Negotiations archive

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September 30, 2015

We are in the process of finalizing the English translation of our first collective agreement and getting it ready for the final signature ceremony. We hope to give you the news of our signing date shortly. Thank you for your patience.

First collective agreement ratified

September 18, 2015

We are pleased to report that our September 18, 2015 special general assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed first collective agreement for course lecturers and instructors. The union is now waiting for McGill to suggest a date for the official signing of the collective agreement by both parties. As soon as the agreement is signed, it will come into force immediately.

A summary of our collective agreement (CA) is available here for your consultation. The final CA will also be made available online after the parties have signed it.

As we explained during the general assembly, the first step after the official signing of the CA is the establishment of our first seniority list. We are providing details of the process here once again:

  1. Within 30 days of signing, McGill will publish a list of points for all members for the period between September 2011 and the present.
  2. Within the next 60 days, members will submit their proofs of teaching for the period prior to August 2011, if any.
  3. Within the next 30 days, the MCLIU and McGill will finalize the non-contestable seniority list.

Please note that this whole process will be completed in a total of 120 days from the signing of the collective agreement.

In the meantime, we would like to remind you what significant improvements have taken place in your working conditions:

  • posting of courses on established dates;
  • a transparent hiring process based on seniority;
  • paid sick leave;
  • clarification of tasks and workloads;
  • the creation of a labour relations committee;
  • putting in place of procedures for grievance, arbitration, and disciplinary matters;
  • obtaining of parental leave rights equivalent to those of full-time teachers and the associated social benefits; and,
  • significant salary increases over the three years of the agreement as well as retroactive pay from January 2015.

Collective agreement information sessions

September 2015

We are holding several information sessions this week to members who wish to have a better understanding of the content of the first collective agreement:

  • Wednesday, September 9, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Thursday, September 10, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
  • Friday, September 11, 10:30 am to noon

Location: MCLIU office, 2015 Drummond, suite 643, Montreal H3G 1W7

Agreement reached: September 4, 2015

The Bargaining Committee is pleased to inform you that after three years of intense negotiations, the union and the university have reached and signed an agreement in principle on our first collective agreement.

Congratulations to all of us! We will be scheduling a special general assembly to ratify the collective agreement in a short while.

August 27, 2015 update

The negotiation process between the Union and McGill is in the final stages. We would like to inform you that progress has been made. The Union and the representatives of McGill have reached an Agreement in Principles, and we are now waiting for McGill’s executives to endorse the agreement. As soon as we hear from them, we shall give you an update and call a General Assembly to present before all members the contents of the proposed first Collective Agreement for ratification.

May 11, 2015 update

The last arbitration meeting before the summer took place on April 2, 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to establish the arbitration tribunal’s hearing dates according to the availability of the parties, to set the rules of argumentation, and to identify the areas in which witnesses will be called. The tribunal will start its hearings on September 4. Prior to that date, the parties will provide a complete document of the settled and unsettled demands to the Arbitrator by May 29. They will also provide the names of their witnesses and the topics about which witnesses will be called. Starting on September 4th, the tribunal hearings are scheduled to continue on September 21, 23, October 19, November 13 and 16, 2015.

At the moment the parties are trying to finalize some fine details on maternity and paternity leaves. The Union is also trying its best to sign off on all non-monetary details of the collective agreement prior to the start of the arbitration hearings. In the Conservatory of Music, the issue of assigning students solely to graduate students without any supervision of a Conservatory instructor is a subject of contention. The Union believes that pupils in the Conservatory, who come to learn music over a long period of time, should not be assigned to graduate students who are there for only one or two years. This will cause a significant decrease in enrolment at the Conservatory because families do not like their children to have to change music teachers periodically.

We would like to remind you that most of the articles for the upcoming collective agreement have been signed off, including a retroactive salary increase from January 2015, and that our Union called for arbitration in order to settle the articles that could not be agreed upon, in particular the annual salary increases.

March 30, 2015 update

Last week, MCLIU’s executive and bargaining committees met with their Union advisors to discuss and devise the fine lines for our upcoming arbitration proceedings. The next step in our arbitration proceedings will take place on April 2, when our bargaining committee will meet the University representatives and the Arbitrator to plan the upcoming proceedings. While waiting to reconvene with the administration and the Arbitrator, MCLIU’s bargaining committee has been preparing to defend our demands in front of the arbitration tribunal.

Union requests arbitration ruling

On February 3 and 4, MCLIU met with the administration to finalize monetary matters. Unfortunately, the salary offer proposed by the administration was totally unacceptable. It did not meet the union’s mandate, nor was it close to the minimum salary offered at other universities in Quebec. Further, the administration’s offer will not even attain the minimum standard in the sector by the proposed end of the collective agreement in September 2017. We were prepared to delay a salary catch-up over three years, which would have dropped us even further behind the provincial minimum, but the employer did not respond to this offer. Despite the Union’s willingness to forego retroactivity in order to assist the University in its budget cutting efforts, their counter offer was still extremely low. Other problematic issues, such as wide disparities in pay for different courses, were also not sufficiently addressed.

We have therefore requested that the arbitrator impose a ruling or judgment on unsettled matters.

January 2015 Arbitration Update

During the January 12 and 14 arbitration meetings, agreements were reached related to the Continuing Studies Intensive and Part-time programmes, as well as in the Music Conservatory and Performance programmes.

Below are the highlights of what was agreed upon.

For the Continuing Studies Intensive English and French (IELC/IFLC) programmes, the parties agreed that:

  • Posting will occur one month before the start of classes.
  • Instructors will apply within seven days after the posting period ends.
  • Contracts will be awarded one week before the start of classes.
  • An instructor may teach a maximum of one course per six-week session and 6 courses in a year.

