Postdoctoral Scholars Bargaining Updates

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QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS

COMMUNIQUÉ MARCH 16, 2017

BARGAINING TEAM REPORT FOR PSAC 901 UNIT 

POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS VOTE SUFFICIENT TO RATIFY NEW COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT

Voting over four sessions from March 13 to March 15, Public Service Alliance of Canada local 901 Postdoctoral Scholars signaled that they were sufficiently satisfied to ratify their tentative new contract with Queen’s University. Once finalized the new collective agreement will expire June 30, 2020. The Postdoc Bargaining Team is anticipating to hear from the employer to set up a date for the final signing of the contract.

For a summary of gains and additions to the new contract, including a raise in salary, new childcare benefits and new access to the Queen’s Family Health Team for Postdocs and their families, please see the attached Ratification Kit.

Past and present Postdoc Bargaining Team members include Cristian Tolsa, Jessica Merolli, Aaron Franks, Monique Giroux, Tamara Jamaspishvili, Abigail Agresta and Silja Freitag.
Stay tuned for more updates by email, web bulletin and social media.

Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Your Postdoc Bargaining Team

http://psac901.org/#bargaining

Attached: Ratification Kit DCL 901 Unit 2 Queens PDFs Feb 14 2017


 

The PSAC local 901 Postdoc Bargaining Team and Queen’s University reached a tentative agreement for the new contract on February 13, 2017!

The Negotiating Team consisting of

Negotiating Team Members Tamara Jamispishvili, Monique GirouxAbigail Agresta and Silja Freitag

PSAC Research Officer Mathieu Brule 

PSAC Negotiator MaryAnne Laurico 

unanimously recommends the acceptance of the tentative agreement.

A simple majority ratification vote out of the total number of votes is required for this new contract to come into effect. We strongly urge Postdocs to participate in this anonymous, democratic process.

The Ratification Kit is available here: PSAC 901 Unit 2 Complete Ratification Kit

To vote, Postdocs must attend one of the four Ratification Vote sessions scheduled for

Monday, ‎March 13:              12:00 Noon (JDUC, McLaughlin Room 241)

Tuesday, March ‎14:              12:00 Noon (JDUC, McLaughlin Room 241)

Tuesday, March ‎14:              5:30PM (Ellis Hall 327)

Wednesday, March 15:         Noon (JDUC, McLaughlin Room 241)

Postdocs must also listen to a short presentation and Question and Answer session with the Bargaining Team and Chief Negotiator to cast a vote.

Directions for the voting session locations:

JDUC (John Deutsch University Centre is located at the corner of Union St and University St

Ellis Hall is located at 58 University St between Richardson Hall and Jeffrey Hall.

Please contact PSAC local 901 at info@psac901.org if you require accessibility accommodations.

If you have any questions, please email vppc@psac901.org.

www.psac901.org

On behalf of the Postdoc Bargaining Team,

Silja Freitag

Vice-President Postdoctoral Scholars


Jan 9, 2016

Dear Postdocs,

Welcome back! The year 2017 promises to be exciting for all of our members. Since June 30, 2016 Postdoctoral Scholars have been without a new contract. The Postdoc Bargaining team and Chief Negotiator MaryAnne Laurico have been at the bargaining table with Queen’s University since early summer. The ongoing bargaining sessions led to Conciliation in late Fall with Labour Board appointed Conciliator Diane Bull.

Throughout the process Postdoc participation was impressive! For example, Postdocs helped launch the far-reaching Dr. Noodles Campaign, sending their thoughts about Postdoc conditions to the Queen’s Administration. These messages reached Postdocs and community members all across Canada and the USA, making sure that our issues are heard. Following the vote for a strong Postdoc Strike Mandate, allowing them to take Labour Action, members elected a Strike Committee at a Special General Meeting. Strike Committees ensure that Labour Actions are appropriate for the membership, organize logistics such as childcare and a hardship Defence Fund, and more. Members also received Strike Captain training at the PSAC Regional Office in December. Unit 2 members are definitely ready for anything in 2017 that the employer throws at them!

Media attention gained momentum as our campaigns rolled out through the fall. Postdocs and their issues were featured in the Kingston Whig Standard, The Queen’s Journal, CFRC Radio, Channel 14 and CKWS TV. For the Holiday Season members of the Bargaining Team created tongue in cheek radio ads featuring a rather Grinchy employer, reminding Queen’s (and Kingston) that Postdoc minimum salaries need to be raised!

Postdocs deserve a great new contract with salaries enabling them to live in dignity! We will not stop fighting until this happens. Keep in the loop by reading our updates in email newsletters, checking out www.psac901.org and following social media! Please email me at vppd@psac901.org if you have any questions, comments or concerns, or if you would like to be involved in this very interesting process.

Much success (and a great new contract!) in 2017!

