At McGill University, quality education depends upon the labour of academic support workers that aid student learning. Historically, this work has been performed by graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs). Graduate TAs have been protected since 1993 by a Collective Agreement between the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) and McGill University.
However, in recent years there has been a drastic increase in the number of non-unionized academic support positions on campus. This group of employees includes, but is not limited to, markers, graders, tutors, note-takers, facilitators, mentors, course assistants, group assistants, student assistants, TEAM TAs, academic casuals, placement exam administrators, as well as many academic casuals who are referred to as teaching assistants but denied union representation and the benefits of the TA collective agreement.
Since October 2019, AGSEM has been campaigning to bring McGill’s academic support into our association. A 2009 Québec Labour Ministry ruling states that McGill University’s academic support workers ought to be represented by AGSEM. Every semester, non-unionized student workers approach AGSEM seeking representation after their labour rights are violated. Still, McGill does not yet recognize AGSEM’s eligibility to represent this group of employees.
AGSEM has written an open letter calling on Suzanne Fortier, Christopher Manfredi, Yves Beauchamp, and the Board of Governors of McGill University to affirm the value academic support workers have by working in collaboration with—rather than in opposition to—its students and workers. We further call on McGill University to improve the quality of education and ensure more equitable and fair employment for McGill students.
Read the letter and sign here. Also, get your student association or club to endorse the letter and the drive!