PSAC to represent postdoctoral fellows at Western

    LONDON, ON, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - One of Canada's largest unions, the
Public Service Alliance of Canada, will soon be certified by the Ontario
Labour Relations Board to represent the postdoctoral fellows employed as
postdoctoral assistants at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in London,
    UWO and PSAC reached an agreement which recognizes that all current
postdoctoral associates are employees and shall be represented by PSAC. UWO
and PSAC also agreed to develop objective criteria to determine which
postdoctoral fellows are employed as postdoctoral associates and which
postdoctoral fellows are independent contractors.
    "PSAC has developed a solid expertise in representing workers from the
academic field," said Gerry Halabecki, the PSAC Regional Executive
Vice-President for Ontario. "By being part of the large PSAC family,
postdoctoral fellows and postdoctoral associates at Western will be in a
better position to improve their working conditions."
    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.
    At first, the university had challenged the right of the workers to
unionize, arguing that they did not meet the legal definition of employees
under the Ontario Labour Relations Act. The employer contended that the PDFs
were independent contractors and were not entitled to join a union.
    PSAC representatives persisted in meeting with university management, and
the two parties reached an agreement.
    "It is with great pride that we stand with 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."
    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 Organizer, (416) 485-3558
ext. 230; Jim Chorostecki, PSAC Regional Coordinator, (416) 485-3558 ext.235;
Gerry Halabecki, PSAC Regional Executive-Vice President, Ontario, (416)
485-3558 ext. 231

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