New page in labour history

    LONDON, ON, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Public Service Alliance of Canada
(PSAC) is writing a new page in Canada's labour history by defending the
rights of Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Associates to form a union at
the University of Western Ontario in London.
    "It is with great pride that we stand by these workers," says PSAC
National President, John Gordon. "Workplaces constantly evolve as workers from
a variety of sectors and professional backgrounds recognize the gains that can
be realized by joining a strong national Union."
    The PSAC filed a certification application with the Ontario Labour
relations Board (OLRB) on February 29, 2008 requesting a vote by the
250 Postdoctoral Fellows (PDFs) and Postdoctoral Associates (PDAs) employed by
the university.
    Western challenges the right of the workers to unionize, arguing that
they don't meet the legal definition of employees under the Ontario Labour
Relations Act. The Employer contends that the PDFs are independent contractors
who are not entitled to join a Union.
    OLRB proceedings to determine whether or not the workers are employees
will begin on March 26, 2008.
    Gerry Halabecki, PSAC Executive Regional Vice-President for Ontario,
feels the university should adopt a more enlightened attitude towards the
rights of its employees to form a union.
    "The PSAC is already a dynamic force at the University of Western Ontario
through the Graduate Teaching Assistants Union (PSAC Local 610)," says
Halabecki. "The Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Associates have the same
rights to be represented by a union and to bargain collectively."
    Halabecki says the PSAC has significant experience representing teaching
and research assistants in universities in Quebec and Ontario and he is
confident that Western's Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Associates will
soon be part of the PSAC family and therefore better positioned to improve
their working conditions.
    PSAC's campaign was supported by the Postdoctoral Association at Western
which is an uncertified Association that has advocated for better working
conditions for PDAs and PDFs.

For further information:

For further information: Chris Wilson, PSAC Regional Organizer, (416)
485-3558 x 230; Gerry Halabecki, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President,
Ontario, (416) 485-3558 x 231, cell no. (416) 805-3987; Jim Chorostecki,
Regional Coordinator, Ontario, (416) 485-3558 x 235, cell no. (416) 458-6432

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