Quebec -- Where were the unions?

gdunkel at gdunkel at
Wed May 2 22:13:16 MDT 2001

They weren't where they should have been -- in large part -- the wall.  I
did see contingents from Ontario CUPE, the CAW and the
Metalos/Steelworkers with their union flags (some with CUPE gas
masks) up there on Saturday.

CUPE (Public Employees) Ontario had announced Wednedsday that
they intended to lead a break-away; I saw the press release distributed
at a Consulta meeting.

One autoworker local supplied its members with swim goggles, obviously
for tear gas. I saw them putting them on as they got off the buses.

CUPE did issue a press release calling for the release of Jaggi Singh,
the CLAC leader kidnapped off the street by plainclothes cops into an
unmarked car.  Their summary of Quebec did mention CUPE delegations
at the wall.

The most vigorous debate I've seen has been in the CAW.  Carol Phillips,
director of the International Department of the CAW, is quoted on their
web page criticizing the unions' decision to march away from the wall.

Here is what she said to the Toronto Star in its April 29th edition:

   "A lot of our members who came to Quebec are now telling me they
    want to take part in the fight-back that takes place in the streets,"
    says Carol Phillips, director of the international department of the
    Canadian Auto Workers. "A lot want training in direct action . . .
    They're asking for practical training" on how to act when confronted by

She goes on to mention that they are pasrticularly interested in the
"youth's affinity groups."

I have two articles on labor in Quebec.  One in Haiti-Progres (in English) and the other in Workers World

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