AGSEM Newsletter - March 2022

Previous Newsletter



Follow us on: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!


Teaching Assistants' Assembly on March 29, 2022 for Pre-Bargaining Committee Elections.

Nomination Period now Open.

The next Teaching Assistants' (Unit 1) Assembly will be held on March 29, 2022 at 5:30 pm, for the purpose of holding elections for a new TA Pre-Bargaining Committee. This committee will be primarily responsible to prepare the union's proposal for negotiating the next TA Collective Agreement, as the current TA Collective Agreement will expire on 31 July 2023. If you currently work or have worked as a TA at any point in the past year, you are entitled to attend, speak, and vote at this assembly. Since this is an online assembly, it is required that you register in advance. If you wish to attend, we recommend you RSVP as soon as possible.

You are also invited to submit any topic of discussion or motion to adopt that you wishby email to the chair at president@agsem-aeedem.ca, up to 24 hours before the start of the meeting.

Registration is necessary to attend the meeting, and the meeting information and agenda will be sent to those who register in advance. Please note that registration will be open until March 27, 2022 at 5:30PM, 24hrs before the meeting. We will follow up with registrants for whom we do not have a signed AGSEM membership form.

Nomination Period Now Open

The nomination period is now open until March 27 2022, 5:30 PM EST, 2 days before the assembly.

There are three open positions for the TA pre-Bargaining Committee:

  • 1 chair

  • 2 members

Each position is remunerated for 90 hours per semester at the new TA rate ($32.38/hr).Official descriptions of the positions are available here.

Nomination forms must be signed by the nominee and five (5) Unit 1 members in good standing. Unit 1 members in good standing require that you have worked as aTA in the past year and have signed and submitted an AGSEM membership form. Filled-out nomination forms, including self-nominations, must be sent to president@agsem-aeedem.ca before March 27 2022, 5:30 PM EST. A Unit 1 member in good standing may be nominated for only one position during the nomination period.

Members can also run in absentia provided they submit a Nomination Form prior to the Assembly.Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the meeting where the election is to be held, but only for positions that have one or no nominations.

Join AGSEM delegation for the FNEEQ-CSN Conseil Fédéral on May 4-6, 2022

The AGSEM Executive Committee is looking for AGSEM members interested in joining the union delegation at the FNEEQ-CSN congress in Sherbrooke on May 4, 5, and 6. The representatives will be reimbursed travel expenses and accommodation. If you are interested in attending the congress, please email the External Communications Officer at communications.officer@agsem-aeedem.ca. Please note that the language of the congress is French.

Right to refuse unsafe work

As stated in article 15.02.05 of the TA Collective Agreement, you have the right to refuse unsafe work.

“An Employee has the right to refuse to perform a task if the Employee has reasonable grounds to believe that the performance of the task would endanger the Employee’s health, safety or physical well-being, or would expose another person to a similar danger (...).”

If you have concerns about work safety as a TA, please contact us directly at grievance.1@agsem-aeedem.ca.

PGSS N95 Mask Program

PGSS has now set up a N95 mask distribution program for its members on a pay-what-you-can basis. Reservation is required. Find out more information here.

If you would like to access the masks distributed by PGSS, but you are not able to pick them up on your own, please contact your AGSEM Delegate to coordinate your mask order.

Are you an AGSEM Delegate and you would like to coordinate a mask order for the TAs in your department? Email communication.officer@agsem-aeedem.ca

AGSEM introduces online membership forms for Teaching Assistants and Invigilators

We are happy to announce that starting December 2021, AGSEM members can fill out their membership forms online. You can fill out your form here.

While we encourage everyone to use the new online system, please be assured that we still accept paper membership forms (sent to our office at 3641 rue University, suite 207), as well as the PDF format sent to us via email.

Invigilators

Negotiation Update:

The Invigilator Bargaining Committee and McGill met five times since the start of 2022. In early March, we reached a resolution on Article 15, the Probationary Period. Both parties agreed to base the Probationary Period on 25 hours worked in up to three consecutive semesters rather than three consecutive semesters hired—as it was possible for an invigilator to be hired three semesters in a row but never work a shift and still pass their Probationary Period.

We then began negotiations on Article 11, Organization of Work. Our negotiation team found that we were very far apart from the Employer on the management of employees, including ensuring that there is an adequate number of invigilators and circulators hired per student. As a result, we have decided to move to global non-monetary negotiations of all remaining articles (11, 12, 13 & 14) to determine whether the employer is willing to address major issues with workplace management that invigilators have raised—issues that have subsequently informed our bargaining priorities.

