(Speech delivered to the CUPE rally on Dec. 3, 2015, by WLUFA President Michele Kramer.)
The slogan on the CUPE buttons says it all—universities work because we do. This is true for all of us who are gathered here today. It is a community of people that makes the university work. In fact, the idea of all of us working together for this university “community”—this “family”—is what gets sold to every prospective student at every recruitment drive held for Laurier. It even gets sold to us at every official function we attend here. But calling us a family in public and treating us as a family in private are two completely different things. You might, for instance, look like Ward or June Cleaver at the church social but beat the snot out of Wally and the Beav behind the closed doors of your own home.
Hearts and minds make Laurier what it is. But I’m sure some staff who are here today remember the words that were spoken at the negotiations that lead to their strike in 2002—and they can tell you what it’s like to try to continue to do your job with a broken heart.
This is an administration that is bent on saving hundreds of thousands of dollars—at the expense of the hearts and minds of Laurier’s “family”—in order to spend millions upon millions on acreage and concrete and rental potential. This is an administration that is decimating current academic programs and course offerings for present students in order to chase future programs defined only by the constantly moving target of public opinion. This is an administration that demands we do the work of two people without extra pay for the privilege of keeping our jobs. This is an administration that refuses to give half of its professors access to health benefits but will spend undisclosed amounts on a set of statues that no one here wants.
This is an administration that is willing to destroy Laurier now in order to speculate, expensively, on a Laurier that may never come. We’ve all operated for too long as isolated groups of employees, thinking what does my job fixing the plumbing in DAWB have to do with your job at the Press—or your job in the dining hall—or your job in the classroom—or your job in the theatre?
But we’re all CUPE—we’re all IATSE—we’re all UFCW—we’re all WLUSA—we’re all WLUFA. And what this administration does to the least of our brothers and sisters, it does (or will do) to us as well.