Academic workers deserve rights too!

Since 2004, PSAC has been working hard to better working conditions for academic workers at Canadian universities. They are the research and teaching-staff that make academic programs tick, but rarely get the credit. They are graduate, teaching and research assistants, postdoctoral fellows and associates, part-time instructors and lecturers. 

In a time of budget crunching and shrinking endowments, academic workers are carrying more and more of the responsibility of delivering university programs and performing research. PSAC currently represents approximately 30, 000 of these workers in the Atlantic region and Québec.

The myth continues to persist that everyone with a doctorate is guaranteed a cushy, tenured position. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Postdoctoral fellows and associates are academic workers who hold PhDs and are hired to carry out research and teach, generally on year-long contracts. With few tenured positions available, the number of postdocs is on the rise. The PSAC currently represents postdoctoral fellows at eight universities in the Atlantic region, Québec and Ontario.

However, many of these crucial workers are not even recognized as employees and do not get the respect, pay and benefits that they deserve.

The PSAC has been able to negotiate major victories for academic workers including Intellectual Property and authorship protections and anti-harassment clauses in contracts. At the Memorial University of Newfoundland the union negotiated guaranteed Teaching, Graduate or Research Assistantships for the course of a graduate students’ studies and protection from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression for per-course instructors.

Nationally the PSAC has negotiated huge gains for Postdoctoral Fellows including health and dental benefits, minimum base salaries and wage increases and academic freedom protections.

If you are a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Part-time instructor, Lecturer or Postdoctoral Fellow who would like to join the union and negotiate better working conditions, pay and benefits, contact:

Dave Shaw, Atlantic Organizer
Cell phone: (902) 233-3471
**All emails and conversations will be kept strictly confidential.**

Academic workers who are members of the PSAC Atlantic are below.

Lecturers Union at Memorial University of Newfoundland (LUMUN, Local 80375)
Postdoctoral Fellows at Memorial University of Newfoundland (affiliated with LUMUN)
Professional and Technical Staff Union at the University of New Brunswick(PTSU, Local 60551) 
St. Thomas University Staff and Administration Union(STUSAU, Local 60701) 
Teaching Assistants’ Union of the Memorial University of Newfoundland (TAUMUN, Local 90600) 
Union of Graduate Student Workers at the University of New Brunswick(Local 60550) 
Workers Union of St. Thomas University Student Union (WUSTUSU, PSAC Local 6088)

Steps to Join the Union

Thanks for your interest in joining the PSAC! Here is a step-by-step guide for becoming part of the union.

  1. Contact us. We’ll discuss starting a union at your workplace and the improvements having a union can bring to your workplace.
  2. Once all your questions are answered and you’ve decided to pursue joining the PSAC, you will work with PSAC staff person to develop a plan – including getting others involved and having them sign union membership cards.
  3. Once a majority of your co-workers have signed membership cards, PSAC will ask the appropriate labour board – federal or provincial – for the right to represent you – to be the bargaining agent for you and your coworkers.
  4. Once certified, we will work with you to set up a local. This means adopting bylaws that explain how decisions are made and choosing a team who will negotiate a collective agreement with your employer. Then we will start bargaining a first agreement.
  5. For the first time you will have a role to play in determining your pay, benefits and working conditions.

Interested? Contact:
Dave Shaw, Atlantic Organizer
Cell phone: (902) 233-3471
**All emails and conversations will be kept strictly confidential.**