Students, faculty, the public, CUPE members and members from other unions rallied at Red Deer College yesterday in support of the College’s bookstore. The large crowd of approximately one hundred carried signs in support of keeping the bookstore public.
The College Chair and President are trying to privatize the RDC Bookstore, a valued community asset that generates $400,000 annually – money that goes directly back into education.
Speakers at the rally included CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts. Roberts told the crowd that handing the RDC Bookstore over to a national chain doesn’t make sense.
“There’s no way a national chain could deliver the same level of service that CUPE members provide, pay for renovations, and make a profit for shareholders without increasing costs for students,” said Roberts. “Students cannot afford to pay even more for their education.”
CUPE 1445 president Catherine Lilly noted that members who work at the bookstore are knowledgeable and experienced.
“It’s great to see all this support,” said Lilly. “This community cares about the bookstore and CUPE 1445 members are part of the community. We want to continue to serve students, faculty and residents with the best service. And that’s public service.”
Motorists honked in support of the marchers, many of who were students, walking along College Boulevard with signs against privatization.
The RDC Bookstore serves faculty, students and residents in Red Deer. President Joel Ward and Board Chair Janice Wing plan to privatize the bookstore without first taking it to the Board or getting community input.
“Red Deer College is not for sale,” said CUPE National Representative Bruce McLeod.