Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 04 - update 10

WUFA Strike: Day 04 - update 10
An email sent by Clayton Smith, vice-provost, students and registrar has sent out an email indicating that classes are already canceled for Monday, September 22nd.
--Forwarded Message Attachment--
Subject: Classes and laboratories are cancelled for Monday, September 22nd.
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 11:47:45 -0400


All University of Windsor classes and laboratories are cancelled for Monday, September 22nd.


Clayton Smith, Ed.D.
Vice-Provost, Students & Registrar
University of Windsor
401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, ON N9B 3P4
Phone: 519/253-3000 Ext. 3879
Fax: 519/971-3692

As for Friday's rally, here's a transcipt of much of what happened.
As a crowd assembled, there were chants of "No justice, no peace." They also chanted "Shame."

There was a broad media presence, as everyone was fully aware that a major rally had been planned. Here you can see a French member of the flying picket talking with a CBC reporter.

[The rally began with WUFA president Brian Brown introducing many of the flying pickets who had come out to support the strike.]

Brian Brown: We have people here from across Canada who have flown in to help support out cause, they will be speaking in a few minutes. I want to say that we also have MPs here as well. Our tireless negotiating team is here. All the locals on campus, I want to say thank you to each and every one of you. The solidarity from the campus unions has just been incredible. To everyone at the Windsor University Faculty Association thank you immensely for your support. And I want to say thank you to the Windsor and District Labour Council. They have been fantastic in this strike for justice at the University of Windsor.

I want to start out this rally with the president of the Defense Fund Flying Picket of CAUT, Larry Hale, who can take the mic.

Larry Hale, president of the Canadian University of Associated Teachers Defense Fund, or CAUTDF, came forward to introduce the flying pickets. Each flying picket brought with them financial support to WUFA, money which is intended to provide whatever support necessary. You can read more from an earlier post regarding the CAUT's Defense Fund.

Larry Hale: Hello, University of Windsor. My name is Dr. Lawrence Hale, I'm from the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown and I'm the president of the CAUT Defense Fund.

And we're very proud that you, the professors and librarians and faculty of the University of Windsor have taken this stand and taken this action, because the working conditions of the faculty are really the backbone of what a university is all about. If you don't take care of those people, then the university really suffers. You're taking a stand to make sure that that doesn't happen.

I'm here with some colleagues from Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, I'd like to introduce some of them. I also represent the University of Prince Edward Island, and proud to be solidly behind the faculty of the University of Windsor and we're happy to bring a donation to your cause of $1000.

Universities that made financial donations: University of Western Ontario; Wilfrid Laurier University; University of Guelph; York Univeristy; Laurentian; Trent; Carleton; Concordia; Nova Scotia; Acadia and the University of Newfoundland.

[There was one other, but the tape was inaudible. Sorry.]

Joe Comartin (NDP), the Windsor-Tecumseh riding Member of Parliament was next to speak.

Joe Comartin: You're now in a leadership role with this fight. And it's a fight that goes beyond just this administration. It's a message that has to go to all the provincial governments and the federal governments about underfunding in our post secondary institutions right across the country.

I want to say to the members of the faculty, library, all of you who are on strike. Solidarity is absolutely crucial here. We can't have people crossing the line, we have to remain solid, abosolutely solid, behind the people who are our on the line. So I'm saying to the students as well, be supportive of this strike, it's in your future best interests.

I want to recognize Gary Parent [the president of the Windsor and District Labour Council] and the Labour Council for the support that they're giving to the strike. The whole city, represented by the labour movement is behind this strike, and we'll stay behind it until we get justice.

Brian Masse (NDP), Windsor West Member of Parliament, was next to speak.

Brian Masse: Thanks Brian [Brown, WUFA pres], first I want to recognzie Brian by coming up to Ottawa to lobby for all of these years. You need to be acknowledged for that because you've been one of the voices out there that's been leading this country.

