OPSEU joined hundreds of students and labour activists for a rally at Queen’s Park on Friday, January 18, following Ford’s announcement that he would cut free tuition and ensure the defunding of student unions along with numerous campus services.
President Warren (Smokey) Thomas addressed the rally, bringing a message of support. “We are not fooled by the Ford’s tactics: under the guise of choice, his goal is to silence the student unions and shut down important services. His political games will destroy campus life.
“Congratulations to everyone who came out to stand up for our rights, together we will defend students’ rights and democracy on campuses across the province.”
OPSEU activists from colleges and universities joined the students, including Joseanne Job, who spoke as the young worker representative for the Ontario Federation of Labour. “Cuts to OSAP hurt students,” said Job. “Together with Ford’s minimum wage freeze, it’s now harder for students to go to college or university. Fewer students will qualify for OSAP and more students will graduate with unmanageable debt.”
RM Kennedy, Chair of the OPSEU College Faculty Division also attended along with representatives from the Canadian Labour Congress and Toronto York Region Labour Council.
The rally was organized with less than 12 hours’ notice, gaining traction with a poster that quickly went viral on social media.