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.

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November 2nd Day of Action

Members may be interested in this event happening tomorrow at 1pm.  More information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/798117600290965/?notif_t=plan_user_invited&notif_id=1477956665752947

Member Consultation Meetings

As we begin the initial negotiation process with the university we want to hear from you!  What problems, concerns, and wishes do you have in and for your work place?  Join us at the following times and places:

College of Engineering: Thursday, 17 March, 5pm, Arts212
College of Education: Monday, 21 March, 5pm, Arts212
Edwards School of Business & College of Law: Tuesday, 29 March, 5pm, Arts212
School of Environment and Sustainability: Wednesday, 30 March, 5pm, Arts212
College of Kinesiology: Thursday, 31 March, 5pm, Arts212
College of Medicine, Physical Therapy, and School of Public Health: Monday, 4 April, 5pm, Arts212
College of Nursing: Tuesday, 5 April, 5pm, Arts212
College of Pharmacy and Nutrition: Wednesday, 6 April, 5pm, Arts212
Johnson Shoyoma Graduate School of Public Policy: Thursday, 7 April, 5pm, Arts212
College of Veterinary Health and College of Agriculture: Friday, 8 April, 5pm, Arts212
College of Arts and Science: Saturday, 9 April, 2:30pm, GSA Commons

Each member consultation meeting will be facilitated by our negotiator Seth Sazant and members of our bargaining committee.  Agenda for Member Consultation Meetings.  Please contact us by email at usask.age@gmail.com if you are unable to make the meetings and have anything to share with us.

Summary of September 21st General Membership Meeting

Marianne Hladun VP PSAC Prairie Region said PSAC brings fair wages, benefits that makes USASK comparable to other institutions. As a directly chartered local, we will be dealing with her directly.

Hassan Husseini PSAC Negotiator said union makes Usask TA/RA Union part of the collective power of PSAC has around 180,000 members around the country.

Hassan began by apologizing for the wrong link in the initial email about the survey; has been corrected.

Hassan highlights the importance of get member feedback. Members are expected to fill out the survey by the end of the month. For a strong bargaining position, it is critical that the negotiating team have as much information as possible. This means that members need to give feedback. The survey is a great first step. They can also email PSAC rep to give feedback.

Teaching Assistants, Research Assistances, Student Assistants, and Teaching Fellows are on the bargaining certificate.

Hassan has already served notice to the university that we would like to begin bargaining. Employer seems open-minded and welcome to the process. Positive meetings thus far means things are hopeful.

A collective agreement is legally binding on both sides and outlines the responsibilities and duties of employer and employee regarding health and safety, benefits, working conditions, salaries, etc. These terms and conditions are decided through the negotiation process.

As the first step in bargaining, both sides need to be prepared for it.
Hassan has requested the required documents from the University.

Hassan is currently asking for feedback from members and doing a comparative analysis with other universities that have collection agreements for RAs/TAs. The survey is important for forming the broad picture.

Meetings are also important – they are an opportunity to ask questions and inform negotiator & team of what the membership would like to see. Researchers are also doing comparative studies, looking at our size in comparison to other universities, salaries, contract language, etc. All of this research and input will contribute to the package put together by the bargaining team.

Hassan is preparing a Program of Demands which will set out the bargaining position. He will use member feedback and existing collective agreements to build the Program of Demands.

We will likely not be sitting down with the employer until November to exchange proposals.

Both sides have bargain in good faith

We will accelerate discussion in 2016 and the bargaining process gets more advanced.

Ideally by the end of the academic year in 2016, there will be a first agreement that will come back to the membership to vote on.

Negotiations don’t start with money because that will stall them at the start.

Bargaining Team and Bargaining Committee are both important.

Bargaining Committee is a broad group from the membership, consisting of 10 to 12 people, to represent diversity of membership. They will hold semi-regular meetings and liaise between the bargaining team and the members, help communicate with members.

Bargaining team usually consists of 3 members but because the union is so large Negotiator will request an increase to 5 members from PSAC. Members of the bargain team must represent diversity of membership at large and sit across from the employer at the negotiation table.

They are there to represent collective interests of the overall membership not their own individual interests. Bargaining team will make the recommendation to the bring forward the collective agreement to members.

They receive moderate financial remuneration for their time meetings with the team and the employer. As the negotiations near the end, their commitment can be very large. A lot of responsibility but rewarding experience.

There are many applications for the skills learned in the bargaining process. Also gain a sense of accomplishment in creating a document which positively affects so many of your colleagues.

On October 26th, the local will hold its first AGM and elections of the bargaining team and local executives will take place. PSAC Regional Office will provide education to members; will help new local executive when they have been elected. New executives will receive training and support.

Employer and the bargaining team is obligated to find replacement for team members who have to miss teaching.

Union dues will only start once the collective agreement is in place. Collective agreement likely not concluded until the spring at the earliest.

If negotiations drag longer than planned, team members who graduate can be replaced; alternative can be elected on Oct 26 or at a later point.

Very important to have diversity on bargaining team and committee before going to the table; critical so show university/employer that the union is supported.

Possible to ask for retro-active wage increase but that is something that will have to be negotiated at the bargaining table. It’s not automatically guaranteed to happen.

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.