Black History Month: A. Philip Randolph

CUPE Local 1989 celebrates Black History Month by highlighting the life and work of A. Philip Randolph.

A. Philip Randolph was a labour organizer, a civil rights leader, a journalist, and one of the most influential African-American leaders of the 20th Century.

A. Philip Randolph said: “Freedom is never given. It is won.”

With his friend Chandler Owen, Randolph founded and was co-editor of The Messenger, an African-American socialist magazine.

Randolph is best remembered for establishing (in 1925) and leading the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African-American labour union. The union — which was active in both the US and Canada — represented nearly 10,000 Black men and women who worked for railroads.

The men and women in the union worked as porters and maids for the Pullman Company’s luxury overnight trains. They worked very long hours for little pay, with no job security. Half their wages would be spent on food and lodging while on the job. They even paid for their own (mandatory) uniforms, and relied mainly on tips for income.

These men were not even allowed the dignity of their own names — all Pullman Porters were called “George,” after owner George Pullman.

A book about the Pullman Porters is called “My name’s not George.

Randolph and the Brotherhood faced opposition on all fronts — from other unions, from the Black community, and of course from their employer.

The American Federation of Labor (AFL) reflected the racism and discrimination that was the norm in the US at that time, so there was much opposition to accepting the Brotherhood as part of the broader labour movement.

Many African-Americans viewed the Pullman workers as elite and well-off — after all, they had steady employment. At the same time, many middle-class Blacks viewed union organizers as trouble-makers who would give their a community a bad name.

The Pullman Company tried everything to keep the workers from organizing, including a smear campaign against Randolph himself.

But the Brotherhood persisted. In 1937, after more than 10 years of struggle, the Pullman Company finally signed a collective agreement with the Brotherhood.

A. Philip Randolph was one of the principal organizers of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom.

In the 1940s, Randolph was the driving force behind ending discrimination in government defense factories and in desegregating the armed forces. Both of these milestones occurred decades before the civil rights movement was even recognized by the mainstream United States.

Randolph was also a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington at which Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

A. Philip Randolph knew that without economic justice, there can be no freedom. He spent his life fighting for workers, and he made a real difference.

Happy New Year from CUPE Local 1989

It’s been a huge two years for our union! Since the beginning of 2015, the Mississauga Library Workers have:
– engaged in a conversation about the future of our union,
– voted to separate from a composite local,
– applied for and been granted a new charter,
– written new bylaws,
– passed our first annual budget,
– found a physical space and created a union hall,
– completed our first audit,
– negotiated a new contract with no concessions,
– waged a successful strike, and best of all,
– brought home a new collective agreement with significant gains that we are very proud.

We couldn’t have done it without the strong solidarity our members feel for each other, the steadfast support of the labour community, and the support of the residents of Mississauga who rely on the services we provide.

Even as we look ahead with hope and optimism, we know that our successes stand out against a precarious landscape. Working people in communities across Canada are struggling, often at the brink of homelessness or fully in poverty’s grip.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has an excellent visual snapshot of what Ontarians faced in 2016, a story told in 10 infographics. The persistent gender wage gap, the grossly inadequate minimum wage, and the near absence of affordable housing, show us that Ontario has a lot of work to do.



CUPE 1989 is proud to be part of the struggle for fairness, good jobs, and quality public services. Wishing you a Happy New Year full of strength and solidarity — and great public libraries.

Essex Library Workers and Peel Children’s Aid Society Workers Need Your Support

For information on how to donate, please scroll down.

This week, members of CUPE Local 1989, Mississauga Library Workers, joined members of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union, and other members of CUPE, OPSEU, ETFO — and probably others I’ve forgotten — from Burlington, Hamilton, London, North Bay, Oshawa, Ottawa, and Woodstock on a road trip to Kingsville, Ontario.

We brought a bus full of love, solidarity, and donations to the Essex County Library Workers, who have been on strike for six months.


We had a spirited and emotional rally and a short picket line walk, and we promised the Essex Library Warriors that they are not forgotten.

We were thrilled and very proud of our members’ generosity. TPLWU held a food drive by branch. They collected so much food, it took 45 minutes to load the boxes into the bus!


As you know, our sisters and brothers in Essex County have been on strike for six months, and no resolution is in sight. It’s a very difficult situation, and the winter weather isn’t going to help. If your family makes end-of-year or holiday donations, please remember the Essex Library Workers this year.