In Solidarity,

Silja Freitag
Vice-President Postdocs


 

Dec 6, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Postdoctoral Scholars at Queen’s University welcomed to Alma Mater Society Food Bank in time for the Holiday

Kingston – The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local 901 and the Alma Mater Society Food Bank are pleased to announce that Postdoctoral Scholars at Queen’s University have gained access to the campus Food Bank effective immediately. Today, PSAC local 901 made an $850 contribution to the Food Bank, which includes a $2 fee for each of the 175 Postdoctoral Scholars represented by the union, and a $500 donation.

“The AMS Food Bank is working with PSAC local 901 to extend food services to Postdocs at Queen’s University. We thank the members of PSAC local 901 for their generosity and initiative in supporting Postdocs at Queen’s University,” writes AMS Food Bank Manager Cole Smith. “I’m glad we have started to take steps towards supporting Postdocs at Queen’s University.”

The Food Bank relies mainly on donations as well as a $1.00 student fee from both the AMS and the Society for Graduate and Professional Students. Funds are for the purchasing of fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and other items on a weekly basis.

Dr. Tamara Jamaspishvili, PSAC local 901 Equity Officer states, “When Postdocs have difficulties making ends meet after paying for rent, childcare and student loan payments, it can become impossible to provide nutritious food for their families. Food precarity is real and those who experience it feel they have no place to turn. PSAC Local 901 looks forward to this collaboration with AMS, it will make a positive difference for some Postdocs and their families who are in need.”

The AMS Food Bank is currently located at 218 Barrie Street (McGillivray-Brown Hall) and is open 5:00pm – 6:30pm every evening until (and including) Monday, December 12th and will also be open Friday, December 9th from 10:00am – 11:30am. They will relocate to Room 343 in the John Deutsch University Centre (corner of Union St. and University St.) on December 13th and reopen on January 9th, 2017 with regular hours, open daily from 10:00am – 11:30am and 5:00pm – 6:30pm.

Food Bank manager Smith explains that services will still be available. “We strive to accommodate patrons on an individual level, if there is support that we can offer outside of our regular hours of operation (i.e. grocery pick-up outside of operational hours or requests for specific high demand items). I will attempt to personally facilitate alternative arrangements until December 21st.”

Please contact Cole Smith at foodbank@ams.queensu.ca. The AMS Food Bank can also be reached at 613- 533-6972 during operating hours and at 613-533-6000 x 74816 outside operating hours. For more information visit amsfoodbank.com.

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For more information or to book interviews, please contact PSAC local 901 Information Officer Stéfy McKnight (info.officer@psac901.org) 249-878-7833.

 


 

Dec 6, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Queen’s University Postdocs challenge employer to match food bank donation

Kingston – Postdoctoral Scholars are highly trained research professionals with a PhD. Approximately 175 Postdoctoral Scholars who work at Queen’s University and are represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local 901, have challenged their Union and their Employer to match the local’s donation of $500 to a Kingston, ON food bank.

“Some Postdocs at Queen’s University are living in poverty, having to rely on the local food bank to feed their families,” says Craig Berggold, PSAC Local 901 President. “We have been negotiating with the University to raise its current minimum salary of just over $32,000 to help nearly a quarter of Postdocs who are trying to survive on this yearly wage.”

During their bargaining campaign, the PSAC local 901 learned that some of the Postdoctoral Scholars rely on the food bank to make ends meet. The union decided to support Kingston food banks while continuing their fight to raise all Postdocs’ minimum salary to a living wage.

PSAC local 901 has launched radio advertisements on K-Rock 105.7 and KiSS 102.7, two popular radio stations in the Kingston area. The ads raise awareness on the precarious living conditions facing Postdocs.

“It’s beyond unacceptable that Postdocs need to rely on the food bank over the holidays because Queen’s University refuses to raise their minimum salaries,” states Craig Berggold. “These radio ads will raise awareness on this injustice.”

Listen to the ad at http://tinyurl.com/PSAC901Ads.

For updates on PSAC local 901 Postdoctoral Scholars bargaining with Queen’s University visit

http://psac901.org/postdoc-bargaining-updates/

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For more information or to book interviews, please contact PSAC local 901 Information Officer Stéfy McKnight (info.officer@psac901.org) 249-878-7833.

 


Queen’s University Postdoctoral Scholars

Communiqué November 24, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2

 Will Queen’s University Postdocs be ‘scrooged’ this Holiday Season?

 The conciliation session with Conciliator Diane Bull and the university on November 22 became intense as the night went on. We were discouraged with the university’s opposition to raise postdoc wages to an appropriate minimum salary. Our team offered the employer a solution that would actually save money. We were left wondering: why is the employer stalling?

Queen’s has created yet another delay, forcing us to wait until they supply us with the disclosure we require to do a costing analysis. Until this happens we are unable to respond to their latest pass.

