AGSEM Newsletter - August 2022

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Contents
  • Union Committees and Delegates’ Council

  • In the Community

  • In the News

  • Negotiations, Labor Relations, and Unionization Drive

  • Reminders

 
Union Committees and Delegates’ Council

Mental Health Working Group

The Mental Health Working Group is organizing a panel “Navigating Graduate Supervision” in Fall 2022. If you have ideas for the panel or are interested in participating as a panelist, please contact macdonald.officer@agsem-aeedem.ca


Meet Your Delegate: Cindy Garcia

Cindy Garcia (she/her) is a PhD student in the Integrated Program in Neuroscience at McGill and works as an invigilator. Follow the link to read our Q&A with Cindy.


See previous interviews with AGSEM Delegates


Get Involved

Would you like to get involved in your union? Contact mobilization@agsem-aeedem.ca if you are interested in becoming an AGSEM delegate or a member of an existing committee or working group for the 2022-23 academic year. We are busy planning for the 2022-23 academic year. If you have ideas for events, projects, a new working group, or how we can better support you in your role as a worker we want to hear from you!

 
In the Community

Labour Day Mobilization September 5

The AGSEM Mobilization Committee is coordinating AGSEM members to participate in the Manifestation syndicale pour la Fête du travail 2022 (Inter-union Manifestation for Labour Day 2022) on September 5 at 1:30pm. With wage stagnation and rising inflation at a time of record corporate profits, it is more important than ever to have a strong labour movement in Quebec. Come join us on September 5 on the corner of Avenue Parc La Fontaine and Rue Sherbrooke E.


The AGSEM Delegates’ Council will discuss the details of the mobilization at our next meeting on August 23. RSVP here.


Climate Strike September 23

The new AGSEM Climate Crisis Working Group is coordinating AGSEM members to participate in the Montreal Fridays for Future mobilization on September 23. If you would like to help mobilize TAs and Invigilators in your department, or if you are interested in joining the Working Group, contact Marta at communications.officer@agsem-aeedem.ca for more information.


The AGSEM Delegates’ Council will discuss the details of the mobilization at our next meeting on August 23. RSVP here.


March 2019 Climate Strike in Montreal (Marta Beszterda’s personal photo archive)

 
In the News

McGill Conservatory Closing

In June, the outgoing Dean Brenda Ravenscroft and incoming Dean Sean Ferguson of the Schulich School of Music (SSoM) announced that the school would be closing the McGill Conservatory. The McGill Conservatory, founded in 1904, is an essential link between McGill and the broader Montreal community, making music instruction accessible to learners of all ages. It also provided teaching opportunities to many SSoM students and musicians early in their careers.


The Executive Committee of the AGSEM condemns the decision of the SSoM to close the McGill Conservatory, and we stand in solidarity with the dozens of workers who are set to lose their jobs by the end of the summer.


Read the statement by the AGSEM Executive Committee condemning the decision here.


We invite AGSEM members to sign the petition organized by the McGill Course Lecturers and Instructors Union (MCLIU) calling on the Schulich School of Music to reverse their decision.


Bill 96 and the Special FNEEQ-CSN Federal Council

We are still looking to send AGSEM members to the special FNEEQ-CSN Federal Council on September 8th, 2022 in Trois-Rivières. The Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ) is one of our affiliate unions, which represents education sector workers in Quebec. The council will discuss Bill 96 and vote on FNEEQ’s official recommendations on the language policy in the education sector in Quebec, including the issue of language of instruction.


AGSEM can send up to 10 members—a large delegation due to the size of our union. We want to make sure that we have a strong representation at the Special Federal Council. All current AGSEM members are welcome to attend the Federal Council, but early registration is required. If you are interested in being a delegate to this Federal Council, please email our Communications Officer at communications.officer@agsem-aeedem.ca. We have until August 25 to submit all supporting documentation for our delegation.

The language of the FNEEQ Federal Council will be in French, but we are asking about simultaneous translation services to make the meeting accessible for our English-speaking members. Costs of participation, including transport and accommodation, will be covered by the union. Details about remuneration for time spent in the meeting will be determined closer to the Federal Council.


At the next AGSEM Delegates' Council (DC) meeting on August 23 at 6:00pm, we will discuss whether the DC would like for the delegation to this Special Federal Council to take a particular stance on Bill 96. Only AGSEM Delegates will be able to vote on this motion, but all AGSEM members are able to attend and speak. If you wish to attend this Delegates’ Council meeting, please RSVP on our website.


Rolls Royce Lockout Continues

The Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs de Rolls-Royce Canada - CSN (STTRRC) is entering its fifth consecutive month of lock out during negotiations for a new Collective Agreement. Since March, over 530 employees have been without work. Their employer, Rolls-Royce, is demanding its employees to make significant concessions and has proposed to freeze their wage, cut many services, insurance, and bonuses, as well as replace their pension fund with a less advantageous one. But the STTRRC-CSN is holding strong, and rejected the latest proposal by 75% on July 24.


