PSAC Local 610
University of Western Ontario
1313 Somerville House
London, ON  N6A 3K7

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519.661.4137 (p)
519.850.2998 (f)

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Happy New Year, Graduate Teaching Assistants!


Today, the GTA Bargaining Team finished our third bargaining session with the University’s Bargaining Team. This session included meetings on January 4th and 5th, during which our remaining non-monetary demands were presented and discussed.

January 4th


Our meeting opened with receiving the Employer’s responses to our proposed language for Union Security, Hours of Work, and Intellectual Property (Articles 8, 17, and 24). We reached tentative agreement on changes to Union Representatives and Activities (Article 5),  and Intellectual Property. All Articles signed during negotiations are subject to ratification by our membership. Several proposals were exchanged, and meaningful discussion took place about Hours of Work.

Our bargaining team sought clarification on a few monetary articles, in anticipation of presenting our full proposal on coming dates. In particular, the team inquired about appointments, including the Employer’s criteria for assigning GTAs to courses, and for scheduling final exams.


The Employer responded to our proposed modifications to Letters of Offer (Appendix A), and Duties Specification Agreements  (DSA, Appendix B). The intentions of these modifications are to i) clarify the distribution of duties across weeks, ii) underscore workload and student/TA ratio, as well as iii) further enshrine the concept of  mutual agreement between GTAs and their supervisor regarding the distribution of their work hours. A response to our newly proposed Overtime Request Form was presented by the University, prompting the bargaining team to engage in an open discussion about GTA workload and overtime, referencing statistics obtained from our recent Overtime Survey.


Our Bargaining team closed out the day by presenting our full response to Hours of Work.

 January 5th


 Our meeting began with the GTA Bargaining team presenting counters to Letters of Offer, DSAs, and the Overtime Request Form. These counters were prepared after discussion with the Employer on January 4th. Both teams also signed off on Union Security (Article 8), and Purpose (Article 1).


The Employer gave a comprehensive response to Hours of Work (Article 17), tieing in Letters of Offer, DSAs, and the Request for Overtime Form. 


We asserted that members are working overtime hours without compensation, and the employer asked for further information regarding the prevalence and origin of these issues. We presented information from our Fall 2017 Overtime Survey and detailed examples of issues that lead to overtime. More information on that discussion is available here.


We proposed a DSA that addresses i) the issues that cause overtime, and (ii) the TA’s right to negotiate the distribution of their hours with their Course Supervisor prior to signing (including the option to have hours fit within 10 a week). The latter is already guaranteed in the previous Collective Agreement. The Employer has expressed that they are not interested in an hours break down that indicates the number of students in the course, and the time required and/or allotted for specific duties. We are adamant that supervisors need to record these estimates on the DSA to ensure that expectations are reasonable. Further, we are adamant that the option to negotiate the distribution of hours prior to signing should be explicit on the DSA.


Western indicated that two outstanding Articles, Probationary Employees and Discipline, Suspension and Discharge (15 & 16), could not be discussed until a final comprehensive package is presented. In response, the GTA Bargaining Team replied that a comprehensive package of outstanding articles, including monetary articles, would be presented at the next meeting.


One future date was secured to meet with the Employer. The next session is scheduled to take place on February 6th, 2018.

Future meetings


Your Team will be tabling monetary demands on February 6th. Our forthcoming proposals are to secure real wage increases without clawbacks, extended funding period, tuition rebate, and benefits.


Recent communication between members and the Bargaining Team (while eating pancakes or otherwise) has lead to publishing a short communication on retro-pay. This can be found here.


The Team continues to thank all members and the Mobilization Committee for their continued efforts in supporting GTAs’ bargaining demands. Please stay tuned for upcoming mobilization activities.


In solidarity,

 Your Bargaining Team (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.):

Matthew Coady, GTA and PhD candidate in Chemistry

Nadia Ivanova, GTA and PhD candidate in Anatomy and Cell Biology

Dmitrii Marin, GTA and PhD candidate in Computer Science

Shannon Potter, GTA and PhD candidate in Economics

MaryAnne Laurico, PSAC Negotiator



Active participation of GTAs is crucial to the bargaining process. If you would like to learn more about the Mobilization Committee, or would like to become involved, contact via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


A significant portion of our members are also members of the University of Western Ontario Society of Graduate Students.