December 17, 2014: International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
CUPE 4207, representing academic and ESL workers at Brock University, recognizes the urgent need to end violence against sex workers. As union members we know that occupational health and safety is a concern for all workers, including those who work in all varieties of sex work. Nobody should face violence on the job. We take this day to stand in solidarity with sex workers and join in the call to make work safe for all.
Violence against sex workers takes a variety of forms, including violence from clients, the public and the police. The system of criminalization of acts related to sex work contributes to these forms of violence. Additionally, exclusion of sex workers from the legal regimes set up to give workers rights on the job contributes to violence. Denial of the right to access occupational health and safety legislation and the right to join labour unions means that sex workers are excluded from legal protections that other workers have successfully struggled to achieve. With the right to organize and self represent workers gain the capacity to fight back against bad working conditions, including workplace violence. Denying sex workers access to these rights that are enjoyed by other workers is unacceptable. Sex work is work, and must be treated as such.
Last year the Supreme Court of Canada made a landmark decision that identified the criminal prohibitions on acts related to prostitution as a cause of harm to sex workers. The decision clearly stated that these laws impose dangerous conditions, and thus violate sex workers constitutional right to life, liberty and the security of the person. The decision was based on an extensive review of the research on violence against sex workers. Put succinctly, the Court ruled that criminalization was harmful. Shamefully, the response of the federal government has not been consistent with reducing the risk of harm to sex workers. In a brazen disregard for the health and safety of sex workers the provisions of the so called “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act” (PCEPA, also known as Bill C36) reintroduce the harmful conditions of the previous laws.
We support the full decriminalization of sex work as a necessary measure to reduce violence. Decriminalization on its own will not end violence. For that we need a much broader set of responses. But decriminalization is a required, and we call upon the government to repeal this dangerous law.
The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (http://www.nswp.org/) identifies eight key rights that are central to sex worker activism:
- The right to associate and organize
- The right to be protected by the law
- The right to be free from violence
- The right to be free from discrimination
- The right to privacy and freedom from arbitrary interference
- The right to health
- The right to move and migrate
- The right to work and the free choice of employment
These are rights that the labour movement has fought for as core components of our political action. Sex workers need to be able to organize and self represent, through unions and other associations, through full access to employment standards, labour rights, and occupational health and safety legislation.
Canadian Union of Public Employees local 4207
Bargaining Support Committee
The Bargaining Support Committee will be Thursday, December 11th at 3:00pm in ICI 110.
International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
On Wednesday, December 17th from 5-7pm at Niagara Artist Centre (354 St. Paul St. E, Saint Catharines, Ontario L2R 3N2) there will be an event for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.This event will provide a space for sex workers to share their experiences, including responses to Bill C-36. There will also be a collaborative discussion including allies about what can be done to end violence against sex workers.
There will be three speakers. Naomi Sayers is a sex work activist and Indigenous feminist. She is the creator of www.kwetoday.com and founder of Southwestern Ontario Sex Workers. She is currently attending the common law program at the University of Ottawa.More details on the other two speakers to come! Free meal provided by Food Not Bombs!
Executive Committee Meeting Rescheduled
The Executive Committee meeting has been moved to Monday, December 15th at 5:00pm in PL 311. All members are welcome to attend the meeting.
Equity Committee Meeting
The Equity Committee will be meeting next Tuesday, December 9th at 3:00pm in PL 308. The meeting will focus on the December 17th event for The National Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. If you are interested in helping out feel free to attend the meeting!
National Day to End Violence Against Women
CUPE 4207 has purchased 8 tickets to the December 5th event for the National Day to End Violence against Women. This event will be held at Pond Inlet from 7:30am-9:00am. If you are interested in going please email email@example.com. Tickets will be distributed on a first come bases.
CLC's Retirement Security for Everyone
On Thursday, December 4th from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the UNIFOR 199 Retiree Centre,124 Bunting Road St. Catharines, ON there will be a Town Hall meeting to relaunch the CLC's Retirement Security for Everyone. Please RSVP (for catering purposes only) to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: 416-906-0205.
The next PAISC meeting will take place on Friday, December 5th from 1-2pm in PL 311. All interested members are welcome to join!
