Letters to the Editor

Assisting Professors

Assisting Professors

Re: “Policy in the works for
undergrad TAs”

Dear Editors,

The absence of a “distinctive policy” governing undergraduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) is worrying, but should come as no surprise. This is symptomatic of the same conditions that led graduate TAs to vote for unionization in 2009.

On the rare but inevitable occasion that undergrad TAs have issues regarding hiring, compensation, and training, they can’t refer to a legally-binding collective agreement that provides base workplace standards that undergrad TAs can expect and depend upon. Nor, it seems, can they consult an up-to-date undergrad TA policy.

These concerns would have already been addressed if undergraduate TAs had their own democratic organization, such as a union or association, capable of advocating on their behalf. Such an organization would have a greater opportunity to shape how undergrad TA policies are developed and implemented. It is unclear whether or not undergraduate TAs have been consulted in the new policy that Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Alan Harrison claims is being drafted.

In the meantime, undergraduate TAs are welcome to contact or visit the PSAC 901 office about any questions or concerns they have. Just because undergraduate TAs are not unionized, it does not mean that PSAC 901 isn’t willing to help out where we can. We are, after all, the Queen’s experts on Teaching Assistant working conditions.

Doug Nesbitt

President, PSAC 901

Queen’s University Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, and Post-Doctoral Fellows

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