The Concordia Research and Education Workers-CSN (CREW-STTREC) Union

A Union Ready to Fight for Change

Teaching and research assistants at Concordia are organizing to sign cards to form a new union – the Concordia Research and Education Workers Union – that will be affiliated with the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN). This unionization drive is motivated by the recognition that we will not be able to make the urgent changes our members demand unless we disassociate from the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). We need a more autonomous union, committed to meaningful social change, and ready to fight for a better collective agreement.

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Why we need a new union for Concordia teaching and research assistants

1. We need a stronger union to bargain for a stronger collective agreement.

We need a union that is going to support the membership to win ambitious demands around pay, job security, and safety at work. This requires a union ready to fight for these demands – not one that has been satisfied with 2-3% wage increases and minimal changes to our collective agreement since we were unionized. We need to negotiate a new agreement with CSN, a union that will back our demands and is ready to struggle for the deal we deserve.

2. We need an autonomous and transparent union

As TAs and RAs at Concordia, we should be able to make our own decisions about the direction of our union. Currently, PSAC has the power to dissolve our elected executive, seize our bank account, and determine our monetary demands during bargaining. With CSN, we will be a genuinely autonomous union that can make decisions based on the needs of our members. We will no longer have a “parent” union, but instead be affiliated to a confederation of other unions. This autonomy will provide greater transparency during the grievance process and over the strategies that govern our negotiations.

3. We need a union that campaigns for social change

Building a more just society is crucial to creating better workplaces and labour conditions. The CSN has a long history of organizing to improve the lives of thousands of workers in and outside the workplace: they are campaigning, in the streets and in the courts, for better public health care, LGBTQ rights, and universal education. This is the kind of organization that will support us in our grassroots campaigns around sexualized abuses of power, environmental justice, and the rights of international students.

Join the CREW-STTREC–CSN Union Today For a Better Collective Agreement


CREW Union is affiliated with the CSN, which is headquartered in Montreal. CSN stands for Confédération des syndicats nationaux (Confederation of National Trade Unions) – one of the largest trade union confederations in Canada, with more than 330,000 members.

Each of the CSN’s more than 1,600 member unions has full control over their own legal rights, bargaining priorities, finances, and more. At the same time, member unions are able to access a wide range of services and support to help achieve the goals decided upon by our members. It truly is the best of both worlds: local autonomy backed up by the power that comes from a democratic organization with hundreds of thousands of members.

Other unions affiliated with the CSN are already present at Concordia University. These include technicians (CUUSS-TS), professional employees (CUPEU), library workers (CULEU), and support staff (CUSSU) – meaning that we can utilize the strength of our numbers to win collective demands that benefit workers all around the university.

No! Our dues with CSN will not be more than what we currently pay with TRAC-PSAC. Once the changeover occurs we will have a General Assembly where we will vote on our new union dues. Individual members will pay union dues in the same way as before so there is no additional burden on you!


However, the way union dues are handled by the union will change. Currently, the PSAC collects dues money directly from Concordia and then redistributes them to us, often with a two or three months delay. With the CSN, our local would be responsible for the collection of union dues and then the transmission of our affiliation dues to the CSN. This would give our union greater financial autonomy and transparency.

Yes! Unionized workers have the right to switch affiliations. This process is legal and set out by the Quebec Labour Code. Your decision to sign a card is confidential, and the university is legally bound to remain neutral.

No! Our campaign to join CREW-CSN does not jeopardize our rights and wages, which will continue to be guaranteed by the existing collective agreement until a new one is signed. CREW-CSN will be responsible for enforcing these protections and will represent all the same members as TRAC-PSAC.

Your grievance will be carried over to CSN’s legal team. No one will slip through the cracks! Once CREW begins to receive new grievances, we will be responsible for filing and managing them.

The timing is due to regulations set out in the Quebec Labour Code. Per section 22(d), we may only apply to the Labour Board for certification between the 90th and 60th days prior to the expiration of our current collective agreement.

The lead up to bargaining is the best time for us to choose a better union to fight for a better deal.

All teaching and research assistants at Concordia belong to the same “bargaining unit” that is currently represented by TRAC-PSAC. Re-affiliation with a different union federation is a legal process with specific conditions that continue to protect workers during this transition period outlined in Section 61 of the Quebec Labour Code.

The law also means that TRAC’s current Collective Agreement with Concordia remains in effect until renegotiated, regardless of the outcome of our switch. The responsibility for handling both negotiations and existing grievances will be transferred to whichever union is certified – this should be CREW-CSN, because that’s the only way we can win the power to bargain for ourselves!

The obligation to pay “an amount of not less than $2” when signing is outlined in Section 36.1(c) of the Quebec Labour Code as a condition to be recognized as a member of an association applying for certification. If you do not pay the $2, your card will not be considered by the Labour Board. This amount has remained unchanged since the law was first introduced and simply remains ‘on the books’ to this day.

