September 20th, 2019

Dear Principal Fortier,

As you know, there is a global movement planned for September 27th, 2019 to bring awareness to the severity of climate change. MUNACA writes to you today to ask what McGill is prepared to do to support this global initiative?

According to Professor Manfredi:

Addressing the threats posed by climate change and other environmental challenges through the advancement of knowledge and changes in our own operations is a priority at McGill University.  Our ongoing commitment has expressed itself in, among other measures, our $10-million fund that supports sustainability-focused research and our bold objective to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.”

However, if McGill is as committed to supporting sustainability as is stated above, a good show of faith would be to liberate students and staff to participate in the Montreal march, without penalty, as has been done at Concordia University, Dawson College and Université de Montréal.What will McGill do to show its support for not only its constituency, but also the planet? As MUNACA did during extreme weather this past winter, we again write to you to ask you to take a leading role amongst your university counterparts. 

As we are well aware that climate change is of vital importance to us all, especially those from our student body who are young and will need to deal with the impact of climate change for the duration of their lives, we ask you to support our students, staff, and our planet. Should you choose to support this initiative with positive actions, it will bear witness to a McGill that cares and shares the concerns of its constituency. We ask you to support our students, staff and the planet in solidarity and cancel classes on September 27th, 2019.


The MUNACA Executive Committee  


Dawson College

Université de Montréal

University of British Columbia, Toronto District School Board

Quebec’s largest school board makes Sept. 27 a PED day for climate march

Montreal Schools Are Cancelling Class For Climate Protest With Greta Thunberg This Month

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Allan Youster the founding father, and first President, of MUNACA. Allan passed away on Friday, August 23, 2019 due to medical complications from cancer.

Allan was a Renaissance man. Everyone who is a local musician, a visitor to Birks library, or those who walked around St. Laurent, knew him or had seen him over the years. But for us, he is best remembered as one of the forefathers of MUNACA.

Allan first joined McGill in 1970, working for various libraries. During those first years, he was involved with the Support Staff Association known as MUNASA, created in 1973 to represent support staff at McGill (represented all non-academic staff, even management was included). He was the president of MUNASA from 1978 – 1987, and during his term he was instrumental in obtaining many rights we hold dear to this day; employment security, grievance procedures, staffing policy, parental leaves, and Summer Fridays. Following his presidency in MUNASA, he followed up by creating MUNACA and obtaining our first collective agreement with the University as a bargaining unit, called MUNACA.

Judy Kolonics remembers the best and the beginnings of those days as she too, was there from the start;

It was shocking to learn of Allan’s untimely death. So many memories. I knew Allan (& Gail) back in the day – before I joined McGill University (1973). I would find myself at their home in St. Laurent (pre-children), but filled with plenty of cats. Five…if memory serves…whose names can’t be mentioned in “polite” company.

Back in 1973, there was no union/certified association/formalized worker’s rights group. Who thought of it back then? Well, Allan did. He & people like Jim McVety, Trevor Garland got to talking. There were many like-minded people, whom Allan reached out to and engaged with. The result was MUNACA; I can’t remember when it was formed (1994).

I say this in the kindest way…Allan was annoying but effectively persuasive. He had drive, determination & a huge personality. We didn’t always agree and sometimes, near as dammit, wanted to come to blows with our differences…but Allan was a solid, principled man.

In the early 90’s, things were changing with respect to employer/employee relations. Allan realized that a formal Union was not the way to go for many of the McGill employees. So, Allan educated himself on exploring other options for the benefit of non-academics. A true Renaissance Man. One would sometimes want to walk away, in those days, when Allan would begin his “spiel”…always sincerely and ever so softly, persuasively. It was somewhat hypnotic.

So, in the early 1990’s, I (& others) got caught up in Allan’s vision for a certified association to respect the lowly workers.

Here are those who became involved in Allan’s vision:

John McNeil (retired: Physical Sciences & Engineering Library)
Steve Hubbard (deceased: Physical Sciences & Engineering Library)
Steve Peets (Richmond, B.C. – smart to move…formerly: Current Periodicals & Reading Room – McLennan Library)
John Cunningham (retired: McLennan Stacks)
Judy Kolonics (retired: Government Documents Dept. – McLennan Library)

With Allan, we signed an application to form a union. There were others involved as well, but our little group hammered out details. Our lawyer, Georges Marceau, helped guide us along.