For the Continuing Studies Part-time English and French (PTP) programmes, it was negotiated that:

  • Posting will occur two months before the session begins.
  • Instructors will apply within ten days after the posting period ends.
  • Contracts for PTP courses will be awarded one month before the classes begin.
  • Courses will be distributed in decreasing order of seniority through a round system.
  • One course will be attributed in each round.

All lecturers in the Intensive and PTP programmes hired before 31 December 2014 will be eligible to teach any and all levels within their own hiring units.

The following criteria will be used to allocate students in the Conservatory of Music:

  • Past years’ students will automatically be allocated to the same instructors unless a student specifically asks for a change of instructor.
  • A new student referred by an instructor will be allocated to the referring instructor.
  • Student preference will be taken into account: however, the allocation will be done through a rounds system allocating only one student per round.
  • All new students without any specific preference will be allocated in decreasing order of seniority points, and one student per round will be allocated to the instructors who did not receive a student in the first round of allocation based on student preference.

The following criteria will be used to allocate students in Music Performance Individual lessons:

  • In Music Performance, in the first round, McGill students will be allocated to instructors based on student preference, if known.
  • All McGill students without preference and all Marianopolis students will be allocated on the basis of decreasing order of seniority through a rounds system where one student per round will be allocated.

Music Conservatory and Performance instructors will receive their workload within 15 days after the start of classes.

The salary remains to be agreed upon at the next arbitration meetings of February 3 and 4, 2015. So far, our Union’s Bargaining Committee has responded with a fair counteroffer to the administration’s initial monetary proposal, as the latter did not correspond to our Union’s mandated demands.

Arbitration Update of December 2014

During the last arbitration meetings of 2014, MCLIU has successfully negotiated seniority and a course attribution system that will be based on seniority points. We also finalized the mechanism for claiming seniority points for teaching prior to September 2011. In this update, we would like to provide you with more details on the results of the arbitration sessions, as we are nearing the end of negotiations.

Within 30 days of the signing of the collective agreement, the employer will create for each hiring unit an initial seniority list allocating points to our members from August 30, 2011, on. Furthermore, a labour relations committee comprising of Union and Employer members will be formed in order to assign points prior to August 30, 2011. Members will have 60 days to ask for corrections or the addition of points.

The following documents are established as accepted proof of teaching:

  • Employment contracts accompanied with pay slips justifying delivery of courses. If pay slips are not available, members may submit an affidavit attesting that they taught the courses. OR
  • Information obtained from McGill systems like Minerva, such as your job summary, your employment history, employment letters, past course schedules, or course section verification along with an affidavit. (Please note that McGill systems such as Minerva only provide information going back up to ten years.) OR
  • A letter from the department where courses were taught.

Please note that lecturers and instructors have the right to access their employment file in order to get copies of the relevant documents.

Seniority points can be claimed up to the first date of hire at McGill. However, if a member did not teach for two consecutive years in a hiring unit, and did not obtain a contract in her seventh semester, her first date of hire will be the date when she obtained her next course assignment; she will be assigned seniority points from that semester onward. Members on sick and maternity leave will be exempted from this clause; however, they will have to submit a leave approval letter or an affidavit to this effect.

Employees who have been teaching under a firm retainer contract with McGill will also be able to claim their seniority points for the period prior to August 30, 2011. No seniority points will be awarded for any contracts signed by firm retainers after the accreditation of the Union.

In our meeting of December 17, 2014, the parties also signed articles related to postings, delays in awarding contracts, cancellation of courses or withdrawal of services by an employee, union rights, maintaining workload in the case of merger of two hiring units, space allocation for teaching and meeting with students, as well as intellectual property rights. We decided to limit this update to the process of claiming seniority points given the importance and direct impact of this clause on our members’ employment relation. More details on this and other articles will follow in our update in the next year.

Union Arbitration: Seniority and Course Attribution Settled

The bargaining committee of MCLIU is happy to report that it has successfully reached a major milestone in the negotiations with the administration. We can confidently say now that we are very close to sign our much awaited and well-deserved first collective agreement. During the meetings of November 20, November 24, and December 2, our bargaining committee was able to attain the major demands regarding seniority, hiring priority, and course attribution process.

Given the importance of these issues to our members, the Union did not want to start negotiations on salary and other monetary issues yet; since we have successfully negotiated these, we will now negotiate salary and other monetary demands at the next arbitration meeting of December 16, 2014. 

The following are the key points we obtained in the past meetings:

  • Within 30 days of the signing of the collective agreement, the employer will create for each hiring unit an initial seniority list allocating points to our members from August 30, 2011, on.
  • Members will be able to claim their seniority from the first date of hire; they will have 60 days to submit their contracts or other proof of past teaching.
  • A labour relations committee comprising of Union members and representatives of the Administration will allocate points based on the submitted evidence in order to establish a final seniority list.
  • Course lecturers and instructors will have the right to leave without pay for two consecutive years without losing their seniority.
  • Members will continue accumulating seniority points during sick or maternity leave. 
  • All courses will be posted and members will be able to apply for the courses of their own choice. This article does not apply to seminars of three days or less.
  • Attribution of courses will be made through a round system in decreasing order of seniority points.
  • Two courses will be attributed in the first round; a third course may be awarded to a lecturer/ instructor, if available, in a second round.
  • A course lecturer may teach a maximum of three courses per semester and seven courses per year per hiring unit.
  • 15% of the total courses will be reserved for graduate students. 

The Union will soon disseminate detailed information on how to claim seniority points for the years prior to 2011. Stay tuned.

November 12, 2014 Music Subcommittee Arbitration Update

Our Union’s Music subcommittee met with its administration counterparts on November 12, 2014. The administration responded to the Union’s proposals regarding Conservatory and Performance Instructors. Their counter proposal for Performance Instructors (article 28) proposes to re-evaluate the credentials and professional accomplishments of all the existing instructors and re-rank them instead of using a standard seniority points system. The Union maintains that a standard seniority system must be established, and after respecting “motivated student preferences,” individual student allocations be made on the basis of seniority points in order to achieve a fair system of allocations. Toward the end of the meeting, the administration showed willingness to re-visit their position and return to the Union with a proposal that would be acceptable to our members.

