Association des étudiant.e.s diplômé.e.s employé.e.s de McGill

L'Association des étudiant.e.s diplômé.e.s employé.e.s de McGill (AÉÉDEM) a été accrédité en 1993 pour représenter des auxiliaires d’enseignement à McGill. Nous sommes le plus ancien syndicat des auxiliaires d’enseignement au Québec. Les surveillant.e.s d’examen ont rejoint AÉÉDEM en 2010. 

Courriel : mail@agsem-aeedem.ca

Téléphone : 514-398-2582

515 avenue des Pins, 2ème étage
Montréal, Québec H2W 1S4

*Veuillez noter que notre bureau n'est malheureusement pas accessible en fauteuil roulant

© 2019 par L'Association des étudiant.e.s diplômé.e.s employé.e.s de McGill.

Auxiliaires d’enseignement

On ne saurait trop insister sur l'importance du rôle éducatif que jouent les auxiliaires d'enseignement à McGill. Les auxiliaires d'enseignement aident les chargé.e.s de cours dans des tâches comme la correction, les heures de bureau, les présentations de conférences, les laboratoires, les heures de tutorat et la gestion des travaux d'élèves. Tou.te.s les auxiliaires d'enseignement de McGill sont membres de l'AÉÉDEM, le syndicat de soutien à l'enseignement.

Par définition, un.e auxiliaire d'enseignement est un.e étudiant.e diplômé.e inscrit.e à McGill. Mais un.e auxiliaire d'enseignement est aussi un.e travailleur.euse. Le rôle d'auxiliaire d'enseignement peut grandement améliorer votre expertise en tant que chercheur.e et vous fournir une expérience significative pour votre carrière. Mais lorsque vous êtes auxiliaire d'enseignement à McGill, vous êtes un.e travailleur.euse et êtes rémunéré.e par un salaire, non un financement.

Tous les auxiliaires d'enseignement sont protégé.e.s par une convention collective. La convention collective est un contrat entre l'AÉÉDEM et McGill qui décrit vos conditions d'emploi. Ces droits durement disputés comprennent des pratiques d'embauche justes et transparentes, une priorité d'embauche, un salaire standard qui augmente avec l'inflation, des congés sans solde, des protections contre le harcèlement et la discrimination au travail, une procédure de grief et une formation rémunérée.

Lorsque vous recevez votre offre d'emploi, vous devriez également recevoir un formulaire d'adhésion à l'AÉÉDEM et, si vous recevez votre offre par courriel, une copie électronique de la convention collective des auxiliaires d'enseignement. Si vous n'avez reçu aucun de ces documents ou si vous estimez que vos droits ne sont pas respectés, communiquez avec la.le Responsable des griefs des auxiliaires d'enseignement.

N'oubliez pas de signer votre formulaire d'adhésion à l'AÉÉDEM pour obtenir tous les droits d'adhésion. Vous devez signer votre formulaire d'adhésion chaque fois que vous commencez un nouveau contrat en tant qu'auxiliaire d'enseignement. Vous pouvez soumettre votre formulaire signé à votre unité d'embauche (employeur.e), nous l'envoyer par courriel ou le déposer à notre bureau au 515, avenue des Pins, deuxième étage. (Veuillez noter que notre bureau n'est malheureusement pas accessible en fauteuil roulant).

Vous trouverez ci-dessous un bref historique de l'AÉÉDEM, un résumé de la convention collective des auxiliaires d'enseignement sous forme de FAQ et nos conseils pour améliorer votre expérience en tant qu'auxiliaire d'enseignement.

Expiré le 30 avril 2018

(En vigueur jusqu'à la ratification du nouvel CC)

Signer et retourner pour les droits d'adhésion complets

La convention collective démystifiée

FAQ, consulter un agent des griefs ou déposer un grief

AGSEM, A (brief) History

Traduction en cours

In 1974, the McGill Teaching Assistant Association (MTAA) was founded by McGill graduate students. While it was not legally certified as a Labour Union, the MTAA's activists, with very serious concerns, succeeded in forcing McGill to begin negotiating.

