PSAC Local 901 Byte (e-newsletter) September 2016 
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901 BYTE 
Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901 
Union of Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows & Postdoctoral Scholars at Queen's
Welcome new and current precarious workers!
PSAC Local 901 is happy to start a new fiscal year with you. We are your Teaching Assistant, Teaching Fellow and Postdoctoral Scholars union at Queen's University. We are happy to meet you. There are many exciting things planned for the upcoming year: Ongoing Unit 2 bargaining, upcoming Unit 1 bargaining, workshops, professional development and mobilizing. Keep in the know by following our weekly mail blasts and semester e-newsletters, our website or email us at Happy Orientation!

In Solidarity,
PSAC Local 901
President's Message 
Craig Berggold, President 

PSAC Local 901 is your union and we negotiate the terms of your employment contracts with Queen’s and we will assist you to resolve any work-related issues and grievances. PSAC Local 901 contributes $100,000 to the SGPS Health & Dental Plan that benefits all graduate students. We fund the Emergency Dental Bursary and the International Student Bursary administrated by the SGPS.  Your membership dues exclusively fund the only Childcare Bursary on campus to assist TAs/TFs/Postdocs with childcare expenses. Your Health & Safety reps inspect labs, lecture halls and ensure that the employer maintains a campus that is a safe place to study and work. Your union is committed to an inclusive contemporary vision to end inequality in our institutions and society and we advocate for you on campus and in our communities.
Every department should have an elected Steward who attends the monthly Stewards’ Council. The first Council meeting is Sept. 27th at 6pm (followed by a social event at the Grad Club at 7:30pm). At the first Stewards’ Council there will be an important executive presentation about the steps to renew our next TA/TF collective agreement that expires on April 30, 2017. During the Fall 2016 semester, the TA/TF membership (1,400) will elect a Unit 1 (TA/TF) Bargaining Committee that will survey our working conditions in preparation for bargaining.
Our 175 Postdoctoral Scholars (Unit 2), after bargaining all summer with the employer, have reached an impasse at the negotiating table. Postdocs have begun to hold strike information sessions to prepare for a potential strike vote.  Fifty-six per cent of Queen’s Postdocs make less than the national average salary. Principle Woolf announced the results of a $640,000 million fundraising campaign. We are asking the University to support research – this includes researchers and their families.
The PSAC Local 901 executive team is ready to contribute their energy, passion, humour and creativity to represent for you. But we will only be successful with your participation. I greatly look forward to meeting you in the coming academic year – the TAs and TFs and Postdocs – the under-paid and under-appreciated hearts and souls of the Queen’s educational experience. 
Vice-President Postdoctoral Scholars Message 
Silja Freitag, Vice-President Postdoctoral Scholars

The Unit 2 (Postdocs) collective agreement expired on June 30, 2016. We are currently negotiating with Queen’s for a new contract, however the old contract will remain in effect until the new one is ratified.

Postdocs are highly trained and experienced professionals whose work is vital to Queen’s research excellence, yet treated like second class citizens. Postdocs are employees of the university, however Queen’s leaves expenses that should be covered by the employer to postdoc supervisors. This is not acceptable.
901 Meetings & Events

Understanding the TA/TF Collective Agreement Workshop
Wednesday, September 7th 
at 11:30am-12:30pm 
Mac-Corry, Room D216

Feminist Cookout 
Wednesday, September 12th
at 5:30pm - 7:30pm 
Breakwater Park  

Flying Squad Meeting
Wednesday, September 14th
at 5:30pm
Mac-Corry E324

Bylaw Committee Meeting
Wednesday, September 21st 
at Noon
 Mac-Corry E324

Stewards' Council Meeting
Tuesday, September 27th
at 6:00pm
Location TBD

 901 Member Social  
Tuesday, September 27th 
at  7:30pm 
Grad Club, Queen's Campus 

Talking Union Basics 
Saturday, October 1st  to Sunday, October 2nd 
PSAC, Kingston Regional Office

Special General Meeting
Tuesday, October 4th
at 6:00pm
Location TBD 

 Social Justice /Childcare Committee Meeting 
Wednesday, October 12th
at 6:00pm 
Mac-Corry E324 

Advanced Representation Training for Stewards
Thursday, October 27th to Sunday, October 30th
Donald Gordon Conference Centre

We must improve working conditions for postdocs at Queen’s. We are bargaining for:
  • An appropriate increase in the base salary of $32,175 - the national average postdoc salary was $45K in 2013!
  • Childcare benefits - most of the salaried employees at Queen’s receive childcare benefits – why don’t we?
  • Access to healthcare
  • Professional development
The postdoc bargaining team, led by Chief Negotiator MaryAnne Laurico, includes postdocs Jessica Merolli (Political Studies), Monique Giroux (Music) and Tamara Jamaspishvili (Cancer Biology & Genetics) and the Vice-President Postdoctoral Scholars.

The team was bargaining with the employer all summer and while inroads were made for non-monetary issues, negotiations reached now reached an impasse. The parties are now entering Conciliation; a conciliator assigned by the Ministry of Labour will guide the bargaining parties through a dispute resolution process.

Strikes are a measure of last resort, taken to secure our demands at the negotiating table. We may be forced to take a strike vote very soon. Postdocs are strongly encouraged to attend upcoming strike info sessions for information about funds available in the event of a strike. Postdocs will continue to receive communications from the team by email, web bulletin and social media after every meeting with the conciliator.
How can you help? We need postdocs, TAs and TFs to participate in upcoming rallies and information pickets to show the employer we are serious about our demands. Put up flyers and stickers, talk about our issues and spread our message on social media!

