Communications Students Picket for Paid Internships

President’s Remarks ”Misguided” Says Coms Students

  • With several meme posters in hand, communications students gathered Wednesday in front of the CJ building at Loyola. Courtesy Nicholas Gertler

After months of planning, the Communications department’s strike against unpaid internships took place between March 6 to 8.

The Coms Guild organized picket lines to shutdown classes and speak out against the ongoing exploitation of student labour.

The Coms Guild first made the decision to mobilize at a general assembly in February, and after their strike mandate passed they began working with the help of the Concordia Student Union.

Their strike marks the first of other department strikes coming up this March, including the School of Community and Public Affairs, who along with the Journalism department, are set to strike for March 18 to 22. The SCPA also just ended a one day strike on March 8, to mark international women’s day.

Their strikes are happening as the Quebec-wide coalition against unpaid internships is kicking off its general unlimited strike on March 18.

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The support for the strikes has been widespread, with Media Studies M.A. students releasing a statement of support on the same day communications students began their strike.

“As first year M.A students in the Media Studies department, we would like to express our support for and solidarity with undergraduate students in the Communications department in their strike against unpaid internships,” wrote the statement.

“Many of us have held unpaid internship positions in our academic careers, and we will not accept the continuation of such an exploitative labour practice.”

The Coms Guild said they worked in accordance with the administration, security, and the department to ensure their strike would go smoothly. Despite maintaining a good relationship with the Communications Department and its staff, many professors refused to comment on the strike.

While the strike has received support from other departments, and has proceeded peacefully, Concordia President Alan Shepard’s public aversion of students going on strike remains, after telling The Link in February that there are other ways to solve the issue rather than striking.

Hannah Gold-Apel, a member of the Coms Guild, said the president’s remarks are misguided.

“Historically we know student strikes work,” she said. “I think what the administration is actuallying trying to say is, ‘Get your strike off of my school grounds, it’s disrupting things.”

Gold-Apel hopes their strike will set a precedent for the strikes mobilizing in the coming days, and will help put pressure on the Quebec government in respect to changing the labour code.

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