Montreal firefighters fight back: “marauding” through City Hall

Montreal City Hall marauding aftermath

what City Hall looks like if you piss off the firefighters and municipal workers enough. Photo from someone’s twitter.

From the Montreal Gazette:

MONTREAL — Dozens of Montreal firefighters and municipal employees protesting pension reforms stormed city hall Monday night, pushing past security guards trying to hold the doors closed and marauding through the city’s ornate seat of power.

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Fredericton Solidarity Network gains victory for worker

Fredericton Solidarity network after delivering letter to Vault 29

The Fredericton Solidarity Network crew who accompanied Leo to demand his wages

The Fredericton Solidarity Network has arrived. This new initiative in Fredericton took action to demand unpaid wages of a local food service worker and the efforts were successful.

Leo worked as a line cook at Vault 29, a new Fredericton pub, during the first week of June 2014. He hadn’t been paid for a total of 52 days, 31 days past the legal limit for New Brunswick, despite numerous requests for the money owed. The manager that was supposed to take care of paying the kitchen staff continued to delay payment to Leo, without ever denying that money was owed.

On July 29, the Fredericton Solidarity Network brought together a group of people from the community to accompany Leo to his former workplace as he delivered a letter demanding his unpaid wages in order to avoid further action. On the following day, Leo was paid all the money he was owed.

This is the first action of the Fredericton Solidarity Network. Like other solidarity networks ( Seattle Solidarity Network , Steel City Solidarity ), the Fredericton version will aim to bring together people from the community to fight together with workers who are facing injustices from employers and, potentially, tenants facing injustices from landlords. Stay tuned for details of a new website and future actions.

May Day Trivia and Open Mic!

Grad House, Thursday May 1st, 7:30 pm

Presented by the Fredericton Industrial Workers of the World

There will be prizes!

” . . . what could give the workers greater courage and faith in their own strength than a mass work stoppage which they had decided themselves? ” — Rosa Luxemburg, 1894: What are the Origins of May Day.

May 1st is International Workers Day, a day that has been celebrated around the world since 1890, marking the killing by police and the State of workers in Chicago in 1886 (The Haymarket Massacre), who had been struggling for an 8-hour working day. Since its international growth, it has been the major day on the calendar of international working class solidarity, by far eclipsing Labour Day. In many countries, massive marches of hundreds of thousands, even millions, take place. Here in Fredericton, reviving a tradition of filling the streets on May Day in the coming years is the hope of many, including the Fredericton Industrial Workers of the World. But we shall start from humble beginnings, asking questions.

On Thursday May 1st, the Fredericton branch of the Industrial Workers of the World invites anyone up for the challenge and fun to May Day trivia night at the Grad House on May Day. The questions will be themed on May Day, Labour rights (or lack thereof) and key figures in history who rallied workers. There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

After the trivia is over, we invite people to participate in an open Mic with the same theme as the trivia, sharing songs, poetry and even anecdotes about work.

Faculties at NB universities pass non confidence motions in their administrations

Originally posted on the NB Media Coop . Written by Nicole Saulnier on April 9, 2014

During the past month, faculties at the University of New Brunswick and Mount Allison University have passed no confidence motions in their administrations.

Five of the largest faculties at UNB Fredericton (Arts, Science, Engineering, Business and Education) have passed no confidence motions in the upper-management committee comprised of the President and Vice Presidents. These motions come after a three week labour disruption at Mount Allison and UNB that raised concerns about the priorities of the administrations. During the past few years, faculties at UNB have been subject to funding cuts, which has reduced staff, programs and resources at the university.

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Fredericton IWW support for Bread and Roses event

On March 13, an event was held in Fredericton, “Bread and Roses”. It was an International Women’s Day event, workers’ appreciation night and fundraiser for the NB Coalition for Pay Equity. The Fredericton IWW lent support by tending the bar for free and donating the over $80 in tips to the cause. The event featured live music from Fredericton’s Alex Bailey Swing Band, speeches by women affected by the low pay to childcare workers, home support workers, community residence (group home) workers and transition home workers, all work traditionally and continually done by mostly women. Additionally, there was some pretty fancy dancing by one of our own members. Emma Goldman would be proud.

