VP Postdoctoral Scholars Report, January 2016
In this report, which you will also find in the next issue of The 901 Bite, I will update you on important PSAC 901 Unit 2 issues and activities. The winter semester will be very busy and exciting for Unit 2 members – keep an eye out for regular email updates to keep you informed. Please contact me anytime at VPPD@psac901.org with questions, issues or to say hello.
In this report:
- Unit 2/Postdocs General Meetings
- Term change from Postdoctoral Fellow to Postdoctoral Scholar
- PSAC 901 Childcare Bursary
- Career Workshop
- Call for joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Representatives
- Joint Union Management Committee (JUMC)
- An Clachan and John Orr Tower family friendly housing for postdocs
- City of Kingston Transpass Program
- Family doctors for Queen’s postdocs
- Queen’s Employee Group Benefits changes
- Welcome new Postdocs!
Unit 2 General Meeting – October 16th, 2015
The Unit 2 Collective Agreement expires at the end of June 2016. At a Postdocs General Meeting on October 16th, 2015 we identified and discussed issues we need to address in our new Collective Agreement negotiations. Postdocs shared a number of blatant equity issues, such as the lack of childcare benefits, currently enjoyed by all other staff members at Queen’s University! Other issues included access to family doctors and services such as career counselling, services currently available to TAs and graduate students, but not postdocs. Other services available to postdocs are simply not advertised as such by the employer. PSAC 901 President Craig Berggold discussed the importance of identifying what issues are most important to us before commencing negotiations for our new Collective Agreement with the employer.
Unit 2 Special General Meeting – December 3rd, 2015
The meeting on December 3rd, 2015 12:30pm-1:30pm and 5:30pm-6:30pm was attended by MaryAnne Laurico, the PSAC Regional Representative. MaryAnne described the bargaining process and the roles played by our local and PSAC national and reported on previous negotiations for the current Unit 2 Collective Agreement. The lack of childcare benefits for postdocs, an equity issue, as well as access to family doctors and minimum salaries for postdocs were discussed. A motion to establish a Unit 2 Bargaining Committee, in compliance with our bylaws, was passed. Postdocs also passed a motion to establish as Unit 2 Defense Fund up to $100,000 based on 0.5% of the postdoc minimum salary. Collection of the special levy will start as soon as possible.
Term change from Postdoctoral Fellow to Postdoctoral Scholar
At the Special General Meeting (November 4th, 2015) we passed a by-law to update the term Postdoctoral Fellow to Postdoctoral Scholar. Our administrative staff member Matthew Scribner is working hard to actively amend the term in our PSAC 901 correspondence, administration, documentation, website, by-laws and so on. I am very pleased that this progressive term already used by many institutions worldwide, the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars and funding agencies such as NSERC, has been adopted by PSAC 901.
PSAC 901 Childcare Bursary
The PSAC 901 Childcare Bursary applications for the 2015 summer and fall semesters were due on December 15th, 2015 and many postdocs applied. Applications for the winter semester are due on April 15th, 2015. PSAC 901 are invited to members to join us at the next Childcare Bursary meeting on January 14th, 2016.
PSAC 901 supported 25 members in attending a LinkedIn workshop organised by the Science to Business Network, a student run, not for profit group giving career building workshops and setting up mentorships with industry representatives. The workshop had an overwhelmingly positive response by Unit 1 and 2 member and the local is considering supporting more career/skill building activities in the future.
Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Representatives needed!
The JHSC is comprised of various union members and the University’s administration staff. JHSC members work in teams and inspect offices, labs and buildings, ensuring that hazards are reported, keeping our workplace safe. We need four Unit 2 reps, one each from Arts and Science, Health Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, and University Administrative Services (Law, Business, and Religion faculties) on the JHSC as soon as possible. No previous experience in Health and Safety monitoring is required and all training will be provided. I have attended a JHSC meeting on November 25th, 2015 and it was very interesting to learn about the many safety issues identified by this committee. To get involved and help keep our members safe, please visit http://www.psac901.org/health-and-safety-committee/ or contact the PSAC 901 Health and Safety Officer Alexandru Sonoc at email@example.com.
Joint Union Management Committee (JUMC)
The JUMC reviews and discusses matters pertaining to the application of the Collective Agreement mutually important to both PSAC 901 and the employer and meets at least once every three months. PSAC 901 President Craig Berggold and I attended a JUMC meeting on December 14th, 2015. The employer responded to a number of concerns.
- An Clachan and John Orr Tower family friendly housing for postdocs: Queen’s University Housing administers family friendly housing near West Campus. We requested clarification about the eligibility of postdoc applicants and were assured that postdocs and their families may apply for 12 month leases for these units. Please visit http://community.housing.queensu.ca/ to fill out an application and let me know if you have any difficulties.
- City of Kingston Transpass Program: As Queen’s staff members, postdocs can take advantage of the City of Kingston Transpass Program and purchase discounted bus passes starting at $53/month (rather than $72/month). The following process to get a pass requires your patience. Pick up an enrolment form at the Queen’s Parking Office at 207 Stuart Street (2nd floor). Bring the completed form, including the Queen’s Employment Agreement Form to the Payment Center at City Hall, located at 216 Ontario Street (Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:40pm). Return a copy marked Employer’s HR/Payroll Dept to Donna Stover (Manager of Queen’s Parking Services at 207 Stuart Street, 2nd floor). Costs for your card will be deducted monthly from your pay while you have the pass. Please visit http://www.queensu.ca/parking/transpass-program for more information or email Donna Stover at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Family doctors for Queen’s postdocs: It takes a long time and is difficult to get a family doctor in Kingston. We urged the employer to make the Queen’s University Health and Wellness Services (family doctors, nurses and counselors) available to postdocs and their families, currently only available to students. Our view is that there are only 180 postdocs and 25,000 students. Surely the employer can figure out how to include us in these services. If you are concerned about the difficulties in finding a family doctor in Kingston, please email me at VPPD@psac901.org.
- Queen’s Employee Group Benefits changes: Representatives from the Queen’s University Faculty Union (QUFA) and other unions at Queen’s will meet in January 2016 to investigate future cost neutral changes to all union group benefits. It is very important to have Unit 2 representation on this committee. Please email me at VPPD@psac901.org if you are interested in attending these meetings on behalf of PSAC 901 postdocs.
Welcome new Postdocs!
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our new postdocs on their postings and wish them a productive (and fun) time here in Kingston. Please familiarise yourself with the Unit 2 Collective Agreement at http://www.psac901.org/postdoc/postdoccollectiveagreement/, outlining your rights and benefits while you are a member. Please contact me if you did not receive a USB key with the full Collective Agreement from the employer. I am looking forward to meeting you and hope that you will consider becoming involved with some of our PSAC 901 committees, especially the Postdocs Bargaining Committee.
Have a great week and I will see you at the meeting!
VP-Postdoctoral Scholars PSAC 901
December 4th 2015 Unit 2 GM minutes: http://www.psac901.org/wp-content/uploads/UNIT-2-Minutes-Dec04-2015.pdf
October 15th Unit 2 GM minutes: http://www.psac901.org/wp-content/uploads/Unit-2-GenMtg-Oct15.pdf