Professional Student Teaching Assistants to Join PSAC local 901

Berggold says new members will have “immediate access” to new agreement

Craig Berggold at a ratification meeting in Janurary.

On Mar. 9, Queen’s voluntarily recognized professional student teaching assistants (TAs) in the Juris Doctor and Doctor of Medicine programs are falling under the umbrella of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) bargaining unit.

In a statement from PSAC, Lino Vieira, Political Communications Officer wrote the recognition was achieved “following a coordinated organizing campaign.”

“PSAC had applied for certification on March 7, 2018 at the Ontario Labour Relations Board to represent Professional Student Teaching Assistants at Queen’s University. However, with the voluntary recognition, these workers immediately joined PSAC Local 901 — Unit 1, Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows,” Vieira wrote.

In the same statement, Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President, also said, “we knew that these workers were performing the same work as our members, yet were receiving a lot less.” 

“Organizing this group of workers was an issue of fairness, so they could have the same opportunities as our other members on campus,” she continued.

Craig Berggold, PSAC Local 901 President closed out the statement provided by PSAC. In it, he said, “[o]ur new members will have immediate access to our recently ratified collective agreement, including all the protections and benefits contained within it.” 

In late January, graduate and professional students voted “overwhelmingly” in support of a new collective agreement. The new four-year agreement contains multiple contract changes for teaching assistants (TAs) and teaching fellows (TFs). At the time, Berggold told The Journal the new agreement “puts a lot more money into TA and TF pockets.” 

“This will vastly improve their working conditions and provide access to union representation,” Berggold said. 

In a recent e-mail interview with The Journal, SGPS President Adam Grotsky said he’s “pleased that law students will now be compensated at a rate equal to that of their graduate student peers.”

“Law students are taking on increasing amounts of debt to finance their education — any change that helps ease that burden is one that I welcome,” Grotsky wrote.


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