Letter on the Code of Conduct
Dear Members of CUPE 4207
In a recent meeting with representatives from Human Resources we were informed that the university intends to ask all employees of Brock to sign a “code of conduct”. This document includes a number of provisions that are highly problematic, and potentially dangerous for our members. We strongly recommend that members elect not to sign the code of conduct. To be clear, no member will be punished for refusing to sign the document. That was made clear by the employer’s representatives.
The code of conduct includes a statement that the person who signs the document “will act in a manner that maintains or enhances the University’s reputation”. We believe that this could potentially limit legitimate criticism of the university, and could potentially limit our legitimate right to academic freedom. Any statements in the classroom or made publicly that criticize decisions made by the university administration could be deemed to be working against Brock’s reputation, and could be considered to be a violation of the code. Additionally, this statement could be used to police behaviour outside of the workplace. That is, if our conduct in our lives outside of Brock is deemed by someone in the administration to be potentially harmful to the reputation of the university, we could be accused of violating this code of conduct.
The code also states that those who sign it agree to uphold a long list of university policies, even if the university has never provided people with those policies. This could be potentially dangerous if people inadvertently break a provision of one of these policies, which is a distinct possibility when there is no knowledge of the contents of the policies. Those who sign the document indicating that they will abide by these policies could potentially face heightened discipline in the event that a policy is broken, even if inadvertently.
The code also includes a commitment to “fully cooperate with any investigation under the Code”, but does not specify what investigations might be possible, the conditions under which investigations take place, or the process by which investigations take place. It is unreasonable to expect that anyone would be expected to participate in a process that has absolutely no defined parameters.
There is no reason for this code to be signed. The employer has provided absolutely no evidence that any of our members have engaged in behaviours that would warrant such a document. The university already has the right to set policies, so long as they discuss these with the union first, and inform employees that the policies exist. There is no up-side to signing the document and there will be no discipline for not signing it. There are, however, potential down-sides to signing it, including the potential limitation on free expression. We have consulted with all of the other unions on campus and there is consensus that we should recommend that people not sign the code of conduct.
If you have any questions about the code of conduct, or our recommendation to not sign it, please contact us.
The CUPE 4207 Executive
Blackface is Racist
On Friday, November 28th from 5-7pm in AS 201 there will be a presentation on the issue of Blackface. The speakers for the event will be Professor Tamari Kitossa and Ismael Traore. After the presentations there will be a student discussion.
Equity Committee Meeting
The next Equity Committee meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 25 at 3:00pm in MC C300.
Alternative Education Speaker Series
On Wednesday, November 26 at 7:30pm in WH 327 there will be a discussion by Hans Skott-Myhre on alternative forms of education in global capitalism. All are welcome to come out!
Unit 1 Meeting
There will be a meeting for Unit 1 members to discuss the Dental Plan and Ways and Means Fund. The meeting will take place on Monday, November 24 at 3:00pm in WH 202. All Unit 1 Members are encouraged to attend!
Office Committee Meeting
The Office Comittee will be meeting on Wednesday, November 26th at 1:00pm in MC C402. Feel free to attend the meeting!
Statement on the Blackface Incident from CUPE 4207
As has been widely reported, on October 30th, the Brock University Students Union (BUSU) held a Halloween party and costume contest. In this event, four students dressed in blackface in a portrayal of the Jamaican bobsled team, in part inspired from the film Cool Runnings. Further, these four students won the $500 prize for best costume, based upon crowd reaction at the event. What is most troubling, and has been enunciated in open letters from the Centre for Labour Studies and the Department of Sociology, is the complete lack of understanding and recognition to the legacy of blackface. It is a racist action that caricatures racialized peoples for the amusement of Whites while serving to reinforce conceptions of White supremacy that undermine and marginalize racialized peoples. The fact that this display of overt racism was on display and not challenged at the event is equally troubling.
This is not the first time that this has been raised. In 2007, a group dressed in the same costume participated in the event. While they did not win, the controversy that followed should have been an indication that blackface is racist and harmful. However, the reactions from BUSU and from the University Administration in the most recent event do little to declare this for what it is. Rather, the reactions to the costume have been to declare that it was an unfortunate act by individuals who were ‘unaware’ of what blackface represented, that they were not intending harm, and that the only solution is to ‘educate’ those involved. Further, reactions to those who critique the incident and the handling of the situation by BUSU and the University Administration have been claimed to be over-reacting.
