Recall that members of the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) overwhelmingly approved a new collective agreement with the university last week. Since then, the university has offered draconian terms for a back-to-work protocol, and allowed for only cosmetic changes to its unilateral proposition during negotiations that are normally intended to allow a harmonious end to the conflict.
“Our members are ready to go back to work immediately,” explained AGSEM President Richard Hink. “We are still open to a fair settlement on all outstanding issues and we had hoped to reach that settlement through negotiation. But if the university is unwilling to move, we will not wait them out before returning to work. It is time to move forward and get back to work.”
Among others, McGill is refusing to pay wages for all the hours worked before the strike. Nor will it compensate AGSEM members whose contracts for unrelated employment as exam invigilators, sessional lecturers or research assistants were punitively cancelled. What’s more, the administration demands that the union and the CSN refuse to represent members who have filed close to 300 grievances and complaints over McGill’s illegal actions despite the union’s legal and moral obligations to its members.
Finally, the administration insists that current and former AGSEM executive committee members publicly declare they are renouncing their grievances and complaints against McGill – even though none have been filed.
“If the university is not prepared to own up to its actions during this conflict, we believe that an impartial third party – the courts – are the best place to resolve these issues,” said Mr. Hink.
AGSEM is affiliated with the Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ–CSN).
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