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CEASE AND DESIST regarding the employer's directives to course supervisors

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Object: CEASE AND DESIST Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) N/Réf. :M-01084-0033 EEJ


Mrs. Dutton,

We represent the interest of the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill - CSN (hereafter “AGSEM”). AGSEM has informed us that McGill University (hereafter “the Employer”) has sent directives to Faculty Deans, which have been transmitted to various instructors (Professors, Course lecturers or Faculty lecturers), regarding the Employer’s position relating to measures to take in case of a strike by Teachers’ assistants (TAs) members of AGSEM’s bargaining unit.

Two documents produced by the Employer have been shared with us and raise serious concerns regarding the respect of AGSEM’s and their members’ right of association protected under the Labour Code (RLRQ c C-27) and the Charter of human rights and freedoms (RLRQ c C-12).

In the document entitled “Frequently asked questions Labour dispute AGSEM – TAs”, the Employer makes the following statements:

These statements are misleading, if not simply false.

Under current jurisprudence, it is established that replacement workers cannot perform tasks of striking workers if they did not previously concretely accomplish said tasks.

The tasks identified in TAs’ Workload Forms have been allocated to these TAs and are, for the duration of the period covered by said contract, reserved for the TAs. Instructors must therefore respect the tasks established in Workload Forms during the TAs strike and doing such tasks in replacement of TAs could be in violation of section 109.1 g) of the Labour Code.

As regarding to the “manager” status of instructors, the Employer’s position is in blatant contradiction with all applicable legal precedents. Professors, Course lecturers or Faculty lecturers are not and have never been considered as managers by the Employer.

As for employees who also have managerial responsibilities (Chairs, Deans, AO, etc.), we are informed that their status is currently under review before the Labour Board (Tribunal administrative du travail).

You have furthermore repeated such misleading and false statement in the document entitled “Quick guide for instructors regarding student assessments labour dispute AGSEM – TAs”. Such problematic excerpts include:

For AGSEM, it is clear that you are trying to influence the power balance in favor of the Employer by using disinformation and by sending directives meant to convince other employees to perform TA tasks, in contravention to article 109.1 of the Labour Code. Such tactics will not be tolerated.

May we remind you that in such cases, both the Employers and replacement employees (“Any person who contravenes section 109.1…”, under article 142.1 of the Labour Code) expose themselves of being found guilty of a penal offence and is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence continues.

We are therefore putting you on notice to issue a cancellation of these directives and to state clearly that the Employer is not enjoining other McGill employees to perform any tasks that were previously allocated to TAs.

If the Employer does not comply with this cease and desist, we will need to analyze all necessary recourses to ensure that the rights of our client and the unit members they represent are respected without any further notice nor delay.



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