PSAC Local 901 Byte (e-newsletter) January 2018 
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901 BYTE 
Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901 
Union of Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, Research Assistants, & Postdoctoral Scholars at Queen's
Welcome new and current precarious workers!
PSAC Local 901 is happy to start 2018 with you. We are your Teaching Assistant, Teaching Fellow, Research Assistant, and Postdoctoral Scholars union at Queen's University. There are many exciting things planned for the upcoming year: Unit 1 collective agreement ratification, workshops, professional development and mobilizing. Keep in the know by following our mail blasts and semester e-newsletters, social media, our website, or email us at

In Solidarity,
PSAC Local 901
President's Message 
PSAC local 901 makes gains and reaches a new tentative TA/TF collective agreement!

The Winter 2018 semester may be starting with a big chill, but we are extending a warm welcome to returning and new PSAC local 901 members! 

The Teaching Assistants/Teaching Fellows (TA/TF) collective agreement expired on April 30, 2017. Your intrepid elected Unit 1 Bargaining Team has been busy negotiating and in late December 2017 after ten meetings with the employer unanimously agreed to terms that improve TA/TF wages, paid training and new benefit contributions! The TA/TF membership must vote to approve this tentative deal. Five ratification voting dates/times are set for Thursday, January 25 at Noon, 3pm and 5:30pm; and Friday January 26 at 10am and Noon at the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC) in the Sutherland Room. Very important: As per the PSAC Constitution TA/TF members must attend a short 10-15 minute presentation by the bargaining team reviewing the highlights, followed with a question period, before voting. I want to review the main highlights below (the full agreement, or ratification kit is posted on the PSAC Local 901 website for your download and review):

Wage Increases and Benefits in your pay cheque

As per the expired TA/TF collective agreement, the TA hourly rate was $39.31 and TFs were paid $7,803 per regular half-course and both TA/TF rates included 4% vacation pay.

Upon membership ratification the new rates would look like this:
  • 1% wage increase starting May 1st, 2017, then
  • 1.25% May 1, 2018
  • 1.5% May 1, 2019
  • 1.75% May 1, 2020
  • An additional, new 3% pay in lieu of Benefits
  • Retroactive pay and benefits to May 1, 2017 for all TAs/TFs who were employed on September 30, 2017
Upon ratification of the tentative agreement the increases would break down as follows:
  • TA hourly rates will increase to $40.86 in the first year and $42.22 on May 1st, 2020
  • Teaching Fellow course will increase to $8,110 in the first year and $8,376 on May 1st, 2020
  • Including the new 3% pay in lieu of benefits, your pay cheque will increase 4% initially and increase to 5.75% on May 1st, 2020.
New Paid Training

Woohoo! This is a real victory for our local and sets a new standard in the academic sector for part-time workers! When you are a new employee, Provincial Law may mandate you to complete employer training modules, including:
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
  • Human Rights, Access Forward
  • Accessible Instruction for Educators
Unfortunately, our part-time workers across most faculty departments were not always paid to take these mandated training modules in addition to their TA contracts, as Queen’s expected TAs to take these training modules for free, forcing your union to file Policy Grievances. For example, under a new agreement a TA with a contract of 100-hours would be paid for the 100 hours plus the additional hours for the university-wide training. Teaching Fellows would also be paid in addition.
  • After ratification of the contracts, all university-wide mandated training will be paid in addition to the TA & TF contract (approx. 5-hours)
Other Contract Highlights
  • New protection for whistleblowing for TAs and TFs
  • 9 hours of paid sick leave
  • No Discrimination/No Harassment/No Violence article
Your Bargaining Team fought hard in negotiations for this tentative contract, however I was disappointed (also as a single parent) that we did not win Childcare Benefits for the TAs/TFs who have children under 12 years old. The employer argued that no other university part-time workers (the precarious) have access to the childcare benefits! Full-time employees (the salariat) do have this paid benefit, including our full-time Postdoctoral Scholars who made Canadian history winning childcare benefits in a postdoc contract. We need to build a campus-wide movement to improve the benefits of all part-time workers. Our work matters and our children are just as important! Employers are making part-time contracts the new normal, and this is a looming struggle and we should begin to mobilize now to be ready in time for negotiations for the next contract.

