This Thursday, TAs will vote on a new contract proposal hammered out between union and administration negotiators.
The vote will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Leacock 132.
“A large turn-out of members is expected,” said a statement on the union’s website.
The union – the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) – has been at the bargaining table since March. TAs have been working without a contract since then.
Saying that they don’t want membership to read the administration’s proposals for the first time in the press, union officials are not giving any details about the new proposal. The proposal is the administration’s second; AGSEM rejected the first last month.
“It’s going to be their second answer to our initial proposal, and really our position hasn’t changed,” the chair of the bargaining committee, Renaud Roussel, said last Wednesday, before he had seen the offer.
The union is seeking a 3 per cent pay increase, increased TA-ships, limits on class sizes, paid training, and mandatory meetings with course supervisors.
According to AGSEM negotiators, McGill has thus far offered the province-mandated 1.2 per cent pay raise, and no increase in payable hours offered.
The administration has consistently declined to comment on AGSEM contract negotiations.
TAs currently make about $4,500 per TA-ship per term. A TA-ship is defined as 180 hours a semester.
AGSEM leaders are not yet saying whether or not they will be recommending ratification to the membership on Thursday.
Last Wednesday, AGSEM hosted a “Pep Rally” event at the Roddick gates, with popcorn, cotton candy, and bubbles. The idea was to cheer on their bargaining team, who were in negotiations at the time.
Roussel said the event was designed to increase AGSEM’s visibility on campus.
“It’s getting cold, it’s getting a little bit grey, and a little bit of colour is not bad,” he said.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle are McGill’s invigilators, who have also been at the bargaining table since March, negotiating their first contract with the University.
Invigilators form a separate bargaining committee from TAs and course lecturers, and are seeking an increase from $10 an hour to $15.25.
The union is also seeking recognition of seniority, and the establishment of a standardized pay scheme.
Invigilators number about 500, according to Kazem Fayabakhsh, a member of the invigilators bargaining committee. Invigilators voted overwhelmingly to join AGSEM last school year.
Fayabakhsh wrote in an email to The Daily that the union “believe[s] that McGill is capable of meeting our monetary demands.”
According to Fayabakhsh, McGill has so far offered a 12-cent raise, or 1.2 per cent.
Lerona Lewis, the president of AGSEM, said that the 12-cent raise offer was “ludicrious.”
“They might think invigilators aren’t important… Imagine if all the invigilators were sick on one day, there would be no exams,” she said.
The bargaining committee for invigilators next sits down with McGill administration on December 1, and again on December 5.