In a meeting held on February 7 2022, a bargaining committee was elected by the Postdoctoral Union assembly. Maryia Halubok, Michel Lopez Barrios and Maha Abdallah were chosen to represent the Union in future negotiations with Carleton University (CU) towards the signing of a new collective agreement.
The Postdoctoral Fellow Bargaining Committee sent out a survey on April 12 in order to obtain postdocs’ inputs to assess and prioritize the demands that would constitute the core of future negotiations. Two reminders regarding the said survey were sent on April 21 and April 26.
As of June 2, four meetings (March 15, May 16, May 24, June 2) have taken place with the PSAC team that is helping the Union during the negotiation process. The initial proposition from CU was an expedited round of negotiations, which basically translates to a copy-paste of the previous collective agreement between the Union and CU. According to Ontario law, annual public sector wage increases are capped at 1%, which, given the consumer price index in the last year, implies a pay cut of around 4% in real terms.
A detailed list of demands and modifications to the postdoc contract is being drafted to be sent to CU in the following days. Besides the wages, the bargaining committee centers its demands around the following points: expanding the use of professional development fund (PDF), providing access to the services of CU immigration advisers at no cost to postdocs, ensuring continued access to the university email account after the end of contract, and others.
Meetings with a CU representative are scheduled on June 13 and 15. Previously, a meeting with CU was scheduled on May 24. Following PSAC negotiator‘s recommendation, it was postponed by the bargaining committee. The purpose of this action was to wait for the Ontario provincial election results, hoping that eventually, the cap on public wages increases could be modified or overturned by the future government.
As mentioned above, the university proposed to go for a shorter round of negotiations, and the bargaining team agreed to attempt this approach. However, if the bargaining committee members do not find it beneficial to go for an expedited round of negotiations in terms of benefits to the postdocs, the bargaining committee will opt in for long negotiations. In this case, the negotiation process is likely to continue until fall. Further updates will be posted as the negotiation evolves.