CUPE 4914, Children’s Aid Society Workers, are also in a very difficult position. Their employer has hired scabs, offering exorbitant wages with all expenses paid. If you’re a taxpayer in Peel, that’s how your taxes are being wasted.


Click here to send a message to Wynne and Coteau.

Sonia Yung, president of Local 4914, made this appeal.

November 24, 2016 Dear Family, Friends and Allies As many of you may be aware we CUPE 4914, representing 435 Frontline, administrative and support staff have been on strike since September 18, 2016.

While our resolve remains strong, the financial burden of an eleven-week strike has created hardship for our membership. Some of our members are facing eviction notices, some have had to withdraw their children from daycare due to inability to pay fees, some have been unable to purchase required medication for themselves and or their children, while others are struggling to purchase groceries and or purchase gas for their vehicles to make it to the picket line.

And so we sacrifice our pride, and ask that you consider extending whatever support you can.

You can donate in the following ways.

Donations to Essex Library Workers

Cheques made out to CUPE Local 2974, sent to:
CUPE Local 2974
3200 Deziel Drive – Unit 414
Windsor, ON N8W 5K8

Food Bank:
CUPE Regional Office
3200 Deziel Drive – Unit 414
Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
39 Wilson Avenue
Town of Essex
Thursdays, 12:00 – 3:00 pm

Donations to Children’s Aid Society Workers

Cheques made out to CUPE Local 4914, sent to:
CUPE National Rep Bonnie Wong
CUPE Regional Office
25 Watline Avenue – Suite 202
Mississauga, ON L4Z 2Z1

Food Bank:
Strike Headquarters
19 John Street
Brampton, ON
Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Get on the bus! Rally and donation drive to support CUPE 2974

CUPE Local 2974 Essex County Library Workers Picket Line Visit and Holiday Gift Drive

Essex County Library Workers have been on strike almost six months. Let’s show these courageous Library Warriors they are not forgotten. Reserve a seat on the bus for our solidarity rally and gift drive.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pick up #1 – 6:30 am – 40 Orchard View Blvd, Toronto

Pick up # 2 – 7:30 am – 2600 Edenhurst Drive, Mississauga

Pick up #3 – 8:30 am – QEW/Guelph Line Carpool Lot, 3073 N Service Road, Burlington

12:00 pm drop off at 40 Main Street West, Kingsville, ON

1:30 pm leave Kingsville for return trip

If possible, please bring any of the following:
– Non-perishable food items
– Gift cards for gas, groceries, or other area stores (Canadian Tire, Homesense, Chapters, etc.)
– Personal care and household products
– New items that are appropriate for gifts (scarves, mittens, games, toys)
Note: please leave any gifts unwrapped.

To reserve a seat on the bus, email Laura Kaminker at Please note how many seats you will need and what bus stop you will use.

If you don’t need a ride and want to meet us at the rally, sign up here on Facebook.

Ten Reasons You Should Donate to the Essex County Library Workers This Holiday Season!

Ten Reasons You Should Donate to the Essex County Library Workers, CUPE Local 2974, This Holiday Season!

1. They’ve been on strike more than 140 days!

2. They are library workers! Their community needs them!

3. They are CUPE members, union members, standing strong!

4. They are fighting off a sick-leave program that is grossly unfair.

5. Municipal governments all over Canada are watching — waiting for them to crack. The more help they receive, the longer they can hold out.

6. It’s easy to do. Purchase gift card, mail to Local 2974 Library Workers, 414-3200 Deziel Drive, Windsor, ON N8W 5A5. Done!

7. We can show them they are not forgotten.

8. A little goes a long way. No amount is too small. Gas or supermarket gift cards are very welcome.

9. Doesn’t it feel good to help others? Get that warm and fuzzy “I did something good” feeling.

10. We can help their families have a good holiday, despite the strike.

October 1 Rally for Decent Work


What are you doing this Saturday? Some of the CUPE 1989 Library Warriors will be heading to Queen’s Park to call on the Government of Ontario to MAKE IT FAIR.

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act is woefully outdated and leaves most workers without protection. Knowing this, employers are able to exploit us, especially the most vulnerable workers like newcomers and those from racialized communities. Changes in the ESA are coming, and we want to make sure workers are at the table.

Join us on Saturday, October 1, as we raise our collective voice to demand:
– a $15/hour minimum wage,
– mandatory paid sick leave,
– respect at work,
– humane scheduling,
– and laws that protect everyone.

Union and nonunion, students and educators, full-time and part-time, young workers and experienced — we all have a stake in this. And we are #StrongerTogether!

