At Wilfrid Laurier University, 400 people showed up at a rally on March 22nd to support the 365 contract part-time faculty, who are on strike. Check out this piece about the rally from the Waterloo Record. Faculty came from as far away as Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Ottawa. For those of you who missed Canadian geography in elementary, middle, high school and college, check out this map. Please note that Newfoundland and PEI are way the hell on the Eastern seaboard, about 700 miles away from Waterloo, Ontario, where WLU is located.
Along with caps, mufflers and boots to stave off the cold weather and snow, the gang brought a check (cheque in Canada) for a cool million dollars from their defense fund. The money is meant to supplement the $38.50 a day in strike pay WLU part-timers are collecting. It will make sure that the part-time faculty don’t have to cross the picket lines out of financial necessity.
I am very impressed by the support shown the part-time faculty by their part-time and full-time faculty colleagues, as well as the students at WLU. A strike is a last resort tactic, and can result in financial hardship for those striking. Be that as it may, those 365 people walked off the job and onto the picket line. In eight years, SEIU local 500 at George Washington University never once struck while the union fought, clawed, begged, cajoled and persuaded officials at GW to recognize and bargain with the union.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I think we in the U.S. can take away some very important lessons from our Canadian colleagues as they wait out this strike.