Students, faculty and staff from Mount Allison University joined residents from Sackville on Friday, November 12 at Main and York Streets to support CUPE public-sector workers on the fifteenth day of their strike.
“I thought it was important for as many people in the community as possible to come out and show their support for the striking CUPE workers,” said Politics and International Relations Professor David Thomas who organized today’s rally.
“We want to show them that we’re behind them 100 per cent,” he added.
“We applaud them in fact, for their very difficult and courageous stance in terms of standing up to the Higgs government here and fighting for a fair contract.”
Thomas said it’s clear from polling and general observation that the CUPE workers have strong public support partly because there are 22,000 of them and all have friends and family.
“In a small place like New Brunswick, almost everyone is somehow involved,” Thomas said.
“Many other things over the past several months have led to a credibility crisis for the Higgs government, whether it’s the handling of COVID or it’s the refusal to talk about unceded territory and on and on and on, his popularity rating has been declining so much, I think there’s a general lack of trust in the Higgs government,” he added.
Hannah Wickham, a religious studies student at Mount Allison University, said it’s important for people at the university to support the CUPE workers.
“I think it’s probably one of the most obvious instances where the employer so deliberately is being under-handed and back-handed towards workers that it’s impossible for anybody to look at the situation and not come away feeling just total support for the workers,” she added.
John Dale, a recent Mount Allison graduate, said he also feels the Higgs government is biased against workers.
He said last year’s faculty strike showed that Sackville has a strong, union-organizing culture, and so it’s important to support CUPE strikers who are friends and neighbours.
“We live in an under-developed region, so I think a lot of the concerns of the folks in this union are quite valid indeed,” he said. “Wage increases, for example, have not matched that of inflation, so there’s a lot of reasons for folks to be unhappy.”
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