Teaching assistants at McGill University are threatening to strike on April. 16, the first day of final exams. They hope to pressure the university to speed up contract negotiations.
The vote to strike was passed 129 to 68 on April 7 at the general assembly meeting of the TA’s union — the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill.
The organizational details of the strike are still in progress, although the General Assembly voted against ‘soft’ picket lines. A soft picket line is when strikers are informed about the bargaining issues and are encouraged, though not required, to not cross the line.
Exam invigilators are in a separate bargaining unit of AGSEM and possess the legal right to refuse to cross the picket line, essentially preventing access to examination location.
Current bargaining priorities include wage increases and TA-to-student ratios.
To date, two bargaining sessions have been held, with one more session planned in the upcoming days.
McGill joins University of Toronto and York University as the third major Canadian university to have TA strikes.