Your TA is on strike!

Your TA is on strike!

The SSMU unequivocally supports The Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill’s (AGSEM) strike to gain fair and liveable working conditions. Yes, your TA is on strike. AGSEM members voted 87.5% in favour of the strike mandate, given the lack of development in regular meetings between McGill administrators and the AGSEM bargaining unit.

The strike period started on Monday, March 25 at 12am and may continue for up to 8 weeks. AGSEM members will be picketing on and around campus throughout this time.

We understand that AGSEM’s strike may ruffle some feathers and delay office hours. We wish to highlight that striking is a disruptive tactic to gain bargaining power, and that this disruption will reverberate across campus. If you are upset by the disruptions that the strike may cause, consider contacting a member of the McGill administration and urging them to resolve this conflict by engaging in fair bargaining as quickly as possible.

There are many ways for undergraduate students to support AGSEM’s strike effort. Here are 3  from AGSEM’s Strike FAQ:

1. Do not scab!
Do not accept new job positions created by McGill to complete work performed by Teaching Assistants.

If you are already involved in course support (e.g., a TEAM mentor) do not complete work assigned to TAs on their workload forms (including grading).

2. A picket line means DO NOT CROSS:
Respect picket lines, physically and virtually. If TAs are physically picketing outside a building or classroom, do not go in. Do not participate in virtual activities that would have normally happened in that building or classroom. If a class is moved from in-person to online due to a picket, do not attend that class online.

3. Write a letter supporting TAs’ demands – and your own demands for improved quality of education – to members of the administration. TAs deserve a living wage and a healthcare fund! Students deserve enough teaching support, provided through indexing TA hours to student enrolment!

Lastly, we wish to alert students that AGSEM has served McGill with a cease and desist letter concerning certain memos that the administration has sent out to faculty deans and instructors on the strike. From AGSEM’s statement on this issue:

Advocating and requiring course supervisors to do TA work as outlined in workload forms exposes both the university and the supervisors themselves to Quebec’s anti-scab legislation (RLRQ c C-27 s. 109.1), which can result in fines (s. 142.1).

We call upon the University to respect the regulations within Quebec labour law to which it is bound. Please note that statements from McGill Administration on the strike may contain elements of false or misleading information aimed at undermining potential support for the strike. Stay tuned for updates on the strike through other channels such as AGSEM’s instagram: @agsem.aeedem.

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Your TA is on strike!