For information on buses or to join an event, see the Make It Fair website. Hope to see you there.

Thank You for Your Support

CUPE 1989 members happy to be back on the job, grateful for community support

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Aug. 12, 2016) – Members of Local 1989 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Mississauga Library Workers (CUPE 1989) would like to thank the people of Mississauga for their support during their recent strike, and for the warm welcome that they have received upon returning to the job.

“Every person that came through our doors said, ‘Welcome back, we missed you,'” said Mary Keating, who works at the Lorne Park branch of the Mississauga Library System. “Of course we told them we missed them too. There were lots of hugs from regulars, and some people even started bringing in treats.”

Members of CUPE 1989 were off the job for 18 days in July where they did as much as they could to deliver library services from the picket line. This included distributing free books, and offering free programs like children’s story times.

“Celebration Square will look empty and sad without all the pink-wearing ladies and gents,” said Liliana Korac, CUPE 1989 member, recalling their time on the picket line. “It wasn’t easy, and I am happy that strike is over, and we will go back to do what we love with all our passion.”

Rachel Young, who works at the Burnhamthorpe branch, said, “We got lots of ‘welcome back’ greetings and warm feelings when we reopened. We received two lovely pictures from little kids welcoming us back as only little kids can. Proof that we make a difference. We matter to people!”

With the libraries back up and running the pages, librarians, library assistants, couriers, and cataloguers of CUPE 1989 have shifted their focus back to delivering quality programming and services to the people of Mississauga. But now they do so with an even stronger connection to the community that supported them through the strike.

“The members of CUPE 1989 thank all our customers who were so supportive during the strike-everyone who wrote letters or made phone calls on our behalf, brought us water, honked as they drove by, stopped to wish us good luck. You made a difference!,” said CUPE 1989 President Laura Kaminker. “We’re very happy to be back at work, providing the quality library services that we are so proud of.”

Laura Kaminker
CUPE 1989 President

Matthew Stella
CUPE Communications

What the Strike Meant to Us, in Our Own Words

13701091_10208812847471697_4255668960379047393_oImage: “We Hit Them Like A Wave” — Diane Davies

After CUPE 1989 ratified our new contract, I said I would write about the intangible gains we made through our strike, the kind that aren’t written in the collective agreement.

I’ve heard labour activists say that strikes are a “transformative experience” — a life-changing event — and now I know why. Standing up for ourselves, asserting our own rights, is a crucial part of every person’s development. But learning how to stand up collectively is a different level of power.

For many of our members, the strike was their first time seeing themselves as part of something larger than themselves — seeing our union not just as 400 library workers who happen to work for the same employer, but as part of CUPE, and part of the labour movement itself.

Striking together brought so much unity and solidarity among our members, so much goodwill and love and caring. Of course there were some complaints and some finger-pointing. Nothing is ever 100% — even our ratification vote was only 99%! But the huge majority of our members were supportive and caring — and determined.

At work, we are full-time and part-time, we are pages, librarians, library assistants, couriers, cataloguers. But on the line, we were one: we were 1989.

I could go on and on about this — I often do! — but I’d rather let our members speak in their own words. These are quotes from emails and from our closed discussion group on Facebook. Although I am quoting each anonymously, these all are actual quotes from our members. And from most of these, I’ve removed effusive thanks to the leaders and the bargaining team!

Reflections after we returned to work

It was sad we had to go out, but I’m glad I was part of it before I left. That was the first time in my entire 39 years working for MLS that I felt we were truly united! We should all be proud of that. (from a recently retired member)

The journey we all were on for three weeks was enlightening, because now we all know that striking is not easy, but we made friends along the way. We had a unity, a togetherness, instead of the divisions between part-timers and full-timers that some of us thought might happen.

It wasn’t all about the money but also the principle of the matter — fairness, equality, respect, being valued.

What I learned after I went back to work was how much our customers really cared and loved us. I heard “Thank God you are all back!” “I really miss you guys!”, “You’re a sight for sore eyes!”

It was a lot of sweating, walking, with moments of happiness and despair, but for a good cause and I would do it again.

We got lots of “welcome back” greetings and warm feelings when we reopened yesterday, as well as some unexpected ire from patrons angry about the raw deal the City had offered us. Seems like some regulars were letter writing (in our favour) during the strike!

