Standing with CUPE 926

By Matt Thomas, Library

Tired and a little scared. Those were my feelings as I stood on the sidewalk near 202 Regina, the morning of Friday, July 8th. Tired from standing for so long wearing sandals a little too old for my feet. And a little scared because I’ve never done anything like that before: standing on an “information rally” picket line, letting passersby know about the key issues CUPE 926 custodians and trade workers at Wilfrid Laurier University are concerned about regarding their contract negotiations, delaying people coming in to work and making noise. Sometimes the people we were delaying were a little testy and didn’t control their cars very well. And those Special Constables, though Laurier employees and supposed to help keep me safe, can be a little imposing in their police-like uniforms and police-like powers. It’s not my contract but the custodians and trade workers are my coworkers. And it is my community that’s being affected by whatever comes out of whatever agreement is eventually worked out: the Laurier community of staff, faculty, students, managers and librarians that I work with, and the Waterloo (and Kitchener) community that I and my kids live in.

I’m one of the 20+ librarians who work at Laurier, and, as most librarians do, I care about my library. With this care comes care for the people who work in and around the library and the rest of the university we’re a part of. And not so long ago, the many custodians that took care of the seven floor library I work in were a part of that group of people. For a long time, when I came into work and brought my lunch to the staff room refrigerator, I would see a handful of custodians, already several hours into their shift and taking a much deserved break. I got to know their names, who they were, and hear about their days, and I would invite them to participate in some of the social things we do around the Library. They were a part of the library’s family in my mind. But I don’t see them anymore. There are far fewer custodians in the library now from what I can see, and the building isn’t as clean as a result.

When I heard about Laurier Administration’s plan to increase contracting out of their work, I was more than a little disappointed. There are several important “bottom-line” reasons for why this doesn’t make sense to me, but the most important reason to me is that this pushes an important group of our community out of our community. Fewer people who are taking care of Laurier who are in turn taken care of by Laurier means that Laurier is not as well taken care of. And we can hardly be considered to be “inspiring lives of leadership” if we are following the apparent trend of contracting out some of our responsibilities, or providing an “intimate community environment” if we don’t take care of those most vulnerable in our community, particularly those who take care of that environment.

That’s why I spent my own time standing with CUPE 926 members out on that sidewalk and will continue to do so. I may get tired and sore and hot from standing out there. I may experience a bit of stress, braving the cars that wouldn’t be able to get me while I’m safe in my office or watching our Special Constables furiously scribbling notes as they stand by the picketing crowd. But I don’t want my coworkers, present and future, to worry that their job will be done more cheaply by a company that may or may not treat their workers as well as Laurier can and does. I don’t want my campus to be cleaned by workers who have no personal stake in me or the people around me. I can’t imagine those other workers being able to do as good a job and I can’t imagine them enjoying their work as much. So I will continue to go out when I can, to stand with my coworkers and friends, to hopefully convince Laurier administration’s negotiating team to recognize the value of those people, and to treat them a little better.

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WLUFA Advocate April 2016 4.9

Here’s the latest issue: WLUFA Advocate April 2016 4.9 (PDF)

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WLUFA Meeting & Social

This announcement is from the WLUFA Advocate April 2016 4.9.

WLUFA Annual General
Wednesday, April 20, 1:00 p.m.
Turret  Waterloo Campus

WLUFA Annual Spring
Wine & Cheese Social and Retiree Recognition
Wednesday, April 20, 4:00 p.m.
Hawk’s Nest  Waterloo Campus

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Thank You!

This announcement is from the WLUFA Advocate April 2016 4.9.

Thank you and congratulations to all the students, staff, faculty and other community members who worked so hard to stop the statue project from going ahead.

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Many thanks also to this year’s members of the Communications Committee—Sue Ferguson (Director), Kimberly Ellis-Hale (Officer), Anne-Marie Allison, Kari Brozowski, Azim Essaji and Mat-thew Thomas—for helping WLUFA Members stay in touch with workplace issues and politics. The committee’s annual report will be available at the WLUFA AGM on April 20.


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Did you know that the WLUFA Advocate also hosts a blog?

This announcement is from the WLUFA Advocate April 2016 4.9.

We do! We use it to publish articles and announcements that we want to get to you as soon as possible, and the occasional article that’s too long to include in the regular issues of the Advocate. If you’ve not yet visited the blog, or forgotten it exists, please check it out.

This year’s blog posts include:

• Two letters to President Blouw—one by an alumnus, the other by a labour studies expert—asking him to withdraw his plans to outsource custodial services in the new buildings on the Waterloo campus.

• A Canadian University Teachers Association (CAUT) job posting for a Professional Office position.

• A summary of the Divestment campaign letter that urges President Blouw’s Administration to take steps to protect Laurier’s investment “portfolio against a carbon-constrained future and to remove the social license of fossil fuel companies to damage the climate any more than they have already done.”

• Past issues of the Advocate

• Contract Faculty Bargaining Survey results

• The results of our “Whaddya Say, John A?” contest

You can find the blog by visiting the WLUFA web page and clicking on the WLUFA Advocate blog icon in our list of social media sites at the bottom right-hand side of your screen. Or click on the larger WLUFA Newsletter icon on the left-hand side of the screen, and follow the links.

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Visit our Contract Faculty Negotiations 2016 webpage

This announcement is from the WLUFA Advocate April 2016 4.9.

As WLUFA heads into Negotiations with the Administration for a new Part-time Contract Academic Staff and Part-time Librarians Collective Agreement, we want to keep you informed of all the issues. Take some time to wander through the site, where you’ll find news and background about what’s going on at the bargaining table, and the issues Contract Faculty are facing at Laurier and beyond. We encourage you to send in any questions to you may want answered, and to download posters and other mate-rials related to campaigns we’re supporting. Let us know what else you’d like to see there!

WLUFA Advocate April 2016 4

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WLUFA’s changing of the guards …

This announcement is from the WLUFA Advocate April 2016 4.9.

By Michele Kramer, WLUFA President

After a very successful trial run with a new online voting system, WLUFA is pleased to announce the members of your incoming Association Executive for 2016-2017.

They are:
Anne-Marie Allison Judy Bates
Kari Brozowski Timothy Donais
Kimberly Ellis-Hale Azim Essaji
Jim Gerlach Angele Hamel
Michele Kramer Rob Kristofferson
Adam Metzler

While many of the members of the incoming Executive are familiar faces, we are especially excited that we’ll be getting an injection of some “new blood” with the additions of Anne-Marie, Timothy and Adam. Their service, of course, means that we’re also saying goodbye to other members whose valuable input will be greatly missed. Joanne Oud, Glenda Wall and Stephen Wenn are all taking some time away from Association
duties this year in order to gain some much-needed research time.

And, we’d like to thank the four Members who offered themselves as nominees this year but were not voted in: Chris Klassen, Chad Lebold, Houman Mortazavi and
Stephen Svenson. Significantly, all four are CAS colleagues and this means that —in this election—we had more new contract faculty offer themselves for election than new full-time members. Hopefully, we’ll see their names on a ballot again in the future!

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