Bargaining Update- Negotiations on September 7th 2012

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.
The university and the union jointly recognize the importance of informing the McGill community of our progress in the negotiation.  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 update along with each of ours.  You can find the corresponding update from the university at http://www.mcgill.ca/hr/employee-relations/labour-updates