PSAC Local 901 Stands in Solidarity with PSAC Local 610 Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows! Click here for the letter of support.
PSAC Local 555 Stands in Solidarity with PSAC Local 610 Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows! Click here for the letter of support.
Postdoc Tentative Agreement NOT Ratified
The Tentative Agreement that your PSAC Local 610 Bargaining Team reached with the Employer has not been ratified by the membership. The vote took place on Thursday, Dec. 8 2016, at SSC 2036.
It is now time to show your commitment and support your bargaining team. Thank you to the large number of members who attended and participated in a vibrant and productive discussion. Thank you to the Bargaining Team for all its hard work.
Ratification Vote Results Update
From the Chief Returning Officer of PSAC Local 610,
The ratification vote results will be announced early next week. We are currently in the process of verifying the ballots that were separated out in order to ensure membership status. When this is completed we will proceed with counting the ballots, after which we will announce the result of the ratification vote.
We thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to ensure that all members’ votes are counted.
Postdoc Ratification Vote and Information Sessions Dec. 8 at 12PM + 4:30PM
Thursday Dec. 8 2016, is the Ratification Information Session and Vote in Social Sciences Centre room 2036 at 12pm AND 4:30pm. Only postdocs can attend the information session and vote on the tentative agreement. We are holding two sessions for your convenience; you can only vote at one session.
The Bargaining Team will first present the tentative agreement to the Postdocs, followed by a Question-and-Answer session, and then a vote to ratify the agreement. All Postdocs at Western are expected to attend the information session, participate, and vote. Make sure you let your voices be heard. Let us all contribute to the achievement of better working and living conditions for academic workers at this institution.
Important information about voting: Please arrive on time or early, if possible, to register and the meeting can start on schedule. Postdocs must be present for the information session in order to vote. The vote will follow the information session. Registration will open 15 minutes before the meeting times. Please bring your Western ID cards to help speed up registration.
Come, ask questions, then vote!
A Message to Postdocs from the Current and Former Presidents of PSAC Local 610
On December 8th Postdoctoral Fellows at Western University will vote on ratification of the first tentative agreement between the bargaining team of Local 610 of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), representing Postdocs, and employer, Western University. We the undersigned urge you to vote “Yes” to the tentative agreement on December 8th.
Our bargaining team negotiated to ensure that the first contract meets the demands and interests of postdoctoral scholars at Western as we continue to live in a time of austerity and precarity. PDFs have employee status as per the certificate ordered by the Ontario Labour Relations Board after PDFs voted overwhelming in a Board ordered representation vote to be represented by PSAC. We have been able to achieve some substantial gains in the tentative agreement, including:
1) increasing the minimum salary floor to $33,000 (previously, for Postdoctoral Associates, the floor was $31,850);
2) an annual wage increase of 1.25% in the first two years and 1% in the third year of the agreement;
3) health benefits – all Postdocs will be entitled to a health spending account of $1400/year (previously, for Postdoctoral Associates, the health spending account was $1200) and any amount not used for health care can be used for professional development purposes.
Postdoctoral fellows gained status as full time employees as a result of an overwhelming vote in favour of unionization in December 2015. The tentative agreement confirms the rights of Postdocs against any arbitrary decision by the employer in hours of work and overtime, discipline and discharge, academic freedom, health and safety, and professional expenses and facilities. In case of a layoff because of reasons beyond the control of the supervisor, the researcher and the union will henceforth enjoy the rights to call for mediation and arbitration. Furthermore, the postdocs will be able to access Employment Insurance in case of layoff or maternity leave pay, which was not the case before the formation of the union. Moreover, every postdoctoral scholar is entitled to be part of CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) where both the employee and employer contribute.
Although we did not get everything we wanted in the tentative agreement, significant gains have been made. We tried our best to gain more at the bargaining table and, as in any labour-employer bargaining situation, we ended up somewhere in the middle. We, the past and the present presidents of PSAC Local 610, believe that no bargaining negotiation is an end in itself. Instead, it sets the stage for future struggles: higher pay, more benefits and better job conditions. We believe that this agreement helps us to fight for our rights in a more organized and united way. Previously we did not have a platform to fight injustice, now we have a union that can address your work related issues. And this is just the beginning. By voting “Yes”, we believe you and your cohorts will pave the way for better pay, benefits and work conditions for all Western postdoctoral scholars today and in the future.
Jaime R. Brenes Reyes
PSAC 610 President (2016-17)
PSAC 610 President (2015-16)
PSAC 610 President (2013-15)
Bargaining update for UWO PDA and PDFs - Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Your Negotiating Team has reached a tentative agreement for Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows employed at the University of Western Ontario. The new tentative agreement will provide coverage for all members and addresses the concerns expressed by PDAs and PDFs. We will provide further details at the ratification vote meeting and process which will be scheduled shortly.
Thank you for your support.
Valentina Taiakina, PDF Team Member
Katherine Kasper, PDA Team Member
Yi-Kai Su, PDA Team Member
Indranil Chakraborty, Team Member
Jaime Roman Brenes Reyes, Local President
Jawara Gairey, PSAC Negotiator
Bargaining update for UWO PDA and PDFs - Friday, October 14, 2016
Dear Postdoctoral researchers of The University of Western Ontario,
We met with the employer today and exchanged proposals. We had very informative discussions. We are scheduled to meet again on November 16th, 2016 to continue negotiations. We will continue to discuss the collective agreement at that time.
Your Bargaining Team,
Jaime R. Brenes Reyes
Jawara Gairey (PSAC Negotiator)
Postdoc Bargaining Information Session!
