McGill-MUNACA labour dispute: One week after conciliation begins, where are we?

Published: 15 September 2011


Here is another weekly update on the labour dispute between McGill and the MUNACA union, from Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) Michael Di Grappa

We returned to the bargaining table with MUNACA last Thursday with the help of a conciliator and are off to a positive start. Talks continued Monday and a significant number of issues were resolved. The current schedule is for meetings to continue up to at least October 26 as the parties attempt to come to an agreement on more than 100 of the outstanding items still on the table, including some major financial ones where the two sides are far apart.

McGill remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement that is fair to both sides and recognizes both the financial realities of the University and the provincial government's public-sector salary policy. Unfortunately, as MUNACA is not available for negotiations beforehand, our next conciliation meeting won't take place until September 21.

The University remains open and classes and research are continuing. While there are some longer lines and some reduced services, by and large McGill is working very hard in order to cope with the disruptions brought about by the strike. We review our contingency plans daily and are able to allocate resources to help address specific needs at specific times. Again, we thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through this difficult time - the busiest time of the year for many departments.

We remind you that Quebec labour law allows certain of our managers to perform the work of striking MUNACA members. They are not scabs. McGill fully respects the law and will continue to do so.

We have posted on the labour news website - - a message from Provost Anthony Masi sent last week to the University's academic community, and a document that outlines many of the major issues in this dispute and the positions of both sides as expressed at the bargaining table. These are there for your information, so you can better understand the issues in the dispute and the sizeable gap that remains on some of them.

Also on that website, you will find more updated Frequently Asked Questions, which are added from time to time. If you don't find answers to your questions, you may write to [at] and someone will get back to you promptly.

Please be assured that we are working very hard to find a settlement. It is not an easy task. As noted, we have more than 100 issues to resolve at the table. One of them concerns compensation. MUNACA is seeking a 28.9-per-cent pay increase over three years for its members (including scale progression), while McGill is offering a 1.2-per-cent per year increase (3.6 per cent over three years). Our offer, as we have pointed out, reflects Quebec government salary policy and is equivalent to increases negotiated with six other McGill unions and more than 450,000 of Quebec's public sector employees.

Allow me to note that the global compensation package of MUNACA's members is comparable to that received by staff performing similar functions at other Montreal and Quebec universities. That is one of the key reasons why so many MUNACA members are longstanding employees of McGill. More than 25 per cent of MUNACA's members have completed their salary progression and are at the maximum of their wage scale.

Finally, to those of you who are working harder or finding it more challenging to do your work during the strike, we would like to thank you for those extra efforts and let you know that they are very much appreciated. And to students, we appreciate your understanding and your determination to continue with your classes and studies under circumstances that are more challenging than they might otherwise be.





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