We insist that the employer ensures that we receive the disclosure we need to continue conciliation as soon as possible. We cannot imagine how difficult it would be for our postdocs to worry that they might get ‘scrooged’ by Queen’s as we enter this Holiday Season.

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer.

Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team

http://psac901.org/#bargaining

 


 

Queen’s University Postdoctoral Scholars

Communiqué Oct 28, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2

 Conciliation continues: University hesitates at creative solution

 

 The Postdoc Bargaining Team continued conciliation well into the evening with the University and Conciliator Diane Bull. The University had asked us to work within a limited monetary envelope. When your team proposed a creative solution that would satisfy the member’s mandate within the monetary envelope, the university balked.

We trust that the university will respond to our proposal in good faith.

While no dates are set, the parties are looking into additional conciliation dates.

Strike Training for Picket/Strike Captains will commence on November 10th.

Strike Training for the   Unit 2 general membership will follow at a date to be determined.

There will be a Special General Meeting on November 9th at 6pm, where a Strike Committee will be elected.

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer.

Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

You Bargaining Team

http://psac901.org/#bargaining

 


 

Queen’s University Postdoctoral Scholars

Communiqué October 18, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2

Postdocs send strong message to Employer:

Get back to the table and offer a fair contract now!

 

 After five strike mandate vote meetings over three days, with presentations from the bargaining team, Postdoctoral Members voted to strike if talks with the employer do not result in a fair contract.

Postdocs have voted to send a strong message: We will strike if provoked.

Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

We will be in contact with you again soon.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team


 

Queen’s University Postdoctoral Scholars

Communiqué Oct 5, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2

 Queen’s breaks off Conciliation early after union counter proposal –  Strike mandate vote meetings scheduled for Oct. 13, 14 and 17

 

 Negotiations with Queen’s University came to an impasse in late summer. Today your Postdoc Bargaining Team and the employer engaged in their first day of Conciliation with the Ontario Labour Relations Board appointed Conciliator, Diane Bull. The Conciliator met with both teams separately and proposals were exchanged. Queen’s University did not respond to our last proposal even though we moved on several issues, instead breaking off conciliation early. Future Conciliation dates are yet to be determined.

The postdoc bargaining team is dedicated to achieving our membership’s mandate for fair wage increases, access to health care, reasonable childcare benefits and an opportunity to participate in professional development.

We would like to thank Aaron Franks for his participation on the Bargaining Team and wish him the best in his new endeavours. We welcome Monique Giroux from the Dan School of Drama and Music, who has proven to be a great addition to your Bargaining Team.

For our most recent media coverage, please visit http://www.station14.ca/video.html?id=5045.

We are conducting strike mandate votes over the next two weeks:

STRIKE MANDATE VOTE MEETINGS

October 13 at 12 noon  – Dunning Rm 12

October 13 at 5:30pm – Dunning Rm 12

October 14 at 12 noon – JDUC John Orr Rm (344)

October 14 at 5:30pm – JDUC Sutherland Rm (204)

October 17 at 12:00 noon – JDUC Sutherland Rm (204)

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer.

Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team

http://psac901.org/#bargaining


 

Oct 3, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Queen’s University Postdocs appeal for childcare benefits and equity with other employees.

Kingston – Queen’s University’s world class postdoctoral scholars struggle to afford childcare costs and rent.

“Affording daycare is one of the biggest challenges facing postdocs with children. Unlike other faculty and staff at Queen’s, postdocs receive no childcare benefits. This is very difficult because daycare costs are so high. Depending on the month, anywhere from one third to one half of my take-home income goes to daycare. What’s left isn’t enough to cover my monthly expenses, and most months it doesn’t even cover rent,” said Dr. Monique Giroux, who came to Queen’s in 2015 to work as a postdoctoral scholar.

Postdoctoral scholars (or postdocs) are vitally important to make Queen’s a world renowned research facility and, along with their Principal Investigators, attract hundreds of millions of dollars in funding each year. “Creativity, discoveries, and innovations have made Queen’s one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities and post-doctoral fellows play an important role in this vibrant community” (Queen’s University website).

Postdocs at Queen’s have been bargaining with their employer all summer. Negotiations have reached an impasse and the University filed for conciliation in August. The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has appointed a conciliator, and the parties will first meet with the conciliator on October 5, 2016.

Many of the 175 postdocs employed by Queen’s receive a minimum salary of $32,174, far below the $80,728 average yearly spending for Canadian households (Statistics Canada, 2014). More than half the salaries are below the national average for postdocs (CAPS-MITACS, 2013). Principal Investigators at Queen’s try to do their best to support postdocs, but financial contributions by the employer are crucial for these researchers.