In 1976 MTAA held an 8 day illegal strike and temporarily won major concessions from McGill: a base pay rate for all TAs, cost of living increases and a maximum 12-hour workweek. All of this occurred nearly three decades before and other TA union was founded in Québec, and set basic standards other Universities were forced to live up to. Also among the first demands were efforts that would improve undergraduate education, with TA training and a lower TA-to-student ratio.

 

Despite major victories, the MTAA faced a number of challenges, particularly as McGill would frequently go back on deals to which it had previously agreed. In the 1980s, graduate student activists, concerned about the situation faced by Teaching Assistants, began discussions about legal certification as a union, partly as a response to changing labour law in Québec. After conducting a survey of TA working conditions and producing a report, the Post Graduate Students' Society (PGSS) established the Teaching Assistants' Organizing Committee (TAOC), to conduct the difficult work of unionizing TAs.

In 1992, the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill was founded by the TAOC, and it began a card-signing campaign to become certified with the CSN (a major labour union federation in Québec). In 1993, the campaign succeeded, and AGSEM began negotiations for its first collective bargaining agreement as a certified union.

With unionized TAs outside of Québec setting labour standards much higher than those at McGill, McGill's offers did not meet AGSEM's demands. After three years of no progress, in 1996, AGSEM held the second strike of teaching assistants in Québec—this time, as a legally accredited union. While a first contract was only finally reached in 1998, the strike set a very important precedent. The first Collective Agreement addressed limits to workload and helped bring TAs salary parity—the lowest pay rate at the time was $7 for Anatomy TAs, while the highest-paid Arts TAs made $18.13.

Negotiations for the second contract, in the early 2000s, went relatively quickly. For the third contract in 2007, TAs raised concerns about working more hours than they were being paid, and that salaries had lagged far behind those of TAs at universities in Ottawa and Toronto. A very difficult two-month strike in 2008, while not accomplishing everything, won very important rights for TAs, including a significant pay increase and the workload form. The most significant progress of the fourth Collective Agreement, signed in 2014, was paid training for TAs and a recognition that no TAship should be less than 45 hours under normal circumstances.

As the name indicates, "AGSEM" was originally intended to represent all graduate students who work at McGill. In April 2010, an important step forward was taken when AGSEM successfully unionized nearly a thousand exam invigilators as AGSEM Unit 2. A year and a half later, in August 2011, Course Lecturers and Instructors were Unionized as AGSEM Unit 3—after two decades of failed attempts. Course lecturers have since separated into the McGill Course Lecturers and Instructors Union (MCLIU)Today AGSEM represents over 2000 employees at McGill University.

As of September 2018, AGSEM is currently in Bargaining for a new Collective Agreement. During the General Assembly of April 16, 2018, the membership gave the BC a list of priority mandates to improve the current contract. These mandates specify overwork, job security, policies on sexual harassment, and wage increases as the major areas that are in need of improvement.

Teaching Assistant FAQ

Traduction en cours

Here you will find a FAQ that summarizes many of the rights and protections available to you under the Teaching Assistant Collective Agreement. We encourage you to take the time to read through this guide to excel at your job as well as make sure that your rights are protected at work.

 

This information is available here as a PDF booklet.

 
Important Dates for your Application

For Fall Courses:

  • Posted: April 30

  • Application deadline: May 30

  • Notification: first week of July

For Winter Courses:

  • Posted: Oct 15

  • Application deadline: Nov 15

  • Notification: Dec 20

For Summer Courses:

  • Posted: March 1

  • Application deadline: April 1

  • Notification: first week of May

Email your department

administrator if you are unsure

where to find TA postings. The

application deadline is 30 days

from posting. You will receive

notification of the outcome of

your application within 35 days of

the application deadline.

How do I become a TA?

All TAs are hired after submitting an application form to a department, also known as a Hiring Unit. Your department should notify you of positions available for the next semester via email and post those positions publicly, either on a bulletin board or on the department’s website. TA postings may also be on Career Planning Service (CaPS), but they must also be posted publicly. These postings should contain a link to the application.

There should only be one application per term for each Hiring Unit. On the application, you will list your preferred courses and qualifications. Postings will describe available courses, instructors, and the number of hours offered. Postings may be tentative or a course’s details may be TBA, but most qualifications should be listed on the posting and in general.

Remember:

  • A department may not require separate applications for different courses.

  • A department must accept your application in electronic form or hard copy.

