on the Board to immediately end the lock-out and return to the bargaining table in good faith.

For further information and to arrange interviews, contact:
Maria Persdotter, SFSS member and SFU undergraduate student

778-384-8638, persdotter.maria@gmail.com

Chelsea Mackay, SFSS member and SFU undergraduate student

778-899-4432, chelsano@hotmail.com

 

For background on the lock-out, see: sfulockout.blogspot.com

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flux (Murray Bush)
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories
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Comments

You ought fact-check if you're the news.

The living wage in B.C for one person in a family of four and both parents working full-time is $18.81. (http://livingwageforfamilies.ca/)

The poverty cutoff for a single person living in a major city in B.C. is $21,666 - or about $10.50 full-time. (http://thetyee.ca/Views/2008/08/19/MinimumWageHike/

The SFSS' offer for student workers was $13. The SFSS' offer for permanent staff was a starting wage of $20+, and would increase with experience. 

The pub renovation was done with funds allocated specifically to a Space Expansion Fund. The SFSS has since offered to reallocate those funds to alleviate deficit, and staff rejected that offer. (http://lockout.sfss.ca/history/)

The "shameful raise" was to cover the increased number of hours SFSS board members worked during the lockout. In total, staff wages cost $700,000 yearly.

Not every board member's wages were doubled - most reps got +$500, while president McCann got +$1750. It couldn't have been more than $15,000 across the board, and that's a generous estimate. (http://lockout.sfss.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/SFSS-Director-Hours.pdf)

You ought fact-check if you're the news 2

I would also like to add on to the bit about the raise.

6 executive members x 1750 = 10,500

10 remaining board members x 581 = 5810,

making for a total of $16,310. A little higher than my previous estimate, however, this is the maximum that board members can get paid, as in, they only get paid extra if they work extra hours. It's unlikely that regular board members will even hit the maximum. 

Wages were not doubled across the board. These figures were received from a CUPE email - although it seems they're advertising it as "they are doubling ALL their pay" to get people riled up.

re: you ought to ....

You ought to own up and use your real name if you're the Board.

I'm not affiliated with the

I'm not affiliated with the board in any way. It doesn't matter if I'm Ethan Schmuck or Edna Hoopla.

The Board can't double their

The Board can't double their wages, because they are not wages. The Board are volunteers, and they receive a stipend. Doubling their volunteer stipend because they have to do the worker of their locked-out workers is egregious. Being scabs doesn't make them any less of terrible bosses and elected officials.

The fact of the matter is that Board members have a personal financial stake in keeping their workers locked-out; they can keep usurping money as long as the lock-out continues with the excuse of the Board doing the workers' work instead of the workers!

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