Concerning the Conservatory of Music (article 29), the administration and the Union made some progress in the negotiations; however, the parties could not reach a final agreement because the Union demands allocation be based on seniority points, whereas the administration asks for an allocation system based on student preference. The Bargaining Committees will reconvene with the Arbitrator on Thursday, November 20th to resume the university-wide negotiation process; at the same time, the parties will submit a report on all subcommittee negotiations that took place until now and decide on future action. We will keep you updated on the progress as it unfolds.

Arbitration Update on Parental Leaves, Continuing Studies and Music Subcommittee meetings: July 9, September 4 and October 8, 2014

In order to expedite the negotiation process for specialized departments and certain issues three subcommittees were formed in Summer 2014 in consultation with the Arbitrator; 1. parental leave committee; 2. Continuing Studies committee; and 3. Conservatory of Music and Practical Instruction committee. Each committee is led by the bargaining chair and comprises at least two other members from the respective department. The following is an overview of the outcome of these committee meetings.

  1. Parental leave subcommittee, Article 34: Parties have agreed on most of this article including maternity leave for 20 weeks; however, the issue of the payment of indemnity remains unresolved.
  2. Continuing Studies subcommittee, Articles 26, 27: Three meetings took place on July 9, September 4 and October 8 and the following was discussed and agreed:
    • The whole collective agreement will apply to the department of Career and Professional Development (CPD) without any exception.
    • In the LIC department, PTP and IELC/IFLC will be negotiated separately.
    • English and French intensive courses will be distributed based on the seniority points.
    • A member in IELC and IFLC can teach a maximum of one course per session and 6 courses per academic year.
    • Courses will be posted 4 weeks before a session begins.
    • The application process will last for one week.

    The parties exchanged proposals on the following points as well but could not reach a final agreement, therefore it was decided to discuss them in the presence of the Arbitrator.

    • Teaching any two courses at any level in a language program will satisfy Teaching Qualification Requirements (TQR) for that particular language.
    • Distribution will be done through the round system and there will be a maximum of three rounds. The union maintains that the department will make sure to offer a course to each of our members, if available, before hiring external candidates.
    • Teaching contracts will be awarded 2 weeks before the session begins; the Administration is proposing 1 week.
    • Additional courses created at the last minute will also be posted and distributed based on seniority in decreasing order of points through the round system.
    • Salaries to be negotiated in the presence of the Arbitrator.
  3. Conservatory of Music and Practical Instruction subcommittee, Articles 28, 29: McGill administration could only meet once for the Music subcommittee on September 4, 2014. In this meeting the administration for the first time deposited its position regarding the Conservatory of Music and a slightly modified position for Music Performance with the following key points.
  4. Please note that this is the McGill administration’s position and not that of the Union:

    • Upon initial application, the hiring unit may proceed with a pre-selection.
    • Employees acquire 0.5 points for every student (with a 1-hour lesson) per term. Likewise 0.5 points will be awarded for teaching an ensemble each term.
    • Employees will lose their priority points if they don’t teach for 1 calendar year.
    • 25% of the total courses of the Conservatory will be reserved for graduate students and will not be posted/allocated to regular conservatory teachers.
    • Members will provide their availability three times a year.
    • For assigning students, seniority is the last factor to be considered. Student preference and instructor’s availability take preference.
    • In case of student cancellations during a term, a maximum of two lessons will be paid.
    • Almost no increase in salary.

    The Union maintains its position that:

    • Seniority must be respected.
    • Student allocation be made through a fair process that respects seniority and contributions made by our members to the Conservatory.
    • No loss of seniority except for unexcused absence for more than 24 consecutive months.
    • Cancellation during a term will not affect payment to the instructor.
    • Salary be brought to par with other Quebec universities offering similar lessons

Arbitration Update, Article 14 continued – Seniority and Priority Points: October 3, 2014

On Friday, October 3 the parties resumed their meeting to continue negotiations in the presence of the Arbitrator. The McGill representatives presented their response to Article 14 – seniority and hiring priority. The following key points were discussed and agreed or remained unresolved:

  • First priority points list for each hiring unit will be prepared by the Administration within 30 days of the signing of the collective agreement.
  • Joint committee will also be formed immediately after the signature of the CA.
  • Members will have 60 days to submit their proofs of teaching in order to claim seniority points for teaching prior to August 2011.
  • Members can contest their points within these 60 days.
  • Joint committee will finalize its work within 30 days and the final priority points list will be prepared.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the Arbitrator changed some of the upcoming meeting dates. The following dates are now set for arbitration meetings in 2014: November 20, 24, December 2 and December 16. However, the arbitrator and the parties will look into the possibility of adding more dates. At the same time, the subcommittees will continue their negotiations outside these arbitration dates. It was decided that the Continuing Studies subcommittee will meet for one last time to finalize their work, whereas the Music subcommittee will need to meet for at least two more times.

Arbitration Update, Article 14 – Seniority and Priority Points: September 22, 2014

On Monday September 22, our Union bargaining committee spent the day in negotiations with their University counterparts in the presence of the Arbitrator, Me Maureen Flynn. The Arbitrator was presented with a report about the three subcommittees, 1. parental leave; 2. Continuing Studies; and 3. Music, which were formed to expedite the negotiations.
During the day, Article 14 was discussed; however, no final agreement was reached. The following points were discussed in detail:

  • Preparation of initial list by the Administration with seniority points starting August 2011.
  • Formation of a joint committee to whom members will submit proofs if they have been teaching prior to August 2011.
  • Seniority points will be awarded on the basis of these proofs from the first date of hire.
  • Correction by the joint committee of the initial list to create a final seniority point list for each hiring unit. The union asked that this process be completed within 3 months from the date of the signing of the collective agreement, whereas McGill asked for 6 months.
  • arties remain far apart on the issue of leave without pay. The union maintains its position of 24 months after the last contract.
  • Refusing a contract after signature will result in loss of one seniority point; no agreement could be reached on this issue.