  • No TA application form may require your academic supervisor’s signature.

  • When you apply for a TA position, your employment file is made available to the department. You can always request to view your employment file and add material.

  • TA positions are offered by academic departments, not by course instructors. Every TA must be hired fairly and compensated at the standard wage.

  • You should not be required to produce additional qualifications or interview for a TA position.

Tip: You may apply for a TA position in multiple departments. Check the postings for related academic units.

What happens when I receive a TA offer?

Step 1: Accept the offer by returning a signed copy of the offer letter to your department within 7 days. Submit your AGSEM membership form to your department or to the union. Since a TA position is a short-term contract, you must fill out a union membership form each time you accept a new position.

Step 2: Contact the course instructor and arrange a meeting. At your first meeting, you should receive a copy of the syllabus and a Workload Form. Fill out the Workload Form with the instructor and reach a mutual agreement on the distribution of hours . You have the right to view previous Workload Forms for the course on request. Determine your schedule for the semester.

Keep in mind: 

  • Conference or lab sections may not be scheduled until after the add/drop deadline, but you should know how many hours you will commit to leading sections when you sign the Workload Form.

  • Enrolment may fluctuate. If you have committed to grading a certain number of assignments, make sure that your hours or workload are adjusted so that you are not given additional grading with no additional compensation.

  • If you attend lectures, your instructor must include those hours on the Workload Form. If you feel attending lectures is necessary for your job performance, insist on being compensated for that time.

  • Your instructor must provide you with a “desk copy” of all materials assigned for the course. Don’t purchase your own books or course packets.

  • You are entitled to more hours than initially scheduled; see Step 4 below.

Step 3: Set up your myCourses permissions, your staff email, and your office space.

  • If using myCourses, make sure you are granted access as a TA or an Instructor.

  • All TAs receive a staff email (your.name@mcgill.ca) in additional to their student email (your.name@mail.mcgill.ca). Messages sent through myCourses will automatically route to this email address. Make sure to set it up so that you don’t miss any communication!

  • Sign up for office space if you are holding office hours for consultation with students. Each department is required to provide space to TAs. Contact your department’s administrator if you do not know how to access your work space.

Step 4: Meet with the instructor after midterm to review the Workload Form and discuss your performance. The midterm review is mandatory. This is the time to adjust the distribution of hours if enrolment has fluctuated or if you feel you need more time for certain tasks. Let the instructor know of any schedule changes or leaves as soon as possible (see more below).

Questions to ask your instructor

  • When grading, how much and what sort of feedback should I provide?

  • Should I aim for an average or curve my grades?

  • How should I calculate attendance?

  • What is your policy if a student wants their grade revised?

  • What should I do if I am not comfortable grading assignments in a particular language?

  • Will I need to use myCourses, Minerva, or another digital platform?

  • Where can I receive training?

  • How do you prefer to submit grades?

  • When will I get my textbook or course pack?

  • Will I get a uPrint copy card?

  • Do you have a grading rubric?

  • Can you give me examples of discussion questions or lesson plans for my sections?

  • What are rules and safety information for the lab?

Where can I turn for support as a TA and a graduate student?

Teaching and Learning Services McGill

  • Lots of resources, links, and events on developing pedagogy

 

SKILLSETS McGill

  • Semi-annual TA training

  • Learn to Teach Day

AGSEM/AÉÉDEM

  • Your TA and Invigilator labour union

Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) McGill

  • Resources, advice, and trainings on issues related to diversity

 

Sexual Assault Center of the McGill Students Society (SACOMSS)

  • Confidential support and resources for community members experiencing or witnessing sexual violence

Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education (OSVRSE)

How do I become a great TA?

Train! Visit Teaching and Learning Services to sign up for the SKILLSETS TA training, offered at the beginning of the Fall and Winter terms. Once you receive a TA offer, you may attend this training twice and you will be paid for the first training at the TA rate. You must register ahead of time to attend this training. SKILLSETS will provide several modules of general training targeting broad disciplines. Workshops like “Grading in The Humanities” give helpful tips and materials for specific TA tasks. SKILLSETS also offers unpaid workshops throughout the year for teaching staff and graduate students, focusing on developing pedagogy.

