June 23, 2023
The PSAC Postdoctoral Fellows bargaining team and the University of Saskatchewan are pleased to announce that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. The tentative agreement was ratified by the PSAC membership on June 19, 2023 and approved by the Board of Governors on June 20, 2023. Implementation of the collective agreement is underway.
Highlights from the collective agreement covering November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2024 include:
Salary / Wage AdjustmentsMinimum salary:
- $38,000 effective November 1, 2022
- $42,500 effective November 1, 2023
- 3% effective November 1, 2022
- 3% effective November 1, 2023
Employees will receive the greater of either the increase to the minimum salary or the economic increase.
Any retroactive payments shall be made to all Postdoctoral Fellows active on the date of the signing of the tentative agreement (June 8, 2023) and still actively working in the pay period immediately prior to the pay period in which these payments will be issued.
Postings and Appointments
- Supervisors shall provide a minimum of one (1) month notice to an employee on their intention to renew an appointment.
Hours of Work and Overtime
- Removal of the averaging hours calculation
- No PDF shall exceed their normal working hours per week (37.5) without their supervisor’s approval. If approved:
- Pay or time-off-in-lieu calculated at straight time up to 40 hours per week.
- Overtime pay or time-off-in-lieu calculated at 1.5 x for hours exceeding 40 hours per week.
- Compensatory time off shall be taken at a mutually agreeable time.
Sick Leave and Family Responsibility Leave
- Increase to 12 paid working days per year for the purpose of sick leave and/or family responsibility leave.
- Postdoctoral Fellows, who qualify for a maternity/parental/adoption leave and are eligible for continued funding under their granting agency during the leave period, are not eligible for supplemental benefits from the Employer (as long as is equal to, or greater than the benefit).
2022 Updates–Research Associates
March 2, 2022
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) was successful in certifying a group of approximately 110 non-unionized employees in positions such as research associates, professional research associates, professional associates, and research scientists (barring some exclusions, such as VIDO employees, Supervisory Employees, those able to and holding research funding).
Following a certification settlement agreement between USask, PSAC and USFA, negotiations began in February 2021 for new employment terms and conditions for this employee group. Upon finalizing the new employment terms and conditions for this group of Research Associates, these new employment terms and conditions are then to be amalgamated with the PSAC-PDF/USask Collective Agreement.
Despite some good progress between the parties, negotiations saw significant gaps between the parties related to items such as job security, overtime provisions and compensation and benefits. This resulted in PSAC declaring an impasse in April 2021, which then triggered the assistance of an appointed Mediator from the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety. Though the parties were able to resolve a couple non-substantive items through mediation, key items remained outstanding. As per the parties’ certification settlement agreement, binding interest arbitration became the final step in concluding new employment terms and conditions for this employee group.
In October 2021, the parties underwent the interest arbitration hearing with an agreed-upon Interest Arbitrator. On February 11, 2022, we received the binding interest arbitration award, which is not subject to member ratification or Board approval. Two significant factors adopted by the Arbitrator in determining a first contract award were the principle of "replication" and to avoid introducing any "breakthrough clauses."
Highlights of the new employment terms and conditions include:
- Base Salary of $55,000 per annum, effective March 15, 2022;
- For those current Research Associates (RA) who earn less than the new minimum, they will maintain their existing salary level until that appointment is extended or a new appointment is obtained;
- Annual wage adjustments being applied beginning on Nov 1, 2021;
- 1.5%, 1.75%, and 2.0%;
- Six-month probationary period;
- Up to a 37.5 hour work week;
- Overtime exemption due to the professional nature of this group (time off in lieu may be approved by the supervisor);
- Supplemental Benefits of 21 weeks;
- Status quo being maintained on benefits provisions and 6 weeks' vacation allotment (with some stipulations for vacation usage);
- Status quo of qualification periods for Benefits, Salary Continuance, and Sick Time;
- Adoption of the posting and appointment practices currently established in the PSAC-PDF/USask Collective Agreement;
- Contract duration to be determined at the PSAC-PDF/USask collective bargaining table in order to ensure alignment between the PDF and RA groups.
