The Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE), a union representing over 1,300 non-academic employees, is currently undergoing the process of a political merger with the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA).
AMUSE was originally formed as a union in 2010 for employees in casual non-academic positions, such as floor fellows, as opposed to those in permanent ones. MUNACA, accredited in 1994, is the union for the permanent non-academic workers employed by McGill, including clerical, technician, and library assistant positions. Both unions are part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). a parent organization.
President of AMUSE Amber Gross explained that the merger would benefit both AMUSE and MUNACA members by providing a stronger bargaining power against the replacement of permanent positions with casual ones.
“What’s happening at McGill right now [is that] permanent positions are MUNACA positions,” Gross said. “When someone retires or leaves, they aren’t being replaced by someone permanent, [but] by two or three casuals. So permanent jobs at McGill are eroding and turning into casuals, which are lower pay, lower benefits, lower job security. The purpose of this is to protect the level of employment security and benefits at McGill by fighting back against this erosion.”
The political merger will only take place if both unions’ members approve the decision to proceed with it in their respective general assemblies (GA). According to Gross, AMUSE is set to hold its Special GA in January, while MUNACA will have its GA in December.
“We will spend the winter drafting final bylaws [and] final budget,” Gross said. “Then we’ll have a foundation for a GA in the spring, where everyone from both unions will come elect new officers, approve a budget. At that point, we’ll officially be one merged union.”
Members will not see any fee increase resulting from the merger, according to an information sheet jointly provided by AMUSE and MUNACA to their members. The newly merged union structure would have the GA as the highest decision-making body, with a Union Council replacing the current structures of the Board of Representatives for AMUSE and Councils within MUNACA.
Evan Luc, a U3 Arts and Science student, expressed positive opinions about the merger.
“I work as a floor fellow and this is contract work with no opportunity of a permanent position,” Luc said. “However, from my angle, this allows the casual and permanent workers that work similar positions to be able to stand in solidarity with one another and coordinate better working conditions in their posts.”
Luc also praised AMUSE’s efforts on providing information to its members.
“I think AMUSE is really great with outreach,” he said. “Members were offered the chance to attend merger proposal information sessions—one was even at Mac Campus [….] There is also extensive documentation on their website regarding the timeline of events and the benefits of this merger. The amount of information relayed by AMUSE regarding this merger has been impressive and really well stated.”
Two years of negotiations conclude in agreement On the night of Jan. 9, members of the