Train some more! For course-specific training, turn to your course instructor. They are required to provide you with necessary training for their course and you must be compensated. Don’t hesitate to ask for training, guidelines, or feedback on grading, leading discussions, or pedagogy! Put it on the Workload Form! This training can be ongoing. Some examples include:

  • Marking assignments together, or marking the same paper to make sure your evaluations are in sync.

  • Asking your instructor to attend one of your labs or conference sections to give feedback.

  • Formulating discussion questions or problem sets with your instructor before you lead a section.

  • Delivering your own lecture on a topic relevant to your expertise.

  • Ask the course instructor to explain how the syllabus was written and give your own feedback on the course structure.

Pay attention to feedback! At the end of the term, you will have the opportunity to receive feedback from both your instructor and your students.

  • If you request an evaluation, or if your instructor prefers, they may provide a standard evaluation and discuss their responses with you after the course is finished. If you are interested in an evaluation, let your instructor know. Your department administrator should be able to provide them with the necessary material. Keep in mind that any formal evaluation will go in your employee file.

  • Students in the course will have the opportunity to provide feedback on your TA performance during their course evaluations. All student evaluations are anonymous and are only available to you after grades have been submitted. You can view them by going to the Course Evaluations menu on Minerva.

  • If you feel that a student or instructor evaluation is prejudicial or unfair, you may request that it is removed from your employee file or add mitigating material to your file.

How do I balance my work, research, and life?

Teaching Assistants perform a vital role in McGill’s curriculum, but teaching is one more task on the already overladen plate of a graduate student. Being a TA should complement your graduate studies, not supplant it. It is in the interest of the university, as well, to promote a healthy work-life balance for graduate students, to ensure that they finish on time and produce research that reflects well on McGill. As a worker, you have the right to put your research or your personal life first when it matters. This includes the right to unpaid leave throughout the semester, the right to amend your Workload Form if the tasks are taking longer than estimated, the right to take time off to attend an academic conference, prepare for your comprehensive examinations, or defend your thesis, and the right to set your own work schedule if you are taking classes and have your own assignments to complete.

Since your TA position is a short term contract, it may seem unnecessary to take unpaid leave, but there are some benefits.

For short-term unpaid leave: for short-term illness, the birth or adoption of a child, termination of a pregnancy, bereavement, research travel, an academic conference, or preparation for a comps exam or defense, you are entitled to unpaid leave. You can take time off from work and your duties will be adjusted so that you don’t lose pay, but you won’t be paid additionally for your time off. This might mean taking a couple weeks off from conferences in exchange for grading more papers later in the term. Let the instructor know as far in advance as possible and work out an adjustment of your duties that is agreeable to everyone. The instructor is responsible for the course and must find the means to cover your work.

For long-term, unpaid leave: for prolonged medical, maternal, paternal, parental, or research leave, you will be excused from your TA position for the remainder of the term and your pay will be adjusted based on the hours you have already worked, or if you have not applied for a TA position because of your upcoming leave, you can get an extension of your Priority Pool status (see below). You may exercise this leave from your job as a TA without taking a leave from your academic program. This means that you do not need to forgo employment just because you won’t be able to work for the entire semester. You may require a doctor’s or midwife’s note in order to take this leave and you should present this information at least thirty days before you intend to take leave, unless an emergency occurs.

Extensions of your Priority Pool status: When you take leave before a semester begins or during the course of a semester, you will not be paid, but you may request an extension of your Priority Pool status for the length of time that you will be away. This means you can take leave for a semester or two, during which you do not apply for a TA position, and not worry about losing the opportunity to gain the same amount of income during your graduate program. Some things to know about extensions:

  • You may request an extension of Priority Pool status when you are already in a department’s Priority Pool. This means that you may request extensions in multiple departments if you have worked in them before.

  • Extension will apply following when you would have left the Priority Pool. If you are a PhD4 and take a year of leave, you will have priority for PhD6.

  • Always copy your AGSEM Delegate when requesting extensions.

What sort of leave may I take as a TA?

Medical leave for yourself:

  • 3 weeks

Medical leave for your partner, or your child:

  • 10 days

Maternity:

  • 18 weeks, no earlier than 16 weeks before delivery

Paternity:

  • 5 weeks, no later than 52 weeks after the birth.

