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McGill law professors vote in favour of an indefinite strike

Members of the Association of McGill Professors of Law (AMPL) voted 76% in favour of an indefinite strike starting April 24 if the union and the university administration fail to reach a tentative agreement before then.

More than 95% of AMPL members took part in the strike vote, as the university has refused to meet with the union to continue negotiation of its first collective agreement.

“All it would take for McGill and AMPL to arrive at a collective agreement is two or three days of focused collective bargaining,” said AMPL president Evan Fox-Decent in a press release. “The fact is, McGill is not even willing to set dates for negotiation to avoid a strike.”

The union’s key demands include collegial governance, equity and improved working conditions. In case of an indefinite strike, AMPL has proposed a protocol to protect students from the administration’s inaction.

“We have proposed measures to ensure the continuity of student exams and [...] payment to student researchers,” said AMPL vice-president Kirsten Anker. “It is now up to the university to demonstrate that it cares about students by negotiating to avoid the strike.”

AMPL organized a one-day strike on February 13 to protest the slow pace of negotiations and the administration's refusal to meet with the union before the end of March. Students and academic staff from other unions joined picket lines on campus in solidarity with the first faculty strike in the university’s 200-year history. AMPL became the first faculty union at McGill two years ago.

The university has challenged the union’s certification before the Superior Court of Québec. Since then, faculty unionization has gained strength at McGill, as professors and contract academic staff in the faculties of Education and Arts have sought certification through Quebec’s provincial labour tribunal.