Carleton postdocs ratify first collective agreement, avert strike

1 March 2016

Postdoctoral researchers at Carleton University ratified their first collective agreement on 26 February 2016. The two-year contract contains a number of improvements to the working conditions of postdocs, including:

  • minimum annual wage increase from $25,000 to $30,000 (retroactive to May 1, 2015), and eventually to $32,560 on May 1, 2017
  • access to health and dental benefits under the Active Postdoctoral Fellows Plan
  • 15 vacation days per year
  • bereavement leave
  • academic freedom protections
  • grievance and arbitration procedures for dispute settlement

“I’m very glad to report that Carleton’s post-doctoral researchers have a first contract, which is a significant achievement,” said Judith Brown, executive member of Carleton University Postdoctoral Association (CUPA) and bargaining team lead. “Being fully recognized as employees of the university has certainly given postdocs a sense of dignity at work. I’m confident that this contract forms a good basis for our next round of bargaining two years from now, when we will be seeking more of the basic benefits that other employees at Carleton enjoy.”

CUPA began bargaining with the university in April 2014 and, after a lack of progress at the table, voted by 93% to strike in early February 2016.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) signed a service agreement with CUPA in September 2015 to help the postdocs’ union reach a first collective agreement. CUPA represents about 40 postdoctoral researchers at Carleton.

“I want to thank the other unions on Carleton’s campus as well as the Canadian Association of University Teachers for their support,” added Brown. “And I especially want to thank PSAC for its assistance in helping us negotiate our first contract.”

“Upwards of 97% of collective agreements in Canada are reached without a strike or lockout, and I’m happy that Carleton’s postdocs were able to win their first contract without a disruption to their important research work,” said Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice-President of the PSAC in the National Capital Region. “I really hope that this is an indication that CUPA and Carleton will have a healthy and productive relationship going forward.”