What if…

Grad students, including Abhi Nanjundappa, bring the idea of unionizing RAs up to TSSU. Many discussions follow.

How could we do this?

TSSU begins seriously discussing practical plans for what a RA union drive could look like.

Sept 2018

The beginning.

A first RA union drive is started by a small group of organizers and executives at the TSSU.

This is bigger than we thought.

The first union drive is able to secure ~200 cards in 2 months, but is quickly understood to be under-resourced.

Aug 2018
Oct 2018

Research is Work!

The first union drive is quietly shut down, with the expectation to begin again another time. At an organizer debrief the campaign slogan “Research is Work” is decided.


TSSU Executive brings a suggestion to the General Membership to hire a dedicated organizer to run a RA union drive.

Jan 2019
June 2019

Building the team.

Vince Tao & Yi Chien Jade Ho begin building a team of grassroots organizers, relying on the previous RA union drive.

Lets play “Softball”

The RA drive is begun in earnest, under the codename “Softball”, with a major focus on mapping departments.

July 2019
Sept 2019

We continue to grow.

Card signing begins, with the campaign still being kept “under wraps”. The organizing team grows to more than 75 people.

We’re public!

Softball goes public as the Research Is Work campaign, with now 150 organizers and over 500 cards.

Oct 2019
Nov 2019

900 Cards!

The campaign continues to grow, reaching over 900 signed cards.
SFU reaches out with the possibility of reaching a voluntary agreement.

Voluntary Agreement?

The Research is Work campaign team holds 3 emergency meetings with the organizing team to discuss the agreement.

We win our union!

TSSU signs an agreement with SFU to voluntarily recognize TSSU as the sole bargaining agent for RAs at SFU. We win!

RA Contract Group

An ad hoc committee is set up by the TSSU to survey and canvass RAs across the University to find out what we need to fight for

January – April 2020
May 2020


Bargaining for a new RA contract is scheduled to begin.