Announcing MFLAG, and other news from McGill’s second week of labor disruption

The MUNACA strike continues, though both sides have agreed to meet with a conciliator, so there is at least some hope that they will work towards an agreement.

A group of concerned faculty have formed the McGill Faculty Labor Action Group (MFLAG), and we joined the student solidarity group in Thursday’s protest (note that the article has one inaccuracy: although a majority of MFLAG members are currently arts professors, we are not the only faculty represented in the group).

Things remain fairly spirited on the picket lines, though let’s face it: walking a circle for four hours is pretty dull. That’s why it’s important for people who support the strike to visit the picket lines. I make sure I spend some time on the line every time I go in to school, and I also make sure to bring in some kind of baked good from the Portuguese bakery around the corner.

What to do if you support the MUNACA strike:

Join the picket lines. Spend some time talking with MUNACA employees. The way to do it: 1) buy some tasty finger food and bring it with you to share or donate; 2) find the picket captain (hint: there will be a clipboard nearby) and introduce yourself; 3) see if anyone you know if picketing–the staff from your department or program would probably love to see you; 4) march for as long as you’d like–even a few minutes breaks up the day for the picketer and keeps spirits up.

Write a letter to Heather Munroe-Blum and Tony Masi expressing your support in your own words. Even if you don’t understand or agree with every single plank of MUNACA’s demands, you can still write a general letter expressing your support. Send a copy to MUNACA president Kevin Whittaker.

ORGANIZE. There are solidarity groups now for professors, undergrads, and (presumably) graduate students. As groups, we can accomplish more than as individuals.

Show some kindness: be patient with other university workers, especially M-level employees (“M class” employees are usually office managers who supervise MUNACA staff; right now the administration is trying to make them do the jobs of all the people they supervise, as well as their own).

Finally, DOCUMENT. The administration says it’s business as usual, but it’s not. Services are bending and breaking all over campus. If you can’t do your job or pursue some aspect of your studies because of the strike, document it.