Possible TA strike: What you need to know

Published: 3 April 2008

Please see:

As part of the collective bargaining process, AGSEM, the union representing Teaching Assistants and Demonstrators at McGill, has received a mandate to strike from its membership.

Contrary to some information that has been circulated to members of the McGill community, negotiations between AGSEM and the University are indeed continuing. McGill has acted in good faith from the start of this process and will continue to do so.

McGill has been at the table with the AGSEM since negotiations began in October. The process has been positive, but the issues are complex and, as is often the case in contract negotiations, the two sides disagree about some important matters. At McGill's request, the provincial Minister of Labour appointed a conciliator to help the parties come to an agreement. Several dates have been set for these bargaining sessions and we remain very hopeful a strike can be averted.

In the unfortunate event a labour disruption does occur, it is important for the McGill community to be assured that various measures will be taken to maintain normal functioning of the University:

  • The University will remain open, including for exams. Indeed, students will be expected to attend their classes, turn in all assignments on time to their instructors, and write their exams, which will be held according to the announced timetable.
  • Students will not be excused from a class or exam because there might be a picket line outside the room. We will take whatever measures are needed to provide safe, secure access to all classrooms and examination rooms.
  • The Administrative Handbook and Collective Agreements contain provisions covering staff members who as a matter of conscience cannot cross a picket line. This act of conscience will be respected and no penalty will be imposed other than non-payment for the period during which the employee was not at work.
  • We will make every effort to ensure marks are entered on time so that applications to graduate school or other programs will not be adversely affected by any labour dispute. The University does not anticipate any delays in the transmission of marks and will do everything it can to avoid any delay in the submission of final grades.
  • Specific measures are being taken in all faculties to ensure academic records are protected.
  • Finally, Convocation ceremonies will be held on schedule.

We remain hopeful the continuing negotiations will produce a settlement that is fair and acceptable to both sides.

Students, faculty and staff are urged to visit this space on the website regularly for the latest information.

Morton J. Mendelson
Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)

Please see: Possible TA strike FAQs for students
Possible TA strike FAQs for employees

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