Parental:

  • 52 weeks, no later than 70 weeks after birth or adoption

Birth of a child:

  • 5 days, first 2 paid

Adoption:

  • 2 days

 

Termination of a pregnancy:

  • before the 20th week:

    • 3 weeks

  • after the 20th week:

    • 18 weeks.

 

Death of a family member:

  • 1-3 days

 

Academic Conference:

  • unspecified (determine length with course supervisor)

Prep for a comp exam or thesis

defense:

  • 7 days

Field work, including any training or research abroad:

  • up to 2 terms

Do I have any job security as a TA?

Yes! TAs are entitled to preferential hiring based on seniority. This is called the Priority Pool. Each department or Hiring Unit has its own Priority Pool. You enter the Priority Pool by accepting a job in a department and the length of time you have in the Pool is determined by your program year. Doctoral students have four years of priority from the date of their initial enrolment in their academic program. Master’s students have two years of priority from the date of their initial enrolment. There is one exception. If you are a Doctoral student who has previously completed a Master’s degree at McGill and you were in the Priority Pool as a Master’s student, you may only have five years total in that Priority Pool. Circumstances vary for such students (did you do a one or two year Master’s? Was it in a different department? When did you TA?) so if this applies to you, be sure to be in contact with your AGSEM Delegate so they can ensure that your rights are protected.

How does the Priority Pool work?

Each semester, a department must assign any available TA positions to applicants with priority, starting with the highest level of priority. Priority declines as following:

  • Doctoral students in year 5 (meaning PhD5, DMA5, etc.)

  • Doctoral students in year 4

  • Doctoral students in year 3

  • Doctoral students in year 2

  • Master’s students in year 2 (meaning MA2, MSc2, etc.)

  • Doctoral students in year 1

  • Master’s students in year 1

Important things to keep in mind about the Priority Pool:

  • This only applies to applicants with priority. A PhD5 applicant who has never been a TA in that department before does not have priority.

  • Applicants who are more advanced in their programs may still have priority if they receive extensions of their Priority Pool entitlement for things like field work or maternity leave. This applies to the term(s) immediately following when they would have left the Pool. So a PhD6 who has taken one year of maternity leave will have the highest priority.

  • Applicants with Priority Pool status are given priority for a TA position, but not for the specific TA position that they want. Many departments will try to assign higher priority applicants to a position that they prefer, as indicated on their application, but there is no entitlement to those specific courses.

  • Priority must be weighed with qualifications. If there is some reason why an applicant with priority does not meet the qualifications for available TA positions, then they may not be able to exercise this entitlement. In most cases, qualifications are sufficiently broad or there are enough positions available that this does not cause a conflict, but if you have Priority and are denied a position over insufficient qualifications, you should contact your AGSEM Delegate to follow up.

  • You may have Priority Pool status in multiple departments if you have worked in multiple departments. This can be great if you want to have a lot of options available to you, but you can only work in one TA position on the basis of priority each term.

  • Departments may reserve a certain number of positions for applicants who are not in the Priority Pool, based on the number of TAs who have left the pool in the last year. This is how many departments assign TA positions to incoming grad students.

  • You are not in the pool automatically because you are enrolled in a department.

How do I grade assignments?

When you fill out your Workload Form, your instructor will tell you what sort of grading duties you will have. This should be a specific number of assignments or a specific portion of assignments (maybe only the assignments for your section or ⅓ of the assignments). You might also grade only a portion of each assignment, such as a short answer on each exam (this is often a part of “crowd-marking”). You will also determine the amount of time that you should spend grading each assignment in order to determine the overall amount of time that should be dedicated to grading. At this point, it is important to let the instructor know how much time you think is reasonable to spend grading each assignment. Don’t feel pressured to accept an arrangement that you don’t think is fair. Keep in mind that grading requires reading, re-reading, calculation, developing a rubric or solving a problem set, and writing feedback. You may always look at Workload Forms for past courses to see what the standard practice has been.

  • Stay organized. Make sure you do not lose assignments and that you double-check if any are missing right away, before you start grading. McGill generally requires that TAs do not take exams off-campus to grade, although you should ask your instructor what their policy is, since many TAs are not given regular office space. Keep all of the exams together and make sure that grades are written down in a standard place.

