PSAC ratifies collective agreement

Post-doctoral fellows attain health, dental coverage as well as other benefits provided by the University

By Vincent Ben Matak

News Editor

Following 18 months of negotiations, the University ratified its collective agreement with PSAC Unit 2 yesterday.

A tentative agreement was announced last Thursday, with PSAC ratifying the agreement on Monday. The ratification marks as the last officiator securing benefits for post-doctoral fellows at Queen’s.

The provisions stipulated in the agreement, which include a minimum base salary of $31,000, dental coverage and a salary increase of zero to two per cent over the next four years, raising the base salary to $31,542.

Post-docs are also granted access to Queen’s Supplementary Medical Plan, 100 per cent of which is paid by the University, as well as 100 per cent dental coverage.

An optional pension plan is also part of the provisions, which post-docs can pay into at a 55 per cent rate.

The agreement is the first of its kind at the University, and the third in Canada following collective agreements at Western University, McMaster University and the University of Toronto, according to Sharon DeSousa, PSAC regional vice-president.

In total, 31 negotiating dates were set between the University and PSAC bargaining team.

DeSousa said the ratifications represent a drastic change in the University’s treatment of post-doctoral fellows at Queen’s.

“I think the employers saw the light,” she said.

“I think they understood that what they were doing was really unfair to these workers, and I think that they chose to be leaders within Canada as opposed to bad employers.”

She added a highlight of the agreement is securing academic freedom, intellectual property and non-discrimination through workplace policy.

“I have to say that this is one of the best agreements ever negotiated across Canada for post-docs,” DeSousa said.

She attributed the “win” to ongoing campaigning carried out by post-docs, which included handing out “worst employer” flyers around campus.

“The community, the students with other unions and the bargaining team made this happen, and we want to thank them for that,” she said.

Dan Bradshaw, associate principal (faculty relations), expressed a similar statement regarding the University’s ratification.

“Once that [bargaining] unit is in place, then they represent our post-doctoral fellows and we have a legal obligation plus a desire to work with that union and set out terms and conditions of employment for the group,” he said.

“Obviously people come in with a particular perspective and through the discussions that take place in negotiations, the parties are able to arrive at something that’s mutually acceptable and that’s what’s happened here.”

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