On August 26th, the AGSEM Delegates’ Council passed a motion to authorize AGSEM’s leadership on the Executive Committee and Delegates’ Council to organize a contingent of Teaching Assistants and Invigilators to attend the September 27th Climate Rally and Strike.
This was not a strike vote, but rather a vote for our union to express solidarity with striking students. Student strikes and labour strikes have different legal standing, and there are a number of steps that AGSEM must take to make a legal labour strike action.
Since we are a labour union in the middle of collective bargaining for a new Teaching Assistant contract, we are in a position to withhold our labour with a worker strike should our General Assembly wish to increase pressure on the employer as we negotiate to improve our labour rights. If the need to call a strike vote related to TA bargaining arises, rest assured that you will be given plenty of advance notice by email so you may attend a Special General Assembly, express your opinion, and vote for or against a strike mandate.
The majority of AGSEM members are graduate students, so those of us who are participating in the Climate Strike this Friday will be doing so as students, or marching in solidarity with students as workers.
On September 17th, McGill’s Provost Prof. Christopher Manfredi sent an email informing students that classes on September 27 were not cancelled. He did, however, request that “teaching staff to be flexible in accommodating students who wish to participate in the march.” To that effect, the AGSEM Executive Committee and Delegates’ Council encourages all students—graduate and undergraduate—to follow your conscience about whether or not you wish to participate in the Climate Strike. Representatives from AGSEM's EC and DC will be in attendance.
Kiersten van Vliet