CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at 1356.cupe.ca This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Solidarity with Striking Students in Québec

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, over 30,000 students in Quebec have begun strike action, calling on the Québec government to restore the $103 million in student grants that it cut last year, resulting in a 62% increase in average student loan debt for students. In addition, there is concern that the shift from grants to loans is a prelude to deregulating tuition fees for all Québec students. Currently there are no tuition fees for colleges in Québec, and university tuition fees have been frozen for 31 of the past 36 years.

We are calling on students outside of Quebec to send solidarity greetings to students in Québec. Attached is a solidarity statement that can be signed by students from campuses throughout Ontario. It is attached in French and in English. Please fax completed pledge sheets to the Ontario office. From here, we will make sure that the statements are delivered directly to Québec students.

As we understand, more students' unions will be voting on a strike mandate in the days ahead. The call is for an unlimited student strike, but we don't know how long it will last. It is important that we try to collect signatures as quickly as possible-that way we can help build momentum for what these students are doing and demonstrate concrete support.

Some of you may also be interested in assembling solidarity banners-printing or painting a banner that demonstrates students from different campuses are in support of the Québec strike-and having students from your campus sign them with sharpies or jiffy markers. The banners could be sent to the Toronto office and we can ensure we deliver them directly to students in Quebec for display on picket lines and at demonstrations. If any of you are interested in working on this, let me know. I can develop some banner templates and send them back to you for tracing and painting at your local. Alternatively, you might have banners printed out on paper at a local printer like Kinko's and get started right away.

Finally, building solidarity between students inside and outside Quebec will be critical for the future. If the Federal Government attempts to re-introduce changes to the Canada Student Loans programme that will increase tuition fees and extend student debt all students will need to move together, inside and outside Québec, to stop such initiatives. We have an important opportunity now to build strong links.

In solidarity,
Pam Frache,
Ontario Campaigns and Government Relations Coordinator,
Canadian Federation of Students
201-720 Spadina Avenue,
Toronto, ON
M5S 2T9
416-925-3825

campaigns@cfsontario.ca

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