Despite the ongoing strike by the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA), negotiations have continued between the University and other campus unions.
Previous to the strike, the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE) held negotiations with the University in the McGill Human Resources offices at 688 Sherbrooke.
Since MUNACA commenced striking, AMUSE has decided to change their negotiation locations.
AMUSE Labour Relations Officer Dave Howden explained that, “Unions outside of the University sector usually negotiate in a more neutral setting, like a hotel,” rather than at one of the parties’ offices.
“As members of unions, we won’t cross picket lines; that has always been and will always be our policy,” said Howden.
“It was unclear whether 688 Sherbrooke would be picketed, and we asked McGill to move to other premises for that reason and they seemed to think it wasn’t an issue. On the day of bargaining there was a picket line, and we didn’t cross,” Howden continued.
The next date set for AMUSE negotiations is September 20; they will be held at a law firm that McGill keeps on retainer at 1000 De La Gauchetière Ouest. The two sides have been negotiating the union’s first ever collective agreement since March.
The Association for Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) has two bargaining units – teaching assistants (TAs) and invigilators – currently negotiating with the University.
“Invigilators’ [negotiations] happen off-campus, TAs’ happen on-campus, at 688 Sherbrooke,” said AGSEM president Lerona Lewis.
Lewis said that AGSEM consulted with MUNACA as to whether the union would rather that AGSEM find an alternate location, but found that MUNACA had no objections.
However, AGSEM has decided to hold their general meetings off-campus while MUNACA is on strike.
“The course lecturers’ general assembly will be at [l’Université du Québec à Montréal] next week, out of respect, because [MUNACA] said they would prefer if we didn’t have them on campus,” Lewis said.
According to VP External Joël Pedneault, when SSMU negotiates their Memorandum of Agreement with McGill, they negotiate either in SSMU offices or in James Administration.
Pedneault said that the location of negotiations had not been an issue, and that SSMU has never had to cross picket lines to reach their negotiations.
AMUSE and AGSEM, with MUNACA, are three members of the McGill Inter-union Council. AGSEM representatives said that the Council meets off-campus, currently at MUNACA’s temporary offices on Drummond and de Maisonneuve.