The parties exchanged a few proposals with the help of the Arbitrator; the Administration will respond to the Union’s last proposal in the next arbitration session scheduled for October 3, 2014.

Update from the Arbitration Meeting of June 3, 2014

A second meeting with the arbitrator took place on June 3. The purpose of this meeting was to apprise the arbitrator of the nature of our demands; only the spokespersons and assessors of MCLIU and the University met on this date. Our representatives presented to the arbitrator our demands related to seniority, course attribution, parental leaves, and other unsettled issues, and demonstrated that course lecturers and instructors are working far below the working conditions of other Quebec lecturers and instructors and lack such widespread basic protection as hiring priority and fair course attribution.

It is difficult to offer a clear prognosis and timeline for the end of negotiations for our first collective agreement, but we do hope to reach an agreement within the year. In the meanwhile, this is a good moment to get involved in your union by becoming a delegate for your department or school. We particularly need delegates in the Faculties of Science, Engineering and Medicine, but not only those. Please get in touch with us if you want to represent your department.

Update from the Arbitration Meeting of May 23, 2014

As you may know by now, Me. Maureen Flynn was appointed on April 10 by the Minister of Labour as an arbitrator to mediate and rule on the first collective agreement between the McGill administration and the McGill Course Lecturers and Instructors Union. The first meeting between Me. Flynn, the bargaining committee of MCLIU, and the University representatives took place on May 23. Both sides showed eagerness to move toward an agreement, but no final agreement was signed. During this part of the negotiations, which is considered mediation, the parties have the right to settle issues without the ruling of the arbitrator. Since some members of McGill’s bargaining team are not available to attend bargaining meetings during the summer, the parties and the arbitrator agreed to establish subcommittees to negotiate the specific demands of the Faculty of Music, the McGill Conservatory, and the Languages and Career and Professional Development programs of the School of Continuing Studies. These subcommittees are now active and will be negotiating during the summer on their members’ behalf. The next meetings with the arbitrator were scheduled to take place on June 3 and November 24, 26, and 28; but we believe this summer will prove to be fruitful through the negotiations in the subcommittees. 

Arbitrator officially named for MCLIU’s First Collective Agreement

We would like to let you know that on Friday, April 14, the Ministère du travail appointed the arbitrator Maureen Flynn to mediate and arbitrate between the Union and the University, while assessing the proposals presented so far concerning our first collective agreement. After 20 months and close to 50 full-day meetings of drawn-out negotiations with the administration, we believe this is a better way toward a standard collective agreement than further negotiations would have produced.

Although McGill’s last monetary offer was somewhat better than what we receive now, we could not accept it because it was still below the lowest salary paid to other Quebec course lecturers. In addition, McGill’s proposal reflects a general trend on the part of the administration to attempt to cut the number of courses that have been consistently taught by course lecturers. This was seen in their offer to introduce an extensive separate group of “excluded courses” beyond the standard recognized reserve clause other universities enjoy.

Another unacceptable point in their most recent proposal was to include a penalty to be imposed on a course lecturer who refuses courses for which she applied. Under that penalty, if a course lecturer refuses one course, she will lose one seniority point; however, if she refuses a second course at any time, she loses all her points and is ejected from the hiring unit.

Ministry of Labour Approves Arbitration for MCLIU’s First Collective Agreement

At our last conciliation meeting with the University, on March 14, 2014, McGill’s representatives presented a global offer counter to our demands that we deemed completely unsatisfactory. As a result of this step, the conciliator concluded that the two sides had reached an impasse in conciliation and recommended arbitration.

On Wednesday, March 26, we received a letter from the Ministère du travail (Ministry of Labour) confirming the start of arbitration. An arbitrator will be appointed within the next few weeks.

We will inform you as soon as the dates are set for the arbitration. Our bargaining committee remains available to meet the representatives of the administration in the presence of an arbitrator as soon as possible.

This is an important time in our union’s development, as it means we are nearer than ever to our much-awaited first collective agreement.

Below is a re-cap of some of the key demands MCLIU presented at the beginning of the bargaining to the Employer, and we stand firm for achieving them.

Hiring priority

A clear hiring priority system based on points Recognition of our service to the university Separate priority pools for each hiring unit No administrative intervention in the course allocation and hiring mechanism

Course attribution

Posting of courses in advance on fixed dates Attribution based on points Equal maximum number of courses for all employees Each 39 contract hours = 1 point

Tasks and workload

Clearly defined list of tasks Clear contracts for teaching-related tasks that offer equal protection under the collective agreement Hourly pay for teaching-related tasks prorated from regular contract salary Paid training for new hires

Salary and benefits

Equity with other Quebec universities’ salary Annual cost-of-living adjustment Vacation and holiday pay Professional development fund
Sick leave (paid) Maternity and paternity leave (similar to McGill teaching faculty) Equity with other universities on various types of leave (paid and unpaid) Equal access to pension plans

Graduate students

Courses reserved for graduate students to gain experience Priority to graduate students over new hires Recognition of teaching experience gained as a TA

Teaching support and resources

Access to teaching support resources Teaching assistants available as per the criteria for full-time faculty Per-student premium for large courses
Access to the resources needed to perform job duties Office space (separate or shared) for preparation and meeting with the students Tax receipts for any materials or home resources used by the lecturer or instructor

Bargaining and Conciliation Update: February 14, 2014

On Friday, February 14, MCLIU’s bargaining committee continued conciliation talks with the University’s representatives.

