PSAC Local 901 Byte (e-newsletter) September 2017 
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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 a new year with you. We are your Teaching Assistant, Teaching Fellow, Research Assistant, 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 1 bargaining, workshops, professional development and mobilizing. Keep in the know by following our bi-weekly mail blasts and semester e-newsletters, following us on social media, our website or email us at Happy Orientation!

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

Welcome back returning and new PSAC local 901 members to the 2017-18 academic year! There is a lot going on at your union this Fall and our success depends on you getting involved. We need a steward in every department and we need health & safety representatives across campus. TA's and TF’s are currently in bargaining for a new contract, as the old collective agreement expired on April 30th, and we are forming a mobilization committee to organize for our rights on campus.

The TA and TF membership voted in the spring for the following demands: tuition support, improved health and dental benefit coverage, improved on-campus counseling services, childcare benefits or a bursary, paid training, and job security for students who receive external scholarships. Your elected Bargaining Team is currently negotiating with Queen’s to improve teaching assistant and teaching fellow lives! Stay tuned.
There are approx. 1800 TA’s and TF’s in Unit 1; and, 175 Postdocs in Unit 2. Each unit has its own collective agreement negotiated separately. Last winter, our Postdocs negotiated one of the best contracts in Canada with childcare benefits on equity with other Queen’s salary employees.

More great news, Queen’s Research Assistants have voted overwhelmingly to join our union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). We are asking all RA’s to join us at the first Research Assistants Information Meeting on September 27 at 6pm in Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 554.  We will review the steps required to achieve a first contract and when the union will be electing RA representatives.
Over the last couple of years, your union has been fighting to ensure that our members do not have to work unpaid overtime marking papers or running tutorials and labs. For example, the relatively new employer mandated online training modules must be paid, as per the TA/TF collective agreement all training is paid. We believe these online training hours should be paid in addition to your TA contract hours, and not absorbed into the contract hours. If last year it took 100 hours to TA a course and now there are new online training modules that take up to six hours, we should be paid 106 hours. Some departments pay training on top of the TA contract and other departments force us to absorb them into the regular course contract hours. We say that this is unfair!
To ensure that you don't work overtime, PSAC Local 901 has produced, developed, launching for the first time, this semester, a mobile phone smart app that will assist you to track your working hours. The free Android version is available for download on the Google Play Store by searching for *901 Time Tracker*; and the free iOS version is available at the Apple App Store. If you want to track your working hours on your computer there is an EXCEL file downloaded from the union website under Resources.

This is your union and we require your participation to make things happen. Please contact us any time. You can reach out to your Steward, email us, or call us. All the information is on our website,, We hope to hear from you!
Craig Berggold
901 Meetings & Events

Understanding the TA/TF Collective Agreement Workshop
Wednesday, September 6th 
at 1:40-2:40pm 
Biosciences, Room 1120

Feminist Cookout (By OPIRG)
Monday, September 11th
at 6-8pm
Grey House (51 Bader Lane)

Welcome Back 901 Social Event
Wednesday, September 20th 
at 5-7pm
Grad Club 

Intro to $15 and Fairness Campaign 
Friday, September 22nd

at 3:30pm 
John-Deutch University Centre (JDUC), John Orr Room

Research Assistants Information Meeting
Wednesday, September 27th
at 6pm
Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 554 

 Stewards' Council Meeting 
Thursday, September 28th 
at  6pm 
Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 554

Stay up to date on PSAC 901 announcements for more exciting events over the upcoming semester!

Unit 1 Teaching Assistant and Teaching Fellow (TA/TF) Collective Bargaining
We must improve working conditions for postdocs at Queen’s. We are bargaining for:
  • Tuition support / subsidy / fairness
  • Increase TA hourly wage and TF Course Contract Rate
  • Funds to improve the health and dental plan and improve counselling services at the Campus Wellness Centre
  • New childcare bursary paid for by the employer
  • Paid employer mandated-training for TAs in addition to contract hours
  • No claw-back of TA/TF contracts included in funding packages when members receive external scholarship 
The teaching assistant and teaching fellow bargaining team, led by Chief Negotiator Jawara Gairey, includes Unit 1 members Craig Berggold (President, PSAC Local 901), Stefy McKnight (Cultural Studies), and Alexander Rey (Engineering).

