This past week, general assemblies at Université de Montréal resulted in two more student associations voting for a combination of strike days and an unlimited general strike to begin in March. These are the 366-member anthropology association AEAUM and the 170-member art history association AEEHAUM.
However, strike votes failed to carry for larger student associations at other institutions, where they decided through referendums rather than general assemblies.
At its general assembly Monday, AFESH, the social science students’ association at Université du Québec à Montréal, became just the second to vote in favour of an unlimited general strike this year. Its 4,200 members will walk out on March 18 if a minimum of 20,000 students in 3 different regions of the province have adopted a strike mandate of at least one week — the same minimum required by the student midwives of AESFQ.
In addition, barring the government’s capitulation to their demands, AFESH will be on strike February 20, March 6 to 8, March 15, and March 18 to 22 — with no minimum.
ADEESE, the education student association at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), surprisingly voted down a proposed unlimited general strike at its general assembly on February 5. After a recount, the official tally was 343 for and 396 against, with 22 abstentions.
This loss was particularly disappointing since the 5,000-member association is the largest yet to vote on the strike this year, and has been among the most active participants in the campaign for paid internships. As a result, some might be wondering whether the previous provincial government, under the Liberal Party of Quebec, effectively managed to placate the juggernaut association — or the movement as a whole — with its offer of compensation for the final student-teaching internship.
The Journalism Student Association at Montreal’s Concordia University voted in favour of a strike at its general assembly on January 16, making it the second in Quebec to do so thus far this semester.
With this strike mandate, the JSA joins the Association des étudiantes sages-femmes du Québec (AÉSFQ), or Quebec Association of Student Midwives, who voted for an unlimited general strike just three days prior. The motion passed by the AÉSFQ was contingent on 20,000 students in 3 different regions of the province also going on strike.
The strike motion, which passed by a “strong majority,” will take effect as soon as a minimum of 20,000 students in 3 different regions of the province have passed similar motions, and requires renewal every 14 days at most.
At a general assembly on November 14, 2018, students at Cegep Marie-Victorin in Montreal North voted overwhelmingly to strike against unpaid internships from November 19 to 23.
In total, some 58,000 students from 39 different student associations at cegeps and universities across Quebec went on strike that week — and are gearing up for an unlimited general strike in winter 2019.