As soon as there are any major developments—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. The decision whether or not to accept an Employer’s final offer and adopt that text as the new Invigilator Collective Agreement is subject to a democratic vote at a Unit Assembly.

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

Invigilator Delegates

If you have worked as an Invigilator at any point between now and Winter 2019, you are likely eligible to become an AGSEM Invigilator Delegate. TA and Invigilator Delegates meet once a month as the Delegates’ Council and represent their Hiring Units to establish priorities for the Union. Invigilator representation is especially important now that we are in collective negotiations. Invigilator Delegates are compensated with a $125 honorarium to attend at least two Delegate Council meetings per semester. If you are interested in becoming an Invigilator Delegate, please contact mobilization@agsem-aeedem.ca.

Do you want to become a delegate?

We are currently looking for AGSEM members who would like to get involved in the union! You can contact mobilization@agsem-aeedem.ca and become a delegate for your department; as TA or invigilator. You will be able to participate in union activities and help your colleagues know their right in their work at McGill. Many delegate positions are opening in the next few months. Do not hesitate to send us an email!

Workday Update

On January 28, 2022, following a resolution from the AGSEM Delegates’ Council, the union signed a letter of agreement with the university resolving the issue of TAs not paid on time due to issues with Workday’s inefficient implementation. All TAs who experienced late pay will be entitled to a one-time compensation of $40.00 plus $20.00 for each delayed pay period.

The university has finally provided the union with a list of TAs who were affected by this issue, so AGSEM is currently reviewing the list before the final version is sent back to the university to process the compensation. If your pay was delayed and you have not yet contacted the union, please do so immediately so we can ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to (grievance.1@agsem-aeedem.ca). You can also submit a claim directly to the University until April 28, 2022 at hr.hr@mcgill.ca. Compensation will be paid via direct deposit for active employees. For those that are no longer employees, they must send an email to hr.hr@mcgill.ca that includes their current bank information. If no banking information is sent, a cheque will then be issued by the University.

Until all the issues in Workday are solved, AGSEM is requesting a task force that includes representatives from employee groups, power users and associations at McGill, as well as members of McGill's R2R team to work on system upgrades. We need to solve all issues, minor and major, in a systematic way: small and short term fixes are not sustainable.

If you have any questions or if you are experiencing any issues with Workday, please contact us, and don’t forget that if you are spending time trying to sort out any Workday issues, this should be reflected in your Workload form.

Update on Udrive campaign

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 last month but was postponed until May 2022.

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

Recent Solidarity Initiatives

Show your support and join other AGSEM members and the AGSEM Executive Committee at the Floor Fellow Strike solidarity events – follow AGSEM and AMUSE on social media to get updates on upcoming events! AMUSE social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

AGSEM social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

  • AGSEM Stands in Solidarity with Ukraine

Since February 24, the Russian Federation has continued a military invasion of Ukraine, and is responsible for major destruction of the country, and hundreds of civilian casualties, including children. Russian aggression has caused a humanitarian crisis, and–to date–has caused nearly 2 million Ukrainians to flee the country. The invasion continues to create a major risk to global safety and international peace.

AGSEM condemns Russian aggression against Ukraine and stands in solidarity with Ukrainian people affected by the war, including Ukrainian workers, teachers, and students.

Moreover, we condemn persecutions, censorship and disinformation Russia perpetuates against its own citizens and that AGSEM stands in solidarity with those who suffer persecution in Russia for protesting war

AGSEM stands in solidarity with all Ukrainian, Russian, and Eastern European members of McGill and Montreal community affected by these circumstances

The Ukrainian people and their country urgently need financial help to survive. Please consider donating to Ukraine. You can find a list of verified charities here.

The above motion was approved unanimously by AGSEM Delegate Council on March 8, 2022.

