CUPE 3912 Statement against Islamophobia and in solidarity with the Muslim Community

CUPE 3912 joins CUPE members and locals across Canada in offering sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Afzaal and Salman families, who were the victims of Islamophobic hate in London Ontario. This violence left four people dead — three generations of a family — and a child remains in hospital. Police have confirmed that the violence was intentional and motivated by hatred towards Muslim people and their Islamic faith.

You can read CUPE National’s statement here.

As the extended Afzaal family notes in their statement, this is not an isolated incident, but rather “We need to understand that the destruction of a family in a brutal and horrific manner like this is something we must all stand against. We need to stand against hate and Islamophobia and raise awareness in our communities and throughout the political spectrum.” The sentiment is echoed by Imam Abdallah Yousri of Ummah Mosque in Halifax:  “We all see a spike in Islamophobic attacks, in hate speeches, and in hate crimes all around the country. And, it is very obvious that we are not doing enough.”

As academic workers and educators, we have platforms and opportunities to incorporate anti-racist practices into our workplaces and to confront white supremacist rhetoric, ideologies, and structures. As academic workers, we also acknowledge that one of the victims, Madiha Salman, was a PhD student at Western University in Civil Engineering. Universities provide anti-oppression and anti-racism training, and we urge you to take advantage of these resources to make our classrooms, offices, seminars, laboratories, and communities spaces that confront hatred in all its forms, and spaces that better support our racialized and BIPOC students and colleagues.

For those wanting to take action now, here is the online fundraising account approved by the family you can donate to. Furthermore, the National Council of Canadian Muslims is calling on people across Canada to change their social media profile pictures to the image of a green ribbon. They are also calling for a National Action Summit on Islamophobia for federal, provincial, territorial and municipal leaders to determine immediate actions to dismantle Islamophobia. You can sign the petition to support these calls here.

Members is HRM can attend a community vigil, that will be held outdoors at the Ummah Mosque, this evening, Wednesday June 7 at 7 pm. The Mosque is located at 6225 Chebucto Road, and entrance for limited parking from Chebucto Road and St Matthias St. Mandatory public health measures will be enforced.  Please help volunteers by following the instructions.

CUPE 3912 honours and mourns the Afzaal and Salman families. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community across Canada in condemning Islamophobia and confronting hatred and discrimination.

Special General Meeting, June 11 @ 10 am, Online

Friday June 11 at 10 am, we are holding another special general meeting, focusing on health and safety concerns in relation to campus reopening. The CUPE 3912 representatives on university Health and Safety Committees will be present to speak to campus measures and answer your questions. Membership mobilization will also be discussed.

To RSVP for the meeting, contact our Membership Officer, Kim Robinson June 10:  kimrobinson1945@icloud.com 

A link will be sent to those who have RSVP’d prior to the meeting. 

CUPE 3912 mourns discovery of Kamloops mass grave site, calls for stronger federal action

CUPE, including CUPE 3192, mourns discovery of Kamloops mass grave site. We call for stronger federal action.

CUPE 3912 stands in solidarity with Indigenous communities across Canada as they mourn the recent discovery of 215 Indigenous children buried at a mass grave site at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC.

You can read CUPE National’s full statement here.

You can read the statement of the Office of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation Chief, here. The school operated on the unceded territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation until 1978.

As Dorene Bernard, a Mi’kmaq elder and scholar, states other residential school locations need to “be fully investigated …. We’re going to continue to do the work.” Under her guidance, the survey of the Shubenacadie Residential School location in Nova Scotia has already begun. The Shubenacadie school operated from 1929-1967, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation lists the names of 16 children who died at the school.

Donations can be made to the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society here.

To Indigenous CUPE members: we can only imagine the pain and trauma this news has caused, or reawakened. If you need help, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.

As academic workers in settler institutions, we have benefitted from settler colonialism. The institutions where our members work — Mount Saint Vincent, Saint Mary’s, and Dalhousie universities — are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people. We are all treaty people, and must all be committed to working with Indigenous nations, communities, organizations, and students toward decolonization, reconciliation, and respecting the on-going treaty relationships. This also means reflecting on our own work and positions, and having hard conversations about how academic institutions and disciplines contributed to the collective history and traumas of colonialism. Decolonizing our work and practices requires ongoing and day-to-day action.

