Labour Dispute in the Faculty of Law

Frequently Asked Questions 

 

During the strike by members of the Association of McGill Professors of Law (AMPL), the University is continuing its operations, including making sure that the work of Law students set to graduate this term will be assessed for the purposes of determining that they have earned their degrees and are able to graduate on time.  

The University acknowledges the right to labour action by its members and the right of their peers and students to enjoy an academic environment that offers conditions that are suitable for learning and work. 


Impacts on all students 

What should students expect during the strike by AMPL members?

  • We are working to ensure minimal inconvenience for our students. They may see picket lines around the downtown campus and will experience delays in the grading of their assignments and evaluations.   

  • The University is committed to ensuring students expected to graduate this term are assessed on time. All students who have met graduation requirements may attend Convocation ceremonies and qualify for professional exams, as planned. See details below.  

Will students be able to undertake their final examinations? Could they be disrupted?

  • Final exams will proceed as planned. Refer to the Student Affairs Office website to find the time and location of your exam. 

  • Though it is possible that striking Faculty members will picket near exam locations, we trust that they will not want to undertake any action that would disrupt students' academic activities. 

Does the strike impact the deadline for take-home exams and any other assignments?

  • No. All take-home exams and assignments must be submitted to the Student Affairs Office or on myCourses as scheduled.  

How will the strike affect the grading of exams and other work submitted for winter 2024?

  • There will be a delay, as this work will be evaluated, and courses assigned a letter grade, by Faculty members when they return to work.   

  • Grades submitted by instructors not on strike will be held until all grades for the term can be released.  

  • In the meantime, transcripts will show a blank or “NR” (No Record) as a placeholder for grades for the 2024 winter term. This code does not affect the cumulative grade-point average, nor does it indicate that any work remains outstanding. When the strike has ended and Faculty Council has approved final grades as per our Faculty Regulations, those grades will replace the placeholders. Click here for a letter from the dean explaining the absence of grades from winter 2024. 

Will summer courses and term essays proceed as planned? 

  • Three courses were due to begin in May. Associate Dean Rosenblum’s Business Associations is proceeding as planned. 

  • Professor Peer Zumbansen’s Transformative Business Law Summer Academy is cancelled. 

  • Professor Omar Farahat’s Islamic Law is cancelled. 

  • More should be said regarding summer term essays, which require at least three meetings of student and supervisor, appropriately spaced to allow meaningful work between them. Essays supervised by individuals who are not covered by AMPL’s certification (including the dean and associate deans) are proceeding as usual. But essays supervised by striking professors have not so begun.  

  • Students whose summer term essay would satisfy the remaining requirements for imminent completion of their programme would be well advised to secure a supervisor who is not on strike. In such cases, the Student Affairs Office will accept a post-deadline request for change of supervisor until 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.  

  • For continuing students, summer term essays supervised by striking professors will be cancelled if AMPL has not returned to work by 3 p.m. on Friday, June 14. For such students, the Student Affairs Office will not accept post-deadline requests to change supervisor. Such students may consider alternative means of earning summer credits, including taking a non-law course at McGill or taking a law or non-law course through the Quebec Inter-University Transfer Agreement. Moreover, students might undertake preliminary research this summer to serve as the basis for a term essay registered for a later term.

How can students be in touch with professors who are on strike?

  • Because employees are not allowed to undertake any work activities during a strike, we recommend that students wait until the end of the labour action to contact Faculty members on strike. Faculty members will not be accessing McGill emails or offices or receiving messages left on their McGill phone numbers.

  • For urgent academic needs, students can email doyen.droit [at] mcgill.ca

Can graduate students meet with their supervisors, in person or virtually?

  • No, because employees are not allowed to undertake any work activities during a strike, including graduate supervision. We recommend that students wait until the end of the labour action to contact Faculty members. In any case, striking Faculty members will not have access to their McGill email or offices. 

What is the impact on firm recruitment processes?

  • The Faculty of Law is in touch with the main employers in our major markets to minimize the strike’s impact on students participating in recruitment processes in May and June. These employers have been notified that there will be delays in the grading of assignments and evaluations from the winter term. In addition, click here for a letter from the dean explaining the absence of grades from winter 2024.  

Will registration for the 2024–25 academic year proceed as usual? 

  • Yes. Keep an eye out for communication from the Student Affairs Office on this subject. 

Impacts on graduating students

What plans are being made for those expecting to graduate on May 29?

  • Your Convocation Day is an important celebration for you and your loved ones as you join McGill’s global alumni community. Please continue planning for it! McGill will ensure that students who have met the requirements for their degrees graduate as planned.  

  • The Dean and Associate Deans of the Faculty of Law have reviewed the work of graduating students to determine whether it is of sufficient quality that they have met the requirements for their programme. 

  • The Faculty of Law will submit the list of students eligible to graduate to Enrolment Services by May 17. These students will see the indication “degree granted” in Minerva on May 24, the date previously set by McGill for all graduating students. 

  • Diplomas will be conferred on students eligible to graduate on May 29. You and anyone else should rely on these McGill diplomas and Minerva’s confirmation of conferral of degrees as on any others. 

  • Transcripts will show as either blank or “NR” (No Record) as a placeholder for grades for the 2024 winter term until the strike has ended, Faculty Council has approved final grades as per our Faculty Regulations, and those grades have replaced the placeholders. This code does not affect the cumulative grade-point average, nor does it indicate that any work remains outstanding. 

Will graduating students be able to register for upcoming professional licensing examinations? 

  • Yes. We know that proceeding to your next professional step is important for you and we are doing everything we can to ensure that the strike will not impede your progress. The Faculty of Law is in touch with the licensing bodies to minimize the strike’s impact respecting licensing processes for students who receive their diplomas on May 29. 

