PSAC organizes research assistants at University of Winnipeg

The PSAC Prairie Region is proud to welcome research assistants, senior research assistants and research associates employed at the University of Winnipeg after the Manitoba Labour Board certified PSAC as their bargaining agent on May 31, 2012.

Gregory Furmaniuk, a student organizer on the eight-month long organizing campaign, says the victory means empowerment, respect and fairness for workers.

“Now we know that if we set our minds to work toward collective goals, we can accomplish them – and we did,” he explains. “I think 200 members on the shop floor are going to be really happy and empowered by that.”

PSAC succeeded in demonstrating to the Labour Board that at the time of the application 65 per cent of the employees had signed membership cards, resulting in an automatic certification.

The new bargaining unit of nearly 200 employees will be part of the existing PSAC Directly Chartered Local 55600, of which Furmaniuk is secretary/treasurer, at the University of Winnipeg. This Local already comprises about 400 teaching assistants, lab demonstrators, markers and tutors, as well as 30 English language program instructors.

Furmaniuk says the Local has been working on building capacity, drafting bylaws and surveying the membership for bargaining demands. He believes the addition of a new bargaining unit will benefit the Local, and the university as a whole.

“For the Local, it means we have a lot more strength in our numbers, we’ve built more capacity and we can work together to make the campus better for student workers and students on campus.”