Academic workers to see major improvements with first agreement

PSAC’s Directly Chartered Local members working at the University of Winnipeg have reason to celebrate. After 18 months of bargaining, the Manitoba Labour Board issued a decision on a one-year collective agreement, which includes major wins for the union and its members. This is the first ever collective agreement for student workers in the academic capacity on campus, including markers, teaching assistants, lab demonstrators, and tutors.

PSAC’s Directly Chartered Local members working at the University of Winnipeg have reason to celebrate. After 18 months of bargaining, the Manitoba Labour Board issued a decision on a one-year collective agreement, which includes major wins for the union and its members.

This is the first ever collective agreement for student workers in the academic capacity on campus, including markers, teaching assistants, lab demonstrators, and tutors.

The ruling included wins on job security and fair wages. The new agreement includes seniority hiring provisions and wage increases of 10-23% for all members in the unit, and another 2% increase in August 2017.

“The working world for millennials is more and more precarious, but I want students to know that if they fight for labour justice, they can achieve it,” said Sharon Muldrew, President of PSAC Local 55600 at the UofW and bargaining team member. “Congratulations to the bargaining team and to all of the student workers on this important achievement.”

Other significant gains in this new collective agreement include: job postings for all positions; fair and transparent hiring process and disciplinary procedures; paid training and orientation sessions for all employees; and protection against discrimination and harassment.

“It’s a big change and the improvements are significant,” says Erin Sirett, PSAC Negotiator responsible for the unit. “It highlights the value of collective bargaining, which is particularly important in the context of the Manitoba government’s plans to attack workers’ rights..”

At the University of Winnipeg, PSAC also represents English Language Program instructors, who are currently in collective bargaining for their second agreement, and research assistants and research associates, who will begin bargaining for their first agreement in the coming months. This achievement will set the tone for future bargaining.

“This is a really great example of what can be achieved through collective bargaining, and shows other units what improvements they can look forward to,” says Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President for the PSAC Prairie Region. “It will be difficult for the university to deny the other unit the rights and gains that have been won with the academic capacity unit.”

Student workers will have the opportunity to attend upcoming information sessions to learn all about their new collective agreement and meet the stewards who can help them understand their employee rights.