Your Rights as a TA
Our workplace rights were not given freely. In 1998 we unionized, and on the basis of our collective action we negotiated the terms of our working conditions. The limits of our working hours, the distribution of tasks in our workload form, the job security we have based on seniority, and union support during the grievance processes--these rights and others were once simply demands we made at the negotiation table. Know these rights, and exercise them!
We have been in negotiations for a new collective agreement for the past year.
No authorization necessary
You do not need your academic supervisorʼs signature on your application for a Teaching Assistant position; you do not need their permission to apply to TA. If you have lost out on employment opportunities because you were discouraged to apply to TA, let us know.
No Harassment or Discrimination
Harassment and discrimination are illegal under provincial and federal law and violate the working conditions McGill must provide as your employer. If you experience any vexatious behaviour in the context of your work as TA, there may be recourse for you through the Collective Agreement. To get advice or file a grievance, contact your Grievance Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You Work More
Than You Think
You have the right to be paid for all hours worked, including training, attending lectures, reading, student emails, lab preparation, lesson preparation, solving problem sets for grading, inputting grades, and invigilating exams.
Paid by the Hour,
Not the Task
Your TA contract is worth a specific number of hours. You are required to meet with your course supervisor to allocate the hours in your contact to particular tasks on the Workload Form. Keep track of your hours throughout the semester and adjust your Workload Form with your course supervisor as needed. There is one mandatory midterm review of the Workload Form per contract.
Right to Job Security
TAs are entitled to preferential hiring based on seniority. This is called the Priority Pool. You enter the Priority Pool by accepting a job in a department. The length of time you have in the Pool is determined by your program year. In certain circumstances, you can extend your Priority for up to 2 semesters.
Right to Accommodation
As a McGill employee, if you have a disability that may impact the work that you do as a TA and you need accommodations, you are entitled to register with HR-Benefits request accommodations from your Course Supervisor or, if you prefer, from Human Resources. To register, visit mcgill.ca/benefits/disabilities.
Right to Representation
Every Hiring Unit is entitled to have at least one Union Delegate, who attends council meetings, and oversees hiring and priority, etc. You have the right to be accompanied to all disciplinary meetings by a Union representative. Find your Union Delegate at agsem.ca/delegates-council.
Let's Make A Change
AGSEM is only strong and effective when its members participate in its operations and events. Keep in mind that you are not merely a member of a labour union, you are the Union. Below are some ways you can stay informed and become active in AGSEM. Join the student labour movement today!