Organizing Victory: Part-time professors at Saint Paul University join PSAC

On 15 May 2012, the Ontario Labour Relations Board issued a bargaining certificate for part-time professors at Saint Paul University, which is federated with the University of Ottawa. A strong majority (over 80%) of part-time professors voted in favour of joining the Public Service Alliance of Canada in a vote held in April.

The number of part-time professors working at the university varies through the year, and was estimated at 45 at the end of the winter 2012 term.

“In the course of the organizing campaign, it became clear that the key issue for part-time professors relates to wages,” said PSAC contract organizer Nairra Tarriq.

As one professor explained: “We love working at Saint Paul’s but the low pay we get vis-à-vis part time professors at other universities in the city means that many of us have to juggle our time with contracts at the University of Ottawa and Carleton. Now that we are unionized, we want to work towards wage parity.”

The successful organizing drive at Saint Paul University marks the latest victory in PSAC’s broader campaign aimed at organizing the university sector across the country. Currently, approximately 30,000 of the PSAC’s 186,000 members work in universities as support staff, part-time professors, researchers and teaching assistants, amongst others.

“We welcome Saint Paul University professors to the family,” said Larry Rousseau, PSAC’s Regional Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region. “As educators, professors deliver a public service to the community and so are a great fit for the PSAC.”

In the national capital region, the PSAC has another university-based local at the Université du Québec en Outaouais.

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