Queen’s University research assistants join PSAC Local 901

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Queen’s University research assistants join PSAC Local 901

After more than a two year wait, research assistants at Queen’s University are joining PSAC Local 901 following an overwhelming vote in favour of union representation.

Approximately 600 research assistants voted on union certification in 2014. However, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) ordered the ballot boxes sealed until it decided if the research assistants are eligible to join a union. The employer had questioned whether those who voted were exclusively students and not working research assistants.

"Research assistants provided evidence of their work," said Local 901 President Craig Berggold. "They might organize a conference for their professor, or set-up lab equipment for classes, or even run background simulations on a 500-litre super heater liquid bubble chamber dark matter detector."

When the OLRB finally ruled to open the ballot boxes, the vote was counted and the majority had said yes to join PSAC effective February 16, 2017.  These new members now join thousands of other PSAC members who work in the university and research sectors.

“PSAC Local 901 is very pleased with the OLRB decision,” said Berggold. “Research assistants at Queen’s University will now be able to have a say in their working conditions and the collective power of union membership.”