From the picket line


September 13th. 2011

To the membership of MUNACA,

On behalf of the Immigrant Workers Centre (the IWC), we are writing to extend our support and solidarity to you throughout this strike period and in your ongoing negotiations with McGill. As an organization which is committed to defending the rights of all people in their workplaces, both unionized and non-unionized, we would like to emphasize and acknowledge the inspiring courage and strength that it takes, and that you have all demonstrated, out there on the picket line. We at the IWC recognize the challenges and potential injuries organized workers can face while on strike. Not only does your strike demonstrate the need for unions, and the rights of workers to be defended, but also impacts all workers who are not unionized to ensure their rights and dignity.

McGill currently stands alone as the only University in Montreal to be making cuts to its employees benefits, pensions, retirement plans and wages. While we are critical of the provincial government’s continued disinvestment from educational institutions, we do not accept that McGill’s non-academic employees should bear the brunt of the University’s financial difficulty. We call on McGill to respect and stand accountable to the workers from whom they already ask so much. The IWC is firmly behind MUNACA’s call for a proper wage scale, for more fair terms and conditions of employment – for McGill to, at the very least, grant MUNACA members parity with all of the other Montreal Universities in these regards. We are aware that many of the unionized, provincial employees working at McGill hold similar, if not identical, positions to members of MUNACA. Yet, whereas provincial employees have a proper wage scale — one, which reflects, increased costs of living — MUNACA members don’t. Such explicit divisions and inequalities between workers are not only damaging to an individual’s sense of value and worth, but more often than not, beget negative effects on inter-personal working relationships and the overall health of a community and working environment.

We urge the McGill administration to negotiate in good faith and to meet MUNACA’s fundamental demands. We also encourage all organizations – student, social justice and otherwise — to stand in support with McGill’s non-academic employees until a fair and equitable resolution has been achieved.

In Solidarity,

The Immigrant Workers Center