Solin students see impact of MUNACA strike

Administration delays reimbursing residents for sublet pool

Last year’s Solin Hall residents are still waiting on remuneration from McGill after entering the University’s summer subletting pool.

Students at Solin sign leases  from August 21 to July 31, and students who move out before the lease expires have the option of entering a subletting pool run by McGill. Some students who entered last year’s pool are lodging complaints in response to the delay, and to the lack of information from the school regarding the delay.

Aidan Marchildon, a U1 Physics and Computer Science student, said he had been told that the credit would be assessed on his September e-bill.

“We [were] all expecting money in September on the e-bill, but it didn’t come,” said Marchildon.

“I don’t know how it affects other people. I was expecting to have the money to buy textbooks and groceries, and I have to wait. I have to wait until my next paycheck comes. It’s really frustrating,” he continued.

Students in the pool don’t find out how much money they will receive until the credit is added to their e-bill, but Marchildon said he’d heard it had been a fairly busy summer, and that students might be getting between $200 and $250 per month.

Rosetta Vannelli, accommodations manager for McGill Residence Administration, clarified that the Solin Hall Services Coordinator – Howard Zinman – calculates all summer sublet revenue and divides it among the students who joined the pool.

Zinman is a member of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA), and is currently on strike.

Zinman says that delays are all “part and parcel of the strike,” as it is MUNACA workers that calculate, process, and credit the money to students.

“This year, unfortunately, we were [sic] faced with a MUNACA strike which has left no employees at Solin except for summer students who have shown interest in maintaining some office hours,” wrote Vannelli in an email to The Daily.

Michael Porritt, executive director of Residences and Student Housing, claimed that “[the students’] typical shift would be covering lunches or covering break times, covering openings and things like that, and also working on the weekends.”

“We’re not allowed to just hire a bunch of students to cover the desk while the strike is going on, but students would always have covered lunch hours and worked weekends,” he added.

Marchildon said he had received an email in August from Zinman, saying students would receive their compensation in September. After receiving his September e-bill and noticing that the credit from the sublet pool had not been assessed, he called Solin Hall to pursue the matter.

“[Solin said], ‘Go to Service Point.’ They tell me to go to Student Housing. I go to Student Housing, they tell me to go to Service Point,” said Marchildon. “Everyone says there’s nothing they can do for me, until I sit in someone’s office and complain and threaten legal action. It’s only then that I get an answer.”

Marchildon said he threatened legal action in a conversation with Residence Admissions Coordinator Teresa Anania, and that her response was “to pick up the phone and call someone.”

Anania gave Marchildon the number for Mavis Smith, supervisor for accounts payable. Marchildon said he and his friends had called the number, but had yet to hear back.

Smith said she thought she’d had “one or two students call,” but would not comment further on her conversations with the students.

Porritt said he expected to process and divide the summer revenue among the students in the pool in two weeks, but that he couldn’t predict when the students would actually receive the credit on their e-bill.

“We don’t actually put the credit up, because then it goes over to the accounting area of the campus, and that’s also being impacted by the strike,” said Porritt.

“We’ll ask for it to be prioritized, and they have been pretty good about prioritizing things when we’ve asked,” he continued, “but since we’re not the one who actually puts it on the account I can’t say exactly when it will be on the account. I can only say we intend to get it done within two weeks.”

However, Zinman thought that it was unlikely for the administration to meet this deadline if MUNACA workers continue to strike.

Porritt confirmed that business at Solin over the summer had been “fairly busy, relative to other years,” but that he couldn’t give an exact figure on how much students would be receiving.

For the most part, students seem willing to wait for the University to process the funds. Alex Grant, a U1 Chemical Engineering student and Solin resident last year, said he had also been told he would receive the credit in his September e-bill – and that it “was a little surprising” when it didn’t come – but that most students in the sublet pool “were quite wealthy, and they don’t really care what they get paid or when they get paid.”

“I’m not in a huge rush to get my money, unlike other people. I don’t need it that badly, but it’s a little annoying,” said Grant.

“I haven’t actually done anything,” he continued. “I guess as soon as Howard [Zinman] is done striking he’ll get right on that.”