We are bargaining for a new Collective Agreement with the employer this month and would like to invite you and your fellow Postdocs to an information session on October 6, 2016, Thursday, at 12pm in room NCB 285 (North Campus Building). Come meet your Bargaining Team and find out more about the bargaining process! All Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows welcome!
We look forward to seeing you Thursday!
A huge thank you to all you who completed the Postdoctoral Fellow Bargaining Survey! We received 103 responses. The information is invaluable for the Bargaining Committee to negotiate your first Collective Agreement.
Postdoc Lunch at the Grad Club September 15, 2016 from 12pm - 1:30pm!
We’d like to invite you to a lunch provided by PSAC for Postdocs at Western on Thursday, September 15 at the Grad Club from 12:00-1:30pm. We will also be holding a concurrent information session to explain the next steps for the newly-unionized Postdoctoral Fellows in preparing for bargaining a first collective agreement.
Exciting News for PDFs at Western!
We are very pleased to announce that on August 24, 2016, Western University and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) reached a settlement during hearings before the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Following the settlement, the votes cast on December 8, 2015 regarding whether Post-Doctoral Fellows at Western should join Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 610 were counted. The result was overwhelmingly in favour of joining PSAC Local 610. With the ballots counted and the settlement reached, Post-Doctoral Fellows at Western can prepare to collectively bargain for wage increases, health and dental benefits, and leaves with the support of the PSAC. Thank you to the PDFs who assisted us through the stages along the way!
Dave and Conan
Attention Postdoctoral Fellows!
Article about the PDF Union Drive: Union Drive Headed to Labour Board
After the PDF union campaign at the University of Toronto in 2012, the Ontario Labour Board ruled that Postdoctoral Fellows are in fact employees of the university and therefore have the right to unionize. Now the PSAC is joining other universities across Canada by organizing a union for Postdoctoral Fellows at Western.
These are some of the accomplishments the PDA union has gained after unionizing:
- Minimum wage guarantee & annual wage increases
- Hours of work protections & compensation for hours worked overtime
- Employer-funded health benefits
- Benefits such as pregnancy, parental, bereavement, religious observance, & sick leave
- Professional assistance & representation when addressing workplace issues
- Workplace protections against discrimination & harassment
- Reimbursements for work-related travel, certifications, & other expenses
- Employer-guaranteed duty to accommodate
Click to enlarge chart:
Postdoctoral Fellows should not be invisible! Sign a card and join the campaign!
“Without a certified organization, the University would not take the needs of Postdocs seriously.” CAPS
Do you want to bargain for:
- Parental Leave?
- Employer Funded Benefits?
- Improved Intellectual Property Rights?
- More Workplace Protections?
Here’s why the Postdoctoral Scholars unionized at Dalhousie University: “There is a reason why higher education is the most unionized sector in Canada - academic workers understand the importance and necessity of collective bargaining and the security that unionization brings. Right across the country, full- and part-time faculty, teaching assistants, research assistants, have long-since unionized. And an increasing number of postdoctoral researchers are now choosing to do the same. Why? Because even a cursory examination makes clear that unionization protects and benefits academic workers. It's time.”
Collectively we are stronger and with Public Service Alliance of Canada’s experience with postdoctoral unions at other universities, an experienced team stands by our side to help us bargain for what we want.
These universities are also unionized:
- Dalhousie University (visit their “why unionize” web page, see why your colleagues are unionizing!)
- École Polytechnique
- University of Toronto (CUPE 3902) (visit their FAQ web page about unionizing!)
- Memorial University (LUMUN - PSAC)
- Queen’s University (PSAC 901)
- Université de Montreal
- Université de Québec à Montréal
- Université de Sherbrooke
- University of Ontario Institute of Technology (PSAC 555)
- Université Laval
- McMaster University (CUPE 3906)
- Carleton University (CUPA) (visit their FAQ web page about unionizing!)
What is the process?
(from CUPA at Carleton University)
Step 1: Get Union Cards Signed
The first step is to sign a Union Card. In order to get to step 2, the Union must have at least 40% of those eligible to join sign a card. In practice, you want more than that in order to create a safety buffer. These cards are kept by the union at this stage, and the employer will not know that you have signed a card unless you tell them.
Step 2: Labour Board Vote
Once you have the required number of signed cards (or the number you determine above it), you apply for certification to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. At this point, the Union Cards are given to the Labour Board. However, the employer never sees the cards or is aware who signed them. The Labour Board will, at this stage, obtain a list of employees from the employer in order to verify that the union has valid cards. If the Board is satisfied the Union has the required number of cards, it will conduct a vote. If 50% plus 1 of those who vote, vote yes, then you are unionized.
Step 3: Bargain a Collective Agreement
Now that you are unionized, your first goal is to bargain a Collective Agreement (the document the union and the employer bargain and sign). A team, drawn from the members of the workplace (but with support of the Union), will bargain with the employer about all terms of employment. Once an Agreement is reached, members will vote about whether or not to accept it.
For more research about postdocs unionizing, read these articles:
Postdocs Unionize at Two Ontario Universities – About the postdoc drive at Western and McMaster in 2008.
The Spread of Postdoc Unions – Why Postdoc Unions are growing in the US.
Really scraping the bottom… can’t we at least get parental leave during a postdoc? – A detailed article about parental leave for postdocs. Currently, as a PDF, you are not eligible for maternity/parental leave or any other benefits through EI.
Taxing times for Canadian postdocs – The affect of taxation on PDFs.
The PDF Union are supported and endorsed by University of Toronto, McMaster University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Queen’s University, and the TA and PDA Union at Western.