Sep 26, 2011

SFU Lockout hits day 78, Board members vote to line their own pockets

BURNABY—Today marks day 78 of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) lockout at SFU. It is also the day the SFU community learned that the SFSS Board of Directors quietly voted to double their compensation with the money saved by locking out their own staff. In doing so, the 16 student politicians on the Board will now financially benefit by keeping their staff locked out.

In response to this development, CUPE has requested a hearing with the Labour Relations Board and emailed all CUPE members at SFU to respect all picket lines that may appear.

Board minutes from September 7, 2011 show the Board of Directors passed a motion to double the amount of hours they are paid for every month until the lockout ends. This is a $16,500 monthly cost to a society that has locked out its staff because it claims to be “broke”. In the email to members, CUPE Local 3338 called the move “hypocritical, opportunistic and offensive”. CUPE is urging all students, staff, and supporters to speak out against this underhanded move.

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Below is the email to Local 3338 members

Dear Members,

Our colleagues, the Members of CUPE Local 3338 Unit 5 that work for the Simon Fraser Student Society are still locked out. Today is day 78 of the lockout. Last week, CUPE began escalating its picket activities and we are asking you to respect, and not cross, those picket lines if they appear at your place of work. The escalation is designed to bring more attention to the issues facing these locked out members. If your workplace ends up behind a picket line, please do not cross it and contact the CUPE Local 3338 office if you have any questions.

This escalation is in response to an employer that continues to be disrespectful and unwilling to return to the bargaining table. Last week, word leaked out that the Simon Fraser Student Society Board of Directors sunk to a new, and very disturbing, low. We learned that on September 7, the Board of Directors quietly passed a motion that dramatically increases their compensation using the money saved from not paying our locked out members. The Board voted to double their monthly pay until the end of the lockout. The 6 members of the executive, including President Jeff McCann, are each slated to receive an extra $1,750 per month. The other 10 members of the Board will each receive an extra $581 per month. By making this decision, these 16 SFU students have put themselves in a position where it is in their own personal financial interest to keep our members locked out. The Board of Directors, which all along has claimed to be “broke,” is now using our members’ wages to boost their own pay. The Board’s action is hypocritical, opportunistic, and offensive. Quite simply, it is nasty.

Our members only want to see the lockout ended so they can return to the bargaining table. They now need your support more than ever. Please join them on the picket line, ask them about the issues, and respect any picket lines that may appear. This news is galvanizing support among the Labour community for our members. Already, CEP locals have informed the university that they are cancelling their Fall bookings for meeting space at SFU until the lockout ends. Also, CUPE locals from across the Lower Mainland have been sending their members to help bolster our numbers on the line.

For more information, click the link below to read a submission CUPE has made to the Labour Relations Board on this matter.

Who are the members of the Simon Fraser Student Society now collecting our members’ wages?

President Jeff McCann
Treasurer Keenan Midgley
Internal Relations Officer Jordan Kohn
External Relations Officer Kevin Zhang
Member Services Officer Lorenz Yeung
University Relations Officer Marc Fontaine

At-Large Representative Arry Dhillon
At-Large Representative Danielle Hornstein
Faculty Representative (Arts & Social Sciences) Kyle Acierno
Faculty Representative (Applied Sciences) Lahz Dropsy Kikabou
Faculty Representative (Business) Hao Lin
Faculty Representative (Communication, Art & Technology) Jenni Rempel
Faculty Representative (Education) Shiva Manavipour
Faculty Representative (Environment) Maziar Kazemi
Faculty Representative (Health Sciences) Spencyre Hackett-Martin
Faculty Representative (Sciences) Tabrez Hussein

COPE 491