1700 McGill workers strike while lecturers fight for union recognition

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Unionist
1700 McGill workers strike while lecturers fight for union recognition

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Unionist

PSAC-affiliated MUNACA (McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association) launched a general strike September 1, pulling all 1,700 members off the job. They're fighting for parity with similar employees in other Québec universities as well as staving off attacks on pensions and benefits:

[url=http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2011/09/munaca-declares-strike/]MUNACA declares strike[/url]

Meanwhile, course lecturers (grad students) are engaged in a bitter fight for union recognition:

[url=http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2011/01/14/mcgill-professors-band-behin... professors band behind lecturers seeking union accreditation[/url]

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks for this Unionist. It's good to see the professors supporting the lecturers. I don't see Heather Munroe-Blum budging much on either issue, however. I think they're in for a long fight. Good luck, MUNACA!

Bärlüer

The course lecturers' union was actually just certified.

Unionist

I missed that - thanks, Bärlüer!

 

Bärlüer

Great strides have been made in the past few years at McGill as far as union representation goes. It always had been a "parent pauvre" compared to the other universities, but now, with AMURE (research assistants), AMUSE (casual support employees) and most recently the lecturers' union, most workers now have representation.

lagatta

Thanks unionist and all! This made my day!

Unionist

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/Scabs+working+McGill+report/5451369/story... working at McGill: Report[/url]

Quote:
An investigation commissioned by the Quebec Ministry of Labour has concluded that McGill University is employing illegal scabs to replace some of its striking non-academic employees.

 

Unionist

McGill Daily editorial:

[url=http://www.mcgilldaily.com/2011/09/negotiate-in-good-faith/]Negotiate in good faith[/url]

Quote:
Despite their expressed commitment to follow Quebec labour laws and negotiate in good faith to reach a fair settlement with MUNACA, the McGill administration has demonstrated that this is not the case.

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal/Shrinking+pickets+attack+fr... obtains temporary injunction restricting picket lines[/url]

Quote:

The injunction is valid until Oct. 3, when there will be a hearing, said Di Grappa. He said the recent escalation of pressure tactics has impeded access to the campus and blocked deliveries of perishable items, like biological and chemical materials.

The number of pickets has also forced people off the sidewalk in some areas, creating a potential danger.

“We felt we had to act,” said Di Grappa.

Yeah, Mr. Di Grappa, your act is quite convincing.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
theboxman

More inanity from McGill administration:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNbYj9jE8kM&feature=youtu.be

Unionist

Oh, I love it, thank you theboxman. With youth like these - fearless, well-informed, and humorous - the future will be bright!

flight from kamakura

i'm gettng alumni mail about all this, which is sort of weird.  don't really want to out myself online, so hopefully anyone who knows me won't chime in, but yeah, when i was at in the grad school portion of my education, at mcgill, i was on council/commttee member, and this was actually a hot topic.  there really were only two major issues of contention during my time on council: cfs-q and unionisation.  i'd rather miss a day of food than cross a picket line, and i'm really disappointed in the current pgss leadership that they haven't gone full in supporting munaca.

Unionist

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/McGill+pickets+form+downtown+fla... pickets form downtown flash mobs[/url]

Quote:

McGill University board members got a nasty surprise Monday when striking support staff showed up outside their downtown offices for flash mob protests intended to put pressure on them to help settle the labour dispute. [...]

The 1,700 members of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association have had to find more creative ways to express their dissatisfaction since an injunction obtained by McGill 10 days ago - and now extended for another 10 days - restricts the number of pickets and the amount of noise they can make at campus entrances.

[...] Hundreds of members participated in the flash mobs outside the offices of Kazel, Stuart "Kip" Cobbett at Stikeman Elliott LLP, Martine Turcotte at Bell Canada and Thierry Vandal, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec.

Bärlüer
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Anthony Paré: The McGill administration's conduct doesn't match its lofty words

Quote:
The strike by McGill University's non-academic workers (members of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association) has been the subject of sharp debate within the university and in the media. In both internal and public communications about the strike, the university's senior administrators have been at pains to insist that they welcome an open debate and reject intimidation. In a recent internal email, principal Heather Munroe-Blum said: "I urge all of us to move forward in our long-standing McGill tradition of respectful and civil discourse, where people are free to speak, to disagree and voice their views without harassment, intimidation and insult." I would like to take up this invitation.

The principal's statement joins a host of other such comments that position the administration on higher moral and rhetorical ground than the strikers. How does the administration reconcile its rejection of intimidation and harassment with its own video recording of picket lines and rallies? It seems uncivil and disrespectful, at least, to photograph people against their will. As a researcher, I am required to get consent from anyone I audio or video record, explain what my purpose is and how I will use the data, and assure the subject of the degree of confidentiality that he or she requests. The administration's use of this tactic is intimidating and harassing and breaks those basic rules of ethical conduct.

Paré sat on the university senate while I was a student at McGill. He stood up for MUNACA workers even then. Bravo, professor.

 

Unionist

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/McGill+students+want+apology+after+u... students want apology after university drops accusations[/url]

Quote:

[Joel] Pedneault [vice-president of external affairs for the Student Society of McGill University] and fellow SSMU student Micha Stettin received letters on Oct. 14 telling them they would have a meeting with associate dean of arts André Costopoulos to review evidence presented by McGill Security that they had violated sections of the Code of Student Conduct at a demonstration held on Oct. 11.

They were cited for disruption, particularly of traffic, during the protest, which was in support of the striking McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association. [...]

“I’m still really angry,” Pedneault said on Sunday. “These actions constitute harassment. There’s a vague report mentioning my name and, suddenly, I’m part of this very worrisome and time-consuming process.”

He believes he was singled out for being a vocal supporter of MUNACA and because he is part of the "mob squad" – mobilization squad – that aims to raise awareness of labour and tuition fee issues on campus.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Unionist wrote:

He believes he was singled out for being a vocal supporter of MUNACA and because he is part of the "mob squad" – mobilization squad – that aims to raise awareness of labour and tuition fee issues on campus.

Ya think?  

Where is that "banging your head against the wall" smilie when you need it?

Unionist

Nananana, nananana, hey Di Grappa, goodbye!

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/McGill+union+blocks+administrator+fr... strike gets personal: Administrator blocked from hospital board[/url]

Quote:

The strike by McGill University support staff got personal this week when the union derailed a senior administrator's attempt to sit on a hospital board as a community member.

Members of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association showed up in large numbers to vote in the election at Santa Cabrini Hospital, where Michael Di Grappa - McGill's vice-principal of administration and finance and the spokesperson for the university since the strike started on Sept. 1 - was running for re-election as a community representative on the board.

But MUNACA members voted against Di Grappa and helped to unseat him.

Democracy. Sometimes it works. Di Grappa has been hostile, aggressive, and offensive in his attacks against the striking McGill workers.

Unionist

[url=http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/McGill+support+staff+reach+tentative... agreement reached yesterday[/url]

... but:

Quote:

Whittaker said he hoped he could present the agreement to the members next week, but said the return-to-work protocol is the priority right now and that is still being negotiated.

I don't really understand how they operate. In my world, we don't announce a "tentative agreement" until everything is settled, including (and sometimes especially) a back-to-work protocol. Hopefully they'll get this done soon.

[url=http://www.munaca.com/node/387]MUNACA's announcement[/url]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Bärlüer

The strike is over: the agreement was ratified by the members with 71,5% in favour.