Rally on Queen’s Campus to Support Equity and Fairness in Bargaining

The United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2010-01, representing Academic Assistants, and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Local 901 Unit 2, representing Postdoctoral Scholars, will hold a rally on October 11, 2016 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. in front of Richardson Hall on Queen’s campus in support of decent work, equity and fair bargaining at Queen’s University. 

This rally is supported by the Queen’s University Unity Council, representing all unions on campus, including the Queen’s University Faculty Association and C.U.P.E. staff employees at the university.

Negotiations continue to be difficult, as Queen’s administration remains unwilling to meaningfully engage with some of the biggest issues still left on the table. A conciliation officer from the Ministry of Labour has been called in to help negotiate the contract renewals.

“The plain facts are that we, as Academic Assistants, have had practically stagnant wages for 22 years.  We just want to negotiate a fair base wage that reflects the value of the work we do,” says Jane Russell Corbett, Unit Chair of Local 2010-01, “We really feel that the employer is trying to strong-arm us into accepting a deal that is unfair.  This rally is to show the employer that the Queen’s community supports fair wages, equity, and valuing people appropriately for the work they are performing. It helps to know that the Unity Council, representing the presidents of all unions on campus, is supporting us.” 

USW Academic Assistants (base rate) are paid $10/hour less than PSAC Teaching Assistants, who are graduate students.  Academic Assistants do the do the same work as Teaching Assistants and are demanding equal pay for equal work. 

PSAC 901’s Postdoctoral Scholars are fighting for equity. “We are asking for fair minimum salaries, childcare benefits, like those already enjoyed by most of Queen’s staff, faculty and senior management, and access to health care services. Employees should not have to worry how to feed their family while working at Queen’s,” says Craig Berggold, PSAC 901 President, “Our members struggle to make ends meet, while Queen’s is counting on them to conduct innovative research and teaching, to uphold its reputation as a world class institution.  Each year, Postdocs, and their Principal Investigators [supervisors], attract hundreds of millions of research dollars to Queen’s. Principal Investigators already do their best to support Postdocs. Queen’s should contribute to help out their Principal Investigators - it’s time for a change.”

The minimum salary of Postdoctoral Scholars is $32,174 per year, with limited benefits compared to other employee groups on campus.

October 7 marked the World Day of Decent Work (WDDW): “Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men,” (International Trade Union Confederation).

USW Local 2010-01 and PSAC Local 901 welcome all community members to attend this public rally in support of equity, fair bargaining and decent work at Queen’s University! 

Lunch will be served starting at 11:45 a.m. and speakers will begin at approximately 12:10 p.m.

All media Inquiries for USW Local 2010-01 should be directed to Briana Broderick, Vice President, at briana.broderick@usw2010.ca or by phoning 613-533-6000 ext. 75701.

All media inquiries for PSAC Local 901 should be directed to Craig Berggold, President at president@psac901.org, or by phoning 647-328-9383.

Sign the petition on change.org: Fair Wages for Academic Assistants

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