MUNACA Crashes the Party

McGill Principal Heckled at Speech by Union Supporters

McGill University Principal Heather Munroe-Blum had a hard time speaking to Montreal’s business community on Nov. 25 because of interruptions by supporters of striking McGill employees.

The lecture, which was given at Montreal’s Sheraton Hotel, and presented by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, incited scorn from members of McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association, who have been on strike since September.

Monroe-Blum’s speech was entitled “Growing Prosperity, Building Community: 190 Years of McGill and Quebec,” and MUNACA President Kevin Whittaker called its focus an ironic topic for the McGill principal to cover.

“We would like Munroe-Blum to keep in mind that it is the same McGill community she is bullying today that has made McGill University what it is: an internationally reputable institution of research and teaching,” Whittaker wrote on the MUNACA strike blog.

“We contribute to the prosperity of McGill and Quebec and deserve our fair share.”

According to tweets from McGill Daily writers at the lecture, several members of MUNACA were forcibly ejected from the premises, one after the other, for disrupting the speech by heckling Munroe-Blum.

One of the Daily’s tweets quoted an attendant as saying, “Heather, I’m sorry but you talk about family. We are the backbone of [McGill]” as he was escorted out.

Negotiations between MUNACA and the university were unfrozen by the conciliator on Nov. 21 and are set to resume on Nov. 25. The union’s website states, “The Union remains prepared to meet into the weekend.”

MUNACA’s 1,700 members have been on strike since Sept. 1 for improved benefits and wage rate parity with universities in the rest of Quebec.