Since Monday, the Support Staff of the University of Ottawa (SSUO) have been striking against wage and benefit cuts, an orphan clause in their collective agreement, and continued vacancies in their bargaining unit. Contrary to what the Central Administration has been reporting, it has not proposed any compromises to the SSUO to facilitate ending the strike. The best way to pressure the Central Administration to propose a fair and equitable deal for the SSUO is to mobilize our University community’s support for our striking colleagues and friends.
Here are some actions you can take to support their efforts:
- We invite members to self-organize solidarity pickets with the SSUO. And, if you do arrange a solidarity picket, please let us know so that the APUO can relay the message to the SSUO and follow up with a list of picket locations. We also encourage you to take photos of your picket that the APUO can share on its social media platforms. Please note that, in accord with public health guidelines, picket lines are limited to a maximum of 25 people. If you have or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, we ask that you not participate in a picket. If you have any doubts, we invite you to use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.
- Because support staff are currently locked out of their university email accounts, we invite our members to send us short statements of support and solidarity for the SSUO. We will pass on your statements to the SSUO to be shared with our picketing colleagues to let them know we stand with them in their fight for a fair and equitable deal, and that we highly value them and their work.
- We also invite members to express their support for the SSUO on social media by using the hashtags #FairDealNow4SSUO, #uOttawa, #Respect. There also are Facebook profile picture frames that you can find by typing “SSUO” in the Facebook frame search bar.
- Students are also having to contend with the consequences of the SSUO strike. We encourage members to take the time to explain to students how the SSUO strike may affect them, to discuss with them the immense contribution of our support staff to our University, and why a strike is necessary. Student support for the SSUO is crucial at this time. We’ve created short point-form notes to assist in informing your discussions with students.
- We cannot overemphasize the importance of members exercising their right to refuse to take on tasks usually undertaken by support staff during this strike. When APUO members undertake SSUO tasks, it diminishes the impact of the strike and eases the pressure on the Central Administration to give up its uncompromising position. The sooner this strike impacts the functioning of our institution, the more likely we are to see it end quickly. As a reminder, we invite you to consult the following bulletin for a description of support staff responsibilities that may directly impact your work or that you may be asked to take on.
- If there are unfulfilled tasks usually completed by support staff that impact upon your ability to do your work, we encourage you to write to your Dean and to Jacques Frémont at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our continued solidarity and support for the SSUO are essential to quickly put an end to this strike.