On August 3, the STTRRC-CSN held a demonstration with over 200 workers walking from the Palais de Congrès to Premier François Legault’s Montreal office across from the Roddick Gates. The AGSEM Executive Committee stands in solidarity with the locked out workers. AGSEM recently made a contribution of $300 to the union from our Mutual Aid Fund. You can also make a direct donation to support the cause.


AGSEM Mobilization Officer, Kiersten, at the August 3 manifestation

 
Negotiations, Labor Relations, and Unionization Drive

Invigilator Negotiations (from June/July Newsletter)

As of May 1, 2022, the Quebec minimum wage increased to $14.25 per hour. This means the minimum wage has now surpassed the Invigilator wage of $13.88 per hour, which has been frozen since May 1, 2019. Your wage should be adjusted to the minimum automatically, but we suggest checking your pay stubs to ensure this change has been made. If you experience any issues with your pay, please email grievance.2@agsem-aeedem.ca as soon as you become aware of the problem.


Our low hourly wage is, of course, a significant issue that we must remedy in our next Invigilator Collective Agreement. In this time of unprecedented inflation and economic instability, it is essential that Invigilators have a wage that reflects the value of our labour. Unfortunately, our employer does not appear to share the same concerns.


We are deeply unsatisfied with the employer’s monetary offer. Their latest proposal does not provide a significant increase above minimum wage, or provide retroactive pay for the three years that our wage has been frozen. Their offer is also insufficient as it is conditional on us dropping major demands related to issues with workplace management. These are concerns that you raised to us about equitable workloads, transparent allocation of shifts, and the fair application of progressive discipline.


Given that the two parties are still far apart on key issues, the employer has requested a conciliator from the Tribunal administratif du travail (TAT). This means a neutral party has been assigned to our negotiations in order to facilitate a resolution. Conciliation is a process that AGSEM also engaged in during its last round of negotiations for a new TA contract. Negotiations will begin again in earnest in early September.


As soon as there are any major developments during the negotiation process—that is, an agreement in principle reached between the two parties, or an impasse in the negotiations—the AGSEM Executive Committee will call a Unit 2 Assembly. You will get to voice your opinion and vote on the new Collective Agreement. We will email all invigilators and announce on the website when we call a Unit 2 Assembly.


A more detailed description of the course of negotiations is available in past editions of the AGSEM monthly newsletter. A description of the Bargaining Committee’s mandate is available on the AGSEM website.


TA Pre-Bargaining Update

The TA Pre-Bargaining Committee welcomes suggestions and feedback for potential changes and additions to the TA collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which expires in July, 2023. Feel free to reach out to bargainingchairTA@agsem-aeedem.ca for suggestions for improvement. Please note that a pre-bargaining survey will also be sent in Fall 2022 to get feedback from members to negotiate the new CBA.


Unionization Drive for Academic Support Workers

On April 30, 2020, the Unionization team submitted a request for accreditation to McGill with the help of the CSN to represent all academic casuals (Unit 3) at the Tribunal administratif du Travail (TAT). This process is still active and we are hopeful of a positive outcome.

The delays are explained by the fact that the list of people subject to accreditation submitted by the employer (McGill University) was, in our opinion, inadequate and incomplete. Following several discussions with the TAT judge on the filing, as well as with employer representatives, we submitted a new list on February 25, 2021 with our comments and remarks. Names were added, based on those we have collected membership cards from, and others were removed based on their position not representing that of what the team deemed to be appropriate Unit 3. In November 2021, we received another response from McGill that was not satisfactory. A hearing at the TAT was supposed to take place in February but was postponed until May 2022, where we finally got an approval that a vote should happen soon. Be ready to vote if you were an academic casual in April 2020.


Please email us at udrive@agsem-aeedem.ca if you have any comments or questions.

 
Reminders

You Must be Paid for Mandatory Training

Under Article 11.02.02 of the TA Collective Agreement, any course-specific training required by the Course Supervisor shall be paid. If you are a new TA, this includes the mandatory one hour of TA training outlined in 13.06.01. This also includes the Employee program of the “It Takes All of Us” Sexual Violence Prevention training. All hours for required training should be accounted for on the Workload Form that you fill out with your supervisor at the start of term. Track your hours throughout the semester to make sure you do not work above your contract!


If you are a first-time TA this Fall, you are also entitled to earn an additional three hours of pay at the TA rate (that is, on top of your current TA contract—these hours should not be listed on your Workload Form). You will receive this compensation by completing at least three hours of the SKILLSETS New TA Training. Your right to this paid training is outlined in Article 16.06.02 of the Collective Agreement. If you are a returning TA, you are not eligible to receive compensation, but you still may attend the workshops. The Fall 2022 New TA Training schedule will be updated to the SKILLSETS website shortly!


Sign your AGSEM Membership Form!

We are happy to announce that Teaching Assistants and Invigilators can now fill out their AGSEM membership form online. You can sign your form here. Remember to submit a membership form for each semester that you work!


If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please contact us at mail@agsem-aeedem.ca.



Solidarity forever,


Your Executive, Bargaining, and Unionization Drive Committees