The article starts on page 10.
In a recent tweet Kathleen explained what makes Artspace special: "I walked into #Artspace and was immediately surrounded with warmth & love. They shared their homes and their lives with me."
Artspace is a housing cooperative that is open to everybody. However, it has a unique feature: 29 units have been adapted to meet the needs of residents with physical disabilities. The dispute at Artspace is about the wages workers receive for the assisted living program.
The videos that Kathleen saw show AUPE members on the picket line using air horns, loud speakers and abusive language to the residents of Artspace.
Kathleen says that the residents have "fought their entire lives to live independently. To not be institutionalized. And in some cases, they have fought just to be permitted to live. They have spent their entire lives fighting. And no one was listening to their stories in all of this."
But Kathleen was listening.
Thank you, Kathleen, for listening. There is no doubt that the relative peace we are "enjoying" right now is directly because of exposure in social media to what AUPE has been doing to our community. No amount of calls to the police did it, and what little exposure there was in television or print media had little effect. It took this blog, and social media attention, to finally get things to tone down, even if they aren't really all that much better; just less blatant.
It's a shame that, rather than admit their errors and take corrective action, AUPE has instead chosen file their SLAPP suit against you.
This is a powerful quote.
"One of the things I discuss online a lot," she says, "is freedom of expression in this country and how important it is. And how much of an issue I have with those that think that freedom of expression or any charter rights only applies to people we approve of because that's not the way it works. We all think we're fighting the great evil, but when we're actively seeking to deny others their rights, we're hurting ourselves. And people need to wake up and start getting that message."
How very true.
Thank you, Kathleen, for standing up for Artspace, and thank you, Edmonton Woman, for such a well written piece. You even got the description of Artspace right!
For those new to this page, here is the security montage video Kathleen is referring to in her interview.
This video was given to the media, months ago. AUPE dismissed it, partially because, as they claimed, the footage was old, and did not reflect the reality of the picket line.
In response to that claim, here is a playlist of videos from August 2nd.
[update: AUPE videos are no longer available: as part of the agreement at the end of the labour dispute, AUPE removed videos and other online content related to the dispute.]
This next playlist of videos are from August 6; you can read more about it here.
Then there's this post, about events on the mornings of Oct. 16 and Oct. 22nd.
While this post includes video that shows some of what goes on in the wee hours of the morning.
AUPE cannot deny the reality these videos show.
You can still fix this, AUPE.
You can still save at least a few shreds of dignity.
Just walk away.