January 25, 2019
An interest arbitration award finalized a first collective bargaining agreement between the University and The Public Service Alliance of Canada, representing Post-doctoral Fellows. This first collective bargaining agreement formalizes terms and conditions for most Post-doctoral Fellows as employees at USask. The duration of the agreement is from November 1, 2016 (date of certification) to October 31, 2020.
The highlights of the agreement include:
Salary / Wage Adjustments
- Minimum salary = $36,000 effective November 1, 2016
- Each active Postdoctoral Fellow shall receive salary increases as follows:
- November 1, 2018 – 1.5%
- November 1, 2019 - 1.5%
- Lump sum payment of $500 for each active PDF as of the date of ratification
- Employees shall receive either the salary increase identified within the agreement or the increase provided within their existing appointment, whichever is greater
- Any retroactive wages shall be paid only to members of PSAC who continue to be USask Post-doctoral Fellows at the time of ratification
- Any current provisions which are more favourable to an employee than those contained in the agreement will remain in place for the duration of any existing appointment or extension to existing appointments
Hours of Work and Overtime
- No more than 162 hours worked in 4 consecutive weeks
- If more than 162 hours are worked and up to 173 hours worked, hours are paid at straight time
- Excess of 173 hours worked in 4 consecutive weeks, hours are paid at 1.5x or equivalent time off in lieu (as determined by the Supervisor)
- Employee benefit plans for eligible Post-doctoral Fellows, including:
- Family Extended Health Care Plan
- Family Dental Plan
- Group Life Insurance Plan
- Business Travel Insurance
- Premiums for all plans listed above are paid by the Employer with the exception of group life insurance, which is paid by the employees
Sick Leave and Family Responsibility Leave
- 10 paid working days per year for the purpose of sick leave and/or family responsibility leave
- Post-doctoral Fellows will earn vacation at the rate of twenty (20) working days per year, pro-rated based on the length of the appointment
- Three (3) month probationary period for all Postdoctoral Fellows
- Feedback regarding the Postdoctoral Fellow’s performance and suitability for the position is required in writing
- One (1) month notice or pay in lieu of notice is required in the event of dismissal during the probationary period
- Reasons for dismissal of a probationary period shall be provided in writing
Termination of Employment
- Dismissal for just cause must be conducted under the discipline process
- Employment may be terminated due to frustration of contract with a minimum of six (6) weeks’ notice or pay in lieu of notice
December 14, 2018
The university and PSAC entered into voluntary interest arbitration on December 6-7 to address outstanding items. The Arbitrator will issue a decision within the next few months.
September 24, 2018
Mediation has concluded after two days of discussion. The parties were successful in agreeing to a number of outstanding items, however, there are several items that remain unresolved:
- hours of work
- maternity leave supplemental benefits
Together with PSAC, we are proceeding with voluntary interest arbitration to address the remaining items. The timeline for the process is still undetermined. The decision of the Arbitrator will be binding on the parties.
June 25, 2018
We are committed to ensuring that our Post-doctoral Fellows continue to receive a fair and equitable wage. Our most recent offer in bargaining has also included a benefits plan with health and dental coverage. Together with PSAC we have agreed to seek the assistance of a mediator to reach this first collective agreement. PSAC has indicated that they are unavailable to begin mediation until the fall. As soon as mediation can commence, we will work to come to an agreement on the few remaining outstanding items.
December 14, 2017
- Collective bargaining poses some interesting challenges due to the unique relationship Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) have with the university. PDFs are not primarily funded by university operating funds, but through research grants that may be held by faculty members or the university.
- We have recently completed consultations with senior leaders and current PDF supervisors.
- Bargaining commenced on October 4, 2017 lead by David Stack, QC, McKercher LLP. The bargaining team includes:
- Trever Crowe, Interim Dean, CGPS;
- Colin Weimer, Labour Relations Manager, People and Resources;
- Brandy Halter, Labour Relations Specialist, People and Resources.