You know it didn't have to be this way. It's a decade and a half of neglect that has brought us to this moment and I say to the powers that be in Ottawa, we're going to turn this around and give our education back to our students and also have the right training for them in the future.

There's a lot of talk of the economy and about what we need to do to get through it. I can tell you that it's the work that happens here every single day in and day out that is our future and this is why this is so important to get the right contract right now. Like Joe [Cormartin], I also want to acknowledge Gary [Parent] and everyone else in this city that's supporting this [the strike] because it's so important for our future, our post secondary education. Not only in terms of our young people getting the education, but also our local economy and having pride in this city. This university is the corner stone for our future, let's make sure it's done right and have accountability and justice for all.

The negotiating team was next to be introduced. Emily Carasco, professor of law and Chair of the negotiating team, spoke on their behalf.

Emily Carasco: This very impressive showing of support and solidarity is very, very much appreciated by your negotiating team and by WUFA as a whole. When I look around here, I know that your negotiating team is both inspired and energized by your presence. This helps us strengthen the resolve that we have had for the last four months, and it was a very strong resolve in the first place. But mostly today, we are going to do our very best to ensure that the next collective agreement will contain no clawbacks, improved working conditions and fair compensation.

We have asked only to be treated like others in our sector have been treated, and for no more than that. But we've been going through this for a few months now, we've described ourselves as badgers; benign until provoked.

I need to ask something more of you - your support, your solidarity has been amazing. But we're in this for the long haul, this may well be only the beginning. And we're in it together, we're both doing the same thing. The negotiating team is working with the membership for the same goal. And so we're counting on you to hang in there, to not hang up, to make the message to the administration very, very clear. We want a fair and equitable collective agreement.

To our friends from other unions, both in this city and all over the country, to our friends from the community, to our political leaders who are supporting us today, thank you. It is this type of solidarity, that makes the labour movement such a strong positive force for social justice. A very special thanks to all of the other unions on campus, to our national organization, CAUT and CUFA. Finally, to all students, who have walked with us in spirit, and physically on the picket lines, thank you for your recognition that ultimately the goal for all faculty and librarians is accessibility to high quality post secondary education for all Canadians. We have a wonderful team that are all here. We have worked four months and we will work as long as it takes to get the type of collective agreement that we believe we, WUFA, deserves, and that it will have a positive impact on negotiations for other faculty associations across the country. Help us to do that.

CAW president Kenny Lewenza spoke next, taking direct jabs at University of Windsor, provost Neil Gold.

Ken Lewenza: I am joined today by the hundreds of CAW members that are in the audience, CAW represented workers at the University of Windsor, sending a message of solidarity, and sending a message to the University of Windsor, in particular to Neil Gold, the writings that you - the letter that you sent the faculty association and to the students prior to the deadline of negotiation borders on bad faith bargaining, and you underestimated the determination of the faculty. I mean, you though that people would run into the workplace and the students would turn their backs on their teachers and the faculty associations, you thought the faculty association would turn their backs on each other. In the last two days you've seen a bond of solidarity and friendship that you never anticipated, and our message to you today on behalf of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, and this is emotional for us in this particular community, because the Canadian Auto Workers Union has built some of the foundations of this particular community through the generosity of our members.

And we believe that the university of Windsor and the Faculty and the students that are participating in these actions are the backbone of this economy. So I say to you Mr. Neil Gold, on behalf of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, what you've seen is a bond of solidarity from the faculty associations themselves. From one end of the country to the other. You've seen a financial commitment to the faculty association, so they don't get discouraged on the picket line, but what you've seen from the Canadian Auto Workers Union is a mobilization in support of justice, in support of collective bargaining, in support of getting back to the bargaining table.

[... I had to turn the tape over - missing some of Lewenza's comments]

So to the Windsor University Faculty Association, to all of the associaitons, I know that we've got to find a resolve in collective bargaining, but it can only be done through the means of getting back to the bargaining table,

[...] desire to be one of the premiere universities in this country and the only way you can do that is to respect the faculty association, where you respect the students. So on behalf of the CAW I implore you to get back to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith.

