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Sisters and Brothers:
We are proud that the members of CUPE Ontario are known for their principled positions and actions when it comes to solidarity. From supporting the struggles of workers in other unions, the unorganized, anti-poverty groups, community organization and the student movement, our members know that the struggle for fairness, equality and a better world does not stop at the borders of our union or our province.
At our recent convention, members donated thousands of dollars from their own Locals in support of the current student strike in Quebec. These donations were made because we know that these struggles cannot continue on words alone.
The students in Quebec are fighting a valiant struggle for an accessible public post-secondary education system. This struggle has brought the best aspects of popular, grass-roots movements to the streets and into the hearts of the people not just of Quebec, but around the world. These students and their allies in Quebec are an inspiration to the union movement and must be supported.
Since the passing of Law 78 — a law that seeks to criminalize the basic right to strike and picket and has been condemned by the UN for its breach of basic charter rights — the movement has grown into a broader popular struggle to defend democratic rights. Without mobilizing fierce opposition to this law, it will likely be replicated and used as a model against striking workers, in other provinces, as well.
There has been a cost to those on the front-lines of this struggle. With over 3000 arrests of demonstrators, the legal costs are being used as a weapon against the students and their organizations leading the fight.
The Quebec student movement has been a reminder that we can and must be united. It is with great pride that CUPE Ontario members continue their support for students facing legal costs as well as providing the resources needed to continue mobilizing to defend our rights. We urge Locals to continue their financial solidarity to CLASSE’s legal defense committee to cover these costs and challenge the legitimacy of Law 78.
Send your donation directly to the order of:
Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante 2065 Parthenais Street, Suite 383 Montreal, QC H2K 3T1 noting “CLASSE Legal Committee” in the memo line.
Fred Hahn Candace Rennick