As the MUNACA strike at McGill University passes the seven-week mark with no end in sight, tensions between the strikers and the school administration continue to escalate.
In a personal statement to all students and staff, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum expressed her disappointment with the strikers’ behaviour, claiming, “MUNACA/PSAC tactics [have] moved from reasonable, civil free speech into threats and vandalism.”
In particular, Munroe-Blum was referring to MUNACA’s efforts to disrupt a Homecoming Weekend alumni event. At least one striker was arrested by Montreal police after entering the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel during an alumni event.
Communiqués from McGill also accused MUNACA of protesting in front of the private homes of school administrators, such as Monroe-Blum, Anthony Masi and Michael Di Grappa.
Furthermore, picketers have halted construction at the Glen Yards site, the location of a new McGill hospital. Construction workers there decided to express solidarity with MUNACA by refusing to cross picket lines.
Anticipating a long war of attrition, McGill is also digging in. McGill has filed two injunctions against MUNACA which strictly limit the area around campus where the strikers can protest, forcing them to go to other places around Montreal.
Consequently, in a statement published Tuesday on the MUNACA website, MUNACA President Kevin Whittaker said, “In light of the adversarial and draconian tactics used by the McGill administration, we [have] to find creative ways to make our voices heard in and around Montreal.”
On Wednesday MUNACA picketed at the exit of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge during rush hour. MUNACA also rallied outside McGill on Friday, 21 October, with some big names in attendance, including NDP leadership hopeful Brian Topp.
Some students have expressed sympathy for the MUNACA strike, though the McGill administration has discouraged such demonstrations of solidarity. According to The McGill Daily, two graduate students collecting signatures for a pro-MUNACA petition allegedly received threatening phone calls from the administration.