McGill University receives the largest gift to a Canadian university in the history of this country, yet at the bargaining table refuses to negotiate proposals that would increase funding for TA positions.
The $200 million McCall MacBain gift is earmarked for Master's and professional degree students. Master's students in many departments at McGill cannot work as Teaching Assistants because there are simply not enough jobs to go around. This means Master's students are missing out on a crucial funding opportunity (TAships make up to 40% of a graduate student's income), as well as the valuable professional experience TAing provides.
Our biggest demand in this round of collective bargaining is not a raise, it's a ratio of TA hours to undergraduate enrolment. A ratio would mean more jobs on campus for graduate students—especially for Master's students. It would also mean a commitment from McGill to increase the standard of education in our classrooms. (And also maybe TAs can be compensated for the hours that we work instead of our current practice of working beyond our contracts.)
McGill may put other campus stakeholders on their side the bargaining table, but we think increasing pedagogical resources is something upon which all graduate students, undergraduate students, professors, course lecturers, and admin staff can agree.
We've crunched the numbers. Even a $1 million increase in funding for TA positions would be night and day in terms of the quality of education we can provide our students. (The McCall MacBain gift notwithstanding, $1 million is a drop in the bucket of McGill's $1.29 billion budget.)
With more funding for Teaching Assistants maybe, just maybe! we can help solve the dual issues of TA overwork and lack of graduate funding. Anything less is McGill refusing to foot the bill for the actual cost of providing (and receiving) quality education at this institution.
For more about the McCall MacBain gift:
For more about Collective Bargaining, contact the TA Bargaining Chair.
To get involved, contact the Mobilization Officer.