No. At the end of this campaign there will only be one union representing TAs and RAs at Concordia. With your help, it will be CREW-CSN – a stronger union that will win a better deal.

TRAC’s current Collective Agreement with Concordia will remain in effect until renegotiated by CREW-CSN. The responsibility for handling both negotiations and existing grievances will be transferred.. This is guaranteed by Section 61 of the Quebec Labour Code.

Resignation Letter from TRAC Executive and Formation of a New Union for TAs and RAs at Concordia - CREW-CSN

We cannot make the gains that our members so desperately need and deserve under our current parent union, PSAC. For this reason, we are resigning from our union positions and dedicating all our energies to a member-led campaign to step away from PSAC and affiliate to another union, the CSN. We will be forming a new organization: the Concordia Research and Education Workers (CREW) Union. We encourage you to find out more about this campaign—and sign a CREW membership card using this link:

PSAC is unable and unwilling to address the longstanding and pervasive problems facing us as teaching and research assistants at Concordia. Every year, they pocket dollars from struggling student-workers, while contributing virtually nothing to improving our pay and working conditions. We want to spend our time building a stronger union, but we’ve been forced into this grave decision by PSAC’s poor results and support.

Our mandate: A democratic, fighting union

Our executive team ran on a mandate to build a democratic, fighting union that would secure a collective agreement that addresses the rapidly rising cost of living, rampant job insecurity and overwork, and Concordia’s atrocious record on sexual harassment. In a contested election last May, we won 70% of the vote on this platform. Since then, we’ve been organizing our membership to put this platform into practice. Together, we’ve built strong campaigns around fighting sexual harassment and better pay, and advocated for collaboration with other unions and organizations at Concordia. We’ve expanded and democratized our Delegate Council, activating members from previously underrepresented departments. And we’ve started the process of bargaining for an ambitious collective agreement, consulting with members and electing bargaining officers.


We have only achieved this much because there are many hundreds of teaching and research assistants at Concordia who are demanding change after years of inertia. Our collective agreement has remained effectively the same as it was when it was first established years ago, and PSAC’s slow and often uncaring grievance process regularly fails to enforce what meagre protections it offers. PSAC has actively undermined many of our attempts to campaign for our members: they failed to help us deliver significant changes on the issue of sexual harassment. They failed to provide adequate training and support for us and our members. And they disciplined us for rallying for a pay raise above inflation. They also insist that the PSAC head office, not the TAs and RAs who work at Concordia, will dictate the monetary demands that we will present to the university during bargaining. The university takes full advantage of these dynamics, exploiting PSAC’s poor results and lack of consultation, not to mention its lack of a participatory union culture—in sharp contrast to CSN’s, notably—to push around our members and chip away at our working conditions.

The importance of this coming year—our first major contract negotiation in six years and the first since the COVID-19 pandemic—demands that we take action. We need to build a union that is truly run by the members. We need a union that campaigns for social change in and beyond the workplace. And we need a union that is ready and willing to fight for the contract we deserve: a pay raise above inflation, an end to overwork and job insecurity, and the ability for students and workers themselves to address abuses of power.

CSN: A culture of democracy, a history of success!

We urge you to resign from PSAC and sign up to CSN today, and that you encourage every TA and RA in your department and your classes to do the same. CSN is one of the largest and best-known unions in Canada, with a proud history of organizing low-paid and precarious workers like us. They campaign in the courts and in the streets, on important social issues like discriminations, housing, education, and the environment. CSN has a democratic structure that is different from most large unions and which provides far greater autonomy to union locals. Employers are scared of CSN unions because they have a track record of backing members’ demands, effectively using the collective power of workers and winning good contracts during bargaining. Signing on with CSN sends a clear message to Concordia that we are ready to fight – it’s a simple action you can take to improve our future. All TRAC members are currently PSAC members, so by not signing you would be inadvertently endorsing the status quo.

It has been a profound honour to be trusted as leaders in this union, and we remain committed to fighting for our collective interests as education and research workers at Concordia. But the work that we’ve been doing as TRAC can only lead to meaningful change if we begin working together as CREW Union. We intend to formally step down from our posts at the end of Friday, March 17 to wrap up the existing commitments of the organisation. We hope that you will give us your trust in taking this next step forward and that you will join us in signing on with CSN.

Yours in solidarity,

Sam Thompson, former President, TRAC

Becca Wilgosh, former Vice-President, TRAC

Stephanie Eccles, former Secretary-Treasurer, TRAC

Max Jones, former Communications Officer, TRAC

Saskia Kowalchuk, former Mobilization Officer, TRAC

Mya Walmsley, former Bargaining Officer, TRAC