In the words of Jared Qwustenuxun Williams, “Every day is orange shirt day, every day is red dress day, every day indigenous lives matter.” You can read more about the Orange Shirt Day Campaign here.

To learn more about the ongoing legacies of colonialism read the resources provided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Volume 4, on “Missing Children and Unmarked Burials” is particularly relevant.

We urge the federal government to immediately end its court battle against First Nations children, which it has been pursuing since the Canada Human Rights Tribunal first ruled against the government in 2016. Provincial and federal governments must also implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

 

Special General Meeting, May 27, 4-5 pm

Thursday May 27, 4-5 pm, we have our first of several monthly Special General Meetings. These will be very important to connect with you as we progress in bargaining. We also need to accomplish some things that need to be decided by the general membership. These meetings should be shorter than the bi-annual general meetings and will only include specified items.

The main goal of this first one will be to establish a mobilization team. We also expect to have a motion to approve audits.

We also have a very special guest at this first meeting – Brenda Austin-Smith, the president of CAUT (Canadian Association of University Teachers). She will give a short address to help us put our own mobilization and bargaining efforts in a national context and will be happy to answer your questions.

To RSVP for the meeting, contact our Membership Officer, Kim Robinson, by May 26. A link will be sent to those who have RSVP’d prior to the meeting. 

If you have been waiting for momentum to get involved in helping with our member engagement and bargaining support, now is the time! Even if you only have time to participate in these meetings, your support will be very much appreciated.

See you next week!

Nova Scotia Federation of Labour Campaign: We need paid sick leave for all

The Nova Scotia Federation of Labour is asking for help pressuring legislators to provide paid sick days for all:

“We are asking that you send a message to our elected leaders, if you haven’t already, about paid sick days. It’s easy to do, and by doing so you can join hundreds of others here in Nova Scotia who have already signed on.”

You can take action here: http://nslabour.ca/2021/02/paidsickdaysnovascotia/

National Day of Action for Long-Term Care Standards

April 27 is the National Day of Action for Long-Term Care Standards in Canada. It is a day to bring awareness to LTC issues, and to pressure federal and provincial governments to set real standards for long-term care.

Please consider posting with the hashtags #LTCstandardsNow and #10plus3.

You can also download the attached profile picture and poster to take a selfie with, explaining why you support LTC Standards Now.

 

Download (PDF, 990KB)

New and Returning Officers

Thanks to all who attended our AGM on Friday April 16.

Congratulations to our new and returning executive members and officers:

  • Allan Thomson — VP, Dalhousie Truro Campus
  • Fallen Matthews — VP, Dalhousie Teaching Assistants, Studley Campus
  • Larissa Atkison — VP, MSVU
  • Rory Leitch — VP, TLC at SMU
  • Amal Nabbout — Secretary-Treasurer
  • Anas Tahir — Communications Officer
  • Kim Robinson — Trustee
  • Julie Quinn — Trustee
Thanks to Noel Guscott and Paul Manning for their service on the executive!

PROTECT DAL’S PENSION: SEND A MESSAGE OF SUPPORT!

844 Administrative & Technical Support workers at Dalhousie University and the Agricultural campus in Truro have been trying to bargain a fair contract with their employer for the past seven months.

They may be forced to go out on strike because their employer is refusing to remove a proposal that would strip them of the new Federal Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) enhancement, which is a benefit all working Canadians who contribute to the plan receive.

Follow this link to send a message of support!

Annual General Meeting – April 16

Our annual general meeting will be on Friday, April 16, at 2 pm. It will be held virtually.

To RSVP for the meeting, contact our Membership Officer, Kim Robinson (kimrobinson1945@icloud.com), by April 14. A link will be sent to those who have RSVP’d prior to the meeting. 

The meeting will include a bargaining update and the elections for:

  • Vice President, Part-time Instructors Dalhousie, Truro Campus
  • Vice President, Teaching Assistants, Dalhousie, Studley Campus 
  • Secretary-Treasurer
  • Vice President, Instructors at TLC, SMU 
  • Vice President, Part-time Instructors at MSVU
  • Communications Officer 
  • Trustee

If you are interested in standing for election for any of these positions please contact us. To be nominated, you must attend the meeting or submit your nomination beforehand to president.cupe3912@gmail.com 

Nominations of members of marginalized groups are encouraged. 

All members are welcome.