The dream of becoming a researcher at Queen’s University can quickly turn into a nightmare. Giroux explains, “Like most postdocs at Queen’s, I moved to Kingston for this job. My partner had to leave his work behind, and start over. Unfortunately, the work that he’s been able to find here is unpredictable and poorly paid–we can’t count on it to cover more than a very small fraction of our expenses.”

Dr. Cristian Tolsa, a Queen’s postdoctoral scholar from Spain agrees. “We are new to Canada, and therefore typically do not have access to parental leave or unemployment subsidies. With only one income source in the family we are very close to poverty. As newcomers we do not have access to federally funded childcare benefits. Supported childcare benefits seem like the minimum the employer can do for us”.

Craig Berggold, President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901, the postdoc union at Queen’s hopes the employer will do the right thing. “Postdocs who make the minimum salary of $32,174 per year and have one child, are living below the poverty line. The members are asking for equity, their top two demands are an increase to the minimum salary and childcare benefits, benefits that are already enjoyed by faculty, staff and senior management.”

“We’re essentially in a situation where we can’t afford childcare, but have to pay for it, spending more than we make, in the hope that we will eventually be able to establish careers that pay a living wage,” says Giroux.

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For additional information or to arrange interviews with Postdocs in the release, please contact: Craig Berggold, President president@psac901.org 647-328-9383

http://psac901.org/postdoc-bargaining-updates/


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Queen’s Postdocs in bargaining for fair wages make 

Mr. Noodle donation to “cash-strapped” University

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

August 31, 2016

At 10am, Richardson Hall, Queen’s University

A delegation of Postdoctoral Scholars delivered to Principal Woolf’s office a basket of charity –

Mr. Noodles Ramen soup – to symbolize their poverty and precarious employment at Queen’s University. Postdocs are senior University researchers and they wrote heartfelt messages on the packages of

Mr. Noodle and gifted them to the Principal.

Postdoc messages included:

“Sorry to hear about your financial situation. I wish I could help, but I only have $1200 left after I pay for daycare.”

“I can’t afford to send my kid to daycare without childcare benefits.”

“Your luxury is our poverty.”

“My spouse cannot go to work because we cannot afford childcare.”

“Your salary: $360,500. My salary: $32,174. Does this keep you up at night?”

“It’s a dry life, like the noodle.”

“The dinner of scholars. Enjoy.”

Postdoctoral Scholars at Queen’s University have reached an impasse in bargaining to renew their contract. Queen’s University has filed for Conciliation, and the Bargaining Team awaits the Appointment of a Conciliator. At the negotiating table the University delivered a message of “dire financial straits”, however Principal Woolf states in a media release on May 6, 2016 that the Initiative Campaign vastly exceeded its goal and raised $640 million. Postdoctoral Scholars and their Principal Investigators attract hundreds of millions of dollars each year to make Queen’s University a world renowned research facility.
To learn more about the ongoing Postdoc Strike Information Sessions at Queen’s University visit the Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901 Bargaining Updates at

http://psac901.org/postdoc-bargaining-updates/.

See Attachment: Photos of Mr. Noodle messages

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For additional information or to arrange interviews with Postdocs, please contact:

Craig Berggold, President

president@psac901.org

647-328-9383

www.psac901.org   PSAC facebook and twitter

08_Queens_Postdocs_MrNoodle_Donation_IMG_9906


Queen’s University Postdoctoral Scholars

Communiqué August 18, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2 

 It’s crunch time! Postdocs must attend strike information settings!

Your Postdoc Bargaining Team has been listening to the University’s position, taking into account their concerns with each pass. We remain firmly committed to achieving the membership’s mandate for fair wage increases, reasonable childcare benefits, access to healthcare and an opportunity to participate in professional development. We trust that as an internationally recognized academic institution, the University will choose to provide postdocs with a financial package and environment to deliver the innovative, high quality research that enables Queen’s to maintain its reputation.

Why are we not offered benefits already available to other Queen’s employee groups, but instead treated like second class employees? We need wages and benefits that account for the high cost of living in Kingston. We need wages and benefits that address the precarity of short term postdoc employment. We need wages and benefits, so that we can support our families.

For information about funds available in event of a strike, members should attend

STRIKE INFORMATION SESSIONS 

Wednesday, August 24th at 12:00 noon and 5:30PM 

John Deutsch University Centre (87 Union Str.)

McLaughlin Room

Pizza will be served! RSVP for special dietary requirements.

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is tentatively scheduled to meet with the employer again on August 30 and 31.

It is time to take action! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

We will be in contact with you again soon.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team


 

Queen’s University Postdoctoral Scholars

Communiqué August 12, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2  

Employer’s position over wages a slap in the face for postdocs – is it time for action?

The employer continues to refuse fair wage increases and put more money into struggling postdocs’ pockets and help their families. Postdoc research attracts millions of dollars of funding to Queen’s University every year – we should not be treated like second class citizens.

