McGill staff set up picket at hospital site

Demonstrators representing McGill University's support staff have blocked the entrance to the MUHC super hospital construction site.
More than 300 striking members of McGill's support staff demonstrated in front of the MUHC construction site Thursday. (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

Demonstrators representing McGill University support staff have set up picket lines around the entrances to the MUHC super hospital construction site.

About 300 striking workers showed up at the site at 5:30 a.m., blocking the two main entrances into the Glen Yards.

A spokesperson for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents the 1,700 striking workers, said workers at the FTQ-Construction site will not cross the picket line.

Some workers who were already on site walked out and joined the pickets.

An injunction prevents the striking workers from picketing on McGill’s main campus as well as the MacDonald Campus in St. Anne de Bellevue. They have continued demonstrating just off university property.

McGill’s administration issued a statement Thursday morning criticizing the pickets’ tactics at the MUHC site while "progress is being made."

"McGill University deplores this action," said Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal of Administration and Finance.

"The hospital is an urgently needed community resource that will serve millions of people.

"Shutting down this project will be costly, deprive hundreds of workers of their construction jobs and delay work that must be completed before winter sets in."

McGill’s support staff has been on strike since Sept. 1, after contract talks stalled over the summer. Both sides are at odds over salaries and social benefits.

Negations between the union and the employer are still ongoing Thursday despite the picket lines.

The demonstration is expected to continue throughout the day.

with files from Canadian Press