  • Give feedback. Depending on the type of assignment, you will probably need to provide some feedback. Be legible and constructive. Don’t write too much, which may confuse students. It is part of quality teaching to explain your grade. This will save time for you and the instructor. If a student wants their grade revised or explained.

  • Be professional. Don’t write harsh or sarcastic comments. Don’t joke about your students with other TAs. Definitely do not post about student work on social media. This hinders a supportive learning environment and it is harassment. Make sure that each student’s grade is confidential.

  • Track your progress. You don’t have to do all the grading! You only need to do the amount that you can reasonably complete in the time you were allotted. Time yourself for each assignment, and make note of whether you go over your time. It is important to understand and explain why this initial breakdown of hours is often insufficient:

    • Enrolment shifts throughout the term and. you may end up with more students.

    • Some assignments take more time than others. A weak assignment requires more feedback, more calculation, and more discussion. A lot of weak assignments means a lot more work.

    • Grading in a non-native language takes longer for most TAs. This is work!

    • Developing a standard method of evaluation, refining your calculation, and recording grades are not automatic. You will refine this as you go through assignments. This is work.

    • Being a first-time TA means it may take you longer to work out your grading method at first. This is part of on-the-job learning.

    • Your instructor should know if the time they estimated for grading is insufficient, this will help them assign tasks effectively next time. Teaching is collaborative and everyone needs feedback!

Your Grading Gameplan

When you get the assignments:

  • Count them. Double-check the names.

  • Find out if any additional assignments will arrive from deferred exams, conflict exams, extensions, or OSD.

  • Check the language. Can you grade all of them?

  • Get a deadline for meeting with the instructor to return graded assignments. Agree on a reasonable deadline.

When you start grading:

  • Grade a handful with the instructor to make sure you are on the same page.

  • Use sticky notes to write grades and stack them in piles according to letter grade. This way you can visualize how your grading method is playing out and whether you need to change it.

  • Try grading without looking at the student’s name to ensure fairness.

  • Use a pen to write final grades and comments. Keep white-out on hand.

  • Keep a grading spreadsheet and enter tentative grades as you go to see how your average shifts. Many instructors will want you to stick to an average letter grade.

Am I a teacher? Do I have to manage a classroom?

As a TA, you play an important role in delivering the curriculum that McGill teaching staff create. Your students will look to you as an expert. This is why training is so important and why you should feel empowered to ask your course instructor for any training or guidance that you need. TAs may take on certain roles as teachers when they run conferences, labs, or tutorials. At the same time, TAs are not instructors with the authority to change the content of the course. Make sure that any initiative you take regarding lesson plans, grading, and communication has been approved by the instructor. For instance, some TAs may want to use features on myCourses to enhance learning, but an instructor may object to this.

How do I create a learning environment that is safe, supportive, and equitable for me and for my students?

 

Be understanding. As a graduate student, you know what it is like to face mounting pressure and juggle deadlines. Let students know at the beginning of the term that they can discuss any difficulties that they have with you. You should always make the instructor’s policies clear, however. In most cases, TAs do not have the authority to grant extensions, excuse absences, or change the requirements of an assignment without instructor approval.

 

Help students navigate their resources. The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD), the Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education (OSVRSE), and the Sexual Assault Center of the McGill Students Society (SACOMSS) are a few of the resources that students in distress may access. They offer advice, referrals, and accommodations related to disability, mental health, physical health, or trauma. Let students know about these resources at the beginning of the term, as benefits like OSD accommodations require advance registration.

 

Be trustworthy and discreet. Encourage students to seek out resources offered by professional and trustworthy services, but this may arise because a student discloses a health or psychological concern to you. Always maintain this information in confidence and confer with the student before you pass along any information to the instructor.

 

Educate yourself. SACOMSS and the Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) office offer training and resources to help you recognize the needs of marginalized students. Request that your AGSEM Delegate organize an equity training for your department. Common practices that TAs employ to make a more equitable classroom include: running small-group discussions to give students a more comfortable space; using a “progressive stack” method when calling on students, which might mean giving some priority to women or people of color; respecting pronouns and preferred names; providing content warnings if students request them or if you feel they may be necessary.