At this meeting, we reacted to the counteroffer deposited by McGill’s representatives in response to our December 18 global offer.

In what we presented as our final counteroffer, we stand firm on our demands for providing province-wide standard working conditions for our members.

The conciliator requested that McGill respond with a global offer, which they said they would do at the next meeting, scheduled for March 14, 2014. Please stay tuned for more updates after our next session.

Bargaining and Conciliation Update: February 7, 2014

On Friday February 7, MCLIU’s bargaining committee resumed negotiations with the administration of McGill University. This meeting followed our last bargaining session of 2013, held on December 17, where we submitted to the administration a global offer presenting the totality of our demands. This session brought us a response to our offer; we regret to inform you that the answer was utterly unacceptable. In fact, we feel that the response of the administration is a clear refusal to grant us even what is currently the minimum standard of fair working conditions.

Given the great gap between what we are asking – province-wide standard working conditions – and the complete refusal of the administration to allow us a fair and well-deserved access to these conditions, we feel that negotiations cannot continue in their present state; therefore, we have requested arbitration.

Bargaining and Conciliation Update: December 18, 2013

On December 18, our bargaining committee met the administration for the last conciliation session of the year. After more than 40 full-day bargaining meetings, we felt that the best way to proceed was to present the administration with a global offer of our demands. We will return to the conciliation table on the next available date, February 7, 2014. Although we were hoping to achieve a collective agreement before the end of this year, waiting for yet another month or two is a small delay compared to the twenty years that many lecturers and instructors have waited in order to be able to negotiate for better working conditions.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The University and the Union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Bargaining and Conciliation Update: December 13 and 16, 2013

The bargaining committee of MCLIU met the administration on Friday, December 13, and Monday, December 16, to continue the conciliation process in an effort to reach an agreement on the topics of seniority and course attribution. There was some movement at the table; however, there was no agreement on other issues that are of crucial importance to us. We will meet with the administration one more time on Wednesday, December 18 in an effort to resolve the crucial issues, before we break for the winter holidays. Stay tuned for more updates toward the end of the week.

Bargaining and Conciliation Update: November 29, 2013

On November 29, we had our first bargaining meeting with the administration and the conciliator. Both sides forcefully presented and defended their position in front of the conciliator, resulting in very little movement. It was a long and difficult encounter. Our hope is that, at the bargaining meeting December 5, both parties will try to bring our members’ working conditions closer to those enjoyed by course lecturers across the province.

Bargaining and Conciliation Update: November 22, 2013

On November 22, we were scheduled to have our first bargaining session with the administration in the presence of the conciliator. At the last minute, McGill’s bargaining team cancelled the meeting, explaining that there was an internal communication problem whereby not all their committee members knew that the location of the meeting had changed to the Labour Ministry.

We are disappointed that this had the consequence of cancelling the conciliation meeting. Our union’s bargaining committee remains available and ready to meet as planned at the conciliator’s table on Friday, November 29. We will continue to keep you informed of events as they unfold.

Bargaining and Conciliation Update: November 15, 2013

On November 15, our Bargaining Committee met with the conciliator to provide a detailed explanation of the reasoning behind our demands. The conciliator wanted to have a clear understanding of our position before we met with him and the administration’s bargaining committee this coming Friday, November 22. The meeting, as with subsequent meetings, was held at the Labour Ministry (Travail-Québec).

The Bargaining Committee went through our demands article by article, emphasizing the fact that our members are looking for equity with our counterparts in other Quebec universities. We thus meticulously demonstrated to the conciliator that our demands are reasonable and based on sound research.

We highlighted the following key demands:

Our DemandCurrent Practice at McGillOther CL unions in Quebec

Hiring Priority System No Yes
Points for each course taught No Yes
Attribution of courses based on points No Yes
3 courses per term Varies Yes
Right to maintain priority points for 2 years No Yes
% of courses reserved for graduate students Management decides Set by collective agreement
Salary increase Lowest in the province Up to 30% higher
Recognition of union work No Yes
Benefits including parental leaves and tuition waiver No Yes
Pension plan Only for those who work more than 700 hours or more each year Yes
Representation on committees such as employee benefits committee etc. No Yes

 

Bargaining and Conciliation Update for October 2013

Our first meeting in the presence of the conciliator took place on October 28. At this instance, the union presented the following core demands on behalf of the course lecturers and instructors working at McGill.

We ask for:

  1. An equitable collective agreement in comparison to the other Quebec universities, in general.
  2. A fair hiring priority system.
  3. Recognition of previous teaching and points given from the first date of hire.
  4. A transparent and non-arbitrary system of course allocation.
  5. Establishing first hiring priority list without excluding any member from the date of union accreditation.
  6. No deduction of points for refusing a contract.
  7. The right to stay on the priority list for two years.
  8. An increase in salary from the date of union accreditation.
  9. Paid leaves and benefits including parental leaves, pension plan, tuition waiver and professional development fund exclusively for course lecturers and instructors.

On behalf of graduate students, we ask for:

  1. A percentage of courses to be reserved for graduate students.
  2. Priority to graduate students on new hire.
  3. Graduate students to benefit from all the provisions of the collective agreement including leaves, benefits and salary.

The bargaining committee reiterated that it has a mandate from its members, and reminded that course lecturers and instructors at McGill are teaching under working conditions that are lowest in comparison to other Quebec universities.

Schedule of upcoming conciliation meetings

The bargaining committee is finalizing a document, to be provided to the conciliator, which presents the most recent positions of the parties on the points of negotiations that blocked.

The following dates were confirmed for negotiation meetings:
November 15: The bargaining committee will meet with the conciliator, in order to apprise him in detail of the union’s position and demands.
November 22: Half day session.
November 29: Half day session.
December 5: Full day session.
December 13: Full day session.
December 16: Full day session.
December 18: Full day session.

Please note that Mr. Pierre-Marc Berdard has been appointed as our conciliator.

