If you are a part-time or full-time graduate student at Western, you are a member of SOGS! This student society is governed by a council and executive board consisting of members from all across campus, including councilors from every department.
The purpose of SOGS is to provide services, benefits, programs, and representation to graduate students at Western. Their main focus is advocacy work and improving conditions for graduate students, but they also provide bursaries, scholarships, subsidies, emergency loans, and services such as transit passes and the graduate student health plan.
All teaching assistants and postdoctoral associates are members of PSAC Local 610. As employees of the university, TAs and PDAs have specific rights and responsibilities as a part of their employment. The terms of these rights and responsibilities—which include working conditions, compensation, and benefits—are defined by the Collective Agreement, which is established through collective bargaining between PSAC Local 610 and the employer. The Local is connected to the regional and national bodies of the PSAC; on campus, however, the Local is administered by an executive as well as a network of departmental stewards that connects and represents individual TAs and PDAs to the executive.
The Local works to make sure that TAs and PDAs are aware of their rights and duties, as well as that the terms of the Collective Agreement are honoured by the employer. It also provides assistance to TAs and PDAs in instances where the Collective Agreement is violated. However, the Local also provides a number of benefits and programs to TAs and PDAs, including extended health care coverage, bursaries, scholarships, and financial assistance.