The university’s contemptuous refusal to offer an appropriate increase in wages says it loud and clear: we want your labour and expertise, but we are not prepared to pay you for it!

Queen’s confirmed that postdocs are employees of the institution, not of their faculty supervisors. Why then do they refuse to pick up the tab?

 

We will hold

STRIKE INFORMATION SESSIONS 

Wednesday, August 24th at 12:00 noon and 5:30PM 

Location to be announced!

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is tentatively scheduled to meet with the employer again on August 18, 30 and 31.

It is time to take action! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

We will be in contact with you again soon.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team


Communiqué August 10, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2 

Postdocs push hard line for equity

The Queen’s Postdoc Bargaining team presented a comprehensive response to the package offered by the University.

Wage increases, childcare benefits and employment development will help address the precarity of postdoc employment and ensure equity with other employee groups at Queen’s University. Both teams continued the discussion concerning access to healthcare and clarified positions regarding this important objective.

The team tentatively signed off Attachment A – Contact information and an LOA regarding Group Benefit Plan.

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is tentatively scheduled to meet with the employer again on August 12, 18, 30 and 31.

Get involved postdocs! We are counting on you to help us mobilize our membership and allies! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team


Queen’s University Postdoctoral Scholars

Communiqué August 4, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2

 Queen’s low-balls postdocs – Bargaining team unimpressed!

Postdocs, you told us that your top issue is an increase in wages. Today Queen’s proposed a pay-cut for postdocs and refused equity with other precarious employees on campus. The employer did not offer an increase in the minimum salary, meaning that with annual inflation we will actually take a pay-cut!

You also told us that childcare benefits, access to on-campus healthcare, professional development and housing subsidies are extremely important to you. The University recognized the precarity of our employment in one way and offered access to healthcare, but they undermined that recognition by wanting to be able to take it away at any point. The proposals for childcare and professional development were well below the standard of the university, suggesting that Queen’s still thinks of us as second class employees.

Postdocs are the backbone of research at Queen’s, they add prestige and attract research grants in the millions of dollars to the university every year. We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect!

We need to put pressure on the employer and share our stories with the rest of Queen’s, Kingston, and the broader, national community. We are counting on you to attend meetings in the next month to discuss our next steps. PSAC Local 901 President, Craig Berggold, met with the team after today’s session and reported that the Unit 2 Strike/Defense Fund has been accruing monthly since March.

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is tentatively scheduled to meet with the employer again on August 10, 12, 18, 30 and 31.

Get involved postdocs! VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org will contact you with details how to mobilize our memberships and allies! You can show your support by printing out the attached logo and stick it up on your door! Use it as a desktop background or decorate your lab bench and lunch room.

The Bargaining Team thanks Cristian Tolsa, who had to step down, for his contribution to the team. We welcome our awesome new team member Jessica Merolli (Political Studies).

In solidarity,

Your Postdocs Bargaining Team


Communiqué July 19, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2  

Queen’s aiming to prioritize our demands

Your Postdoc Bargaining Team was back at the negotiating table and had thoughtful discussions with the employer about the comprehensive economic package presented by us on July 15, 2016. The employer’s team expressed interest in several aspects of our proposals and requested additional background information about all our demands, including wages, childcare benefits, career development and access to health services for postdocs and their families. The employer expressed their interest in prioritizing the monetary demands outlined in our proposal. We expect them to present a counter proposal soon.

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is tentatively scheduled to meet with the employer again on August 4, 10, 12, 18, 30 and 31.

Get involved postdocs! We are counting on you to help us mobilize our membership and allies! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team


 

Communiqué July 18, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2

Team proposes economic package to address postdoc precarity and gender wage gap in postdoc salaries!

 

Dear Postdocs, friends and allies,

Your Postdoc Bargaining Team submitted a comprehensive economic package for the new collective agreement to the employer on Friday, July 15. PSAC Research Officer Mathieu Brûlé’s fantastic presentation detailing the current gender wage gap in Queen’s University postdoc salaries was received with interest by the employer. This wage gap would be closed by an increase to the minimum postdoc salary (see attached charts below).

Your bargaining team presented proposals to the employer including

  • Minimum postdoc salary increase
  • Childcare benefits
  • Access to services on campus

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is scheduled to meet with the employer again on July 19 and 21.

Get involved postdocs! We are counting on you to help us mobilize our membership and allies! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team


Communiqué July 13, 2016

Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2 

Team signs final non-monetary demand!

Dear Queen’s Postdocs,

Today your Postdoc Bargaining Team signed the final non-monetary demands today! All tentatively signed-off articles are subject to ratification by the membership.

  • We signed off on the No Discrimination and Harassment Article 11, which now has a new name, “No Discrimination/No Harassment/No Violence” because it now includes provisions for a violence-free workplace, including domestic and sexual violence.
  • The university also now recognizes discrimination based on language, except if it is a bona fide requirement.