In earlier meetings that took place on October 18 and 25, the bargaining committee discussed certain issues that have not been resolved yet, with the exception of monetary issues. Articles 2 (pertaining definitions), as well as 17 through 20 (pertaining teaching support, graduate students, and professional development fund) were discussed. Counter proposals were exchanged, and progress was made on both sides of the table, however, no final agreements were reached.

Both parties agree to address the issues of seniority and course attribution in the upcoming meeting with the conciliator in order to move forward in the negotiation. We will inform you at the end of each meeting what was discussed and where we stand. However, what is most important for the success of conciliation is our mobilization. Choose the forum of your choice, and talk about your below-average working conditions. Let your students know that you are not receiving the same salary as other Quebec lecturers. Shine the light on the struggle we, the lecturers of an internationally top-ranked university, have to lead in order to secure our rights while maintaining high standards of teaching.

Bargaining Update: October 4, 2013

The bargaining committee of AGSEM Unit III, the course lecturers and instructors union, met with the university administration on October 4, 2013, to discuss articles 17-20 on the topics of teaching support, graduate student teaching, resources and equipment for teaching, and professional development and training for employees. Counter proposals were exchanged between AGSEM and the administration, however no agreements were reached in this session.

Bargaining Update: September 27, 2013 – Union Calls for Conciliation

After more than a year of bargaining, the parties have come to an impasse on the issues of seniority and course allocation, which is one of the core issues of our bargaining demands. In the light of these developments, the union of course lecturers and instructors has decided that we seek the intervention of a third party. The bargaining committee, supported by executive committee and the delegate council, has requested that the Labour Ministry of Quebec appoint a conciliator to help the parties settle their first collective agreement.

The first meeting in the presence of a conciliator is scheduled on October 28. At that meeting, the parties will finalize the schedule of upcoming meetings and exchange the list of priority issues that needs to be addressed immediately in the presence of conciliator.

However, parties have agreed to continue negotiations on the issues that have not been discussed yet during the already scheduled negotiation sessions between the parties.

Bargaining Update July 2013

At the July 5 meeting, the course lecturers and instructors bargaining committee discussed with McGill’s administration the issue of hiring priority. No movement on this essential point of negotiation could be achieved at this meeting. Both parties agreed to set dates to continue negotiations in the Fall semester. While waiting for the negotiations to resume, our bargaining committee, as mandated in the General Assembly of June 7, is currently drafting monetary demands to be discussed at these future dates.

Upcoming bargaining meetings:
October 4, 18, 25
November 22, 29
December 13

We will keep you updated on these negotiation talks coming up.

Bargaining Update: June 14

The course lecturers and instructors’ bargaining committee met with the administration on June 14 to discuss the issues of seniority and course attribution. As you may recall, the administration’s previous proposal on these issues was problematic. We had hoped that the administration would return to the table with a willingness to consider our demands, however, while there was some movement, their proposal was still far from our collective demands. Currently, the administration is asking that seniority points be accumulated only from the date of signing of the collective agreement. Our bargaining committee finds this unacceptable, and holds strong to our original demand that seniority points be accumulated from the date of first hire at McGill. Among several other negotiation points, the bargaining committee also demands that no deduction of points occurs if a course lecturer refuses a contract.

Furthermore, the administration wants to drastically limit the number of courses a lecturer may teach in an academic year. Our union deems such a measure to be equal to fiiring a course lecturer from their job. Thus, the bargaining committee stands firm on the issue of maintaining the current number of courses a lecturer may teach.

We have yet to come to an agreement on these issues.

The bargaining committee will meet with the administration on July 5 and August 30 to continue the discussions. We will update you on the state of negotiations shortly after these meetings.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The University and the Union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Bargaining Update: June 2013

In the meetings with the administration that took place between November 2012 and March 2013, our bargaining team negotiated leaves, teaching tasks and requirements, among other issues. We signed on emergency, bereavement, jury, and marriage leave, and, very importantly, a medical leave that will ensure that we will be able to take 21 paid days when medically necessary.

Discussions on parental leaves have been suspended by our bargaining committee because McGill has recently modified its parental leave policy for academic staff, and has agreed to provide research employee groups with parental leave benefits of 20 weeks with an indemnity, which would cover the loss of pay during such leaves. Our bargaining committee stands firm in demanding that our members should benefit from the same kind of maternity and paternity leaves which the other teaching and research staff of McGill already enjoy.

At the time of our GA, our bargaining committee was also discussing teaching qualification requirements (TQRs) and teaching tasks, and these issues have been partially settled. The subject of seniority and course allocation is also currently on the table. You will be updated shortly on these issues. Additionally, in the near future, you will be invited to meet with our bargaining committee to discuss the state of negotiations.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The University and the Union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Bargaining Update: May 2013

In the meetings with the administration that took place between November 2012 and March 2013, our bargaining team negotiated leaves, teaching tasks and requirements, among other issues. We signed on emergency, bereavement, jury, and marriage leave, and, very importantly, a medical leave that will ensure that we will be able to take 21 paid days when medically necessary.

Discussions on parental leaves have been suspended by our bargaining committee because McGill has recently modified its parental leave policy for academic staff, and has agreed to provide research employee groups with parental leave benefits of 20 weeks with an indemnity, which would cover the loss of pay during such leaves.

Our bargaining committee stands firm in demanding that our members should benefit from the same kind of maternity and paternity leaves which the other teaching and research staff of McGill already enjoy. At the time of our GA, our bargaining committee was also discussing teaching qualification requirements (TQRs) and teaching tasks, and these issues have been partially settled.

The subject of seniority and course allocation is also currently on the table. You will be updated shortly on these issues. Additionally, in the near future, you will be invited to meet with our bargaining committee to discuss the state of negotiations.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The University and the Union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Bargaining Update: January 25 and February 1, 2013

The bargaining committee is pleased to report that we have come to an agreement with the administration on the important issue of medical, emergency, marriage, and bereavement leaves. We are still negotiating parental leaves and have started discussing hiring priority and course allocation.