A number of points need to be raised in response. First, regardless of the intent of the participants, the costume is a display of anti-Black racism. The use of blackface is meant to ridicule the image, abilities, and capabilities of Black peoples. Here, the costume is meant to be laughed at as a symbol of ridicule. It is not the image of a bobsled team that is the focus, but instead it is the portrayal of a Jamaican bobsled team. The explicit statement is that Black Jamaicans have neither standing nor are capable in a Nordic (read White) sport. This can be paralleled to the historic attempts of the Canadian government to prevent Black immigration under the belief that Black peoples cannot survive Canadian winters.
Second, the fact that this costume was not challenged by anyone in attendance is representative of the social, political, and cultural environment being produced and reproduced at Brock University. The statements from BUSU and the University Administration only highlight that the costumes were inappropriate, but claim that the participants were unaware of the meaning of the costume, and essentially, not harmful. However, they have nothing to say to the students, staff, and faculty who are insulted by the use of the image of Black skin as a costume. Likewise, when a group of male students decided to raise a sign with the line “Honk if you’re droppin’ off your daughter,” BUSU did not criticize the students for an openly sexist sign, and the University’s position was only that it was inappropriate. There was never an attempt to challenge the culture of sexism then, and there is no attempt to challenge anti-Black racism now.
Instead, in both cases, the individuals involved are deemed to not be intending harm, therefore harm cannot be done. In contrast, students, faculty, and staff have been attacked and investigated for standing up for social justice issues, including for animal rights and for women’s reproductive rights. In this case, would BUSU and the University Administration have made statements if it had not been for the statements in opposition? Probably not. As a result, they only serve to marginalize those who oppose such behaviour. As such, CUPE 4207 is opposed to this racist costume and stand in solidarity with those who are opposed.
However, statements can only go so far. The Equity Committee of CUPE 4207 has already begun working with social justice organizations, students and faculty in organizing further events to challenge the atmosphere of racism on campus. More information will be released when details are finalized, and we hope all are able to attend.
The Executive of CUPE 4207
National Day to End Violence Against Women
Please join us on Friday, December 5th, 2014 at 7:30-9:00am in Pond Inlet to recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women and to honour the memory of the victims of the Montreal Massacre who were murdered 25 years ago. The event will include music, information fair, speakers, a memorial service and breakfast buffet. Proceeds from the event will be donated to local organizations supporting victims of violence.
Event : Friday, December 5th, 2014
7:30 to 9:oo a.m.
Parking, Buffet breakfast and door prize ticket for $5 per person
Pond lnlet, Brock University
500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines
*****Doors open at 7:00 a.m.****
Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available at the following locations:
UNIFOR Local 199 Hall, 124 Bunting Rd., St. Catharines (Mon.–Thurs 10-2pm only)
Niagara Regional Labour Council, 37 Front Street in Thorold (289-362-2233)
Carm Lenartowich, First Ontario Credit Union, 275 Fourth St. St. Catharines (289-929-9247)
For more information:
Our GMM will be held on Thursday, November 27 at 5:00pm in Sankey Chamber. The GMM agenda will be:
Elections for the following positions and conferences:
- International Steward
- Instructor Steward
- CUPE Council Delegate
- 4 delegates to National Human Rights Conference
- 4 delegates to OUWCC Conference
All members are welcome to attend!
Executive Committee Meeting
The next Executive Meeting will be on Wednesday, November 19th at 5:00pm in PL 311. All are welcome to attend!
Equity Committee Meeting
The next Equitty committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 11 at 3:00pm in TH 307.
Niagara Regional Labour Council Activist Dinner
On Thursday, November 20th from 5:30-9:30pm at Willoden Golf Course (10325 Willoden Rd. Niagara Falls) there will be an activist awards dinner. The Activist Dinner is an opportunity to join with labour activists from Niagara to celebrate the work of deserving individuals from the labour movement. Our local has purchased tickets for this event. If you are interested in attending, please email email@example.com for tickets.
