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Bargaining Newsletter #1: United we Bargain, Divided we Beg

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Thurs 21 Sept 2023 (First day of bargaining!)

Teaching Assistants’ negotiations with McGill have begun! On Thursday, 21 September, AGSEM met with McGill for the first round of negotiations of the new TA collective agreement. Sporting our ✨snazzy ✨ new AGSEM shirts (distribution soon!), we walked into the room after over a year of preparation for the big day. Dozens of teaching assistants from across campus lined the halls in our “United we Bargain, Divided we Beg” shirts in support of our negotiation mandate.


On our side were our Bargaining Committee (Dallas Jokic, Nada El Baba, and Nick Vieira), our president (Mario Roy), and our TA Grievance Officer (Jean-Philip Mathieu). Our side was joined by our negotiation and grievance advisor from our affiliate union, the Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ) (Sébastien Boisvert), and an intern from this affiliate union (Andrea Cano).


On the McGill side, we met with labour relations advisors, representatives from human resources, administrative staff, and professors.


We were also joined by five wonderful members of the union! Following our 12 September Unit Assembly, the Bargaining Committee has a strong mandate to maximize the democracy of negotiations and make sure all workers can be involved in bargaining, from start to finish. Our friends in the room supported us by taking notes, passing us useful pieces of information on index cards, and generally having our back!


Following some initial resistance from McGill, we proceeded with the members of the negotiations team and the five additional AGSEM members in the room. We exchanged our proposals on non-monetary issues, such as the priority pool and protecting workers from harassment. We began scheduling for the coming months, and discussed our setting up a hybrid system for folks to attend remotely.


This first session was an important step in our path towards a truly open style of bargaining! Want to attend a future session of negotiations, in-person or remotely? Please fill out this form to indicate which topics interest you, and we’ll keep in touch. United we bargain, divided we beg!


Keep an eye out for more newsletters—we have only just begun!


Love and solidarity,

Your Bargaining and Bargaining Support Committees




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