In the first bitterly cold months of 1983, Vanier College teachers, together with their colleagues in other Quebec Cegeps, spearheaded a strike of the Common Front of Public Service workers. My camera was with me throughout : on the picket line, at our strategy, general assembly and information meetings, at demonstrations with other teachers and during our street theatre and newspaper distribution in front of the Premier’s Office (to the delight of the police).
The Parti Québecois government had broken its contract with 300,000 Public Sector workers 6 months before it expired. Laws passed in June and Dec 1982 suspended bargaining rights, imposing huge wage reductions and changes in our workload.
When a back-to-work “settlement” with punitive fines was imposed after 3 weeks, and Vanier teachers (after 2 days) went back to the classroom, students became involved, forming Angst, demonstrating and holding a 1-day strike of their own. They used my photos, mounted in a display that invited comment, in their postering.
Finally, I presented a slide show of this work, titled Fighting for Jobs – and posted the photographs on the walls – at the Society for Photographic Educational National Conference in March 1984.