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PGSS Council stands with AMUSE in negotiations

On Nov. 16, the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) legislative council discussed a motion supporting the Association of McGill University Supports Employees (AMUSE) collective bargaining. The council also addressed questions to Provost and Vice-Principal (VP Academic) Christopher Manfredi and discussed security measures that were to be taken at the Nov. 19 Masquerade Ball.

PGSS Support for AMUSE

AMUSE, a labour union that represents casual and temporary workers at McGill, is currently engaged in the bargaining process for a new collective agreement for its workers. The union’s bargaining concerns include hiring priority for jobs workers have done before, raising the minimum wage to $15.38, and a better work-study posting system.

AMUSE held a five-day strike from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 after the McGill administration refused to make concessions. Maxim Baru, AMUSE communications and outreach officer, explained that steps are still being taken to move forward with the collective bargaining agreement.

“We are back at negotiations right now,” Baru said. “Unfortunately, the university has not been sufficiently moved to change their position on any substantive issue. We are continuing negotiations and considering all options moving forward.”

When asked if AMUSE will hold a second strike, Baru said that plans are not currently in place.

“Right now there are no plans for a second strike though the strike mandate is still in effect,” Baru said. “We are keeping all options open. If we go on another strike, there will be ample time given to all members.”

The motion for PGSS to support AMUSE in its collective bargaining process passed unanimously.

Provost to Council

Provost Manfredi held a question and answer discussion with the Council. When asked if students should expect tuition changes for out-of-province, exchange, international, and graduate students, Manfredi explained that all tuition rates, except for international undergraduate students in select disciplines such as Science and Management, are set by the province.

“We don’t get to decide what rates will be for our students,” Provost Manfredi said. “That is the same for graduate students as well. Tuition is allowed to rise by the disposable family income in Quebec, which is about 1 per cent per year.”

Provost Manfredi also spoke of some of the campus sustainability ideas that were brought up at the Nov. 10 joint board-senate meeting.

“We were grouped in three different sets of tables: Short term, medium term, and long term,” Manfredi said. “Our long term table came up with how we should set a date by which McGill should be carbon neutral and develop an action plan to get there.”

Further discussion included how McGill can incorporate sustainability into curriculum and introduce travel policies that aim to cut down the carbon footprint of faculty and students.

Masquerade Ball

PGSS held a masquerade ball for its members on Nov. 19 at Thomson House. In response to the accessibility of Thomson House and recent reports of sexual assault and harassment against students near McTavish Street and Dr. Penfield Avenue, PGSS will take measures to keep students safe during the event. Currently, Thomson House is not accessible from McTavish Street due to construction. All pedestrian traffic has been directed to Peel Street.

According to Mina Anadolu, PGSS Internal Affairs officer, students will be provided with a card that lists phone numbers to campus safety services. Walksafe, McGill Student Emergency Response Team (M-SERT), and Peer Support Centre will be stationed at the event.

“We will be increasing lighting and will alert McGill security about the event,” Anadolu said. “Currently, McTavish is closed, so we’re trying to utilize Peel to keep [students] safe.”

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