Strike negotiation update

Published: 29 April 2008

Summary of Key Issues to Date

Substantial progress has been made in addressing important AGSEM concerns by McGill. Among them:

Recognition of the Important Role TAs Play at McGill

  • It has been agreed that a new collective agreement will include the following language: The University recognizes the important pedagogical role played by the Teaching Assistant in support of the Educational Mission of the University;
  • The University has offered the AGSEM Executive Committee a regular annual meeting with the Provost, who is the University’s Chief Academic Officer, to discuss issues of academic importance and mutual interest.

TA Training

  • The University has confirmed that there will be four 8-hour training sessions for graduate student instructors starting September 2008, allowing up to 1000 graduate students to enroll free of charge;
  • The University has offered to require that all departments provide first-time TAs with a general orientation concerning departmental practices and expectations.

Dealing with Union Grievances

  • It has been agreed that a formal mechanism for resolving disputes relating to overtime shall be placed in the new collective agreement;
  • The University has offered to recognize the Graduate Program Director in each department as the person ideally suited to act as a mediator in informally resolving problems between the TA and Course Supervisor relating to working conditions.

The Posting of TA Positions

  • It has been agreed that all TA postings will be available online so that all McGill graduate students will have access to all TA postings at the University;
  • This will be available through a dedicated job search category on the Career and Placement Service (CAPS) website;
  • Graduate students will be able to apply online for any position;
  • It was agreed that all such postings will also be made available to AGSEM.

Intellectual Property

  • The University has confirmed that TA intellectual property rights will be governed by the University Policy on Intellectual Property.

Appropriate Office Space for AGSEM

  • The University has offered AGSEM increased office space effective July 1, 2008, even though there are serious space limitations on the Montreal campus that affect everyone at McGill.

Issues Relating to Leaves of Absence

  • The University has proposed a new process for addressing TA absences due to unforeseen incidental illness;
  • The University has offered to improve allowances for bereavement leave consistent with University practice for other employees;
  • The University has offered to establish a mechanism permitting TAs to attend academic conferences at the request of their Advisor without losing salary for missed activities.

To see the documents tabled by the University during negotiations between the University and AGSEM, the union representing striking Teaching Assistants, please visit the TA strike website.

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