MUNACA Memo to Minister
Striking McGill Union Sends Complaints to Beauchamp
Joined by faculty, staff, professors and students on Nov. 17, the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association marched from McGill Campus to the Ministry of Education to make their displeasure with the McGill administration clear.
MUNACA’s grievances towards the McGill Administration were hand delivered in a letter by Kevin Whitaker, the President of MUNACA.
“The campus is no longer a safe environment for higher learning, instead it is one of fear and violence,” said Whitaker. “We believe that because this is a public institute, the ministry has the ability—not to mention the responsibility—to come in and have a clear investigation as to what this administration is truly doing to its students and its staff.”
The main points in the letter included imposed injunctions against the MUNACA picketers that keep union members from protesting outside university administrators’ homes and the construction site of the future Montreal super-hospital, both of which have been picketing sites for the striking employees.
Another injunction ruled that picketers cannot gather in groups larger than 15, and must maintain a distance of at least four meters from campus entrances.
The letter also mentioned the reaction to students protesting in support of MUNACA, which MUNACA alleges has included reprimands, harassment by security and disciplinary meetings. MUNACA marched in conjunction with students at the Day of Action on Nov. 10, and pointed to the excessive use of force by police responding to the occupation of the James Administration building by students.
Although the letter was intended for Minister of Education Line Beauchamp, it was delivered to her Assistant with assurance it would be read and responded to.
Meanwhile, a provincially appointed conciliator has suspended negotiations between MUNACA and the McGill Administration for the second time.
“The conciliator decided she will suspend any further negotiations because of the fact that we are very far apart in salary,” said Whitaker.
What MUNACA is asking for is to have a wage grid put in place—something that every other University in the province has, according to Whitaker.
A wage grid serves to automatically advance—in salary and/or position—every contracted employee a certain amount every year. It functions independently of wage scale increases, which are usually negotiated annually. In MUNACA’s case, no one is guaranteed advancement and everything must be negotiated for.
“What they proposed in the last round of negotiations would take 37 years for someone to reach their maximum,” said Whitaker. “With their current offer they would never reach their maximum, it would remain at the same level for the duration of the contract. That’s unheard of anywhere else.”
MUNACA is currently waiting for a decision from the conciliator to resume negotiations, but have no set end date for the suspension.