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Latest update: June 8, 2000
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Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000
From: Hal Pepinsky
Subject: Fwd: [weekagainstwto] Support U of T part-time bookstore staff  strikers (fwd)
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 11:22:30 -0400 (EDT) From: June E Licence

---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Kevin Robert Dean
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2000
Reply-To: weekagainstwto@egroups.com
To: Buffalo Activism
Subject: [weekagainstwto] Support U of T part-time bookstore staff strikers

Dear progressives,

Here's a run-down on what is happening with an important labour dispute at the University of Toronto.

The part-time workers at the University of Toronto bookstore, who recently organized with Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 3261, are being forced on strike this wednesday June 7th. Management has consistently refused to accept the existance of a union by firing and harrassing activists as well as breaking off negotiations. Their last "offer" was to cut our wages to the legal minimun wage of $6.85/hr, as well as no seniority provisions, no grievance procedures, and a entire list of anti-union measures designed to break this union.

This is especially disgusting as the U of T Press, which owns the bookstore, is entirely owned by U of T. The sole purpose of U of T press is to fund the huge money losing venture of U of T's scholarly publishing: the vast University of Toronto Press line of books, as well as the large assortment of jounals that U of T publishes. This is important to the U of T as it gives it an international academic prestige and publicity that helps make it "the Harvard of the North" (not my words) as well as the richest university in Canada, with over $3.5 billion in the bank from it's fundraising campaigns. The University reaps the rewards from this by being able to attract big name scholars, researchers, students, and lots of money!

The bookstore, where I work, is THE BIG money maker for the press, with all the profits going to academic publishing, WHICH BENEFITS NO ONE BUT U OF T! THUS SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING AT U OF T IS BUILT AND FINANCED ON THE BACKS OF EXTREME EXPLOITATION AND HARRASSMENT OF YOUNG WORKERS AND UNION BUSTING!!

Our Union feels that one of the strongest tactics we can use is embarrassing U of T and U and T Press into bargaining fairly with us. We believe that if the wider community knows that a good part of U of T's academic prestige and all it's scholarly publishing is funded directly by union busting and the exploitaion, victimization, and harrasssment of  young workers that they will be forced backed to the bargaining table. Already we have seen small results from this strategy. The Vice Provost of U of T, one of the people we are asking people to contact, has sent our union a letter stating that he is optimisitc that things will be resolved quickly. This happened ONLY becasue he received over 100 letters in the last week by people stating that they were disgusted with their treatment of this affair. One of the letters came from none other than Noam Chomsky.

We have also begun the process of asking profs to withold their fall textbook orders untill U of T and UTP start bargaining fairly with us. As for picket lines, rest assured we will have daily picket lines and a large rally every Thursday where we will try to stop scabs and customers from going in.

I'm going to be blunt: WE NEED ALL YOUR HELP!! We are imploring each and every one of you to help. Here's what we are asking each and everyone who reads this to do:

  1. contact (email, phone, fax) George Meadows and Catherine Bennet from UTP (see their emails below) as well as Michael Finlayson (vice provost at U of T, email is below) expressing your disgust  with both U of T's & U of T press' conduct in this matter with the part-time bookstore worker's.  Tell them that you will tell others not to go to U of T, will not donate money to U of T, whatever it takes! As well, tell them that you will not order UTP books or buy anything from the bookstore until they sit down and negotiate fairly. Don't forget to CC a copy to our union.

  2. Pass this on to any and all and push them to do the same!! This is crucial.

  3. for those in Toronto, join our picket lines. The # at our strike HQ is 599-9997.
  4. if you are in a union or any other group, please get your group to formally endorse our struggle. As well, get your group to pass the word!!

As opposed to other struggles where this type of support, though welcomed, unfortunately is nowhere near enough to turn the balance of power in favour of those striking, your active support and your work getting others to actively support us can seriously weaken management and get them to bargain fairly. Already our strategy is starting to pay small dividends. Last week our union received a letter from the Vice Provost at U of T stating that he has spoken to management at the Press, something he has squarely refused to do before. This only occuredbecause he received over 100 letters from people objecting to their reprehensible conduct. One of those letters came from Noam Chomsky.

U of T and the Press are extremely image sensitive. Already we have caused some nicks in their union busting armour, but more is needed. If  solidarity is to mean anything in this new millenium, I urge you to help our local in every conceivable way that you can. Please help us stop union busting at the University of Toronto.

Sincerely

Paul Lykotrafitis
CUPE local 3261

Below is the contact info for the people I have asked you to contact, as well as  our unions press release.

Michael Finlayson (Vice Provost, U of T)
michael.finlayson@utoronto.ca
phone# (416) 978 4865, fax 978 2592

George Meadows (Prez U of T Press)
gmeadows@utpress.utoronto.ca
phone# (416) 978-2239, ext 222, fax 978 4738

Katherine Bennet (Senior VP at U of T Press)
kbennett@utpress.utoronto.ca
phone # (416) 9782239, ext224, fax 978 4738

Remember to CC to our union: service.workers@utoronto.ca

Kevin Dean   |   Buffalo, NY
Socialist Party of Western New York
http://sp-usa.org/ny/buffalo
AIM SN: KDean75206
ICQ # 8616001
"Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or "disappeared", at the hands of governments or armed political groups.  More often than not, the United States shares the blame."  Amnesty International, 1996 Jobs, Peace, and Freedom! http://votesocialist.org --- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Law Enforcement Professionals: SAVE ON LONG DISTANCE TODAY!!! http://click.egroups.com/1/4170/5/_/665785/_/960436656/ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ http://www.geocities.com/buffaloactivism Community email addresses:   Post message: weekagainstwto@onelist.com   Subscribe:    weekagainstwto-subscribe@onelist.com   Unsubscribe:  weekagainstwto-unsubscribe@onelist.com   List owner:   weekagainstwto-owner@onelist.com Shortcut URL to this page:   http://www.onelist.com/community/weekagainstwto