Later we received two lovely pictures from little kids welcoming us back as only little kids can. Proof that we make a difference. We matter to people!

kids pics

There comes a time in your life when you have to take a stand. Fight for what is right. Fight for “the greater good” and not just think about yourself. For me, this strike was my time. I will never pass by another strike and think that a quick honk is enough support. I will always stop to ask if there is anything I can do to help. Water, snacks, words of encouragement. Make calls. Walk the line with them. Whatever I can do to make a difference no matter how small.

As much as it’s not fun to be forced to strike by the employer, I have grown through this experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Celebration Square will look empty and sad without all the pink-wearing ladies and gents. It wasn’t easy, and I am happy that strike is over, and we will go back to do what we love with all our passion. But still, I will miss our togetherness and unity and friendship and feeling that we are doing something very important, that we are changing Mississauga Library System forever, that we have a very strong voice and determination to do what is right. This is even a historic moment because this was the first time that our library went on strike! Solidarity and love to all of you.

I will probably retire next year, but I feel so good about what we all just did, leaving our union in such better condition, proud of ourselves, no longer afraid to strike. I am so glad I had a small part in this. I am so glad that I got to experience a “kinder gentler strike” and to witness solidarity in action.

I still can’t believe the unity the strike created. I admit feeling a little let down once the picketing ended, knowing that I wouldn’t be seeing so many of my colleagues daily. It was way better than any staff appreciation or team-building exercise our employer could come up with. The caring about people, checking up on one another, lifting morale when one of us was having a tough day, making sure colleagues were staying hydrated and being safe on hot, hot days.

We have all changed as co-workers. People I used to pass in the building with a smile and hello now take time to stop for a quick chat.

I know for myself, I will never look at striking workers the same. I always used to honk when driving past a strike and even dropped off coffee and Timbits when the teachers were ou,t but now I will go out of my way to drop things off to the picket lines and find time to walk with picketers. I will tell them to stay strong and they will look back on this time fondly. I know I will!

My first day on the strike, I was a little uncertain as many probably were. Within 15 minutes, up went the flag, someone handed me a sheet of chants. “Be a rebel,” she said. And so I was. My favourite part was blocking the executive garage, and chanting at the corner of Burnhamthorpe. Apparently the city received many complaints about the noise.

I met the most wonderful people and the kindness of strangers. Bringing water and freezies and honking. We really had a lot of public support. I learned so much and wouldn’t change those three weeks for anything.

Returning to work we realized the public was totally with us. So happy to see us back. I find it funny they were more appreciative of our return from the strike than when we were closed for 18 months [for renovations]. Many of our customers read between the lines of City’s press.

I will never pass a picket line again without honking or stopping to see if they need anything. Another thought I had mid point of the strike was: it wasn’t us vs. them, it was US FOR US.

Let me tell you about returning to work at the Lorne Park branch. Every person that came through our doors said, “Welcome back, we missed you.” Of course we told them we missed them also. Lots of hugs from regulars. Then patrons started bringing in treats. A large fruit tray from one, and homemade, still-warm banana muffins. We were missed as much as we missed them.

I did miss them, but I wouldn’t have traded our three weeks together for anything. Connecting with old friends and making new friends. Together, fighting for fairness.

All reports about our return were positive. Customers brought staff cookies, someone brought a potted plant! Everyone was saying, “Welcome back! We missed you.” Customers asked, “Are you happy, did it work out for you?” I have not heard one report of a negative comment from our customers.

During the strike…

Today was a really interesting time. Standing up for worker’s rights at the library was a unifying experience. It was really encouraging to hear so many commuters honk their horn in support!

I can’t believe how many caring and talented people work for the library. There are too many to name individually, but I see at least one of them being brilliant every single day. It stuns me that our Employer can be so willfully disrespectful to those who give so much of themselves seemingly as naturally as they breathe air.

It’s ridiculous how our Employer has turned so many of its best and brightest against itself. There are incredibly dynamic library workers, and often it’s these very folks who are channeling their boundless energies and exceptional levels of commitment into keeping our Union strong while standing up to the very organization they give their proverbial blood, sweat and tears to every day.

I love how united we are. We have 20+ year veterans picketing with fresh-faced newcomers. Librarians and senior librarians with couriers and technical services processors. Full-timers, part-time part-timers and pages. Everybody sounds passionate, committed, and fed up with always being treated as an afterthought.

Also, in my role, I get to more branches and departments than most, and every day I see the great things that we do! It really is impressive how we’ve come together across all job classifications. That alone shows how badly our Employer has screwed things up: EVERYBODY has had enough!