  • To help us help you, please tell us via this form with which law society or licensing body you intend to register. With the information you so share with us, we will be able to provide tailored updates about requirements and deadlines, as well as generate any attestation letters necessary.  

  • Faculty of Law staff have longstanding relationships with many of the law societies where our graduates go. For example, the pandemic led us to update interested licensing bodies often regarding the delivery of our programme. Please rely on us to communicate with them on your behalf. 


Research assistants 

Can RAs continue working or begin work as per their contracts with a Faculty member on strike? 

  • RAs may undertake work that does not require the involvement of their supervisor. 

Can RAs get in touch with their supervisor?

  • Because striking Faculty members are not allowed to undertake any work activities during a strike and will not have access to their McGill email or phone numbers, we recommend that RAs wait until the end of the labour action to contact a supervisor who is on strike.

How will RAs’ hours be approved in Workday? 

  • Before the strike, Faculty members were invited to delegate approval authority over their grants to the dean, who is a manager under the Labour Code. If they did so, he will be able to approve hours submitted by their RAs. 

Who can RAs contact regarding HR/Workday/payroll matters?   

  • Please contact tena.groot [at] mcgill.ca (Tena Groot), Human Resources Coordinator.

 


Impacts on academic and administrative staff 

Who can and can’t work if a strike is declared?

  • All Faculty members covered by the AMPL certification will be considered on strike and cannot work or be paid for their services during that time.

  • Faculty members not covered by the AMPL certification and other McGill employees may continue to perform their normal duties.

  • Managers at the University can do the work normally done by Faculty members on strike if employed at the University on the date when negotiations began, November 11, 2022.  

Who is considered a manager?

  • The Québec Labour Code and the caselaw define a manager as a person with most of the following responsibilities: 
  1. representing the employer in its relations with employees; 

  2. managing the work of others, establishing work schedules, authorizing absences, approving timesheets, determining workloads and assignments, etc.; 

  3. having decision-making and supervisory authority; 

  4. having the authority to hire, discipline, and dismiss employees. 

  • Academic administrators with managerial responsibilities (such as Deans, Associate Deans, Provost, and Associate Provosts/Vice-Presidents), whether their professorial appointment is in the Faculty of Law or elsewhere, are part of management and can carry out the work of striking Faculty members covered by the AMPL certification, provided that they were employed by the University prior to November 11, 2022. 

  • MPEX and executive staff members with managerial responsibilities, regardless of whether they are employed in the Faculty of Law, are part of management and can carry out the work of striking Faculty members covered by the AMPL certification, provided that they were employed by the University prior to November 11, 2022.  

How is the work of those who are not covered by the AMPL certification affected by the strike? Can any other members of the Faculty of Law community undertake the tasks of striking Faculty members? 

  • A member of the academic or administrative staff who is not a manager and who is not on strike cannot perform the duties of striking Faculty members. For example, they cannot be asked to grade exams or papers or invigilate for courses led by Faculty members on strike. 

  • Academic staff who are not covered by the AMPL certification and who are not part of management are expected to carry out their normal duties during a strike or lock-out.  

How would being on strike change the activities of Faculty members covered by the AMPL certification? 

  • The Labour Code prohibits unionized workers on strike from carrying out any activities related to their work. Accordingly, Faculty members on strike must suspend all academic duties, as defined in the Regulations Relating to the Employment of Tenure-Track and Tenured Staff, section 4.1, including teaching, research and scholarly activities, and other contributions to the University and scholarly communities.  

  • The University cannot monitor activities performed by Faculty members on their own (such as scholarly writing). However, Faculty members on strike will not have access physically or remotely to library resources and may not use university funds, including external grants held at the University, to support activities performed while on strike.  

  • Faculty members on strike may not carry out supervision in respect of their students, including research assistants.  

  • For information about working with RAs, please see the section above

How would students and other instructors and staff communicate with striking Faculty members?

  • The standard protocol during strike action includes the suspension of work tools including official University email addresses, access to Workday, and access to myCourses and Minerva.  

  • Faculty members on strike should not be communicating with their students while on strike.  

  • The University will communicate relevant information to AMPL union representatives.   

Can AMPL members go to conferences while on strike?

  • As shown by documents such as academic CVs, annual reports, and dossiers for tenure, participation and attendance at academic conferences is generally understood to be part of the performance of a professor’s “academic duties.” A striking Faculty member should not attend or participate at a conference or other academic event if doing so would normally be viewed as part of their “academic duties.” 

  • If striking Faculty members travel and attend meetings or conferences in a personal capacity, no part of the expenses incurred may be reimbursed using any type of McGill fund. Such participation will not be part of the Faculty member’s academic duties for purposes such as performance evaluation or tenure. 

  • Travel insurance provided for by the University is only available to members of the McGill Supplemental Health Plan. 

What happens if, as a matter of conscience, other members of the McGill community decide not to cross a picket line?

  • The McGill Personnel Policies and some 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, however no salary will be paid for the period during which the employee is not at work. Staff members who take this position are expected to advise their supervisor, department head or chair and arrangements will be made to deduct the appropriate amounts from their salaries. 

  • Individuals who are denied access to a University building as a result of a picket line should note the facts surrounding the incident and contact Security Services at (514) 398-3000. 

What are the rules around picket lines?

  • Picket lines must not block access to University campus or buildings, or obstruct or interfere with University activities.  

  • Any disruptions or unusual activity should be immediately reported to (514) 398-3000 (McGill Security Services) and the Faculty HR Advisor and someone will provide support.  

 

 

Last update: May 21, 2024

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