Postdoctoral fellows at Western have won the right to unionize following a recent settlement between the university and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the Ontario Labour Relations Board announced.
Following the settlement, a December 2015 vote by postdoctoral fellows calling to join the union was ratified. PSAC Local 610 already represents postdoctoral associates at Western; this settlement brings the two groups together.
The move to unionize brings Western’s postdoctoral scholars in line with other universities across Canada. It also provides a sizable bump to the bargaining unit given the far larger number of postdoctoral fellows coming in.
The move to unionize has also brought a lot of attention to postdoctoral scholars on campus. That is a real positive for such an important, but somewhat misunderstood, group on campus, said Linda Miller, Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies).
“Postdocs are vital contributors to the research mission of our university. They contribute significantly to Western’s research achievements,” Miller said. “Having recently completed their doctoral studies and devoting 100 per cent of their time and attention to research, they are ideally positioned to make important advances in research. They are at the cutting edge of their research and discipline, with the most current knowledge of the theories, methods and technologies in their field.
“Having a vibrant postdoc community is key to Western’s identity as a research-intensive university.”
Western and PSAC Local 610 will begin meeting in October to work on a unified collective agreement for postdoctoral scholars.
PSAC Local 610 also represents approximately 2,030 registered graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) engaged in supervised teaching-related activities across the various faculties and schools at Western.