With its decision to support striking OC Transpo workers, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) has seemingly abandoned its mandate to represent students’ needs and protect their rights. The SFUO’s support of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 (ATU) on the premise that unions should stand together is absolutely indefensible, given that the transit strike—which has been on since Dec. 10—has affected thousands of students, cutting off their primary method of transportation to campus and around the city.As far as Public Transit in Ottawa knows, the SFUO has taken no official stance on the strike, though it has certainly, in an informal fashion, supported the union.
In a news story published in the same issue, Haldenby appeared to support the union and then backtrack towards the end of the quotation:
“Ultimately, we want to see an agreement [between both sides]. However, we are a union and we do support the transit union,” he said. “We see the way that the City of Ottawa has treated us and it wouldn’t be highly unlikely that this is the same type of manner that they’re treating the ATU members, so ultimately, we want to see an agreement come out of it, but we want to make sure that it’s the right thing for everyone involved.”Meanwhile, the Fulcrum's editorial draws a parallel with the SFUO's fight for a universal bus pass:
...the SFUO’s support for OC Transpo drivers is little more than a retaliatory attack against the City of Ottawa’s defeat of the U-Pass proposal. Haldenby’s statement that “we see the way that the City of Ottawa has treated us, and it wouldn’t be highly unlikely that this is the same manner that they’re treating the ATU” is more reminiscent of a targeted response to a personal slight than a facts-based assessment of the situation.Full disclosure: Both primary contributors to this blog serve on the Fulcrum's board of directors, although neither has direct or indirect input into the editorial content of the publication.