Two members of CUPE 3903 were injured in a hit-and-run incident on the Shoreham Road picket line early in the afternoon on Friday, March 6. One member was sent to hospital, while the other member decided to stay on the line. The incident began when a driver left his vehicle in an attempt to intimidate picketers and physically remove a barrier. The driver eventually returned to his vehicle and drove through the picket line, hitting two members.
We want to be absolutely clear: this was no accident, but a deliberate attack on our members and their Charter rights to engage in legal strike action.
On behalf of CUPE 3903, the Executive Committee condemns this act of violence and aggression in the strongest terms possible. Our members have conducted themselves peacefully and lawfully throughout our strike, and have organized our picket lines with the safety of our members, students and passers-by foremost in our minds. We have every right to engage in peaceful pickets, and no one should be subjected to this kind of dangerous and potentially life-threatening behaviour.
We would like to assure our members that we have contacted the members who have been injured and are offering them the full support of the union. Several Executive Committee members are currently at the hospital where one of the injured members was sent for treatment. Other Executive Committee members have been to the Shoreham picket line and in touch with the other injured member.
We would also like to offer our full support to any members on the Shoreham picket line this afternoon who were upset or harmed by the incident. Members who need any support whatsoever, including counselling services, should contact Sheila Wilmot at CUPE3903.firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416-736-5154 ext. 3.
We are proud of the way that our members have conducted themselves throughout our strike, and their strong commitment to fighting for a better York – not just for our own members, but also for the entire York community. That commitment was evident in the response by members on the Shoreham picket line this afternoon, who refused to be intimidated and who collectively supported one another and effectively defended the picket line. Members from other lines across campus rallied to support their fellow members at Shoreham. This is what true solidarity looks like, and we applaud our members for leading the way.
We will continue to carry out our strike, including each of our picket lines, in a safe, effective and well organized manner. Had York University negotiated a fair deal for our members, instead of backing us into a strike, we would not have been in this situation in the first place. We will not let this incident distract us from our goal of winning a fair deal for our members, and in building a better York for everyone.
The Executive Committee