New organization helps students deal with landlords, employers

by uwchevron

Author: Thomas Little

A new organization has appeared in the com m unity that will be useful to some students: the Kitchener-Waterloo Solidarity Network. The solidarity network model, which has appeared throughout North America, originated in Seattle with Seattle Solidarity (“SeaSol”) and is based around the principle of people in the community helping each other get justice for stolen wages and rent deposits or other unfair actions by bosses and landlords. Solidarity networks work with the individual or group to help them figure out a strategy for dealing with the boss or landlord, often using picketing and informational leafleting to put pressure on them.

In Ontario, there are a number of solidarity networks: Forest City Solidarity Network in London, Steel City Solidarity Network (SCS) in Hamilton, and Niagara Solidarity Network, none of which are strangers to students. SCS, for example, has in the past helped a student working as a waitress in Hamilton get back unpaid wages. Also, for those living or working in Toronto, a new solidarity network has been founded there as well: the Toronto IWW’s Solidarity Committee.

Many students at Waterloo, especially if they come from outside of the province, are unaware of their legal rights and their options for dealing with abusive landlords or employers. Knowing this, the landlords or bosses rely on ignorance and the unwillingness to go through costly legal proceedings for often relatively small amounts of money. Solidarity networks help people craft their own case and provide important advice to people who otherwise would have few options.

The K-W Solidarity Network is actively looking for cases to pursue and can be phoned at 1-855-457-8700 or emailed at contact@kwsolidarity.com. It also has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KitchenerWaterlooSolidarityNetwork.

This article appeared in Volume 1, Issue 2 of The Chevron on 4 October 2013.

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