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UPDATE: Barlow to walk the picket line with MUNACA in Montreal, Oct. 21

The 1,700 members of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association in Montreal have been on strike since September 1. As noted in a recent Montreal Gazette article, “They are asking for wage parity with other universities and more of a say in their pension and other benefits.” During the recent contract negotiations, McGill University offered only a 1.2-per-cent raise, specifically a 0.6-percent step increase and 0.6-per-cent general raise. Additionally, Quebec’s Labour Relations Board recently rejected an emergency stop-work order for McGill University. As reported in The Link, “The union representing the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association demanded, in late September, for an emergency stop-work order on the replacement workers hired to do their jobs during the strike.”

The Council of Canadians supports the MUNACA workers and their strike. We agree with MUNACA that, “It is unacceptable to cut the pensions and benefits of the permanent non-academic workers at McGill, and equally unacceptable to offer them an insufficient 1.2% pay raise. It is necessary for all members of the McGill community to receive fair and decent treatment.” We demand that MUNACA receive just that.

To demonstrate our support, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will speak at a picket line this Friday (likely at 11 am) at McGill College Avenue and Sherbrooke Street.

The picket line could be a lively one! In early-October, the Montreal Gazette reported, “Members of the McGill University board of governors got a nasty surprise Monday when striking support staff showed up outside their downtown offices for flash mob protests intended to put pressure on them to help settle the labour dispute. Board of governors member Kathy Fazel said she was ‘shocked’ to find the campus dispute had carried to the sidewalk in front of her RBC office at Place Ville Marie. …Hundreds of members participated in the flash mobs outside the offices of Kazel, Stuart ‘Kip’ Cobbett at Stikeman Elliott LLP, Martine Turcotte at Bell Canada and Thierry Vandal, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec.” They’ve needed to take this kind of action because of an injunction against them which “prohibits picketers from getting too close to entrances or making too much noise (at the university).” On October 13, that injunction was extended to January 21, 2012.

For more information on this strike, please go to http://www.munaca.com/. To sign a petition in support of MUNACA, go to http://www.change.org/petitions/olivier-marcil-support-munaca.