By Jennifer Harmer, Shannon Potter, and Ana Oliveira
On Friday, November 4th, CIRHR PhD students picketed at Queen’s Park to show their support for striking CUPE Ontario Education workers. On Thursday evening, the Ontario government passed the Keeping Students in Class Act. The legislation invoked the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and imposed a collective agreement on workers with hefty fines for strikes. The PhD students joined other members of CUPE 3902 (representing Teaching Assistants at the University) to voice their opposition to the legislation. PhD Candidate, Jen Harmer explained “as scholars of industrial relations, it is important for us to use our voice to stand up for democratic processes like collective bargaining.” PhD Candidate, Shannon Potter also said “I am so proud that the PhD students of the Centre are mobilizing to promote human rights in this country.” She added “I encourage other CIRHR students and community members to learn about the issues and get involved in voicing their support for the value of collective bargaining.” PhD Candidate, Ana Oliveira was also in attendance and voiced her support for the striking workers. She said “good faith collective bargaining is the cornerstone of democracy, without it we walk a slippery slope to authoritarianism.” Several unions were also represented at the protest including Unifor, The United Food and Commercial Workers, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, in addition to many others.