Negotiations between the floor fellow bargaining unit of the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE) and McGill continued on March 20, following an offer presented by the administration on March 13.
One of the issues is a change in floor fellow remuneration so that it complies with the Quebec Labour Standards Act (QLSA), which outlines working conditions for all employees in Quebec. According to the QLSA, the general minimum wage for employees who do not receive tips is $10.35 per hour.
Evan McIlroy, bargaining representative for the floor fellows, explained that the QLSA mandates that floor fellows are paid a minimum wage. McIlroy indicated that the problem of wage was discovered during the course of negotiations and that the administration was open to amending the current situation.
“Remuneration is not our focus right now,” he said. “We expect this issue to be solved rapidly as we are not asking for a raise, but rather that [our agreement] complies with Quebec labour laws. It was [not] a concern when we unionized in the first place; we have simply discovered that the remuneration system in place right now was not standard.”
According to McIlroy, the issue will be addressed at the end of the bargaining discussions.
The contract negotiations have been marked with setbacks. The inclusion of core values, such as anti-oppression and harm reduction, into the floor fellows’ collective agreement led to the boycott of a training session on Jan. 24 and 25.
“Normally, a collective agreement only defines the working conditions of the union members, so the attempt to include the ‘values associated with the role of floor fellows’ in the collective agreement is a significant departure from the norm,” explained McGill Director of Labour and Employee Relations Robert Comeau to the Tribune in January.
According to Vice President floor fellow for AMUSE Christina Clemente, the updated proposal from McGill includes mention of the core values.
“The proposed collective agreement presented on March 13 includes a clause related to another document which defines the core values,” she said.
The negotiations are likely to continue over the next couple of weeks. Several points remain to be discussed according to Clemente.
“We have decided to break it down by issues, so further negotiations on different topics are expected later,” she said.