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PSAC Local 610
University of Western Ontario
1313 Somerville House
London, ON  N6A 3K7

General Inquiries:
519.661.4137 (p)
519.850.2998 (f)
psac610@psac610.ca

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Tuesday- Friday: 9am - 2pm

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A letter PSAC Local 610 received from a member in support of the strike vote

We have received a personal statement from Cameron Riddell, our member in Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University. Here is his letter to you:

" Dear friends, colleagues, fellow GTAs,

What follows is a personal letter from me to you. Please understand that I do not intend to tell you how to vote or what to do, and I do not speak for anyone but myself. But I do intend to ask you to vote, because thanks to the efforts of our bargaining team we find ourselves in a new position of power—a position where we can finally speak our minds, and speak against the bad-faith negotiations from our employer up to this point. I encourage you to speak through your vote, and I write to express my own reasons for voting yes. I hope that my thoughts stimulate thought, feelings, and perhaps even action. Thank you for your attention.

 

Respectfully, and in solidarity,

 

Cameron Riddell

Co-chair of the Graduate English Society

 

We are on the cusp of very big things. Things which, excitingly, are (to a point) under our control. I think it is important to split this conversation into two broad topics: the Self and the Other. We are, and have always been, bargaining for both.  We are trying to communicate to our employer that there are broad, systemic, and self-imposed problems with this system—problems that require no magic to fix. I refuse to accept the employer’s handwaving apologies that “it’s impossible to accomplish” the reasonable goals that we’ve laid out. With leadership, conversation, negotiation, and planning, we can help improve this system in both the short and the long term, and I personally believe that we owe it to ourselves and to others to improve this system. I think it is not enough to merely pass through graduate school. There is a greater purpose here, and I believe that we occupy the moral and ethical position of a progressive, inclusive, and humane institution. I do not believe that financial hardship is required in the production of knowledge. It does not make our work better. It does not make US better. It does not need to continue.  I encourage you to think about how our efforts impact both you AND others.

 

As for ourselves, we want retroactive pay starting from September 2017, which means that even one-year students will see an immediate benefit. We want a system in which our pay increases MATCH (at the very least) the escalating costs. I cannot make sense of a system in which Western-owned accommodations cost more than our take-home pay per month. I will not accept a system that demands the impossible.

I believe that our considerations must also include our impact on those who follow us. Our vote changes the reality of this year—that shared by our friends, our colleagues, and students who we may have never met. We are here for the same reasons. But all of us want to learn, to teach, to take part in the economies and knowledge we produce. However, the much larger issue here is that we’re structuring a system that will exist beyond us. If we can change this institution and enable those future students to find success, then our actions will have manifestly improved the future. We forecast a UWO that works. And we owe it not just to ourselves, but to those future scholars. I am voting YES because I value that future vision. I want students to be able to live without the stress, pain, and fear that I feel. This is not a vague dream, but a plan.  

 

I hope that you turn out to vote. This is our chance: let’s make the change we want to see, both for ourselves and for the future. 

 

Sincerely,

Cameron Riddell "

 

PSAC610 / SOGS COMMON INFO:

A significant portion of our members are also members of the University of Western Ontario Society of Graduate Students.