Gail embraced we five into their home on St. Famille. There were copious amounts of alcohol and other stuff, much argument, discussion and always, Allan’s focus. Gail was so patient.

A vivid memory of that time was sitting on the floor, looking at the Beatle Bobble Heads that Allan had in the living room and wondering…. Are we out of our minds to try this?

Well, thanks to Allan’s conviction, dedication, persuasiveness and guts…MUNACA came to fruition. I don’t know how we did it all…we were all so young, Perhaps that’s the key.

I’ve been lucky to have shared a part of my life with Allan Youster … it has truly been an interesting road.

I think I’ve forgotten more than I recall…we tend to do that with those with whom we have welcomed in our lives and those dear ones, who have welcomed us – warts and all.

Allan after the MUNACA years, he would continue to serve on the Board of Governors, the Milton Co-op, attend copious concerts of all forms, participate in art exhibitions…you only have to google Allan’s name to find out his numerous interests.

He will be remembered for his tenacity, strength, his courage to fight for individual rights, whether it be for unions or the community at large. Allan left his mark not only with MUNACA but his legacy can be found all over Montreal. Our thoughts are with his wife Gail and his family.

Allan Youster encouraging members in the demonstration – 1999
Voting for the first CA – 1999
Signing of the first Collective Agreement, March 15, 1999 – at HR on Sherbrooke

Dear Members, 

It is with immense sadness that I inform you that Maitre James Duggan has died in an airplane crash on Friday July 12th. James Duggan did a great service for MUNACA when in January 2017 he successfully negotiated the unconditional return of our former VPLR, David Roseman, who had been suspended by the PSAC for five years, for reasons we felt lacked merit. This service will never be forgotten by many of us, and it was a transformative moment in our relationship with the PSAC. On a personal note, I found James Duggan to be a brilliant lawyer who was very active in supporting the labour movement, and a genuinely nice person. He received many professional accolades including being named Lawyer Emeritus by the Quebec Bar Association in 2016. He became famous for winning the right of RCMP officers to bargain collectively at the Supreme Court, a decision with broad implications for the labour movement. Their association was just certified this week, and so he didn’t have the chance to see the final result of that struggle. He loved to be outdoors, to fish, and to fly his Beaver bush plane. I was fortunate to have flown with him last summer, and was planning on another flight later this summer. He will be greatly missed by many in the legal field, in the labour movement, and by those of us who worked closely with him, especially David and myself. Our condolences have been extended to his family, especially Alex his son, a McGill Law graduate who has chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps. 

Yours as always in solidarity,

Thomas Chalmers
MUNACA President

Dear Members,

In regards to the University’s request to make the Family Leave Pilot Project a permanent option. Several things have become clear as a result of the survey;

1) Our membership wants and needs time to take care of their family responsibilities,

2) 3 days allocated from one’s personal incidental sick leave is neither sufficient nor acceptable for many of you.

Although it is positive to enshrine the concept of leave for family responsibility within the Labour Relations consciousness here at McGill, allowing our members to use 3 days from their personal incidental (PI) days is wholly insufficient for many of us, and what is clearly needed is a bank of days dedicated for family responsibilities. As a result of the survey and discussions by the Union Council, as announced this week by McGill, we accepted the Family Leave provisions becoming permanent.

Some of you may have noticed that the law now provides for 2 paid days for a broad range of uses, including personal incidental illness and other family obligations. McGill’s position is that this change to the law does not give us access to two additional paid days, because we already have a mix of days, namely, personal days, floating holidays and PI days, for those purposes. We are not convinced by McGill’s arguments in this regard. But if we believe we either need or are entitled to additional paid leave we will have to either succeed in convincing an arbitrator that the law provides for it or convince McGill to add them during collective bargaining.

Please note: for those of us who serve as caretakers, we still entitled to 10 days of unpaid leave to look after the health or well being of others, in addition to the educational needs of our children.

Also please refer to the FAQ’s on the HR website as these leaves are not obligatory and your supervisor cannot cut down your PI days to 6. It is your choice to use to take PI days for family reasons.

