NANAIMO—Several hundred people came out to support striking faculty at Vancouver Island University today. The crowd included workers and families and friends from the community. Many sister unions brought messages of solidarity and support.
Cindy Oliver, president of the Federation of Post-secondary Educators (FPSE), of which the VIU Faculty Association is a member, thanked CUPE BC and CUPE members for the solidarity they have shown.
CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill spoke to the crowd about the importance of Vancouver Island University and the work that faculty and staff do to provide high quality education. O’Neill also talked about what VIU had meant to him and his family. He said that he and many of his siblings had attended when it was Malaspina College as had his mother, who began her nursing training at the institution.
Messages of solidarity also came from BC Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair and Barbara Byers, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress.
Among the crowd were representatives from FPSE locals throughout the province and a number of CUPE locals from the island as well as the Vancouver Island District Council. Close to 300 members of CUPE 1858 work at VIU and many were there with their CUPE signs and solidarity messages.
The rally was also treated to an original song from a VIU student, who gave her musical take on the strike.
VIU faculty began job action on March 10, and picket lines have been up at VIU’s Nanaimo, Cowichan, Parksville and Powell River campuses.