I didn’t realize how big an impact a strike can make until I heard comments from our supporters. Kinda like being a part of something bigger than oneself.

I have never felt such a deep sense of belonging. I am so proud!!!!

I’m falling in love with my Union!! I am seeing so much of the best that people can be these last few days (ha ha…with some exceptions, of course, but I tend to ignore those parts).

Really, I am in awe! Thank you and the rest of the team for your strength and perseverance!

Woohoo! Onward march!!

During some tough times…

I support our union! Goodbye 0.5% and minimum wage! We will not blame our union whether we achieve our aims or not. Because: no fight, no hope at all!!!

I’ve been a library employee (and union member) for almost 30 years. In that time, we’ve come close to striking on two occasions (one of them within a hair’s breadth) but we’ve always backed off. Why? First, fear; second, a naïve belief that if we were “reasonable” our employer would recognize this and reward us “the next time”. This “next time” never came, so we drew a line in the sand—and our employer hasn’t just crossed it, they’ve obliterated it with their mean-spirited and insulting offer. I’m sure they did this because they assumed, as in past years, that we would back off. Well, the chickens have come home to roost — only we’re not chickens. We’re taking a long-overdue stand against the erosion of our standard of living.

I’ve spoken with a number of people on the picket line and haven’t heard one word of dissent. I wonder if the City realizes that everything they’ve said and done thus far has only galvanized support for the strike? They will not break us. We all stand together.

This letter [from the library director] is an insidious attempt to divide us; its aim is to plant doubt in the minds of the Union members, weaken our trust and ultimately sap the vigour, commitment and passion that Union members feel right now ( and which [the director] and the other senior managers can witness so vividly from their library offices when they observe us out on Celebration Square).

It must be rankling some of them immensely to see us all together so strong and committed. A cliché but true: divide and conquer. This is what she is trying to do to us.

It is shameful that she is resorting to this tactic and indeed an insult to our intelligence; it is once again treating us as if we are children.

Please know that I stand by you and the rest of the Union leaders. I have not yet received this letter in the mail from Rose. When I do, I will follow up as you suggest (send her a simple, polite response that I stand with my union).

I trust that the rest of our Union membership will do the same.

Tsk tsk tsk, don’t the employers know their attempts to divide us backfires? It’s amazing how loud librarians can get. Today I’ll test my hearing. But so far so good. I think it survived yesterday.

Sending positive thoughts/vibes/prayers to the bargaining team this week. Go get them!!!

Before we went on strike, I already had a bit of activism experience . . . . Now I’m involved in a different type of activism (our Union strike) and it’s fascinating to see where the two types of activism share common ground: ultimately both are profoundly powerful agents for positive change and deeply life-changing for the activists.

I’m sure all of our CUPE Union members who`re working so hard together in this current struggle with the City feel this.

Yes! We need to persevere and support each other and stand up for the fairness of this strike. I envision our strike also helping other struggling workers in the process.

I, for one, am willing to be out on strike for however long it takes; you can count on me.

I believe (as you do) that if we keep it up, we WILL prevail.

I’ve worked for the Mississauga Library System for over two decades and never at any time had any illusion about the employer-employee relationship.

It feels very good to finally have a strong, truly committed Union leadership to inspire library union members to stand up to the City, make it accountable for its actions and demand a fair contract for library staff, a contract that respects good working conditions and a just, equitable remuneration for all levels of staff.

Alongside this it’s wonderful to see the strength and friendship among library staff as we unite together in this strike.

Also wonderful to see the community support we’re receiving from so many of our customers; truly heartwarming!

Not to mention the support and encouragement our Union is receiving from so many other unions and labour organizations.

I am not at all surprised at the behaviour for the City, having worked the library/City for 42 years, this is what I have seen and known for a long time. They have taken advantage of the library staff because we were seen as weak and as we continued to back down at the last minute when a strike was so close it seemed to confirm that. Going on strike is a very difficult thing to do especially for a group who make such low wages, therefore making it very hard to have money in the bank to get you through a strike — and management knows that and uses that. I feel the City would not and do not treat or feel the same why about the other City Unions that are mostly dominated by men.

Your words say it so clearly and I do hope all of library union members are able to hang in there. This is a very hard fight against an unfeeling or caring employer.

When we returned to the table…

Dear Laura

We are with you and the bargaining team.

Thank you.

Good luck to you and the bargaining team. I wish the city would realize what a dedicated crew we (the library workers) are. To strike in summer heat and not falter. It must say something about us as a group.