We will present our comprehensive monetary package to Queen’s on Friday!

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is scheduled to meet with the employer again on July 19, 21 and 28.

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is scheduled to meet with the employer again on July 19, 21 and 28.

Give our team a shout-out of support by noon on Friday, July 15 and we will tweet it to the world and post it on our Facebook page! We can tweet your name or the tweet can be anonymous…just let us know what you prefer!

Send your shout-outs to Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org!

We welcome postdocs who would like to get involved in this exciting process and help us mobilize our membership and allies! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team


Communiqué July 11, 2016 Bargaining Team Report for PSAC 901 Unit 2 Hot town, summer in the city: A great day for negotiating

Dear Queen’s Postdocs, On June 24th, we discussed the definition of a postdoc and their contribution to Queen’s University and tentatively signed off on this as part of Article 1 (Purpose). Also on the table was the No Discrimination/No Harassment policy, and the purpose, scope and content of the postdoc appointment letter. On July 11th, our team had a productive bargaining session and tentatively signed off on some articles, which are still subject to ratification by the membership of the full collective agreement.

  • Changes in Article 8 (Correspondence and Information) will ensure more efficient communication of postdocs with their union and the employer and also address concerns with the use of student NetID email addresses.
  • Article 12 (Appointments) and Schedule A reflect changes to postdoc appointment letters, which will ensure incoming employees are informed about steps they need to take when they start their employment at Queen’s, including communicating with their union, signing up for benefits and so on.
  • The team also signed off on Article 6 (Union Representation and Activities).

We applaud the University’s commitment to improving HR processes and communication. You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is scheduled to meet with the employer again on July 13, 15, 19, 21 and 28. We welcome postdocs who would like to get involved in this exciting process and help us mobilize our membership and allies! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information. In solidarity, Your Bargaining Team


Bargaining Team Communiqué June 14, 2016

PSAC 901 Unit 2

The heat is on: another bargaining session and hot BBQ!

Dear Queen’s Postdocs,

On Tuesday June 14, 2016 your PSAC 901 Postdoc Bargaining Team once again negotiated with the employer. At the table were Chief Negotiator MaryAnne Laurico and team members Cristian Tolsa (Classics), Tamara Jamaspishvilli MD (Cancer Biology and Genetics; Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Aaron Franks (Cultural Studies) and VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag. The team also met with PSAC Research Officer, Mathieu Brûlé, who will help with research and during bargaining. This session was productive and our team tentatively signed-off on Article 5, Union Security. We also continued discussions around the definition of a postdoc, the appointment letter and the No Discrimination/No Harassment policy.

Following this session, the Bargaining Team met with the PSAC 901 membership at a Postdoc Bargaining BBQ Lunch at the Grad Club. We are so pleased with the high turnout and interest! Over 50 people attended and we also received many RSVPs from postdocs at conferences and in the field, from as far away as the arctic. It was also great to see PSAC Ontario Regional Organizer Tim McIntyre drop by, as he was a key union organizer during unionization and during mobilization for our first contract! We also appreciate the solidarity pledge from Unit 1, TAs and TFs!

Visit http://psac901.org/2016/06/15/strike-or-home-run-to-win-postdoc-bbq-14-june/ for pictures of the event!

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is tentatively scheduled to meet with the employer again on June 24 and 27.

We welcome postdocs who would like to get involved in this exciting process and help us mobilize our membership and allies! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

In solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team


Communiqué June 3, 2016

The PSAC 901 Unit 2 Bargaining Team Report 

 TGIF! PSAC 901 negotiations with the employer continued today!

 

Dear Queen’s Postdocs,

The PSAC 901 Postdoc Bargaining Team had a productive negotiating session with the employer today. Chief Negotiator MaryAnne Laurico along with team members Cristian Tolsa (Classics), Tamara Jamaspishvilli MD (Cancer Biology and Genetics; Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Aaron Franks (Cultural Studies) and VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag tentatively signed off on Article 19 (Grievance Procedures) today. Remember that any changes to the collective agreement are subject to ratification by you, the membership.

A discussion about standardized language in the postdoc appointment letter to ensure that postdocs are aware of their rights and benefits came off to a good start. Discrepancies and missing information in these letters have led to hardships for our members. Our concerns were clearly expressed by team member Cristian Tolsa and seemed to fall on receptive ears.

You will receive a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer. The Bargaining Team is tentatively scheduled to meet with the employer again on June 14, 24 and 27.

We welcome postdocs who would like to get involved in this exciting process and help us mobilize our membership and allies! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

Unit 2 members (Postdocs!) and allies are invited to the 

Postdoc Bargaining BBQ: Strike or Home Run to Win

June 14, 12am-1pm at the Grad Club!

