August Bargaining Update

PSAC Local 40004 Bargaining Update

20 August 2020

Talks move to monetary

The Bargaining Team for Graduate Student Employees, PSAC Local 40004, met with members of the University of Saskatchewan team on August 18th and 19thAs reported in our last bargaining update, the Union Team had committed to tabling its monetary proposals during this bargaining session.  It did so on the morning of August 18th.  

The Union team proposed to move towards the median wage rate for comparable employees within the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities with the following demands:

  • a 30% market adjustment
  • general economic increases of 3% per year over a three-year agreement
  • a tuition offset, which would require increases to the hourly rate which are comparable to any tuition increase, should the university decide to follow through with its plan to increase graduate tuition to align with the U15’s median tuition. 

Finally, the union team also proposed that the university compensate members for expenses they are incurring while being required to work from home during the pandemic. A copy of the complete monetary package is attached to this email.  

Not surprisingly, while making their counter proposal on the afternoon of August 19th, the Employer took exception to the union’s modelling of the U15 median wage, asserting that by their calculations, U of S graduate student employees were already near or at the median.  They countered with a proposal for a 4-year agreement with general economic increases at 0%, 1.5%, 1.5%, and 1.5%.  They rejected all other monetary proposals tabled by the Union Team.  

While the Union Team is very disappointed with the Employer’s offer, it determined that in order to respond it would need to see and analyze the Employer’s modelling of U15 wage rates to ascertain if we could find common ground on modelling.  The Employer agreed to share their wage rate model, and the two teams have agreed to meet again on September 23rd and 24th.

On a more positive note, the Employer did come to the table during this bargaining session with responses on union proposals for Employment Supervisor Training and an Employment Equity Survey, proposals on which we had reached impasse during the last bargaining session.  While neither Employer proposal fully addressed the concerns of the Union Team, there was enough movement to warrant union counters.  By the end of the day, we had reached agreement on Employment Supervisor Training language, and we remain hopeful of making some progress on the Employment Equity front during the next bargaining session.

Clearly, as we have now entered the pointy end of bargaining, we will be looking to you to demonstrate how important the items remaining on the table are to you.  We encourage you to contact the local at psac40004@gmail.com to register your thoughts.  And we encourage you to get involved should mobilization be necessary to secure a fair and reasonable agreement.

Thank you for your continued support and solidarity. You are our strength at the table!

In solidarity,

Your Graduate Student Employee Bargaining Team

Naheda Sahtout

Sam Netzke

Jeffery Zielinski

Jesse Todd (PSAC Rep)

Silja Freitag (PSAC Research Officer)

John Eustace (PSAC Negotiator)