  • AGSEM stands in solidarity with international students affected by closure and bankruptcy of three colleges in Quebec

International students, many of whom are from India, enrolled in three educational institutions run by Rising Phoenix International Inc, namely, M College in Montreal, CED College in Sherbrooke, and CCSQ College in Longueuil, all in the province of Quebec have been affected by the notice of closure of these institutions in December, 2021. The provincial government of Quebec has advised that affected students may directly contact the institutions where they are registered, and in the event they find any difficulty in reimbursement of their fees or transfer of fees (to another educational institution), they may file a complaint with the Ministry of Higher Education, Government of Quebec. Canadian authorities are providing a grace period to students already present in Canada, enrolled in these colleges, to seek a change of their institute of learning and seek admission in alternative institutions. Although a prospective buyer of the colleges has emerged to continue the educational services provided by these institutions, many students still face uncertainty in regard to tuition reimbursement and renewal of federal and provincial study permits.

The closure of these educational institutions is a reflection of the entry of unscrupulous private operators in education in Quebec leading to gouging tuition fees and dropping educational standards affecting International students.

On March 10, 2022, AGSEM Executive Council approved a motion of solidarity with International students affected by the closure of the three colleges in Quebec, and requested the AGSEM International Students’ Working Group to brainstorm ways to identify vulnerabilities (in regard to tuition & funding, immigration, mental health, food insecurity etc.) of international students in Canada.

[EN] The borough and the Peter-McGill eco-neighbourhood are planning to green the alley behind McGill University Centre! We are looking for students who are motivated to get involved in this project! The goal is both to bring more nature into the city and to bring together the residents and students ! Come and contribute to this beautiful project by getting involved according to your interests and your time!

The first online meeting will take place one the on Wednesday March 30th at 5:30 pm.

If you are interested, contact Margot Renouard: verdeau.eqpm@saesem.org or 438 493 2941.

[FR] L’arrondissement et l’éco-quartier Peter-McGill ont pour projet de verdir la ruelle derrière le Centre Universitaire de McGill! Nous recherchons des étudiant-es motivé-e-s à s’impliquer dans ce projet ! Le but est à la fois d’apporter plus de nature en ville et de faire se rencontrer les habitant-e-s voisin-es et les étudiant-e-s autour de la ruelle! Venez contribuer à ce beau projet en vous impliquant selon vos intérêts et votre temps!

Pour une première rencontre, rendez-vous le mercredi 30 mars à 17h30. Elle a pour but de parler du verdissement de la ruelle McGill: création d'un comité citoyen pour les personnes intéressées et présentation du plan d'aménagement de la ruelle. Si vous êtes intéressé-e-s, contactez Margot Renouard: verdeau.eqpm@saesem.org ou 438 493 2941.

Working Group Update

The Mental Health Working Group invites you to a talk on 'Resilience Fatigue & Covid-19' by Dr. Vaile Wright (APA) on April 5th, 5 pm EST (before the monthly DC meeting). Dr. Wright will be speaking on the phenomenon of resilience fatigue in relation to graduate students and TAs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The talk is scheduled for an hour with a presentation for 30-35 minutes followed by a Q & A for 20-25 minutes. Members are encouraged to invite departmental colleagues and mentors for the talk!

If you have any ideas for the International Student, Mental Health, and Graduate Funding working groups, feel free to reach out to macdonald.officer@agsem-aeedem.ca.

Mobilization Update

Mobilization Committee

The Mobilization committee is actively working on developing related Information Campaigns and initiatives focused around the following union priorities:

  1. Progress of the Invigilator Bargaining Committee

  2. Development of an Invigilator Delegates’ Working Group in preparation of mobilization campaign activities during the Winter 2022 examination period

  3. Workday Issues

  4. Solidarity Motions of Support

  5. Working with TA delegates to host a series of Mobilization events in the month of March ‘Mobilization March’ to engage Union members within their Departments. Stay tuned for more!

More to come on Social Media, so please make sure to follow AGSEM on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on ongoing initiative announcements!

If you would like to join the Mobilization committee or for any Mobilization related questions, please contact the Mobilization Officer at mobilization@agsem-aeedem.ca

AGSEM Presentations and Guides

Did you know that we have a website dedicated to our guides, info-sheets, graphics, and more? We even have an AGSEM 101 Guide! Check it out here.

“Unions. What do they give us?”

Using archival material and interviews with renowned labor activists, sociologists and historians, the documentary "Les unions, qu'ossa donne?" revisits the major struggles led by the CTCC (CSN - Confédération des syndicats nationaux) from its founding in 1921 to the present day. You can now watch the 2021 documentary "Les unions, qu'ossa donne?" about the history of trade unionizing in Quebec here for free (French only).

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

In Solidarity,

Your Executive, Bargaining, and Unionization Drive Committees