Get some hot, free food!

Hear the Bargaining Team’s report!

Meet some cool postdocs!

Let’s fight for our demands!

RSVP to vppd@psac901.org by June 11, 2016 and indicate number of people attending and special dietary requirements (vegan/gluten free)

In Solidarity,

Cristian Tolsa, Tamara Jamaspishvilli, Aaron Franks, MaryAnne Laurico and Silja Freitag


 

Communiqué May 31, 2016

The PSAC 901 Unit 2 Bargaining Team Report

3, 2, 1 Blast-off!!!

PSAC 901 Unit 2 Negotiations with the Employer started today!

Dear Queen’s Postdocs,

We were excited to begin negotiations for the first renewal of our collective agreement on your behalf today! Under the leadership of Chief Negotiator MaryAnne Laurico, the PSAC 901 Unit 2 Bargaining Team presented several non-monetary proposals that flowed from the demands that you ratified from our PSAC 901 bargaining survey and outreach meetings and the latest Unit 2 general meeting.

Your Bargaining Team consists of postdocs Cristian Tolsa (Classics), Tamara Jamaspishvilli MD (Cancer Biology and Genetics; Pathology and Molecular Medicine) and Aaron Franks (Cultural Studies). You can expect a communication from us by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the employer.

PSAC 901 President Craig Berggold and VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag also attended the meeting and represented the interests of PSAC 901 and academic workers at Queen’s University!

The Bargaining Team is tentatively scheduled to meet with the employer on May 31st, June 3, 14 and 27.

We welcome postdocs who would like to get involved in this exciting process and help us mobilize our membership and allies! Please contact VP-Postdocs Silja Freitag at vppd@psac901.org for more information.

Save the date!

Unit 2 members are invited to the

Lunch BBQ:

Strike or Home Run to Win

June 14, 12am-1pm at the Grad Club!

Hot, free food!

The Bargaining Team’s report!

Cool postdocs!

Let’s fight for our demands!

In Solidarity,

Your PSAC 901 Unit 2 Bargaining Team


 

Bargaining Update (May 2016)

Meet your Bargaining Committee here.

The Postdoctoral Scholars of Queen’s University are preparing to negotiate with Queen’s University (the employer) for their second Collective Agreement. Their current Collective Agreement expires 30 June 2016.

If you are interested in joining the bargaining committee, please email vppd@psac901.org.

A bargaining team that negotiates directly with the employer will be elected from the bargaining committee.


Bargaining Updates (January 2016)
VP Postdoctoral Scholars Report

In this report, which you will also find in the next issue of The 901 Bite, I will update you on important PSAC 901 Unit 2 issues and activities. The winter semester will be very busy and exciting for Unit 2 members – keep an eye out for regular email updates to keep you informed. Please contact me anytime at VPPD@psac901.org with questions, issues or to say hello.

In this report:

  • Unit 2/Postdocs General Meetings
  • Term change from Postdoctoral Fellow to Postdoctoral Scholar
  • PSAC 901 Childcare Bursary
  • Career Workshop
  • Call for joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Representatives
  • Joint Union Management Committee (JUMC)
  • An Clachan and John Orr Tower family friendly housing for postdocs
  • City of Kingston Transpass Program
  • Family doctors for Queen’s postdocs
  • Queen’s Employee Group Benefits changes
  • Welcome new Postdocs!
  • Unit 2 General Meeting – October 16th, 2015

The Unit 2 Collective Agreement expires at the end of June 2016. At a Postdocs General Meeting on October 16th, 2015 we identified and discussed issues we need to address in our new Collective Agreement negotiations. Postdocs shared a number of blatant equity issues, such as the lack of childcare benefits, currently enjoyed by all other staff members at Queen’s University! Other issues included access to family doctors and services such as career counselling, services currently available to TAs and graduate students, but not postdocs. Other services available to postdocs are simply not advertised as such by the employer. PSAC 901 President Craig Berggold discussed the importance of identifying what issues are most important to us before commencing negotiations for our new Collective Agreement with the employer.

Unit 2 Special General Meeting – December 3rd, 2015

The meeting on December 3rd, 2015 12:30pm-1:30pm and 5:30pm-6:30pm was attended by MaryAnne Laurico, the PSAC Regional Representative. MaryAnne described the bargaining process and the roles played by our local and PSAC national and reported on previous negotiations for the current Unit 2 Collective Agreement. The lack of childcare benefits for postdocs, an equity issue, as well as access to family doctors and minimum salaries for postdocs were discussed. A motion to establish a Unit 2 Bargaining Committee, in compliance with our bylaws, was passed. Postdocs also passed a motion to establish as Unit 2 Defense Fund up to $100,000 based on 0.5% of the postdoc minimum salary. Collection of the special levy will start as soon as possible.

