We received McGill’s monetary proposal last week (Nov. 28). Up to that point, McGill has had our monetary demands to consider since Spring 2019. They came back to us with the following:
Rejected paid paternity, bereavement, maternity, and academic leaves;
Rejected our proposal for a “healthcare rebate” in lieu of an employer health insurance of $400 per TA-position;
Rejected our demands to separate stipend and TA wages in academic letters of offer issued by departments to prospective and current graduate students;
Rejected our demands for an equitable distribution of TA budget and overall increase thereof through the mechanism of a ratio of total TA hours per undergraduate student.
Offered an annual wage increase of 3% (2019); 2% (2020); 2% (2022); 2.5% (2022). We had demanded a 10% increase per year in a bid to match McGill’s TA wages with that of the U15 research universities, which McGill considers to be their academic peers.
Needless to say we are very far away in terms of our monetary proposals. This week (Thursday, Dec. 5) we will be making our own presentation with the conciliator and McGill of our monetary demands. Our research has shown that not only can McGill afford our demands, but that fulfilling them would ensure a more equitable and competitive working conditions for McGill graduate students.
Furthermore, we have resolved most of the outstanding articles related to harassment and sexual violence. We managed to persuade McGill to agree to a more robust and streamlined mechanism for accommodating disabilities; to agree on making explicit that Provincial law stipulates a deadline of two (2) years to report workplace harassment; and to agree on a statement of principle whereby McGill employees would be guaranteed a workplace environment free of harassment and sexual violence.
With respect to our proposal to collaborate on implementing clear procedures and training related to how the current sexual violence policy (especially the code of conduct section thereof) relate to matters of employment, McGill has agreed to our demand for a special committee to be formed. However, the lack of a clear mandate and guidelines of this proposed committee falls short--in our opinion--in fulfilling the mandate handed to us by our membership. Having reached the end of the line on this issue, we decided to defer the final approval of this part of the proposal to our members.
Finally, we have also resolved outstanding items related to two important appendices to our collective agreement: the Workload Form and the Application Form. McGill has agreed to our demands to include in the Workload Form a separate section for disability accommodations, which will be confidential. We have also reached a compromise to our demands for a stipulation written in the front page of each Application Form that no authorization or signature from a graduate student’s supervisor or any academic staff should be required for the application to be considered. The compromise makes no mention of this situation specifically, but it does stipulate a strict exclusion of supplementary language of any kind outside those that are required in the collective agreement from being appended or included in the application form. We believe that the effect of this more general language will produce the intended effect that fulfills our mandate.
What remains now is the monetary proposal. This is the last week of conciliation before the parties break for the holidays. We will resume by mid or end of January 2020. Until then, if you have any questions and concerns about the bargaining process and the proposals on the table feel free to contact the TA Bargaining Committee.
TA Bargaining Committee