Statement of Solidarity with UTSU Staff, Vita Carlino and Maria Galvez

Students for Barrier-Free Access at The University of Toronto- STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH UTSU Staff, Vita Carlino and Maria Galvez

The staff and board at Students for Barrier-Free Access (SBA) at The University of Toronto extend our solidarity and support with the staff of UTSU, and in particular, Vita Carlino, Previous Clubs and Service Groups’ Coordinator, and Maria Galvez, Previous Health and Dental Plan Coordinator who were unjustly laid off Tuesday May 30, 2017. The dismissal of Maria and Vita did not follow due process as outlined in the Collective Agreement between the UTSU and CUPE 1281. UTSU failed to compile with their duties as employer. We ask that Vita and Maria be reinstated into their role.

SBA stands for the right of workers to a safe working environment free of discrimination and unjust dismissal. As an organization located within the University of Toronto, fighting to remove student barriers to education we recognize that workers rights are central to sustainability and growth of the student movement. These cuts that the UTSU had made to staff positions have been ongoing (the financial coordinator position was cut and has been vacant since August 2016) and negatively affects students, particularly marginalized students (that SBA serves).

Student have a right to organize. Creating inclusive, diverse community through clubs and service groups fosters a sense of belonging which is crucial for student success at U of T. Vita’s role ensured that students had access to the information and support required to create such spaces. Clubs provide students with the possibility to create enriched/meaningful relationships with other like-minded students fostering community and collective care.

Increased cuts to student services further contributes to student poverty. By cutting Maria’s role and not having a designated person for students to navigate the health and dental plan, the UTSU has created additional barriers, particularly for low-income, disabled students in accessing proper and necessary health care during their tenure as students at the University of Toronto. The loss of Vita’s role as club’s and service group coordinator  results in a lack of transparency and coordination in the communication between the UTSU and the student service groups as the Clubs and Service Group Coordinator, through their work as a liaison and advocate, ensured that service groups like SBA were well supported and resourced in our work with marginalized students.

For more information on CUPE 1281’s Save our Staff Save our Services (SOS) campaign please visit: https://www.facebook.com/sosUTSU/.

In solidarity,

Students for Barrier-free Access

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