Friday, October 3, 2008One of Canada's largest unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), will soon be certified by the Ontario Labour Relations Board to represent the group of postdoctoral fellows employed as postdoctoral associates at The University of Western Ontario
Last February when PSAC filed its application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to represent the union, there were 236 postdoctoral fellows, 30 of whom were classified as postdoctoral associates and employees of Western and therefore eligible to join a union. The remaining fellows are considered to be independent contractors.
Western and PSAC have also agreed to develop objective criteria to determine in future which postdoctoral fellows are employed as postdoctoral associates and which postdoctoral fellows are independent contractors.
“As employees of Western, the postdoctoral associates have exercised their right to join a union,” says Helen Connell, Associate Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs at Western. “Western's administration looks forward to having a positive working relationship with PSAC as we do with the other unions on campus.”
"PSAC has developed a solid expertise in representing workers from the academic field," said Gerry Halabecki, the PSAC Regional Executive Vice President for Ontario. "By being part of the large PSAC family, postdoctoral fellows and postdoctoral associates at Western will be in a better position 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 postdoctoral associates and postdoctoral fellows.