If you move against the students, you’ll have to go through workers first

Friends. Here is the Toronto Federation of Labor stepping up to defend the speech and demonstrating rights of students demanding an end to the genocide taking place in Palestine. Across Canada , the United States and the world trade unionists, students and peace humanitarian people are Demanding that the Israelis and their primary arms dealers, the US immediately stop this genocide.
This is the mark of a class conscious trade union federation
LTI thanks it’s Canadian correspondent for this information.
Solidarity forever!
May 25, 2024
Dear President Gertler,
OFL to U of T: If you move against the students, you’ll have to go through workers first
I am writing in my capacity as the President of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), which
represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario.
As the voice of Ontario’s labour movement, the OFL unequivocally supports the right of students
to engage in peaceful protest on campus, as they call for a ceasefire and divestment from
companies that are complicit in war and occupation.
I was therefore disappointed to hear about your ultimatum to the student encampment at the
University of Toronto: clear out by Monday at 8:00 a.m. or be in violation of a trespass notice.
As trade unionists, we know what good-faith bargaining looks like. You should, too. In most
instances at the bargaining table, our members and your representatives have successfully
negotiated numerous collective agreements, without resorting to strikes or lockouts.
The same approach should apply here. Negotiations must continue in good faith, and without
threats of police intervention. The recent successful conclusions to the encampments at Ontario
Tech University and at McMaster University, for example, shows what’s possible.
By contrast, when administrators choose repression, it rightfully provokes a response well
beyond the students. On Monday, thousands of academic workers at the University of California went on strike to protest their employer’s use of violence to clear the encampments.
Universities should be where we learn to debate and disagree with each other–without the fear of violence. For Canada’s largest university to decide unilaterally when the debate should end,
and when police repression should begin, is a betrayal of the values we claim to uphold.
Indeed, your own Statement of Institutional Purpose describes these values clearly:
Within the unique university context, the most crucial of all human rights are the
rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. And
we affirm that these rights are meaningless unless they entail the right to raise
deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs
of society at large and of the university itself.
This is a mandate to support the students, not repress them. In this spirit, I urge you to reverse
course immediately, and choose negotiations and discussion over ultimatums and repression.
As a gesture of encouragement, I am calling on all trade unions and allies to join a solidarity
rally on Monday at 8:00 a.m. at the student encampment at the University of Toronto. If,
by then, you decide to move against the students, you’ll have to go through the workers first.