While there has been positive movement at the bargaining table, the actions of the administration outside of negotiations are worrying. As you may be aware, the administration has decided to cut 100 courses in the faculty of arts, cuts that they have indicated will primarily affect course lecturers. These cuts were announced without prior consultation with our union, and had been decided before the budget cuts, which raises concerns regarding other possible future measures. We have been actively denouncing these cuts in all fora, demanding that the administration reverse its decision.

Moreover, we cannot condone the way the Dean of Arts, Christopher Manfredi, justifies taking away our work. In a written statement to the McGill Daily, Manfredi not only suggested that the pedagogy of course lecturers was less than adequate, but referred to us disparagingly as mere “temporary teaching staff”. These recent and worrisome developments call into question the administration’s willingness to bargain with us in good faith.

Our success at the bargaining table depends on your continued support and input. Your active participation and suggestions to steer the negotiation process are invaluable to the bargaining committee, and have a direct impact at the table. Please continue to involve yourself in this process, and to impart to us your concerns and suggestions.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The University and the Union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Bargaining Update: January 11, 2013

2013.01.17

Bargaining discussions resumed on January 11, when we met with the university’s administration for a full day of negotiations. We are currently negotiating medical, maternity, parental, bereavement, and other important leaves. These talks will be resumed at our next bargaining session scheduled for January 25th. The issues we will discuss in the months to come are vital to our working conditions as course lecturers and instructors. Your bargaining committee needs your support, as our visibility on the ground creates movement at the table.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The university and the union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Bargaining Update: December 10 and 13, 2012

2012.12.21

As your semester winds down, your union’s bargaining meetings for this year have also come to an end. At this time, we are happy to report that negotiations have been fruitful this semester despite some challenges. That being said, we are very aware that the upcoming semester will bring much bigger challenges, as core issues that are vital to us are about to unfold. We fully appreciate your ongoing support.

What We Agreed Upon

In these meetings, we have come to an agreement on part of article 11, which stipulates the duration and distribution of the collective agreement. Under article 11.02, the provisions of the collective agreement will continue until a new agreement is signed. In article 11.03, we have agreed to choose between a two- or three-year-long contract. The exact length will be decided once we know the content of the entire collective agreement. If we were to choose a two-year contract, negotiations would start three months before the contract expires; in the case of a three-year contract, negotiations would begin six months before its expiration.

After exchanging several proposals, the administration has agreed to provide printed copies of the collective agreement to every union member and to cover the distribution means and the costs. This is important because all our members should have access and be aware of their rights.

We also came to an agreement in article 11.08 that the university will absolve our members of civil responsibility for any action or omission for which the university could be held liable as an employer. In other words, if a course lecturer or an instructor is sued in performing her duties, she will not be held legally responsible. This provision does not apply in the case of gross negligence on the part of the employee.

What We’re Still Negotiating

We are happy to report that we have made important steps forward in negotiating articles 33 and 34, which deal with the subject of the following paid and unpaid leaves: medical leave, bereavement leave, jury and witness leave, marriage and civil union leave, and emergency leave. After exchanging a number of proposals with the employer on these issues, we are waiting for them to respond to our demands favourably. We are optimistic that we will reach an agreement when we resume our negotiation talks in January.

In article 11.14, we have proposed that members of our bargaining unit who also work elsewhere at McGill should not be affected in their other positions at McGill in the case of a strike or lockout. The employer has refused our proposal. The union’s position is that each employee group has its own working conditions and collective agreement; therefore, our collective agreement and its application should not affect employees of other bargaining units and vice versa.

We have also proposed in article 35 that employees and their dependant family members benefit from tuition fee waivers at McGill University. This is a benefit that faculty and support staff already receive, and, in recognition of course lecturers and instructors’ academic contribution to McGill, we would like this right to be extended to our members as well.

Where We’re Going  

We are happy to report that we have already set dates for the next negotiation meetings from January to mid-May. We will be meeting with the administration for full days of negotiations on the following dates:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The university and the union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Bargaining Update: October-November Negotiations

2012.12.02

Since the bargaining update that we presented at our October 12th General Assembly, we have had several bargaining sessions, which have seen us steadily work toward a fair and equitable collective agreement. While we have made important gains, there are a few key demands that the administration has refused, and that we will continue to remain firm upon.

What We Agreed Upon

We came to a tacit agreement on Article 4.0, an article that addresses Course Lecturer and Instructor participation on university bodies.  The administration has recognized the importance of our work to the educational mission of the university, and need for our participation on bodies that determine its direction. It is a tacit agreement because it does not set out which committees our members will be invited to sit on.  Those details will, instead, be established when we negotiate the clauses that have corresponding committees. For example, when we table our proposal for health benefits, we will negotiate whether our members will have a seat on the benefits committee.

After some back and forth, we managed to agree on Article 5.0. This article outlines the scope of the collective agreement and its application. If there is still some dispute as to who is covered under our bargaining certificate, things will remain status quo until the courts render a decision.  What is most relevant about this article is that it clearly states that the employer cannot introduce contracts that run contrary to our collective agreement.

We are happy to report that we were able to agree upon most of Article 6, which outlines our union’s right to represent and freely communicate with us, its members.  With regards to recognition, 6.08 states that the employer will not enact rules and regulations that are in contradiction to our collective agreement, and that if we come across any such rule or regulation, we have the right to contest and grieve it.  Article 6.13 allows us to better communicate with our members, as it states that the administration agrees to provide us with our members’ contact information, and to do so immediately.  This is important because, previously, the member list that the employer sent us only included members’ names and departments, with no relevant contact information, making it much more difficult for us to keep in touch with our members.