Bargaining updates are found at here. For more info and to join the bargaining committee, contact
Understanding the TA/TF Collective Agreement
and Union Resources 
PSAC Local 901's workshop at
 Teaching Development Day 

Understanding the TA/TF Collective Agreement
and Union Resources

on Wednesday, September 7th 
at 11:30am to 12:30pm

Mackintosh Corry Hall, Room D216
Each year Queen's University brings together teaching assistants (TAs), teaching fellows (TFs), postdoctoral scholars, students and faculty from across disciplines to collaborate and build strong, inclusive communities of teaching and learning. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local 901 will be hosting a workshop on understanding how the Collective Agreement operates at Queen's for TAs/TFs and Postdocs, what benefits it offers, standardized hiring practices, grievance procedures and more. Please bring your questions or concerns regarding new and current work contracts. We hope to see everyone there - both new and returning members alike! Speakers: PSAC Local 901 President Craig Berggold, Vice-President Community Relations Lesley Jamieson and Information Officer Stéfy McKnight.
Welcome Emily! 
Our new Administrative Staff Member!

PSAC Local 901 is pleased to welcome a new member to the team - meet Emily Boehmer, the office Administrative Staff Member. Proudly born and raised in Kingston, Emily has a 10 month old baby girl and a love for all animals, big and small. With a background in Human Resources and Customer Service, Emily is sure to greet you with a smile and help you with any questions you may have.

You can speak to Emily during office hours; Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 2:00pm in the Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room E324.
The Man Behind The Humour
Dirk Van Stralen 
Somewhere far on the west coast lives an artist with the talent to make terrible situations into funny terrible situations. Dirk Van Stralen, a cartoonist from BC has been contracted by PSAC Local 901 to shine a creative light on the inequitable and unfair treatment of Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows and Postdoctoral Scholars at Queen's University. Throughout the year we will be releasing cartoon panels that cover a variety of issues such as harassment, health & safety training, equal pay, lack of childcare, overtime and unsigned contracts. Keep an eye out for these humorous pokes at some of the most disgustingly real and inappropriate situations faced by our members at Queen's. 
Alt FROSH Feminist Cookout 

Feminist Cookout 
Wednesday, September 12th
at 5:30pm - 7:30pm 
Breakwater Park 

More information here
First Flying Squad Meeting
September 14th at 5:30pm 

Flying Squad is a committee of PSAC Local 901 which is committed to taking direct action against social, political, economic, and ecological forms of oppression. This can include taking on projects like contributing funds to important social causes in our communities, supporting workers on the picket line or at rallies in their struggles for fair working conditions, or supporting indigenous activism  in Katarokwi/Kingston. Regular meetings are held to discuss possible activities, but you can also join the mailing list to receive Action Alerts! 

To join the mailing list, contact Lesley Jamieson (Vice-President Community Relations)

First Flying Squad Meeting: September 14th at 5:30pm
in the PSAC Local 901 Boardroom, Mac-Corry E322

Childcare Bursary Deadline
September 15th 
The deadline for the next PSAC Local 901 Childcare Bursary is September 15th
This bursary is for expenses that occurred during the semester that you worked. If you have had childcare expenses and held a Teaching Assistantship, Teaching Fellowship & Postdoc contract between May 1st and August 31st, you may be eligible for our bursary of $500.00 per semester. 
For eligibility requirements and the application form, please visit our childcare bursary webpage. If you have any questions about the bursary please contact the Equity Officer at
Seeking Joint Health and Safety Committee Representatives
Deadline to apply is September 16th 
Are you interested in safety? Would you like to make some extra money? Then become a PSAC Local 901 representative on Joint Health and Safety Committees at Queen's. PSAC Local 901 is seeking two TAs/TFs and four Postdocs. The pay is $39.31 per hour. Experience with safety or knowledge of the Safety Act is not required as training will be provided. Reliability, objectivity, approachability, and an interest in safety are necessary. For full details see the job description here. Applications are due September 16th. Send applications and questions to
First Stewards' Council Meeting
September 27th at 6:00pm 
All members of PSAC Local 901 are invited to come to our first Stewards' Council of the year! On September 27th at 6pm, location TBD, your Local Executive and Stewards will meet to prepare for the upcoming year. 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. 
PSAC Local 901 Will be Around Campus 
PSAC Local 901 Executives will be trying to get to know as many members as possible in the upcoming month by tabling around campus. Our tabling schedule is: 

Thursday, September 8th 
Vice President Postdoctoral Scholars Silja and President Craig at Noon – 2:30pm

Wednesday, September 14th 
Vice President Postdoctoral Scholars Silja and Vice President Community Relations Lesley at 11:30am – 1:30pm

Wednesday, September 21st 
Co-Chief Steward Yagya and Vice President Community Relations Lesley at 11:30am – 1:30pm

Wednesday, September 28th
Co-Chief Steward Yagya and Vice President Community Relations Lesley  at 11:30am – 1:30pm

Come meet us, ask questions or talk. If you would like to volunteer and table with us please contact 
901 Events 

Contact Us: 
 Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901
 68, Union St, Queen's University, Mac-Corry Hall, Room E324, Kingston. 
613-533-6000, ext. 77010
Office Hours: 
Mon - Fri: 10:00 - 14:00

Copyright © 2016 PSAC Local 901