CUPE goes on strike at Wilfrid Laurier University
CUPE Local 926 at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) has gone on strike to oppose the imposition of terms giving the university freedom to contract out unionized work to poverty wage contractors.
Through negotiations it was discovered that WLU has already signed a multi-year contract with GDI Integrated Facility Services for the new Lazaridis building. GDI is one of North America’s largest corporations that provides facility services. GDI specializes in commercial janitorial, installation, maintenance and repair of HVAC-R, mechanical, electrical systems, damage restoration, as well as janitorial products manufacturing and distribution.
GDI would be able to contract all work currently provided by Local 926, not just cleaning services. From all indications, GDI employees make half of Local 926 members’ wages, and without benefits or pension.
The entire cost to WLU Local 926 members (including wages, benefits, pensions) is less than 2% of WLU total yearly revenues.
In 2015-16, WLU had a 21% increase in first-year student enrolment, whose fees make-up the majority of WLU revenues.
WLU Faculty Association’s accountants have shown that the university has had budget surpluses for 10 years.
The new Lazaridis Building is made up entirely of contract custodians from GDI Integrated Facility Services who are paid approx $13/hr, no benefits or pension.
The 9 contracted cleaners at Lazaridis building only save WLU $15,134.50 a year each.
Goal of WLU Administration is to outsource the lowest paid workers on campus to contract workers making poverty wages (without benefits) to save pennies on the dollar.
WLU Administration has used aggressive private sector negotiation tactics and fear to drive division between different job classification of members of Local 926.
• CUPE 926
Open Whisper Systems Encryption Takes Over
It seems that the argument for privacy and security has been won. Even Facebook Messenger and Google’s chat programs offer full end-to-end encryption, although unlike Signal messenger, users of Google and Facebook have to turn encryption on (it’s off by default).
Signal still remains a more secure messaging system, but more secure options for popular chat systems are a welcome change. Allowing individuals to communicate on the internet without fear of those communications being seen by others is essential if the internet is going to be used freely.
NATO: the supreme opportunists for war
Brexit’s use by NATO commanders has shown that they are still masters of opportunist politics. The Western alliance called a meeting of the EU to bolster its military advances against Russia. They are concerned that Russia might use the Brexit confusion to advance its interests. NATO’s primary mission in Eastern Europe is to expand Western influence.
The danger of these opportunistic actions by NATO is that they might go too far and instigate direct military conflict with Russia. The possibilities for this outcome have increased substantially with the recent growth in nationalist sentiment in Europe, the continued economic sanctions against Russia, frequent cyber attacks, and increased military spending in countries that sit between traditional Europe and Russia (much of which has been encouraged by NATO as part of its suggestion that all member nations spend 2% of their GDP on military investments). All these factors, coupled with tension over the unending and disastrous campaign in Afghanistan put Europe and Russia in a precarious position.
Chilcot Inquiry reminds us war should not be inevitable
The original Leftnews.org (home to this publication) went online at the beginning of the war in Iraq. The website was started to provide perspectives and news not being reported on by the uncritical and pro-war mainstream media. Now, just as then, it seems as though the media cannot handle reporting the truth, even when it is presented in an official government report.
The Chilcot Inquiry’s report clearly states that the war in Iraq was initiated based on false justifications and before a meaningful amount of time could be spent on trying to reach a peaceful resolution. Just try to find detailed analysis in the mainstream press that doesn’t give deference to the decision to go to war on these falsehoods. The media cannot find itself culpable, even though most of what is in the Chilcot Report should have been reported to the public at the time.
Beyond the vindication for the left and anti-war voices, the Chilcot Report is a stark reminder that the mainstream media are not independent brokers of truth.
Again, another rough week.