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UNBSU organizing demonstration | Pushing for more student involvement in negotiations

The UNB Student Union is taking action against the job action.

On Sunday night, council passed a motion to host a demonstration on behalf of students.

The motion was put forward by vice-president finance Marc Gauvin, who said he was asked about it during the UNBSU general meeting last week.

“Some students had asked us if we would think of doing any kind of demonstration on behalf of students or anything of that matter,” Gauvin said.

Some councillors argued the need for the UNBSU, that’s chosen to remain neutral during the strike, to show visible action.

“We should stand against the strike . . . I understand that collective bargaining is a right that you have in Canada, but you just don’t strike [to] have a week off. You strike because you want something, and not talking doesn’t get you that thing faster,” said science councillor Mark Vangel.

“I just want to make [both parties] look like children. Because when they start losing support on both sides, they have no choice but to talk.”

LBGTQ representative Lee Thomas also brought up that many students are wondering what the UNBSU is doing for them, despite their neutral stance.

“We are hearing from a lot of students that everyone is claiming to have the student’s interest at heart but they feel like, [because what the Student Union is doing] isn’t anything visual, they can’t concretely say ‘this is what my Student Union is doing for me,’ ” Thomas said. “They feel like their Student Union doesn’t have their back [either].”

An ad-hoc committee featuring members of the executive, council and any students who want to get involved will organize the demonstration. An exact date for the demonstration has yet to be set.

Council also passed a motion Sunday to encourage the university to include the UNBSU in any negotiations with third parties where the outcome significantly affects students directly or indirectly.

“Doesn’t matter whether it’s a strike, a food contract or a new gym. The university makes decisions, they say they consulted with students and we’re stuck with what we got,” said UNBSU vice-president external Greg Bailey, who put forward the motion.

“Especially this week when we’ve got two sides saying they’re negotiating in the best interest of students. I think we put this on the books. We say ‘if you guys are really negotiating in our best interest, then let us have a seat at the table. It can’t be that hard.’ ”

Though many councillors agreed with the idea of the motion, many questions were asked regarding whether or not it would make any difference and what would be considered a “significant impact.”

Bailey said whether a particular negotiation will have a “significant impact” would be decided on a case-by-case basis. He said though the motion isn’t binding to the university, having it on record could provide some backing in future negotiations.

“Every year we have the same discussion and they keep ignoring us,” he said. “So it’s important to have it on the books so we can refer back to the fact that this is what students want.”

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1 Comment

  1. GimbyGee Reply

    “You just don’t strike to have a week off. You strike because you want something.” Clearly, one member of the UNBSU has not been following the labour dispute very closely.

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