2022-04-20 Strike Press Release
Today, the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA – PSAC Local 17602) which represents more than 1800 non-academic support employees, has gone on strike after being without a contract since November 2018. At 12:30pm today, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)’s Regional Vice-President for Quebec, M. Yvon Barriere, will be joining our picket lines and will be available for comment along with MUNACA’s President, M. Thomas Chalmers, and PSAC Representative and Lead Negotiator, M. Mathieu Brulé.
Striking is the last resort to call attention to ongoing conflict between McGill’s Administration and their ardent and steadfast support staff. The Administration has praised MUNACA members’ diligent, and committed work many times during the pandemic. However, the expression ‘A handful of gimme and a mouth full of much obliged’ comes to mind when considering the ‘concrete’ ways the university hopes to offer compensation. During the 20 months of negotiations, McGill has not offered anything for essential workers in the form of COVID pay as other Universities in Quebec have done. For example, in September 2020, Concordia University gave all employees a $500 COVID stipend to help with expenses resulting from the pandemic. McGill, despite receiving the same government subsidy, offered their employees nothing other than some vacuous words of thanks during Town Hall meetings.
For the below reasons, MUNACA support staff are hitting the streets today in protest:
- Retroactive cuts to economic increases – Proposed economic (cost of living) increases for the first 3 years of the contract, covering 2019 – 2021, totaling 4.5%. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for that same period was 6.9%. The ‘Top University’ extends its thanks for all our members’ fidelity by gouging retroactively on cost of living.
- Cuts to economic increases going forward – For 2022 and 2023, the university is offering 2% economic increases. In February 2022, we saw the CPI soar past 5.7%, and is expected to remain as high, or higher, for the next several years. This effectively cuts several additional percentage points deeper into members’ earnings and actual spending power in future years.
- Cuts to step increases – McGill agrees with the union that the lowest salaries for employees are well below those of the rest of the University sector, and these need to be adjusted as the university is now having trouble recruiting and retaining new employees. Their proposed solution is to make employees pay for increases by lowering the annual step increases from 2.97% to 1.97%. Were MUNACA to agree, losing these gains already won in the 3 month long 2011 strike, this would cement McGill support staff as the lowest paid in the Quebec University sector. Step increases are recognition for experience and expertise gained on the job over time. It currently takes 12 years for employees to reach the full value of their positions.
- Cuts to top of salary scales – In further efforts to improve salaries to the lower ends of the scales, McGill is also proposing cuts to the top of the salary scales for their longest serving employees, forcing this latter group to bear the brunt of correcting McGill’s market shortcomings, while depriving their longest serving, and most experienced employees of potential future earnings as they start to think about retirement. This is unacceptable.
To the McGill Administration, who pays their upper management the highest in Quebec, and in Canada, and who will be forking out an obscene $860,00 to outgoing Principal Fortier in her final year alone, we want to send the clear message that we will not be disrespected, insulted, or taken for granted! Come to the negotiations table with a new mandate to address our members’ priorities and sincerely work with us to reach a fair and satisfactory collective agreement.