The McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association’s negotiation committee rejected McGill’s latest contract offer last week, informing the administration that they would not lower their salary demands.
MUNACA, a union representing non-academic employees like nurses, librarians, and administrative assistants, wants a 13 per cent salary increase over four years. On Monday, McGill offered a 12 per cent raise.
“Talks have been extremely difficult,” MUNACA President Maria Ruocco said. “We are almost at the end of October, and we’ve reached an impasse.”
In September, MUNACA’s negotiation committee encouraged union members to vote for a 12 per cent wage increase. The offer was rejected by a wide margin.
MUNACA has been without a contract since November 2007. On Thursday, frustrated with uncertainty in the work environment, MUNACA members demonstrated outside the Roddick gates.
“The administration is not negotiating in good faith,” said Robert Selby, a MUNACA member who works at the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering. “I can’t stand the uncertainty.”
Approximately 100 union supporters attended the lunch hour rally. At 1 p.m., MUNACA moved from the Roddick Gates to the James Administration Building, returning to the gates ten minutes later.
According to MUNACA Vice-President (Labour Relations) Linda Lombard, the demonstration showed the union’s strength.
“Today, we’ve achieved a united front in support of our negotiation claims, and our wishes for a fair contract,” she said.
In addition, Lombard said that union members are tired with the fruitless contract negotiations.
“Our members are feeling demoralized over the fact that it’s taking such a long time. They feel like they’re not being treated fairly and their concerns are not being addressed,” she said.
However, negotiations will continue. MUNACA has scheduled conciliator meetings with a conciliator November 6 and 10. Until the administration extends its final offer the union will continue to work.
“When the university makes its final offer, we will bring it to the membership and they will ultimately decide whether or not to accept it,” Ruocco said. “Concerning a strike, I guess we’ll see then.”
It would be the first strike in the union’s history. According to Ruocco, a strike would have a devastating impact on student services.
“Well, students would have no service. Our people are in the offices, in the libraries, in the laboratories. Due to our sheer size, we would have a tremendous impact if we went on strike,” she said.
-With additional reporting by Bernard Rudny