The union representing NBA players has donated $10,000 to striking Simon Fraser University teaching assistant staff ahead of a practice at the Burnaby campus and a game in Vancouver this weekend.
Garrett Temple, a Raptor and vice-president of the National Basketball Players Association, announced the donation Friday (Oct. 6). He said members of the National Basketball Players Association stands in solidarity with the 1,600 members of SFU’s Teaching Support Staff Union.
“We are hopeful they are soon able to return to the jobs they love, with a deal that respects their important contribution to student and university life.”
TSSU’s 1,600 members with current teaching positions have been on strike since May with picket lines being launched last week.
The Raptors are set to hold an open practice at SFU’s Burnaby campus Friday evening and play their first pre-season game on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings at Rogers Arena. They’ve been in Vancouver since Tuesday for training camp.
Temple joined the picketers outside SFU’s Harbour Centre campus in Downtown Vancouver Friday.
“I understand the pain. I understand how much y’all do for the university,” said Temple, noting he went to Lousiana State University. He spent five years at LSU, and graduated from the business management program.
“The teaching assistants did basically everything for us … I’m not one of the guys that was there for six months or a year. I understand how much TAs do at the university.”
Union member Liam Kennedy-Slaney said TSSU reached out to the team ahead of the open practice due to possible picket lines.
Union members say they are striking to fight for a contract that includes a cost-of-living pay adjustment, an end to “wage theft,” and a secure future for long-term instructors.
Black Press Media has reached out to SFU for comment.
– With files from The Canadian Press