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March 29, 2008

UCONN PostDoc Unionization & its Influence?

Just few years ago, the term "PostDoc Union" might have been a tabo or sounded weired to utter among either postdocs and faculties within university campuses or in the academic circle. Not anymore, you are aware or atleast you are going to learn from this very blog about the first PostDoc Unionization in the history "The UCONN Health Center Postdoc Unionization. After the Uconn Health Center Postdocs (UCHC, UHP-AFT union) got unionized, things started changing for these postdocs, as well as in other places. The policy makers, university officials and postdocs started realizing about the issues postdoc encounter in academia?. Uconn Postdocs have made a lot of difference in the way postdocs do science and take care of their life though this collective abilities to raise their voice!! Such a change is causing others to think seriously about what the labour law and labour organization can do to this less well regarded young scientists. Oh dear friends....., things are slowely catching up around the world.
So much activity to organize postdocs is underway in UK . In the US, the fledgling NPA tried to make some empty noise here and there as though they are the saviors of Postdocs, but the reality about NPA is nothing they can do to improve the postdocs plight unless they go the union way to negotiate the benefits and the rest of PostDocs needs.

Just like Uconn, for the first time, the unionization of UConn Health Center postdocs as expected is going to ignite changes in other places too!!, though it is bit slow and delayed, it is destined to happen all over.

But, for now, it sparked the fire in UK and Canada. For the first time postdocs are organizing themselves to be recognized and unionized in Canada, the labour board is seriously considering the petition of Postdoc unionization?.

Interesting....So who is next and which campus is next?......

For the first time in the Canada's history, postdocs were considered to unionize!?.

Read here:

Attention News/Labour Editors:
New page in labour history LONDON,
ON, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Public Service Alliance of Canada
(PSAC) is writing a new page in Canada's labour history by defending the
rights of Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Associates to form a union at
the University of Western Ontario in London.
"It is with great pride that we stand by these workers," says PSAC
National President, John Gordon. "Workplaces constantly evolve as workers from
a variety of sectors and professional backgrounds recognize the gains that can
be realized by joining a strong national Union."
The PSAC filed a certification application with the Ontario Labour
relations Board (OLRB) on February 29, 2008 requesting a vote by the
250 Postdoctoral Fellows (PDFs) and Postdoctoral Associates (PDAs) employed by
the university.

Western challenges the right of the workers to unionize, arguing that
they don't meet the legal definition of employees under the Ontario Labour
Relations Act. The Employer contends that the PDFs are independent contractors
who are not entitled to join a Union.

OLRB proceedings to determine whether or not the workers are employees
will begin on March 26, 2008.

Gerry Halabecki, PSAC Executive Regional Vice-President for Ontario,
feels the university should adopt a more enlightened attitude towards the
rights of its employees to form a union.
"The PSAC is already a dynamic force at the University of Western Ontario
through the Graduate Teaching Assistants Union (PSAC Local 610)," says
Halabecki. "The Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Associates have the same
rights to be represented by a union and to bargain collectively."
Halabecki says the PSAC has significant experience representing teaching
and research assistants in universities in Quebec and Ontario and he is
confident that Western's Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Associates will
soon be part of the PSAC family and therefore better positioned to improve
their working conditions.
PSAC's campaign was supported by the Postdoctoral Association at Western
which is an uncertified Association that has advocated for better working
conditions for PDAs and PDFs.
For further information: Chris Wilson, PSAC Regional Organizer, (416)
485-3558 x 230; Gerry Halabecki, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President,
Ontario, (416) 485-3558 x 231, cell no. (416) 805-3987; Jim Chorostecki,
Regional Coordinator, Ontario, (416) 485-3558 x 235, cell no. (416) 458-6432

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