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From the AGSEM Archives: 30 Years of Graduate Student Labour Organizing at McGill

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the union, the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) is excited to present a glimpse of our history in the public exhibition From the AGSEM Archives: 30 Years of Graduate Student Labour Organizing at McGill.


Building upon graduate student workers' organizing efforts since the 1970s, AGSEM led a successful card-signing campaign in 1992 to become certified with the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) in 1993, making it the first union of Teaching Assistants in Québec. It began collective bargaining for graduate Teaching Assistants in 1994. 


Since its founding, AGSEM has been at the forefront of unionization efforts across McGill. In 2010, AGSEM unionized invigilators who suffered some of the worst working conditions and wages on campus. AGSEM’s second major campaign was to organize course lecturers, an initiative that finally succeeded in August 2011 after decades of failed attempts. Course lecturers later split from AGSEM to form the McGill Course Lecturers and Instructors Union (MCLIU).


Consisting of five installations on bulletin boards on McGill's downtown campus and online, From the AGSEM Archives: 30 Years of Graduate Student Labour Organizing at McGill highlights historic and present-day initiatives of graduate student labour organizing at McGill, situating the union within broader networks of solidarity in Québec and beyond.

Project Coordinator

Marta Beszterda


Historians and Assistant Coordinators

Jean-Philip Mathieu

Kiersten van Vliet



Erika Kindsfather

Miranda Monosky


Graphics and Design

Audrée Sévigny, CCMM-CSN

Nicolas Talbot, CCMM-CSN

Kim Gruver


Kiersten van Vliet


Alex Pelchat, CCMM-CSN

Vincent Masson, CCMM-CSN

Kim Gruver

Emma McKay

Aiden Mehak

Donald Morard III

Mario Roy

Oral Histories

Suncica Avlijas
Robin Davies
Lerona Lewis
Megan Mericle
Tamara Myers
Marc Paquette
Lilian Radovac
Michael Temelini
Kiersten van Vliet

Thanks to the generous support from:

Special thanks to:

AGSEM old logo button.jpg
I support Invigilators of McGill.jpg
I Support TAs on Strike.png
Referendum Poster.jpg

Poster advertising referendum to certify with CSN  (November 1992). AGSEM Archives, Vol. 4.1 "Posters and Communications."

Will TA FOr Food newspaper.jpg

“Tough times for TAs,” Cover page of The McGill Daily, Vol. 92 No. 40 (March 2003). AGSEM Archives, Vol. 4.1 “‘Tough times for TAs’ McGill Daily.”

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