Research Assistants Bargaining Survey  

We are very excited to welcome Research Assistants (RAs) as the newest members of PSAC Local 901! RAs  do not have a first contract yet, however they have elected their RA Bargaining Committee and recently launched an on-line survey to determine bargaining demands. Complete the survey

RAs will vote on their bargaining demands at the RA General Meeting February 13, at 6pm at JDUC (Sutherland Room). All RAs should fill out the confidential Bargaining Survey to prioritize their demands and be entered to win $500 cash! 
Happy Hour for Progressives, Friday, January 26, 5pm to 7pm

All PSAC local 901 members are invited to join us at The Grad Club (162 Barrie Street) to hear the results of the Unit 1 ratification vote for the tentative contract. This fun social event will also be a great time to meet other progressives on campus and there will be food too! Co-organized with Queen’s OPIRG during Alt-Frosh Week.

We are so pleased at the progress we have made over the last year, but PSAC 901 still has a lot of work to do advancing our members’ issues, and we are your public voice!

I look forward to seeing you at the TA/TF Ratification Votes! Pedal to the medal…

In Solidarity,
Craig Berggold,
Upcoming Events

Unit 1 Collective Agreement Ratification Votes 
Thursday, January 25th 
at Noon, 3pm, and 5:30pm 
Friday, January 26th
at 10am and Noon 
John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC), Sutherland Room
(87 Union St.) 

 Stewards' Council Meeting 
Thursday, January 25th 
at  6pm 
Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 554

Progressives Happy Hour Social
Friday, January 26th
at 5-7pm
Grad Club (162 Barrie St) 

Research Assistants General Meeting
Tuesday, February 13th

at 6pm
John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC), Sutherland Room
(87 Union St.)
901 Resources

Progressives Happy Hour Social 

on Friday, January 26th 

The Grad Club (162 Barrie St.)

Join your union and OPIRG Kingston for free food and socializing as we enter the new semester. This event will be a great opportunity for TAs, TFs, post-docs, and RAs to meet and network with others who are interested in or involved with progressive political issues in Kingston. 

OPIRG Kingston is a campus and community group that is dedicated to research, education, and action in the public interest. During the month of January, they will be hosting a number of socially progressive events on campus for a series called “Alt-Frost”. 

Download the Work Hour Tracker Timesheet and NEW APP
Your union has created a new and efficient Work Hour Time Tracker that allows you to track your working hours in your contract. Tracking your hours will ensure that you are not overworked nor underpaid. Under the collective agreement, you can review your hours with your employment supervisor and ensure your hours are on-track. This tool will provide you with resource required to facilitate that conversation.

 We strongly encourage you to download this excel sheet and use it to track hours of work in tutorials, labs, meetings with students and supervisors, reading course material, attending TA course, all training, and even marking and emails (every five minute email counts!). 

The instructions on how to use the time tracker are found in the document. You can download the document on our website here.

New in 2017, you can also download the mobile smart phone app *901 Time Tracker* for free in Android in the Google Play Store and iOS in the Apple App Store. 
Stewards' Council Meeting
Thursday, January 25th at 6:00pm 
All members of PSAC Local 901 are invited to come to our first Stewards' Council of the new year! On January 25th at 6pm in Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 554, your Local Executive and Stewards will meet to prepare for the upcoming semester. Stewards are departmental union representatives that act as a link between the broader membership and the executive, they meet monthly to share information and concerns, develop strategies to keep the membership informed about workplace and union issues and help plan events. Stewards have a wide range of responsibilities and are an integral part of our community. Whether you are interested in becoming a steward or want to see what we do, we hope to see you there!
PSAC Local 901 is looking for Stewards to represent their departments and programs on Stewards' Council. Stewards are departmental union representatives that act as a link between the broader membership and the executive. They meet monthly at Stewards Council to share information and concerns, develop strategies to keep the membership informed about workplace and union issues, and help plan events. Stewards are responsible for informing their co-workers about upcoming union events, including general meetings, elections and education workshops. To become a Steward contact your Co-Chief Stewards at and

For more information on the role of a Steward visit the website. 

Contact Us: 
 Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901
 138 Union St. W., Queen's University, Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 547, Kingston. 
613-533-6000, ext. 77010
Office Hours: 
Mon - Thurs: 9:00 - 16:00

Copyright © 2018 PSAC Local 901