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(2009-2010 HR#1) Application for Certification of Post-Doctoral Fellows

Date:
July 23, 2009
To:
Post-Doctoral Fellows at the University of Toronto; (CC: PDAD&C)
From:
Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity
Re:
Application for Certification of Post-Doctoral Fellows

Yesterday afternoon, the University of Toronto received an application for certification from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (“CUPE”) seeking to unionize “all persons employed as post-doctoral fellows by [the University] in the City of Toronto and the Region of Peel”.

If the Union has at least 40% membership support in the bargaining unit it proposes, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) will order a secret ballot vote to determine if a majority of those voting wish to be represented by CUPE. If a vote is ordered, it will likely to take place in the middle of next week on the St. George, UTM and UTSC campuses. The outcome of a vote will depend on a majority of those voting, not a majority of those eligible to vote. For example, if only 100 people out of over 500 eligible voters cast a ballot, the vote of only 51 would determine the outcome for everyone else. You can see how important it will be to vote.

We strongly encourage you, if a vote is ordered, to exercise your right to vote in this very important matter and recommend that you speak with your post-doctoral fellow colleagues to advise them of this situation.

The University will be taking the position that post-doctoral fellows are independent trainees, not “employees”, and that the Union’s application should be dismissed. However the OLRB will hear this argument after the voting procedure, outlined above, has occurred.

The University will notify you of the exact dates, times and locations of any vote once those details are finalized. The University will also explain in more detail in a subsequent communication why it thinks unionization is not only legally inapplicable in view of the status of post-doctoral fellows as non-employees, but also why it thinks that unionization will not help post-doctoral fellows obtain the most beneficial experience at this vital stage in their research and academic careers.