Annual General Meeting March 30th 5pm

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on March 30th at 5pm in Arts 263.  At this time we will be holding elections for our four executive positions (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) and submitting bylaws for the approval of our membership.  A more detailed agenda will be posted, along with a draft of our bylaws, on Monday March 20th.  The bylaws are currently under review at our Regional PSAC office to ensure they are in accordance with the PSAC Constitution.

Call for the Election on October 26th

Dear members,

We are now less than a month away from our union local’s first election. On October 26th at 4:30pm in Neatby-Timlin Theatre, Arts 241, we will be holding elections for both our local first LOCAL EXECUTIVE and for our BARGAINING TEAM. These elections are a crucial first step in building our local and preparing ourselves for the negotiation process. Your participation is essential in ensuring that our local has strong leadership, bargaining team, and bargaining committee who are committed to advancing our interests as academic workers. Below are the descriptions of each body.

Please consider running for these positions, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the process.

If you would like to run for a position on the local executive, please submit your NAME, DEPARTMENT, POSITION (e.g. TA, RA, etc) and a brief description of why you would like to be on the executive to usask.age@gmail.com by October 21. We will also call for nominations from the floor at our meeting on October 26th.

Please forward this widely. We don’t have the most up to date contact information for new members. If you have any suggestions about how to best reach the membership in preparation for this meeting, please get in touch.

See you in October!

In Solidarity,

USASK AGE – Organizing Committee

Local Executives

President is responsible for chairing all union meetings, and supervising daily affairs and procedures of the union.

Vice President is responsible for assisting the President and replacing them in their absence or they are unable to perform their tasks. VP is also responsible for assisting any officers of the union when necessary.

Recording Secretary is responsible for attending all executive meetings and taking all facts and minutes of their proceedings, and giving all required notices to members and officers. They also act as a custodian of all documents belonging to the union.

Treasurer is responsible for all financial matters of the union, and required to present a financial statement and budget to membership at Annual General Membership Meeting.

Bargaining Team

Bargaining team consists of five members and represents all members of the union at the bargaining table with our chief negotiator, Hassan Husseini. The bargaining team plays an essential role in the bargaining process. The team members are expected to engage directly with other workers through the entire bargaining process, and responsible for ensuring that the bargaining process helps build the union and advances the interests of all members. They provide important insight and information on the actual working conditions of bargaining unit members in the workplace, and on the rationales for bargaining demands They are also responsible for conveying information about the progress of bargaining to union members at large, explaining decisions made by them at the bargaining table, and reporting back to the bargaining team relevant issues raised by membership. Bargaining team members are compensated for their work.

Bargaining Committee

The bargaining committee consists of non-elected members. The bargaining committee is a broader committee of volunteers that acts as a conduit between the bargaining team and membership. The bargaining committee plays an important role in holding the bargaining team accountable to membership, and simultaneously ensuring that the voices of the members are clearly communicated to the bargaining team. The committee members are tasked with soliciting inputs from membership, and mobilizing them around bargaining demands when necessary.

First General Meeting: 21 September

It’s time to build our union

Our first general meeting is happening this month, on Monday, 21 September in the Neatby-Timlin Theatre (Arts 241) on the University of Saskatchewan Campus, at 5:15pm.

This meeting is a chance for members’ to meet with our experienced PSAC negotiator, Hassan Husseini, who will speak to us about the bargaining process and how our concerns as members will be represented at the negotiation table with our employer.

It’s also a chance for you to hear about the various ways you can help build the union, whether by volunteering, submitting your name for election on the executive or bargaining team, or being an active member of the union. You will also have the opportunity to sign your union card.

Hassan and the organizing committee will also be available after the meeting to answer any questions or discuss any ideas you might have.

Free pizza will be available prior to the beginning of the meeting.

Please join the facebook event here and RSVP to ensure we have enough pizza for everyone: https://www.facebook.com/events/1061074497237686/

psac poster

Additional Information Sessions:

Prior to the meeting of 21 September, the organizing committee will be available on campus on the following dates:

15 September, 5pm – 7pm, Arts 101 & 17 September, 12pm – 1:30pm

If you have questions in advance of the meeting, are interested in volunteering, or have anything else you want to discuss with us, please drop in to see us.

Call for Participation: Upcoming Public Meetings

Dear graduate workers, members of our newly certified TA/RA Union,

It has been nearly 3 months since the certification of USask Association of Graduate Employees (AGE). You made it happen and now it is time to exercise your rights as members of this new organization. Let’s all come together and build a strong union local!

Many of you have been asking what is happening next and how you can get involved. In order to address your questions and concerns, we are holding public meetings on June 22nd (5:30pm – 7pm) and June 23rd (1pm – 2:30pm). Both meetings will take place at the Saskatoon Regional Office of the Public Service Alliance Canada (PSAC) at 511 1st Avenue North.

The purpose of these meetings is to inform you about where we are at, what needs to be done in the coming months, and to answer questions about the bargaining process and running a union local. This is the perfect opportunity for you to get involved! We will form an interim steering committee that will guide our progress until we have formal executive elections in the Fall.

At these meetings, PSAC negotiator Hassan Husseini will be explaining the bargaining process and answering any questions we may have. Hassan will be working with us in the coming months on the following steps before we can start negotiations.