Analysis: The Role of New Brunswick Labour in Transgender and Queer Struggles

 By Fredericton IWW member Kelly Jarman with consultation from the Fredericton Gender Minorities Group

*This analysis is the opinion of one member, not the Fredericton IWW*

          A frank reality that the labour movement in New Brunswick has to confront is that AUNBT didn’t enjoy widespread popular support. The obvious problem is that AUNBT has kept itself isolated within the university since its creation. The union has publicly emerged only at times that the collective agreement needs to be negotiated and then disappeared from the public consciousness. The public reaction to the 2014 strike was a rude awakening to many of AUNBT’s members. However, the strike also showed the power of solidarity with the teamsters working at UPS and Purolator, and other unions, refusing to cross picket lines and the coming together of unions and students on campus. Still, solidarity is not a concept that only appears in the time of an emergency. In order for it to work, solidarity has to be practiced constantly. AUNBT did not enjoy popular support because it has not done enough to fight for other struggles or connect other struggles to its own.

            AUNBT missed a great opportunity to connect the strike to struggles larger than wages.Academic freedom and the corporatization of the university has far reaching consequences that make labour struggles in the university part of larger struggles such as queer and transgender folk. Academia is the centre of groundbreaking queer and gender theory but no connection was made between the strike and queer and transgender struggles. The loss of comparability for teachers at UNB and the continued cuts to the university’s research would mean that New Brunswick would lose access to quality thought around gender and sexuality. Gender and sexuality theory changes rapidly and for groups trying to educate the public, access to quality professors and librarians makes a huge difference. There needs to be a serious acknowledgement of this by both AUNBT and members of, or organizations of, the queer and transgender community.

            There are many simple actions that AUNBT, or any union, could take that would make a huge difference. AUNBT currently has a committee on the status of women but does not have a anything of the same likeness for queer and transgender folk. For reference, the IWW has written into our constitution a resolution on biology and gender. On campus, there is an association of LGBT faculty but it is not associated with any union on campus. The adoption of queer and transgender struggles as a central issue only requires a small change in mindset by working within the union rather than outside of it. Currently, queer and transgender faculty have raised concerns that queer and transgender folk are discriminated against for employability at UNB because it is believed by administration that they won’t stay in Fredericton long. It should be noted that because of transmisogny, trans women face the worst discrimination for employability, discrimination in the workplace and make less money than trans men. There is no reason a union cannot fight against discrimination in the workplace and make it a prominent issue.

            Inequality and discrimination exists both inside and outside of the workplace. They do not exist in a vacuum outside of our working lives. Workplace organizing is an effective tool to gain power that does not leave people who are transgender or working class out. Legal movements like the fight for marriage equality ignore transgender struggles and are often content to ignore economic inequality. There are queer and transgender members of AUNBT who are fighting for respect and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be supported by the rest of the queer and transgender community. The fight for wage comparability is also a fight for access to costly medical procedures that are not covered by the Government in New Brunswick. Teachers at comparable universities in other provinces not only make more money than AUNBT members, but they also have access to medical procedures (Note: Not all transgender people choose to use any medical procedures). New Brunswick is one of the worst provinces in Canada for even recognition for transgender folk by the provincial government. AUNBT has to step up and fight for the queer and transgender community too. Members of AUNBT have privilege with economic security that many transgender people do not. If AUNBT steps up and supports those who do not have privilege then it will be much harder for there to be resentment of good wages.

            We only have to look next door to Halifax to see how the labour movement has prospered by working with larger struggles. Solidarity Halifax is an organization that “fight[s] capitalism on multiple fronts” and is a collaboration of, among others, labour and transgender and queer activists. It proclaims that “too often vibrant organizations and movements lack the staying power to survive the departure of individual organizers or find themselves limited to fighting against single causes in isolation of the larger systemic problems. We seek to overcome these pitfalls.” It sees the enemy of both the social justice and labour movements as being an economic system that exploits people. Social justice and labour causes are limited as long as they are isolated from each other but can do amazing things when they work together. In the lead up to the next labour conflict, labour unions in New Brunswick have a choice between being isolated and winning marginal victories for themselves or coming together with the larger community and winning victories as a whole.

Fundraiser for Sodexo Employees

It is excellent to see conversations on picket lines get turned into action. A step in the right direction for greater solidarity on campus.


UNB management scaled back food services for the three weeks of strike/lockout, a decision which has resulted in considerable financial hardship for a significant group of workers: out of approximately 88 employees, only fifteen or so of the most senior maintained close to their usual hours. Of the rest, some were obliged to initiate EI claims early, which will result in reduced or no income over the summer period when they usually count on EI, and others didn’t even have enough hours to initiate a claim. CUPE has given them strike pay despite their not actually being on strike or locked out themselves but that only came into effect ten days after the beginning of the job action.

Many of our members have expressed concern for these workers and indicated their willingness to contribute financially. AUNBT has undertaken to administer such a fund. We are looking into various online options…

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