What We’re Still Negotiating

There are a few important clauses in Article 6 that remain unresolved.  In keeping with the employer’s recognition of the place of the union, in 6.07 we have proposed that the employer respect our members’ right to ask for a union representative to be present at any meeting with the employer. The administration wants to limit this right to those meetings that are related to disciplinary measures and grievances. We maintain that it is an essential right of each member to, if they so desire, seek the union’s counsel or representation in all matters related to working conditions and the application of our collective agreement.

We have yet to reach an agreement on Article 7.01, which proposes that the employer provide the union with membership cards at the time of any new hire.  This is essential to the life of the union because it is only after signing a union card that our members can attend unit and general assemblies and exercise their democratic right to vote. The administration has refused to agree to this reasonable request, despite the fact that this is in the collective agreements of most other unions on campus.

The administration has also refused our demand in Articles 5.04 & 5.05 that they not contract out any course or course-related task to those who are not part of our union.  We resolutely maintain that contracting out our work would not only be contrary to the aims, but would also violate the very integrity of our collective agreement.

Where We’re Going

We have two negotiation sessions, on the 10th and 13th of December, before we break for the holidays.  We intend on using these sessions to both address some of the articles that have remained unresolved and to begin discussions on the key demand that our members retain legal and moral rights over their intellectual property. We have also started discussing statutory holidays and leaves. We will keep you updated as to where we stand by semester’s end.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The university and the union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Bargaining Update- Negotiations on September 7th 2012

2012.09.17

Welcome back to a new and exciting academic year. As you know from our previous correspondence, we are in the midst of bargaining for our first Collective Agreement. While we’ve had five meetings to date, on Friday we had our first bargaining meeting of the Fall semester. We are happy to report that we agreed upon articles that outline fundamental rights and freedoms, presented our proposal to protect academic freedom, and set goals and dates for the near future.

Where We Were Coming From
Toward the end of our last meeting in July, we proposed language to the administration’s bargaining team that dealt with non-discrimination and the protection of fundamental freedoms. This article was important because it protects the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Quebec charter in the context of our everyday work life.

What We Agreed Upon
The union is happy to report that, after some negotiation on language, at Friday’s meeting the union and the university signed off on contract language protecting us from discrimination in its different forms. The union is also pleased that the employer recognized that course lecturers enjoy the right to freedoms of expression, opinion and peaceful assembly in the workplace, and that they have agreed to include this in our Collective Agreement. The contract language that was agreed upon will make up Article 3 of our Collective Agreement.

What We Proposed
In the context of rights and freedoms, we tabled our proposal to define and protect the academic freedom of course lecturers and instructors. We explained that strong protection of academic freedom is a prerequisite for excellent teaching, and essential if we are to fulfil our professional and social responsibilities as academics. The administration’s bargaining team expressed to us that they recognized the importance of academic freedom for course lecturers, but needed to study the article before getting back to us. We look forward to their response, and trust that they will share in our commitment to transform this guiding principle into a protected right.

Where We’re Going
McGill’s administration has agreed to deposit their proposal to us electronically by Thursday of this week. It was agreed that in lieu of meeting on the 13th, our bargaining team will use this time to closely study the document and prepare proposals for our next meeting on September 21st.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The university and the union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

AGSEM and McGill Set Fall Negotiation Calendar

2012.07.10

The union and the administration have agreed to the following bargaining dates:

•Friday, September 7
•Thursday, September 13
•Friday, September 21
•Wednesday, September 26
•Friday, October 5
•Thursday, October 11
•Friday, October 19
•Tuesday, October 23
•Tuesday, October 30
•Tuesday, November 6
•Thursday, November 15
•Friday, November 23

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The university and the union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.

Negotiations Begin on a Positive Note

2012.07.10

As many of you know, your elected Bargaining Committee notified the university administration in early March that we were ready to begin negotiating our first collective agreement. On May 16th, we held a preliminary meeting to discuss our negotiation calendar and the logistical considerations of the bargaining process. We met with the administration’s bargaining team for negotiation sessions on June 27th, June 28th, July 5th and July 6th.

These first days at the bargaining table were a fruitful, promising start. Our counterparts on the employer’s side of the table demonstrated that the administration shares our goal to move the process forward. In fact, in just four days, we found common ground and settled several issues at the table. We have also fixed a weekly meeting schedule for further negotiation beginning in September through to December.

The union and the administration reached agreement on the following issues:

  • Objectives of the Collective Agreement
  • Health/Safety/Environment
  • Harassment and Bullying
  • Grievances and Arbitration
  • Progressive Discipline

We will provide additional detail on our progress in person, at our next unit assembly. We anticipate holding as assembly in September.

Our negotiations have started on a positive note and the Bargaining Committee is pleased with the results. While our experiences this year have taught us to be cautious, we now find ourselves cautiously optimistic.

We look forward to what September will bring and we will return to the bargaining table with a firm commitment to negotiate a fair contract. Our members mandated us to negotiate working conditions like those extended to our colleagues at every other university in Quebec. Our demands are reasonable and they reflect working conditions that have been financed by other institutions operating within the same funding framework as McGill.

We know full well that the subjects ahead of us will be more difficult than those already settled. Disagreement is inevitable, but it need not end in conflict. These early signs give us hope that both parties will choose the path of compromise and common ground.

More information on fall activities will be posted in late August or early September.

We have also proposed in article 35 that employees and their dependant family members benefit from tuition fees waivers at McGill University. This is a benefit that faculty and support staff already receive, and, in recognition of course lecturers and instructors’ academic contribution to McGill, we would like this right to be extended to our members as well.

At the start of negotiations, the parties agreed on publishing the following statement, to be included on all bargaining updates: “The university and the union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in negotiations. While we may have different positions on some issues, we are both committed to finding common ground. We have agreed to provide a link to the other party’s bargaining updates along with each of ours”. To find the corresponding update from the university click here.