  1. public call for participation/form an interim committee (MONDAY JUNE 22/TUESDAY JUNE 23)
  2. elect / select a bargaining team (JULY, TBA)
  3. negotiations training of the team (ONGOING)
  4. survey of membership – what are our key demands in each faculty?
  5. research – what can we reasonably ask for?
  6. preparation of bargaining proposals (or in this case a draft CA considering that this is a first agreement)
  7. bargaining schedule (selecting dates with University)

See you there!
Please contact us at usask.age@gmail.com if you have questions in regards to the upcoming meetings.

We Have Been Certified!

Last Wednesday the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board tabulated your votes, and 96.2% of you declared your support of forming a union! That is an amazing declaration of solidarity! Months of hard work have paid off and now graduate student workers at the University of Saskatchewan are unionized – congratulations!

We know many of you have been wondering why it has taken so long to hear the results, so here is a run-down of what’s been happening:

On March 19th we filed a request with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board to form a union of graduate student workers at the UofS. After filing, the employer had 10 business days to respond.

On March 23rd the Board declared the vote would happen that Friday.

March 27th – Vote Day!!

April 2nd was the deadline for the employer to contest after the filing date.

On April 16th both the employer and the union sat down with their respective legal representatives and came to an agreement regarding the list of eligible voters.

The next day, April 17th, the Labour Relations Board announced a date for the tabulation of votes.

On April 22nd the votes were counted in the presence of scrutineers from both the employer and the union. The employer accepted the results of the vote without contestation.

Our union was certified with 96.2% of the vote — that is a massive victory!! Thank you so much to all of you who came out to vote, who helped spread the word, and who volunteered their time. We could not have done this without you.

What Happens Now?

Our union has been certified, but there is still a lot of work to do. In the coming weeks we will be contacting graduate student workers with more details about what still needs to be done and asking for input regarding bargaining priorities and how we want our union to work.

If you are interested in coming to a planning meeting, please let us know! Email usask.age@gmail.com, contact us through this website, or send us a message on facebook.

Watch this site for future developments!

(Oh, and here’s what the PSAC Prairie Region website has to say on our success: http://prairies.psac.com/academic-workers-university-saskatchewan-join-psac)

Voter’s List Questions

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, the University sent every graduate student notice that the vote is happening. They also sent the Labour Board’s Voter’s List. This was not at our request. We have been getting questions all day from people who want to vote, but who aren’t on “the list.” The list is not complete! If you want to vote, but aren’t on the list, you can still vote.

We encourage you to go out tomorrow and cast a ballot in favour of unionizing! This is our chance to get collective representation, better wages, better job protections and FAIRNESS! If you’re not on the list, the Labour Board will accept your ballot, and they will figure it all out after the vote.

See you at the polls!

WE’RE HAVING A VOTE! VOTE YES TO UNIONIZE TAs AND RAs!

As many of you already know, we have successfully filed the application to unionize with the Saskatchewan labour board.

NOW IT’S TIME TO CAST YOUR VOTE AND SAY YES TO A UNION!

WHEN: FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 9AM to 5PM

WHERE: ARTS BUILDING, BETWEEN LECTURE THEATRES 143 AND 146 (near Psychology department)

The voting process is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is arrive at the designated place (listed above) and a polling station will be set up. Tell them your name and they will give you further instructions.

YOU MUST VOTE IN PERSON. There is no online vote. Unfortunately, we have no control over this as the voting process is established and carried out by the labour board.

The unionization team will be contacting you with details. Please let us know if you need a ride to the university on vote day or if you have any questions at all. MAKE SURE YOU VOTE TO FORM YOUR UNION!

usask-age-v5

The UofR Faculty Association endorses our campaign!

Some good news: Even during this busy time of the academic year, the good folks of the University of Regina Faculty Association took the time to send us a wonderful letter of support. They wholeheartedly support our campaign to unionize Teaching and Research Assistants here at the UofS. Check out the letter on our website and, as always, continue to spread the word!
DOC031215Go here to read all of the endorsements we’ve received.

GSA membership endorse the campaign!

At a Special General Meeting of the Graduate Student Association on January 20,2015, we brought forth a motion for the GSA to officially endorse the campaign to unionize Teaching a Research Assistants.

We had a great discussion and an overwhelmingly positive discussion. All members in good standing of the Association were able to vote on the motion. And the motion for the union campaign to gain GSA endorsement passed UNANIMOUSLY!

Below is the text of the motion, or you can read it here.

“WHEREAS a significant number of graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan feel that their relationship with their employer is in need of improvement; WHEREAS the University of Saskatchewan – Association of Graduate Employees (USASK-AGE) has been formed in order to work towards improvement of said relationship by unionizing graduate student employees of the university;

WHEREAS most graduate students are employees of the University of Saskatchewan, and will see positive improvements to their working conditions at the university if unionization is successful, and
WHEREAS a graduate student employees union would be in a legally-enforceable bargaining and advocating position with the University of Saskatchewan, and would offer protections for its members on issues pertaining to their Teaching and Research Assistance that the Graduate Students Association cannot,

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Graduate Students Association (GSA) of the University of Saskatchewan offer its official endorsement of the ongoing union campaign being led by the USASK-AGE as a sign of good faith and commitment to shared goals.”