Based on some of the comments we received in the survey and also throughout the year, we think it important to clarify certain aspects of personal incidental (PI) days. These include and what, when and how you are required to inform your supervisor, when a doctors note is required and why, and what to do if there is a conflict between you and your supervisor.

We have learned that certain supervisors and HR representatives have stated that you are required to submit a doctor’s note on the third day of an illness. You do not. You need to submit a note only if you wish to take advantage of Short Term Disability. This is advisable, if possible, because you will only use up 2 PI days instead of more. In addition to this, if you need more time to recover it will be simpler to extend the period if you’ve already submitted a note. It has also the advantage of avoiding unpleasant conversations with your supervisor, since it is Benefits that communicates the details of your absence.

You are not required to elaborate on the specifics of your illness when you inform your supervisor of an absence. You may say ‘I am not feeling well today so I will not be in’ or ‘ I am taking one of my personal incidental days today.’ This is important: your supervisor does not need to know your personal medical situation, so please do not volunteer any information!

Should your supervisor question your illness or make any demands or call you at home on the days you are off sick, contact your Steward or the MUNACA office immediately. They do not have the right to harass you or make any demands upon you when you are ill.

If you are on STD, for example, Benefits has the right to call you at home and ask about your particular illness or to relay important information; you may also respond to them via email, should you prefer, or have a union rep on the line as well, if you wish. You are not required to answer the phone, but McGill does have a right to communicate with you, as you remain an employee. It is often advisable to cc your Steward or MUNACA (at reception@munaca .com) on emails.

Last, but certainly not least: please fill out an incident report (and forward it to MUNACA) when you are involved in or are witness to an accident at work. An accident can be defined as any sudden incident that brings on signs or symptoms of an illness or medical issue, including mental illness. This can also include the effects of psychological or sexual harassment. If there is a serious accident that results in hospitalization or your absence from work it is essential that you communicate this to the union.

Yours in solidarity, 
The MUNACA Executive Committee

Nomination procedures
The nomination period will start effective immediately (Friday April 26th) and will continue until Thursday May 9th at 17:00. Details of the election procedure will be sent out after that date.

All twenty-eight (28) positions of the Union Council are up for election:

(1) President must submit nomination form signed by ten (10) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Vice-President (Communications) must submit nomination form signed by ten
(10) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Vice-President (Finance) must submit nomination form signed by ten (10) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Vice-President (Internal) must submit nomination form signed by ten (10) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Vice-President (Labour Relations) must submit nomination form signed by ten (10) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Chair of Communications Committee must submit nomination form signed by five (5) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Chair of Finance Committee must submit nomination form signed by five (5) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Chair of Grievance Committee must submit nomination form signed by five (5) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Chair of Health and Safety Committee must submit nomination form signed by five (5) members in good standing from any campus.

(1) Chair of Solidarity Committee must submit nomination form signed by five (5) members in good standing from any campus.

(14) Chief Steward/ District Head – Downtown Campus must submit nomination form signed by five (5) members in good standing from the Downtown campus.

(2) Chief Steward/ District Head – Macdonald Campus (including Gault Estate)must submit nomination form signed by five (5) members in good standing from the Macdonald campus.

(2) Chief Steward/ District Head – Glen Campus (including Solin Hall) must submit nomination form signed by five (5) members in good standing from the Glen campus.

All current members of the Union Council must submit two written reports to the CRO along with their nomination forms as per Article 8(iii) of the MUNACA bylaws.

All nominations must be accompanied by a pensketch of 400 words or less. Website or social media links are not permitted in the pensketch, though may be used as part of a larger campaign.

For information on the roles of Chief Steward/District Head, Chairs of Standing Committees and Executive Officers please see the MUNACA by-laws

Dino Dutz
Chief Returning Officer

Recently, the Government of Quebec proposed a deeply troubling law under the guise of secularism that would prohibit certain Quebecers of faith from participating in public life and in the public sector. The academic community has long been a bastion of diversity and free thought. Pluralism enriches our communities and makes Quebec a more prosperous and welcoming place to live. As the associations and labour unions representing the whole of the McGill Community, we stand together against this divisive law which attacks civil liberties.

Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill

Association of McGill University Support Employees

Association of McGill University Research Employees

McGill Association of University Teachers

McGill’s Association of Continuing Education Students

McGill Course Lecturers & Instructors Union

McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association

McGill University Non-Academic Staff Association

Post Graduate Students’ Society

Service Employees’ Union

Students’ Society of McGill University


While state secularism is an important value in Quebec, one that is broadly supported by the public and faith communities alike, we believe that the current legislation misses the mark and creates two classes of citizen. Requiring government employees and citizens to remove personal symbols of their faith in order to participate in society is divisive and punitive and dangerous.  Asking a teacher to remove his kippah or a crown prosecutor to remove her hijab is akin to firing these individuals because of their religion.  Nowhere in the modern history of this province is there an example of a government employee attempting to proselytize by way of her or his clothing.  This law is an answer to a problem that does not exist.  It serves merely to send a message to certain of our compatriots that their personal religious beliefs are not wanted here in Quebec.

Even more alarming is that, by preemptively adding the notwithstanding clause to the law, the government fully recognises that this law likely violates freedom of religion – as enshrined in our Charters of Human Rights.  What’s more, the second part of this law – requiring the removal of face coverings to receive government services – creates a scandal where there is none.  For years, various government bodies have maintained the practice of asking veiled women to remove their face coverings for identification.  Never has there been a case of a person refusing to remove a face covering for the purpose of identification.  Why then does the government feel the need to adopt laws to marginalize certain religious Quebecers – laws that disproportionately affect Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and women?

We call on the government of Quebec to respect the Charter of Rights and Freedom.  A free society cannot be called free when it, without reason, demands certain of its citizens to choose between their faith and participation in public life.  This law has no place in a multicultural, secular, modern Quebec and must be repealed.

The MUNACA Executive

It only takes 2 minutes and seniority is fundamental for questions of employment security, priority for vacant positions, for shift work, and for vacation schedule/entitlement

It has come to our attention there have been some cases of discrepancies in McGill’s calculation of seniority.  MUNACA urges all members to verify their seniority by logging on to the following link:

Please remember that time you spent in continuous employment as a casual prior to joining MUNACA is to be included.

Should you find that your seniority does not correspond to your time here at McGill, we strongly recommend reviewing the Letter of Agreement and then submitting to HR a Seniority Contestation Request (both below).

Questions?  Please reach out to your friendly neighbourhood Steward!


Find the letter of Agreement here.

To contest your seniority, please submit this form to HR with MUNACA cc’d.

Dear Principal Fortier,

As has happened in the past, when inclement weather is coming our way, we have received questions and concerns about the University’s plans on coping with the situation.

First of all, as was done at other universities in the city, serious consideration should have been made to simply closing the campus except for essential services. This would have done much to enhance moral and send the message that the situation – being the safety of all staff – was being taken seriously.

Second of all, communications with staff and students should have been much clearer. The University could have easily made use of its emergency response system, and used, for instance, phone messaging systems. Every other educational institution in the city issued clear winter advisory warnings in the form of banners across the landing pages of their websites the evening prior. They cancelled classes and work for all staff but those required for essential operations. The discrete nature of the message on McGill’s home page placed alongside every other “news” story was missed by some lecturers, who still made their way in to teach or work. The timing of the emails was also unacceptable, as anyone who had a long commute would have had to leave even earlier than usual and thus missed the message. Consistently, by the time those responsible send out emails or post rather imperceptible warnings on the website, it is much too late for many colleagues. In addition, the messages were inconsistent CBC and Radio-Canada were broadcasting that McGill was closed for the day: few who heard them would have thought to question their validity.

We would also like to point out the disparity of treatment between employees. Some staff were permitted to work from home but not all, even where such an option would have been practical for the departments concerned.

We know that you are aware of these issues, and are considering them on an ongoing basis, but we felt it important to communicate our concerns clearly in writing. You may also not have been aware of just how much confusion and inconvenience the inconsistency and lack of clarity in communication caused for many. We believe we can and will do better next time.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We have included two examples of communications, one from McGill the other from Concordia for your information.


Thomas Chalmers

President, MUANCA


Links to Concordia and McGill Winter Storm Warning:



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