CUPE 1975 members ended their first full week on the picket line with a rally in Saskatoon, Nov. 9.
More than 2,400 CUPE 1975 members at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina began a full-scale strike on November 2.
Speaker after speaker praised CUPE 1975 members for their courage and criticized the university administration for its disrespectful treatment of staff and its poor labour relations.
CUPE National President Paul Moist commended CUPE 1975 members for taking a stand against the employer and promised they would have the full support of the union – the largest in the country.
“We have a saying in CUPE. You take on one of us, you take on all of us,” he told the massive crowd of members, faculty, students and community supporters.
Moist urged the employer’s bargaining spokesperson, Barb Daigle, to do more than comment on the dispute. Noting she earns more than $169,000 a year, Moist said it was time that Daigle actually got to the bargaining table and helped to negotiate a fair contract settlement.
He told the strikers to stand together and stay strong.
Professor Claire Card, a spokesperson for the ad hoc group of concerned academics, told the crowd of more than 2,000 people that she’s inspired by CUPE 1975.
The ad hoc group initiated a petition a few days before the rally urging the university’s board of governors to direct its bargaining team to return to the table “in good faith” and settle the dispute.
Card told the crowd the petition also calls on the board to conduct an external, independent review of labour relations at the university. As she stated, “the strike by CUPE 1975 is a clear indication there are serious labour relations problems.”
Although nearly every university departments was recently subjected to a performance review, Card said “the one main unit that seemed to be omitted from the review process was the university’s administration, which includes human resources. The time for their review has come,” she stated to sustained applause.”
Linda Reiber, the emcee for the rally and a member of the bargaining committee, thanked students, faculty and the broader community for their support.
“Your solidarity means so much to us. It strengthens our picket line. It lifts our spirits. And it affirms our belief we deserve a fair contract settlement.”