The agenda for the evening is:
Meet and Greet: 5:30 pm
Dinner: 6:30 pm
Speaker: 7:45 pm
Presentation of Awards: 8:00 pm
The Health & Safety Committee will be meeting this Friday, November 7th at 10am in MC C402.
The Stewards Council meeting will be Thusday, November 13th at 3:00pm in MC C402.
The PAISC will be meeting on Monday, November 17th at 5:00pm in MC A323.
All are welcome to attend!
Protect Our Local Public Hospital Services
There will be two town hall meetings about saving our community hospitals. Public hospitals are a vital part of our communities and an import issues for us all. The Ontario Health Coalition will be hosting two town hall meetings in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake the week of November 2nd. The dates, times and locations are:
Welland Community Meeting: Thursday November 6, 7 p.m. Welland City Hall, Community Room
Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Meeting: Tuesday November 4, 7 p.m. Royal Canadian Legion, 410 King St., NOTL
Sponsored by: Niagara Health Coalition and Ontario Health Coalition
For more information contact Sue Hotte 905-932-1646
Stop private clinics! Save our local public hospitals!
On Friday November 21 at 12pm there will be a Giant Rally at Ontario Legislature, Queen's Park Toronto. For more information go to www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca.
Our response must match the threat:
Our response must be equal to the size of the threat. It is time that we stand up and make ourselves heard, before it is too late. Regular Ontarians from every walk of life -- local businesses, seniors, care workers, health professionals, students, all of us who care about equal access to health care based on need not wealth -- we all have a vital interest in saving our community hospitals.
The Ontario Health Coalition is calling for our biggest demonstration ever. We are asking everyone to take one day to lend your voice to protect vital services that everyone in our communities need.
We have a window of opportunity to stop the private clinics and force the government to deal with the fact that the public does not want a model of fragmented, privatized, inequitable and poor quality regional hospital care. This is a key issue in virtually every community. We need to get the word out and ask people to take a stand now.
Buses will be organized from communities across Southern and Mid-Ontario as far north as Sudbury and North Bay.
Important Public Meeting: “Possible Legal Action vs WSIB”
Monday, November 3rd at 6:00-8:30pm at Goodwill Stokes Community Village (36 Page St, St. Catharines, ON) there will be a public meeting on stoping the austerity attacks on out compensation system. Meet with injured workers and The Ontario Network of Injured Workers Group (ONIWG) to help in launching potential legal actions against the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) as well as the government. For more information contact: Wiily Noiles @ (905)327-7868, Peter Page @ (905)745–1003 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
GLOBAL ECONOMIC SLUMP: CAUSES, RESULTS & PROSPECTS Perspectives from the socialist left.
On Friday, November 14th at 7:30pm in WH 324 a discussion with ROBERT BRENNER (UCLA) and MURRY SMITH (Brock University) will take place. We hope that you can make it out to this free event featuring two predominate leftist thinkers. If you are interested in hearing an alternative perspective on the global economic crisis, then this is the event for you! We hope to see you there!
Robert Benner is Professor of History at the University of California (Los Angeles), a member of the editorial committee of New Left Review, and the author of Merchants and Revolution (1993), The Economics of Global Turbulence (2006), and Property and Progress (2009).
Murray E.G. Smith is Professor of Sociology at Brock University and the author of Invisible Leviathan (1994), Global Capitalism in Crisis: Karl Marx and the Decay of the Profit System (2010), and Marxist Phoenix: Studies in Historical Materialism and Marxist Socialism (2014).
The event will be chaired by JACK HEYMAN.
Jack Heyman was a seaman in the National Maritime Union and member of the Militant-Solidarity Caucus. In 1980, he joined San Francisco ILWU local 10. Now retired, he chairs the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee (at www.transportworkers.org) and continues to write on labor and politics.
Health & Safety Meeting
The next Health & Safety Committee meeting will take place on Friday, November 14th at 10:00am in MC C402. Hope to see yoou there!
BUFA Welcomes Academic Freedom Advocate Dr. James L. Turk
Academic Freedom is the lifeblood of what professors and librarians at Brock do. It's one of the Brock University Faculty Association's core principles.
