[Note: Prior to the publication of my article, we received a "Notice of Restructuring" from SFU and unannounced messaging from the VPA. While it doesn't specify job loss numbers, we have been invited to an additional meeting with the University to learn more about how it plans to "restructure" SFU. We will also present the Notice of Restructuring in a brief article in this newsletter. As for further information, we will update you as soon as we have more to pass along to you.]

This is likely going to be a very tough week for APSA, with the expectation being that the University will inform us of a significant number of redundancies. The exact numbers, timing and roles affected are unknown to APSA, but we are anticipating a group layoff imminently. We have directly asked the University on at least two separate occasions, in writing and in meetings, whether we will see mass job losses. They have so far been unable to rule this out in their responses – we will meet with the SFU President, VPFA, VPPEI and Labour Relations team this Thursday when we suspect we will receive the answer to this question. Whilst I am cautious against fear-mongering, I feel it would be disingenuous of me not to share what the APSA Board and staff ourselves are bracing for so that you can be prepared, too. As soon as we receive clarity on this, we will send out a communication – I would love nothing more than to write in next month’s newsletter about how our premonitions were moot, but this seems unlikely.

As mentioned last month, we have already seen APSA positions eliminated in recent weeks (around 16), as well as numerous temporary APSA contracts that have not been renewed – we will work to provide you with precise figures and trends for future newsletters. I appreciate this is unsettling, but we are a resilient group, and I know we’ll be there for one another just as we do critically every day supporting students, faculty and the operational needs of SFU. I also want to assure you that I, the APSA board and the APSA staff are doing everything possible  politically, legally and contractually, to preserve APSA jobs. If you need direct advocacy, please get in touch with an APSA staff member.

Another forum we have for APSA members to connect is our Conversation with the Board series. Last week, we held our first of the year in Burnaby, and our first in Surrey is this coming Friday between 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm in SRYS 2735 with our Member Services Coordinator, Tracey Ferris and our Vice-President, Kim O’Donnell. Next month, we will hold our first Vancouver session on April 3rd from 12 pm to 1 pm in HC 2105, and we are exploring the possibility of having a virtual one in the future. We will also leave our anonymous comments/stories link from last month’s newsletter open. Every comment is read, and those we’ve received so far have been extremely valuable in helping us understand how members feel and what your priorities are for APSA.

In another update, we’ve raised the lack of transparency around the Uniforum process at our monthly liaison meeting with the University, and they seemed receptive to providing us with more explanation as to what decisions this data is informing exactly as well as addressing the backlog in releasing results from previous years – we will continue to follow-up for concrete information since multiple members have now raised this as a pain point with us.

Finally, APSA Director Melanie Brown and our Treasurer Jasper Stoodley recently volunteered time to assist Tara Flynn from the SFU Food Pantry. This is such a worthwhile service that helps students suffering from food insecurity and financial pressures, and the work Tara is doing over there is highly commendable. We have a full piece on this in this month’s newsletter, so please have a read!

Upcoming Priorities

  • Member surveys
  • Strategic Plan

Ongoing Work

  • Preparations for anticipated layoffs
  • Requests for Uniforum transparency
  • Open letter to the SFU President regarding the value of staff and respect in the workplace (we’ve pivoted to prioritise layoffs of late, but I plan to discuss with the Board when we have capacity)
  • Basic Agreement bargaining (mediation in April)
  • New committee for organizing social events and a member social gathering this semester (this is coming along nicely, updates to come)
  • Conversations with the Board (Surrey is up next, and then Vancouver next month)
  • SFU Food Pantry support (more collaboration to come)

Hang in there,