Sessional Faculty Strike Deadline Set for July 22
On June 27, the University’s negotiators requested that the Ministry of Labour start the countdown to a legal strike or lockout position after the Unit 2 Bargaining Team refused to accept the University’s latest proposal of a two-year, 1% per year agreement with no improvements to job security. It is not clear whether McMaster plans to lock Sessionals out, but because they’ve set this process in motion the Collective Agreement will have no legal effect as of Friday, July 22 unless a tentative agreement can be reached. This would mean continuing to work without the protection of the union, without access to the grievance procedure, and with no guarantee of ongoing access to benefits or anything else established by our Collective Agreement. In response, the Unit 2 Bargaining Team has had no choice but to a set a strike deadline of Friday, July 22. The Team has indicated to the employer its desire to continue to bargain, but based on the results of the strike vote and the many months of consultation with members about their priorities, the deal on the table now is simply unacceptable.
Unless a tentative agreement can be reached, Sessionals will be on strike as of July 22. Anyone continuing to work will be scabbing. “Scabbing” means performing work usually done by a striking worker. Scabbing does serious damage to the labour movement. It undermines the union’s ability to secure a strong Collective Agreement. Scabs will not have the protection of the union during a strike, and they could face sanctions by the union once a strike is resolved.
The Strike Committee has begun canvassing members for their availability for picket duties and is in the process of scheduling a town hall meeting where we can all come together to learn what’s at stake, ask questions, and voice our concerns. Please continue to monitor your inboxes for that information. In the meantime, please take a look at our Strike FAQ for more information. If you would like to get involved in planning the strike, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members may want to begin discussing with their students the potential impacts a strike may have on them. To that end, members should review the University’s policy on the Rights and Responsibilities of Undergraduate Students During Work Stoppages That Substantially Disrupt Academic Activities. Members may also want to talk to full-time faculty in their departments about their right to refuse to perform struck work. Teaching Assistants and Postdocs may also be asked to scab in the event of a strike. As fellow members of CUPE 3906, their Collective Agreements protect them from being forced to perform struck work and the union expects them to respect Sessionals’ right to strike by refusing to scab.