The team was bargaining with the employer over the summer. Several non-monetary proposals and housekeeping items from the expired Collective Agreement were presented to the employer. Monetary proposals were made to the employer to support Unit 1 demands, as unanimously voted by membership. 

Strikes are a measure of last resort, taken to secure our demands at the negotiating table. The goal is bargain a fair and equitable Collective Agreement. Labour withdrawal would only be taken when the unit is in a legal strike/lockout position and any action is determined democratically, by our membership.
How can you help? We need members 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 6th 
at 1:40 to 2:40pm

Biosciences Complex, Room 1120
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! 
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; 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 this year, 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. 
Seeking Joint Health and Safety Committee Representatives
Deadline to apply is September 15th 
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. JHSC members conduct safety inspections in teams of laboratories, offices, and buildings specific to their committee. They report hazards observed, and those communicated to them by students and staff in writing and at committee meetings. 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. 

Apply by seeing a max 300 word statement of interest by September 15th, explaining why you want the position, how you fulfill the required qualifications, and the committee you are applying for 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 28th at 6pm in Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 554, 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 and Community 

This past year, our local has played a leading role in supporting the Fight for $15 and Fairness in Kingston. We've worked with other unions and community partners to lobby to increase the minimum wage to $15 and to reform Ontario's outdated labour protections so that all workers have paid sick days, scheduling notice, and can join a union with fewer barriers. This campaign for economic justice has made serious gains, but the fight continues!

If you would be interested in learning more or getting involved, get in touch with Lesley Jamieson, Vice President, Community Affairs at

Kingston Solidarity Support Letter 

Recently PSAC local 901 have endorsed the passing of an Access without Fear motion by the City of Kingston. An Access without Fear policy includes the following provisions:

  1. Municipal services provided to all residents regardless of their immigration status;
  2. City staff delivering municipal services prioritizing dignity by not inquiring about nor keeping records pertaining to a person's immigration status;
  3. City staff not contacting the police or the Canada Border Services Agency regarding someone's immigration status.

Briefly, the endorsement was initiated by Solidarity Kingston which is a local group of The Access Without Fear-Sanctuary City Campaign whose main goal is to make Kingston community safer, healthier and stronger where all residents would be able to meet their basic needs with dignity and on their own terms. An Access without Fear policy for the City of Kingston would make city services available to all residents, regardless of their immigration status, and without the threat of being reported to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Kingston is home to over 120,000 residents, some of whom lack immigration documentation, i.e. named as “undocumented people”. The majority of undocumented people and their families enter the country through authorized channels. They may have entered as a refugee claimant, or with a valid visa as a student, temporary foreign worker or visitor. In some cases, undocumented persons pay money to be smuggled into the country in search of safety or a better life for themselves and their family. In several cases, undocumented people face dangerous realities in their countries of origin. Many barriers limit undocumented people's access to healthcare, education, income support, employment protection, housing, settlement services, social assistance and legal services. Studies reveal that undocumented people suffer from high levels of anxiety, depression and chronic stress. They also experience feelings of worthlessness, fear of deportation, distrust of authority, isolation from family, and a sense of disconnection from society.

Solidarity Kingston seeks to work with local Kingston residents and groups in building a culture of sanctuary in Kingston for such undocumented people who are looking for support from local community. Solidarity Kingston has made a petition in favour of an Access Without Fear resolution and has already collected over 500 signatures on paper and online. Solidarity Kingston believes that municipal policy should make consistent with human rights commitments that Ontario and Canada have already made. PSAC local 901 is proud to be a part of the compaign and will support this innitiative by all means. 


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: 10:00 - 16:00

Copyright © 2017 PSAC Local 901