Announcement from the Labour Relations Committee: GSA Partnership with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)

Announcement from Keira Gunn, GSA Associate Vice President Labour, Chair of the GSA Labour Relations Committee
For Academically Employed Graduate Students (Graduate Assistants-Teaching, Graduate Assistants-Non-Teaching)

Your Labour Relations Committee is excited to announce that the GSA is entering into a partnership with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) to better serve UCalgary Academically Employed Graduate Students at no extra cost.

We are not members of PSAC, but rather paying for their services to support us in our role of representing Academically Employed Graduate Students. We have negotiated a deal with PSAC that fits within our current budget (specifically, at no extra cost to you) to receive the following services from PSAC:

  • access to PSAC’s labour professionals
  • a professional PSAC negotiator to coordinate and support next year’s collective bargaining
  • access to legal services related to arbitration proceedings and offer representation for members in other tribunal or court proceedings
  • Union Education workshops and Union Local Development activities tailored to the needs of our members
  • assistance in developing a union stewardship program throughout campus
  • access to PSAC’s National Strike Fund

As you may know, the GSA currently collects a levy of 0.5% from the wages of Academically Employed Graduate Students.  This levy will not be increasing as a result of this service agreement.

What is PSAC?

PSAC is one of Canada’s largest unions, representing workers in the federal government, universities, casinos, community service, airports, and more.  PSAC represents over 25,000 graduate workers, post docs and faculty, including Directly Chartered Locals at the University of Montreal, Queens University, Laval University, University of Saskatchewan, and Western University.

To find out more about PSAC including their history, constitution and current advocacy campaigns, you can visit their website at http://psacunion.ca/

Why do we need PSAC’s services? 
Keira Gunn, GSA Associate Vice President Labour

The complications of this past year have exposed many workplace imbalances that had already existed for graduate workers at the University of Calgary.  As your Associate Vice President of Labour, I have spent upwards of thirty hours some weeks researching how to deal with these issues, while trying to balance a full-time PhD program. While this has been a tremendous learning experience for me, there are still huge areas in labour representation where myself and the GSA could better serve Academically Employed Graduate Students by having access to more knowledgeable resources.

In addition to the expertise that PSAC will bring us, they will also provide us with access to legal services to assist with our ongoing policy grievance regarding hiring graduate TAs outside of our collective agreement as well as support collective bargaining both professionally and financially.  Based on current negotiations in the university sector, we are expecting next year’s bargaining to be a challenge; we will be ready for that challenge with a team of trained negotiators led by a PSAC professional and backed by a team of PSAC researchers.

Other questions?

PSAC and your Labour Relations Committee will be holding an info session in the upcoming weeks to present a more in-depth presentation of what this service agreement will mean to you, and to give you a chance to ask your questions directly.  If you can’t attend this session, we will post the video on our website and you can always email questions to me, AVP Labour, at lrc.gsa@ucalgary.ca or to our regional representative Rachel Stark at starkr@psac-afpc.com.