Today I’m reposting two letters from readers, which represent different views on the charged topic of crossing picket lines for the purpose of strikebreaking — an act that the college administrators have been encouraging and facilitating, and one that OPSEU has been equally vocal in opposing.
Needless to say, these letters represent the opinions of the senders, and not necessarily my own. Please feel free to send your thoughts or responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first takes offense with the colleges’ invitation for strikers to cross the picket line:
I am one of the support workers on strike. This is the first time for me and walking that picket line for hours in the cold and the rain is not easy or fun — I’d rather be back at work. But unfortunately my college doesn’t care if I’m “out on the street”; in fact, they are willing to leave me there.
Obviously they do not value or respect me or my work. If they did they wouldn’t be sending emails telling me that’s it’s okay to cross the picket lines and that the union is lying to me. I have read the constitution and the union is not lying and it’s not okay to cross the picket line. They must think I’m stupid, stupid, stupid to believe that they only sent out the email that it was okay to cross the picket line to let me know my rights. I guess they also think I don’t have any morals or values and would turn my back on my fellow members
If they valued and respected me they would be telling the College Employer Council to get back to the table and bargain in good faith. They wouldn’t be on the front page of our local paper fighting like children and pointing fingers and blaming the union for everything. If they really valued and respected me I wouldn’t be on strike at all.
The second laments any hostility fostered by those involved in the strike towards those support staff who feel compelled by circumstance to work during it:
I agree 100% with support staff going on strike. I am also a support staff worker. I am concerned however about the hostility I’ve felt for having to return to work. I am married with two children. My wife is a full time college student. I am the sole breadwinner in my family. I have bad debt from some previous bad investments. My wife commutes to college and we spend $500+ a month on gas. Both of my children are in daycare [. . .].
I will continue to support my fellow support staff workers in any way I can, and I regret that doesn’t include walking the picket line with them. If I wasn’t one paychecque away from being evicted, things might be different.