Term change from Postdoctoral Fellow to Postdoctoral Scholar

At the Special General Meeting (November 4th, 2015) we passed a by-law to update the term Postdoctoral Fellow to Postdoctoral Scholar. Our administrative staff member Matthew Scribner is working hard to actively amend the term in our PSAC 901 correspondence, administration, documentation, website, by-laws and so on. I am very pleased that this progressive term already used by many institutions worldwide, the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars and funding agencies such as NSERC, has been adopted by PSAC 901.

PSAC 901 Childcare Bursary

The PSAC 901 Childcare Bursary applications for the 2015 summer and fall semesters were due on December 15th, 2015 and many postdocs applied. Applications for the winter semester are due on April 15th, 2015. PSAC 901 are invited to members to join us at the next Childcare Bursary meeting on January 14th, 2016.

Career Workshop

PSAC 901 supported 25 members in attending a LinkedIn workshop organised by the Science to Business Network, a student run, not for profit group giving career building workshops and setting up mentorships with industry representatives. The workshop had an overwhelmingly positive response by Unit 1 and 2 member and the local is considering supporting more career/skill building activities in the future.

Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Representatives needed!

The JHSC is comprised of various union members and the University’s administration staff. JHSC members work in teams and inspect offices, labs and buildings, ensuring that hazards are reported, keeping our workplace safe. We need four Unit 2 reps, one each from Arts and Science, Health Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, and University Administrative Services (Law, Business, and Religion faculties) on the JHSC as soon as possible. No previous experience in Health and Safety monitoring is required and all training will be provided. I have attended a JHSC meeting on November 25th, 2015 and it was very interesting to learn about the many safety issues identified by this committee. To get involved and help keep our members safe, please visit http://www.psac901.org/health-and-safety/ or contact the PSAC 901 Health and Safety Officer Alexandru Sonoc at healthandsafety@psac901.org.

Joint Union Management Committee (JUMC)

The JUMC reviews and discusses matters pertaining to the application of the Collective Agreement mutually important to both PSAC 901 and the employer and meets at least once every three months. PSAC 901 President Craig Berggold and I attended a JUMC meeting on December 14th, 2015. The employer responded to a number of concerns.

An Clachan and John Orr Tower family friendly housing for postdocs: Queen’s University Housing administers family friendly housing near West Campus. We requested clarification about the eligibility of postdoc applicants and were assured that postdocs and their families may apply for 12 month leases for these units. Please visit http://community.housing.queensu.ca/ to fill out an application and let me know if you have any difficulties.
City of Kingston Transpass Program: As Queen’s staff members, postdocs can take advantage of the City of Kingston Transpass Program and purchase discounted bus passes starting at $53/month (rather than $72/month). The following process to get a pass requires your patience. Pick up an enrolment form at the Queen’s Parking Office at 207 Stuart Street (2nd floor). Bring the completed form, including the Queen’s Employment Agreement Form to the Payment Center at City Hall, located at 216 Ontario Street (Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:40pm). Return a copy marked Employer’s HR/Payroll Dept to Donna Stover (Manager of Queen’s Parking Services at 207 Stuart Street, 2nd floor). Costs for your card will be deducted monthly from your pay while you have the pass. Please visit http://www.queensu.ca/parking/transpass-program for more information or email Donna Stover at stoverd@queensu.ca.
Family doctors for Queen’s postdocs: It takes a long time and is difficult to get a family doctor in Kingston. We urged the employer to make the Queen’s University Health and Wellness Services (family doctors, nurses and counselors) available to postdocs and their families, currently only available to students. Our view is that there are only 180 postdocs and 25,000 students. Surely the employer can figure out how to include us in these services. If you are concerned about the difficulties in finding a family doctor in Kingston, please email me at VPPD@psac901.org.
Queen’s Employee Group Benefits changes: Representatives from the Queen’s University Faculty Union (QUFA) and other unions at Queen’s will meet in January 2016 to investigate future cost neutral changes to all union group benefits. It is very important to have Unit 2 representation on this committee. Please email me at VPPD@psac901.org if you are interested in attending these meetings on behalf of PSAC 901 postdocs.
Welcome new Postdocs!

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our new postdocs on their postings and wish them a productive (and fun) time here in Kingston. Please familiarise yourself with the Unit 2 Collective Agreement at http://www.psac901.org/postdoc/postdoccollectiveagreement/, outlining your rights and benefits while you are a member. Please contact me if you did not receive a USB key with the full Collective Agreement from the employer. I am looking forward to meeting you and hope that you will consider becoming involved with some of our PSAC 901 committees, especially the Postdocs Bargaining Committee.

Have a great week and I will see you at the meeting!

Sincerely,

Silja Freitag

VP Postdoctoral Scholars PSAC 901

VPPD@psac901.org