To the students that are out here today, this is incredibly important as we watch this media and follow the University of Windsor, you have no idea how much pride you put in trade union values and social values, when you get on that news and say 'I support my teachers, I support the right to good education. I'm prepared to defend the conditions of my teachers. I'm prepared to defend the conditions of my researchers. I'm prepared to defend the faculty association.' I want to say to the students in particular today, you inspire the Canadian Auto Workers Union with your defense of collective bargaining and your defense for social justice and collective bargaining rights.

[Gary Parent of the Windsor and District Labour Council was then invited to speak]

Gary Parent: Believe me, your struggle is our struggle, and we'll be with you, shoulder to shoulder to shoulder until a resolve is met.

[They donated $5000.]

WUFA president Brian Brown returned to the mic.

Brian Brown: There's an awful lot of people to thank for this now, the people who are working diligently, not at the table, but over at the Faculty Association House. The people behind the scenes who are taking care of the people on the line, delivering food, delivering water, whatever it is they need, those people are doing it, and thank you to them.

This is an all-out effort by our association to send a message loud and clear to this administration that we want a collective agreement, but we want it to be fair, and equitable and just. And we do not want to be at the bottom of the scale of Ontario universities. We want to be only in the middle, that's all. Isn't that the Canadian way? We only want to be in the middle.

We want to thank again, all of the campus unions who have come forward with all of their support. It is just fabulous what is going on here at this institution from our various locals on campus, so thank you once again.

We are fighting for the quality of education and we have to keep fighting and to help us keep fighting, I'd like to call back up Larry Hale, the president of the CAUT defense fund, Larry:

Larry Hale: The defense fund. We're not just people who come from other universities to show support, we're the body that make sure that every WUFA member will have strike pay, every day, tax-free for as long as you need it, so stand behind your bargaining team and stand behind your executives. We're right there for you.

We will make sure that the health benefits while you're out are covered. And to make sure that the administration can't throw any curve balls as you that you can't respond to ... that you have the resources that you need to respond to any challenge that can be thrown at you by the administration, the defense fund will stand behind the Windsor University Faculty Association with a line of credit of up to $1 million.
UWSA president Tiffany Gooch was called up to the stand, and she pledged support to WUFA.

Tiffany Gooch: Can I hear the students that are out here right now? I stand here elected by the students to tell you right now, that we the students the undergraduate full-time students of this university support the faculty. We want to see you reach an equitable and fair agreement. We want to help you support and, I say secure, the quality of education at this university through this. What we've learned today is these buildings are not the university, these people in this building particularly [refering to Chrysler Tower - where President Alan Wildeman's office is] are not the univeristy. We are the university. And we stand behind you and we really hope they're listening right now, and that they will get back to the bargaining table so we can get back to class.
GSS president Sajid Rashid Ahmad spoke next.

Sajid Ahmad: On behalf of the graduate society, we always support the WUFA. And today I encourage all the Grad Student society to come and support the WUFA.

[It was lastly concluded that there would be a new campaign directed at Jeff Watson's constituency office at 4 o'clock on Monday afternoon. Watson is the Conservative MP for the Essex riding. Brian Brown then moved on to say one final thing.]

Brian Brown: I want to say this one thing. And that one thing has to do with the former president of this university. The last 10 years from 1997 to 2007, he had a 185 percent increase in his salary. And that is a shame, that is a shame. The administration somehow has money for those types of things, to hire more administrators, but they do not have the money to pay our faculty, library and sessional members a proper wage, especially our sessional members. Especially our sessional members.

Every member of WUFA is equal. Every member. And we will fight to make sure you get the proper wage you deserve. I want to say, to wrap this up ... thank you.

[More to come - the rally finished with its formalities, and moved on to really get the ralliers motivated to picket]

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