Be appropriate and professional. This is the best way to develop both authority and empathy. Your students are not your peers. Never meet with students off-campus or at Gert’s. Keep office doors open. Do not make comments about a student’s appearance. TAs must follow the same guidelines as professors when it comes to relationships with students. Intimate relationships with students compromise your responsibility to teach. According to McGill Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Discrimination, this means that any advances or relationships between TAs and students, as well as those between students and faculty, “ought to be known” as unwelcome conduct and is therefore sexual harassment.

What is collective bargaining?

When you become a TA, you also become a member of the teaching support union, AGSEM (Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill). You become part of Unit 1, the bargaining unit for TAs (Unit 2 is for Invigilators and has a separate collective agreement). This means that as soon as you become a TA, you also take on the rights and responsibilities of a union member, including:

  • the right to representation and the resources of the union in order to protect your labour rights;

  • the right to vote on all matters related to the union’s collective bargaining, constitution, executive officers, political action, and initiatives;

  • the right to hold office, become a Delegate, and propose mandates to the Union;

  • the automatic deduction of 2.5% union dues from your paycheque.

What is the collective agreement and how does it affect me?

  • The Collective Agreement (CA) is the contract negotiated between AGSEM and McGill to define your labour rights (other than those rights contained in provincial and federal law). It applies to all TAs. This means that each department must only offer TA positions that conform to the rules of the CA - every applicant, regardless of their preferences or the instructors, must be given the same wage, priority rights, and other benefits. Each department must have copies of the CA available for TAs to access. The CA can also be accessed in French or English on the union’s website. The CA is a dense, multilingual, legal document. Therefore, the union also provides practical, common-sense translations of key articles on its website. The CA normally lasts for four years. After it expires, AGSEM negotiates a new CA. The current CA for Teaching Assistants was signed in October, 2015 (retroactive to 2014) and expired June 30, 2018. The union is currently negotiating our next CA and in the meantime, the provisions of the expired CA will continue to be enforced.

What is a General Assembly?

Members vote and raise motions at Assemblies. Typically, Assemblies are held twice a year, but during bargaining years, Special Assemblies may be called when there are new developments in negotiation.

AGSEM General Assembly:

This is where TAs and Invigilators come together to vote on executive and committee offices, union budgets, political messaging, and any changes to our constitution.

Unit 1 Assembly:

This is where TAs vote on their own Bargaining Committee and give that committee mandates that are specific to TA working conditions.

Contacter le Comité de négociations

Si vous avez des commentaires, suggestions ou des préoccupations par rapport à n’importe laquelle des étapes du processus de négociation pour les auxiliaires d’enseignement, n’hésitez pas à contacter la.le Responsable des négociations via le formulaire ci-dessous.

Who is in charge at AGSEM?

Traduction en cours

You are. Being an active member is the most important form of involvement with the Union. Inform your Delegate(s) of issues in your department, attend events and ask questions, select your Delegate(s) in your department, make sure that your student union (PGSA) is involved when you resolve problems in your department, and attend General and Unit Assemblies.

How can I get involved with AGSEM?

  • Organize! Your colleagues are often your best resource for improving your teaching. You have the support of AGSEM when it comes to improving the local conditions for TAs in your department. Get supplies and money for food and drinks for your departmental event. Want to create a caucus to address issues particular to your identity? Want to organize an inter-departmental workshop to develop pedagogical methods across fields? What to host a conference on the precarious PhD? AGSEM is so down. Contact your Mobilization Officer!

  • Become a Delegate: Small departments may elect one Delegate. Large departments may elect two Delegates. Departments with 100 or more members may elect three Delegates. Delegates are typically elected by your PGSA, although if your department does not have a Delegate, you may be appointed by AGSEM.

  • Join a Committee: Any member may join a committee that speaks to their skills and interests. They can also propose a new committee. Committees work to improve the Union as well as to provide oversight and are a crucial part of union democracy.

  • Run for the Executive Committee: Current executive positions include: President (must be bilingual), TA Grievance Officer, Invigilator Grievance Officer, Mobilization Officer, Secretary-Treasurer, and, during bargaining year, Chair of the Bargaining Committee. All positions are elected each year and execs are paid a stipend equivalent to a 180-hour TA position each term (or 90 hours for Bargaining Chair).

Assister à une assemblée
Devenez membre d'un comité
Devenez un.e délégué.e