September 19, 2017
Collective bargaining will begin in October 2017. The University is in the process of finalizing its bargaining mandate, including the goals and interests to be achieved through discussions with PSAC.
June 27, 2017
The University and the union are planning first contract negotiations and the University will be consulting with senior leaders for input.
May 30, 2017
- The university and PSAC, representing Post-doctoral Fellows, are preparing for first contract negotiations.
- The university is waiting to hear from the union to schedule dates to commence bargaining.
March 21, 2017
- We are in the process of collecting data and engaging in consultations with colleges and units to inform our strategy.
- The university is waiting for information from PSAC as to who will comprise their bargaining team, as well as dates upon which to commence discussions.
February 21, 2017
- PSAC has notified the university that they wish to commence bargaining for a first collective agreement. The university is awaiting proposed dates from PSAC to begin negotiations.
- The university's bargaining team will begin consultations with individual colleges and units in the coming months.
November 29, 2016
PSAC was successful in certifying Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs). The university is in the process of establishing its bargaining team and waiting to hear from PSAC to commence first-contract negotiations.
September 20, 2016
Parties are actively meeting and continue to make progress on outstanding issues. The next bargaining dates are scheduled for the end of October.
August 23, 2016
Bargaining will resume on August 29.
Hearings before the Labour Relations Board (LRB), with respect to the issue of certification for Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs), took place on July 22 and August 16. A decision is expected in September.
July 26, 2016
Both parties are working on establishing dates to continue bargaining discussions, in the near future.
June 28, 2016
Significant progress is being made on issues, including appointments and hours of work. The university and PSAC are looking to schedule discussion dates over the summer and early fall.
PSAC has also applied for certification of Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) and we are awaiting the outcome of that process. A hearing before the Labour Relations Board (LRB) is scheduled for July 22, 2016. The outcome of the PDFs certification vote will not be determined until the conclusion of that hearing.
May 17, 2016
- Bargaining will continue in late May.
- A key principle of discussion will be an agreement that supports the teaching, research mission of the university.
April 19, 2016
Significant progress in negotiations has been made and further bargaining dates have been scheduled through April and May.
- As previously reported, the Labour Relations Board (LRB) will hear the matter of PDFs certification. A hearing was delayed and parties are awaiting new dates.
- The outcome of the PDFs certification vote will not be determined until the conclusion of that hearing.
March 22, 2016
- First contract negotiations began Mar. 3, with PSAC representing graduate student employees. The parties exchanged opening proposals.
- The next meeting dates for bargaining are scheduled for March 23-24, 2016.
The union applied for certification of Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) and rejected the university's request to have PDFs and graduate student employees represented by one bargaining unit. This matter will be heard before the Labour Relations Board (LRB). The outcome of the PDFs certfication vote will not be deteremined until the conclusion of the hearing.
February 23, 2016
- Discussion between the university and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) are scheduled for Mar. 3.
- Outstanding issues regarding representation of Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) and graduate student employees are scheduled to be heard by the Labour Relations Board (LRB) on Mar. 21.
January 26, 2016
The university and PSAC are scheduled to meet on March 3 to begin first contract negotiations for graduate student employees.
PSAC has applied for certification of Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) but rejected the university’s request to have PDFs and graduate students represented by one bargaining unit. This matter will be determined upon the conclusion of a hearing before the Labour Relations Board (LRB).
June 16, 2015
The university, in consultation with campus leaders, has agreed to meet with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) representing graduate students on campus, to begin initial contract negotiations in the fall.
May 15, 2015
The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board certified graduate student employees as a bargaining unit on April 23, following a successful vote in March (see related OCN Article). Graduate student teaching assistants, teaching fellows, student assistants and research assistants will be represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). The bargaining team for the University of Saskatchewan is consulting broadly with university leaders in preparation for negotiations for a first collective agreement, which will begin soon.