Unions not responsible for UVic’s problems
RE: “Unions responsible for financial mess” (Letters, Nov. 8)

William Perry’s letter in the Nov. 8th issue of the Martlet is insulting to unionized workers at UVic. Perry states that in fact it is union leadership and employees who are to blame for “putting the university’s budget on the path to fiscal unsustainability,” and this failure “is why most students find themselves in a financial mess.” I dispute the legitimacy and accuracy of his argument.

With no evidence or explanation of his rationale for these bold and erroneous claims, Perry should realize that unionized workers, including union leadership, fight for workers’ rights and increased pay to match inflation rates. In my opinion, it is not this effort that has put students in a “financial mess,” but rather, it has more to do with the continued government cuts to post-secondary education in B.C. over the last 12 years. I encourage Perry to read some history and inform his opinions with legitimate sources.

Certainly, union institutions are not free of blame and there are serious issues of accountability and representation in modern labour unions.

However, for Perry to blame union workers for students’ financial burdens is both ignorant and insulting.

I can see Perry’s overall point, and it is not lost on students at UVic; though, for Perry to play the blame game is juvenile and serves no constructive purpose for resolving financial issues at the university.

Andrew Andersen
UVic student


Bus drivers deserve more respect

It has come to my attention that there was a recent article in the Martlet referring to bus drivers in a negative manner. As a bus driver who spends a great deal of my work time at UVic, I must respond.

While many students are wonderful passengers, the worst moments in my career have all been at UVic. Students have held open the back doors of my bus and poured on board. They have crowded through the front door without registering a fare. Some have just walked by, smirking insolently at me and not paying a fare. I have been yelled at and called names for trying to address students who walk by without paying a fare (and you have a pass!). I have had students shout into my face at close range for no apparent reason. I, and all the other passengers, often have to endure high volumes of noise. When you’re trapped in the driver’s seat for hours, this all feels like a form of psychological battery, and an evening of it stays with me for several days.

All of this may seem okay, since I’m just a bus driver. But you should know that I am an actual human being, a person who is trying his best to do his job, which is to transport students where they want to go. No one should have to endure that kind of abuse and lack of respect in their daily work. And I get to do it all over again tonight — Friday night on route four.

So, if we sometimes appear to have a bad attitude, now you know why.

John McMahen
UVic alumnus