One thing about this strike. You can meet staff you don’t usually work with and catch up with staff that you do. Whether they be your branch or another.

I appreciate seeing the extra support we are getting. The Fight for 15 Fairness, Maureen O’Reilly, Fred Hahn, so many others. Yup, this is bigger then just us. I would love to see minimum raised to 15 across the province.

When we reached a settlement…

I can’t believe it! This is so wonderful! I am so proud to work with such amazing, strong, dedicated and compassionate people. Congratulations to everyone for a fight well fought!

I will cherish my wonderful memories of picketing, rallies, friendship, unity.

I will definitely miss walking and talking to everyone as well! I will miss our togetherness and preserverance, I will always remember this bonding experience! Love you guys!

18 days ago, my sisters and brothers of CUPE 1989 set out on a journey to show our employer that we were fed up with our working conditions. That we would no longer stand for these unfair working condition.

This strike has taught me many things (some not so good, but let’s focus on the positive); there are so many amazing people that work in our library system, the support, the SOLIDARITY. The support of the public and other unions in this fight was unbelievable.

I hope that we never have to experience this again, but it is now a memory I will cherish, better than any staff appreciation our employer will ever put on for us. I was definitely feeling the stress this past week, but everyone was so supportive and I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

I hope that our fight will help others fight for what’s fair and help end precarious work. I say all this still not knowing what the deal will be, but I trust that our bargaining team would not settle for anything less than we deserve. I don’t know about you, but I’m celebrating this weekend!

What a wonderful experience this was for all of us. This strike gave me confidence!! I got to know so many wonderful members from the library system and from other wonderful CUPE members. It’s an unforgettable experience for me. I will cherish this wonderful memories

Let’s carry this hope, loyalty and friendship forward into our workplace and stay respectful and kind to all of our friends who fought this battle and carried the flags and talked the talk… let this be our future mission!

I was starting to feel the stress, my morale was down and then a few conversations with colleagues and a couple negative comments made by people made me take a step back and say ‘hey wait a minute’ and that just motivated me more. Thank you so much for your tireless efforts for us and thank you to everyone who was out there on the picket lines every day in the heat, no matter what, fighting the good fight. I have had the chance to talk to and meet so many people I didn’t know before so thank you for those connections as well. I am on vacation next week but I will be excited to get back and see all the excited kids for the summer programs.

Every time I wear a pink shirt from now on it will mean something more than just wearing a pink shirt.

I am so excited to go back to work but I will miss every moment of my picketing!! Wow! We had so much fun. See you all [at the ratification vote] with our similing faces. We did it! We won!!!

I feel like we won the lottery! Only we didn’t win it, we FOUGHT for it!

After a member expressed concern about part-time getting “more” than full-time…

I knew in time opinions like this would surface. This is EXACTLY what the employer wants. They want staff to have the “this doesn’t effect me, so I don’t support the movement” attitude.

This is the response that I myself have received from friends and family: “But you’re full-time permanent now, why do you care about other levels that you probably won’t go back to?” But once they hear the issues they understand.

I care because I was part-time for 15 years, and I received nothing. I care because when I became full-time I suddenly had all these things I never had before, I was suddenly so much more important, when nothing had changed. My work ethic stayed the same, my intelligence level was the same, who I was still the same. But because I was now full-time, suddenly I mattered.

I care because suddenly my 15 years of part-time service meant nothing (they didn’t want to give me my service pin because I was now full-time, though I completed more then fifteen years at part-time — my manager had to fight for it). I care because I’ve known many people in this system for many years and we’ve all at some point felt that part-time staff meant nothing and that has finally changed.

The bargaining team has made me believe that change is possible, that we CAN make a difference but we MUST stick together. It’s never too late to help your teammates receive things they should have had a long time ago. Full-time or part-time, Pages or supervisors we are all human beings and deserve to make wages we can live on. Solidarity, today, tomorrow and always!!!!

I understand the stress, we’re all feeling it. I know as this goes into a second week people are coming to the realization that this could possibly go on for a while. Know what’s lost now will be regained in the future. The City now knows we’re not afraid, they know that we are willing to do what needs to be done, and I hope that because of this they will deal with future agreements with more class and dignity than this round, because they know we won’t back down. I put all my trust in our leadership and the bargaining team. There will always be bumps, it’s part of life. This will all be worth it in the end. Solidarity always.

— Laura Kaminker, President, CUPE 1989