Directly Chartered Locals put the spotlight on precarious work

Delegates and observers from 48 Directly Chartered Locals (DCLs) gathered in Montreal recently to attend PSAC’s DCL conference to highlight and address issues specific to their workplaces.

DCLs are locals that are directly affiliated to PSAC and do not belong to one of our component unions. More than 30,000 members belong to these locals, which represent diverse sectors including gaming, universities, municipal government, Indigenous and community organizations, research and development, and security and law enforcement.

Precarious work a major concern

Precarious work, largely defined by contract and temporary work, is a major concern for many members of DCLs and was the most pressing topic discussed at the conference.

Precarious workers tend to have much lower personal income and are less likely to have a private income retirement plan or employment benefits. They are also more hesitant to raise workplace health and safety concerns for fear of reprisals.

Since the 1990s, the growth of the number of workers with temporary jobs has been outpacing that of workers with permanent jobs. A 2015 PSAC survey found that 
just over one-third of PSAC respondents reported being in precarious or vulnerable employment. The 2018 PSAC Triennial Convention passed a resolution calling 
on the union to advocate for fair and just conditions for precarious workers.

“We know that precarious work is more prevalent than ever,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward as he addressed the conference. “We will continue to fight for secure jobs with good working conditions for all PSAC members and for all workers.”

University workers have unique working conditions

University workers are in especially precarious conditions, and due to the high turn-over rate, local union leadership tend to serve shorter terms. Delegates highlighted the need to have a roundtable specifically for university workers. 

The conference also gave participants the opportunity to share creative bargaining and mobilization strategies that they have used to win better wages, working conditions and benefits. They also had the opportunity to share ideas on how to change and improve the way PSAC represents members of DCLs.

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January 10, 2019