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Statement from the Department of Sociology

The Department of Sociology at McMaster University issues a position statement on strikes on campus

Dec 05, 2022

The Department of Sociology supports workers’ right to strike, which is widely recognized in Canadian law and upheld in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Our commitment to equity and inclusion in our research and teaching naturally extends to such values being practiced in our relationships with students and colleagues. It is our belief that upholding principles of equity and inclusion unequivocally leads us to support and ally with workers acting collectively to improve their conditions of employment. Such interests are also more widely in the interest of the university community, including our students’ learning conditions. Given our scholarly expertise and experience, we know that students do best academically when they have the time and resources - including financial security - to focus on their studies

We stand in solidarity with our university community members in their efforts to improve their working conditions and we understand such improvements to have wider implications in the improvement of working and learning conditions on campus.

In the event of a legal work stoppage on campus:

  • The Department of Sociology supports the union’s right to engage in a work stoppage and to picket.
  • The Department of Sociology will not engage in nor support engagement in replacing the work of striking workers, nor work in any other way to undermine the strike.
  • The Department of Sociology will advocate for a fair settlement in negotiations.
  • The Department of Sociology will advocate for the conditions and resources needed to return to normal academic activities at the conclusion of a strike.

Practical implications

  • We will take guidance from the striking union in terms of learning what type of support they seek from the Department of Sociology and act accordingly where possible.
  • The Department of Sociology will support individual faculty members who wish to show solidarity with striking community members.
  • The Department of Sociology will support individual faculty members who use the strike as a form of pedagogy or as experiential learning for students around the issues of equity and inclusion.
  • Different groups of workers on campus have different employment contracts that provide them with different entitlements about how to respond to strike action, including whether or not to cross a picket line. We respect the choices that individuals must make in these circumstances.
  • Students’ rights and responsibilities in the event of a work stoppage are outlined here: https://secretariat.mcmaster.ca/app/uploads/2019/06/Rights-Responsibilities-of- Undergraduates-During-Work-Stoppages.pdf
  • The Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty who are members of MUFA in the event of a work stoppage are outlined here: https://secretariat.mcmaster.ca/app/uploads/2019/06/Rights- and-Responsibilities-during-Work-Stoppages.pdf