Commentary  An open letter from the QPIRG McGill Board of Directors

To the membership of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA):
On behalf of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG-McGill), we are writing to lend our support to you during this strike period and to express our solidarity with your struggle as negotiations with McGill continue.
With the spectre of the tuition deregulation planned by the Charest government overhead, McGill has hiked fees for international students and those in already-deregulated programs, and it has dismantled resource and funding structures essential to faculties and departments. It is against this backdrop – and against the backdrop of a principal who is paid more than our prime minister – that MUNACA’s struggle for a proper wage scale, fairly negotiated pension-and-benefits programs, parity with other university workers, et cetera., must be placed. Just as the McGill community is more than its students and teachers, the fight for a positive and accessible university does not stop at tuition: it is also the fight for workers’ rights. Neither students nor staff should bear the brunt of the government’s refusal to fund education adequately.
MUNACA’s presence at McGill is vital. Not only because their struggle seeks to create and maintain reasonable and just working conditions for non-academic staff, but because – in the union’s own words – “McGill works because [they] do.” We all have a stake in the respectful, equitable and fair treatment of McGill’s non-academic employees. Without them, there can be no university. So it is incumbent upon all of us – students, academic staff, community members – to stand in solidarity with MUNACA throughout this strike period.
We would like to extend thanks to the members of MUNACA for their vigilant efforts to protect workers’ rights, and the strength you have all demonstrated in fighting to hold McGill accountable to the more equitable standards we see at other Montreal universities – standards which McGill falls far short of.
In reaffirming our unwavering support for your struggle, we also strongly urge the administration to negotiate in good faith with the union and to meet its crucial demands.
At QPIRG, we recognize that the people who make up McGill – students as well as academic and non-academic staff – also form part of the broader Montreal community. We see this struggle on campus as part of the larger fight to make our educational institutions accessible, and we will stand with MUNACA workers until their goals have been achieved.

– In solidarity, signed by the QPIRG McGill Board of Directors.