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Students support of Uof G workers’ decision to strike

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

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Written by CSA

Members of Canadian Union Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1334 at the University of Guelph are prepared to strike October 25th, 2005 at 12:01 am, if mediation talks about the University’s demands for benefit and pension concessions fail.

"Our members are united and ready to fight benefit cutbacks and defend our pensions," said Janice Folk-Dawson, President of CUPE 1334. "If management had listened to any of our concerns, we would not be on the brink of a strike, fighting to have a voice to ensure our pension funds are being managed properly.”

Folk-Dawson also stressed that she hopes their concerns will be resolved in mediation. “A strike would hurt the students and disrupt their education. Hopefully, we will not have to take that route."

When asked to comment, Scott Gilbert, External Affairs Commissioner at the Central Student Association (CSA) stated that “[t]he CSA has always had a good relationship with CUPE and we will uphold that by supporting them in the event of a strike. This university would not function if workers didn't do their jobs and this is why the CSA is prepared to support campus labour groups when they need it.”

Gilbert also commented that students and workers share many common interests and struggles such as issues pertaining to quality of education, accessibility, and working, living and learning conditions on campus.

“Given the close link between labour and student issues on campus, every effort should be taken to support workers concerns as they pertain to this university,” said Gilbert. “We recognize that we must support students during any labour disruption and we will do everything in our power to ensure that students do not suffer academically, while educating them about issues facing workers on our campus.”

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  1. Posted by: Jeremy Muller on Oct 20, 2005 @ 6:39pm

    If the CSA was so concerned about making "ensure students do not suffer academically", why did they not being this issue up sooner. It's 5 days until the strike and this is the first time i have heard about it. The CSA should brought this information to us right away in Septemeber and not a week before the strike. The CSA is not doing there job, they should be supporting us first and making sure that there are not any possible ways for us to "suffer academically". One more thing, the university would not function either if there was no students.

  2. Posted by: on Oct 20, 2005 @ 9:47pm

    I don't understand. What information should the CSA have brought to you in September, exactly? CUPE didn't move into a strike position until this week.

  3. Posted by: on Oct 20, 2005 @ 9:49pm

    I found out about this at least a week before classes started. You can't hold other people responsible for informing you - you have to inform yourself.

  4. Posted by: Christien on Oct 21, 2005 @ 12:33am

    What I do not understanbd is how the CSA is always on about reducing tuition and student costs, and yet support actions that can only have a knock on effect on tuition. If it costs the university more to pay and give benefits to its workers, then tuition must rise surely?

  5. Posted by: Alex on Oct 21, 2005 @ 1:45am

    Well at least someone gets it, higher operating costs DOES equal higher tuition. Ever wonder why caf. food is so expensive? Let's all hope it doesn't resort to more "public meeting" demonstrations like last year.

  6. Posted by: k on Oct 21, 2005 @ 11:49am

    i agree with alex and christien. the csa should join forces with the admin and slash all the workers jobs at this university. then they should contract all those jobs out to mexican seasonal workers with no benefits or rights and who you only have to pay half the price. then, the money the unversity saves could reduce tuition fees. oh wait- but why stop there- why not raise tuition fees to make even more money and make the uiversity as elite and profit driven as possible. so thats right- screw botht he workers adn the students. thats the best plan.

  7. Posted by: Christien on Oct 21, 2005 @ 4:29pm

    Wow. Talk about taking the ball and running with it. The point is that the CSA is supposed to be looking out for the interests of the students, and siding with either side in an employment negotiation does not seem to be in the best interest of the students. What they should be asking is how any settlement, or strike is going to impact the students, and then informing us of that, and then suggest ways to lessen ways to impact us.

  8. Posted by: Alex on Oct 22, 2005 @ 4:42pm

    Maybe I'm not seeing the big picture, and if I'm not please enlighten me, but I also fail to see the point of the CSA supporting anything that has the potential to impact students negatively. It should just sit on the sidelines and, as stated above, suggest ways to help the STUDENTS improve their situation. The union can get all the media attention it requires, it does not needs the CSA to be a soapbox.

  9. Posted by: michael Brookfield on Oct 25, 2005 @ 9:45am

    All I need to do is quote Benjamin Franklin - we must all hang together or we will assuredly all hang separately.

  10. Posted by: Joyce on Jun 7, 2006 @ 10:36am

    Also -- treating workers like human beings does NOT equal higher tuition fees. I don't know what kind of screwed up math and thinking leads someone to such a conclusion. The university's whole operating budget needs to be restructured. Did you know that a 10% reduction in wages of the top 300 earners at the university equals the same amount that tuition fees are rising next year? (the top 300 earners' wages increase approximately 10 - 15% every year anyway...). Or, perhaps the creation of the new college of management and economics could have been postponed for a year. I think it is very necessary and important that the new college is being created, but it is costing the university 2 million dollars more than it did to accomodate those students in the college of social and applied human sciences this past year. the money being brought in from the tuition increases equals approx 3.7 million -- with some other budget cutbacks, say to the Presidents events line, energy usage, postponed some of the new construction, or other areas that don't directly effect the quality and accessibility of education tuition fees wouldn't have had to go up, and workers would still earn a decent wage.

  11. Posted by: Joyce on Jun 7, 2006 @ 10:39am

    You people really don't get it do you? 1334 didn't want a wage increase. They wanted job security and wanted to KEEP the benefits and pension contributions that they ALREADY had -- the university wanted to REDUCE them. Most 1334 workers -- especially the women -- end up retiring into poverty as it is. Good for 1334 for standing up for themselves. Students could learn a lot from their example but we seem to let ourselves be screwed over year after year as tuition fees continue to rise.

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