Laurier Teaching Assistants Unionize!

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by Emily Steers

Three years ago, a group of graduate teaching assistants began a campaign to unionize the TAs at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, about 100 km west of Toronto. Laurier was one of the only Ontario universities where TAs lacked a union. This was reflected in the disparity in our pay, training, and the consistency of work between departments. For two years the TAs worked diligently to spread the word and boost the union drive, and chose the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) as the union to join.

 

Since September, the drive picked up in earnest. Campaign organizers visited classrooms, set up information tables, created an active social media presence, and distributed union cards. Once we met the requisite 40 per cent of workers who signed cards, we filed for certification, asking the Ontario Labour Relations Board to conduct a vote. It took place online, November 5-6. There was a massive turnout. The employer contested the legitimacy of the vote, padding the employee list and filing a section 8.1 objection (disputing that we met the 40 per cent threshold). The union challenged over 50 names on the employers’ list.

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Trudeau Minority Gov’t (Still) Serves the Rich

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by Barry Weisleder

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to be counting on his waning skills of distraction, plus the disarray in Conservative ranks, to keep his minority government in power for at least two years.  That much is evident in the Throne Speech, the Fiscal Update, the new NAFTA, and the prominent role of Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland – as feckless Tory Leader Andrew Scheer heads for the exits.

While the deposed Scheer faces an internal audit over the use of party funds to pay his children’s private school tuition, an array of Tories is lining up to run for his job. Thus, the Conservative Party is in no hurry to force a general election. 

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Socialist Action Calls for Immediate Release of Bolivian activists

 
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Socialist Action/Ligue pour l’Action Socialiste joins with Bolivian former president Evo Morales, recently ousted in a military coup, and a broad section of public opinion to call for the immediate release of journalist Carlos Conjeo and artist Leonel Jurado, detained by the Bolivian military. Conjeo and Jurado were postering to publicize an event of solidarity with workers at the Senkata oil refinery, nine of whom were killed by the military as they were striking to protest the coup against the legitimate MAS government.
 
Both Conjeo and Jurado have been charged with sedition. These bogus charges are being used as part of the massive repression unleashed by the coup plotters against the workers and indigenous people of Bolivia, a coup backed by the Trudeau government, in alliance with the dictators and right wing authoritarian governments of the so -called Lima Group.
 
Socialist Action/LAS demands the immediate release of Conjeo, Jurado and all the other political prisoners illegally detained by the police and military agents of the illegitimate coup government. Further, SA/LAS refuses to recognize impunity for the crimes committed by the Bolivian coup government, the military and the police, and will fight for the trial and imprisonment of all those who have participated in the killing, torture and unlawful detention of the Bolivian people. Justice will be done.

SA/LAS calls upon all citizens, and the international left, to raise their voices against the imprisonment of Conjeo and Jurado, and further asks that the embassy and consular staff of Bolivia be contacted demanding the immediate release of all political prisoners, the ending of the repression, and the abrogation of the illegally decreed law of impunity.

 
Free the Political Prisoners. Stop the Repression. No Impunity for crimes against Bolivian workers, indigenous people and young people fighting for their democratic rights.

Statement of Solidarity concerning comrade postal worker in France, Gael Quirante

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Once again the Post Office in France, backed up by the forces of the French state, is attempting to victimize those who fight for workers and their union rights.
 
Gael Quirante, a leader of the Postal Section 92 workers in the Paris region, has just been sentenced to 3 months jail sentence suspended, 5 years probation, and fined almost 2,000 Euros in total, for his actions in leading a successful year-long strike against La Poste management.
 

The decision of the court, which took just 15 minutes to deliberate, after hearing more than 6 hours of legal argument, is designed to discourage labour unionists like Gael who won’t back down, and who refuse to be bullied.

 
This ruling takes on added importance as the mass struggle against the French government’s attacks on workers’ pensions enters its third week and is experiencing a growing wave of support and mobilization. The French state intends to use trials against labour unionists like Gael to try to dampen enthusiasm for the most massive outpouring of workers’ and social justice militancy since 1995.
 
Socialist Action/Ligue pour l’Action Socialiste calls upon all workers and union members to help defend Gael Quirante by contacting the French Embassy or the nearest consular office and demanding the following:
 
No Sentences, No Fines, No Repression against Gael Quirante.  Drop All the Charges Now!
 
Quirante and his lawyer immediately launched an appeal, which stays the sentences and fines until after the new trial.  International solidarity can help put an end to the repression of Gael and to attacks on all unionists victimized for fighting for their rights, and for those of their co-workers.

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