To foster a better understanding of academic freedom, BUFA has invited Dr. James L. Turk, an authority on academic freedom at Canadian universities, to speak at Brock on October 30th at 10:00am-11:00am in Pond Inlet. Dr. Turk is a former Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University.
BUFA would like to extend an invitation to members of other unions at Brock to join our members for his presentation, titled Civility, Precarity and the Demise of Academic Freedom."
In recognition of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Friday, October 17th the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network will be participating in ChewOnThis!, part of Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada. At each event, volunteers will be handing out a ChewOnThis! bag containing a local apple, fridge magnet and a ChewOnThis! postcard.
We invite you to drop by one of the locations on October 17th and add your support for a federal anti-poverty plan - if you can't make it, you can still show support by adding your name at http://www.chewonthis.ca/join.
In Niagara, ChewOnThis! events will be taking place in the following locations:
Lunch & Learn: Municipal and Trustee Election Lunch
On Monday, October 20th starting at 11:40am in Pond Inlet there will be panel sessions where people have the chance to engage in political process and share with them several reasons why we need to exercise our right to vote. Lunch will be provided.
Health & Safety Committee Meeting
The next Health & Safety Committee meeting will be held on Friday, October 10th at 10:30am in MC C402. All members are welcome to attend!
Unit 3 Strike Vote
A meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 8th in WH 8G from This meeting will allow Unit 3 members to have their questions answered and allow for voting. Thursday, October 9th, we will have the ballot box open in the union office from to allow members who can't make it on Wednesday to vote.
The October GMM will take place on in MCA 241 at . We welcome all members to attend the meeting!
The next Executive meeting will be in EA 101. All members are welcome to attend!
Joint Newsletter & Education Committee and Stewards Council Meeting
Both the Newsletter & Education Committee and the Stewards Council will be holding a meeting on in MC C402.
This event will take place on in WH 204. This event will help activists understand Brock's environment and allows you to meet other like-minded people! There will be free vegan snacks provided at the event. For more information contact email@example.com
Health & Safety Training Update
Have you completed your H&S training yet?
It has been mandated by the provincial government that every worker complete basic H&S training once.
You can complete the training online via the Health and Safety tab on Sakai. The online training takes less than an hour. When you finish, print your score and give it to your supervisor. You should print your name on the paper. If this is not in your Allocation of Hours, ask your Supervisor to be paid for the training.
A live session was offered and then cancelled.
Equity Committee Meeting
The next Equity Committee Meeting will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 6:00pm in MCC 402. Hope to see you there!
Joint Bargaining Meeting
Alternate for JHSC
We welcome Amy Pham to the Health & Safety team! She will be the Alternate for JHSC Meetings. Gloria is on leave for the Fall term, so Amy will attend Fall meetings in her place. We hope you can come out to the next Health & Safety Committee meeting Monday, September 15th at 4:00pm in EA 102.
Municipal Election Candidates
CUPE 4207 is proud to endorse the following municipal candidates in the upcoming elections:
Jeff Burch for mayor of St Catharines. Jeff has a strong background in the labour movement, and will be an excellent progressive voice for workers in the city.
Laura Ip for St Catharines City Council. Laura is a member of our local, she has campaigned for a living wage in St Catharines, and ran the Hungry Vegan Food Drive.
Shawn Wilson for City Council in Thorold. Shawn led a 80 day strike against the Lincoln County Humane Society, had opposed privatizing services in Thorold, and has supported 4207 at many events and rallies.
Phil Wachel for Ward 6 in Welland. Phil is a member of the local's executive, and will be a strong progressive voice for workers in Welland.
Speaking out against sexism at Brock
One of our members, Lauren Quinn has written an amazing response to the sexist sign that was displayed on campus during Moveing Day. Please check it out! Here is the article.
Newsletter & Education Committee
The Newsletter & Education Committee will meet next on Thursday, September 18th at 1:00pm in PL 411. Hope to see you there!
Equity Committee Meeting
The Equity Committee will be meeting Wednesday, September 10th at 1:00pm in MC C402. All members are welcome to attend!<