Climate Strike FAQ

AGSEM Unit 1 (Teaching Assistants) and Unit 2 (Invigilators) passed a strike mandate on 20 September 2022. AGSEM Invigilators and Teaching Assistants both voted to go on a one-day strike on Friday, September 23 to participate in the Climate Strike. This is in alignment with international student movements and more than 20 other Quebec unions representing over 10,000 workers who have adopted similar mandates.

Friday, Sept. 23:

             11:00 - Sign-making event at the AGSEM office (limited spots, please RSVP)

             12:00 - Gathering outside the AGSEM office (3641 Rue University), snacks will be provided (around                             12:45 we'll take-off for the main demonstration)

This FAQ is to provide more information about the strike and what that means if you are currently working as a Teaching Assistant and/or Invigilator.

If you have a question that is not covered below, please email us. 

Who is on strike and why?

McGill Teaching Assistants and exam Invigilators.

On September 20, 2022 AGSEM members voted to participate in a one-day Climate Strike on September 23, joining 20 other Quebec unions that represent more than 10,000 workers to bring attention to the urgency of our climate crisis. You can learn more about the strike at the website for Justice Climatique: https://justiceclimatique.org/en/home/

Should I inform my course instructor?

We have informed HR that the strike is happening and it is their responsibility to inform all hiring units. If your course instructor has questions, they should contact McGill HR.

Can I still go to work (e.g. teach my conference?)

Following the strike vote, we invite all Teaching Assistants and Invigilators to join the strike. It is crucial that we stay in solidarity as a union. No teaching assistant work (leading conferences, labs, grading, preparing course materials, etc.) or exam invigilation should occur on the day of the strike.

That said, because of the nature of this strike, you are not legally bound by this mandate. Rather, it is a moral commitment to the cause.

There will be no picket line set up on campus.

Am I protected if I join the strike?

This is a “social strike,” and not a “labor strike” and is not covered under the labour law or protected by our Collective Agreements. While participating in the strike is not without risk, we are protected by numbers – the more McGill teaching assistants and invigilators participating in the strike, the safer we all are against retaliation or disciplinary action from McGill. For this reason, we are not picketing the university or blocking anyone from going to work. 

What does this mean for me on Friday?​

This means that no teaching assistant or invigilator work should take place on Friday, September 23. We invite all teaching assistants and invigilators to join the strike, as well as to join us as the main climate demonstration. See “What can I do to support the strike?” below. 

Am I (as a TA/Invigilator) expected to do something (as opposed to just not showing up to work)? What can I do to support the strike?

Please join AGSEM for sign-making at 11:00am at our office at 3641 rue University. After that, we will be gathering outside our office at 12:00pm, so we can walk over to the main climate demonstration at 1:00pm at the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Monument (next to park Jeanne-Mance).

Do we have specific demands for McGill by participating in this climate strike?

By participating in this one-day strike, McGill teaching assistants and invigilators are pressuring McGill to take stand for climate justice. The Workers for Climate Justice (Travailleuses et Travailleurs pour la Justice Climatique) demand Quebec employers to take immediate action to defend our climate future, such as through divestment from fossil fuels. We invite McGill to cancel classes on Friday, September 23 to allow all of our community members to participate in the Climate March on Friday afternoon