Source: Communist Revolution

On Saturday May 25, U of T president Meric Gertler delivered an ultimatum to the pro-Palestine encampment on university grounds: clear out or you will be violently removed by Monday morning. In response, the Ontario Federation of Labour responded, stating “If you decide to move against the students, you’ll have to go through the workers first.” 

The union also called a rally for Monday which drew out 1,500 people in defense of the encampment. At the rally, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), J.P. Hornick, proclaimed, “If the police come, we will be your human shields. We will be your line of defence.”

This is exactly what the movement needs. But words must be followed up with deeds. The encampment could be cleared out by police at a moment’s notice just as was done at U of A, U of C and at multiple campuses across the U.S. The OFL represents over one million workers and if mobilized could easily protect the encampment. Flying pickets need to be established with OFL workers ready to mobilize to defend the right to protest against this genocide. 

Concretely, the OFL has affiliate unions with tens of thousands of members that work on campus every day, notably in the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the United Steel Workers (USW). Taking the example of the UAW workers who organized a strike in solidarity with the encampment at UCLA in California, unions on campus should be mobilized to defend the encampment at a moment’s notice. 

This could be the first step towards bringing the labour movement into the struggle against the mass murder of Palestinians and Canadian imperialism which is complicit.