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U of M unions speak out against privatization at town hall meeting

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The pink shirts, handed out by caretakers at the University of Manitoba today, displayed the words: "Bullying stops here, in support of our caretakers."

The President's Town Hall meeting at the U of M was called in response to a rally staged by the university's resident unions in February combating the increasing privatization of services at the Fort Garry campus.

During a packed meeting, those pink shirts were intermingled throughout the large crowd in front of Dr. David Barnard, the university's president.

Those wearing the pink shirts cheered loudly after their representative, Frank Wright, spoke to the crowd.

"Our people are being abused mentally, physiologically and physically," said Wright, grievance representative for the caretakers, during his speech.

Laura Charr, janitor and graduate of the U of M's sociology program, took the microphone to speak of working injured and sick because she told her kids she would.

Paul Kochan, vice-president of administration, promised Wright he would meet with the caretakers' union in the coming weeks in order to sort out the issues.

"Finally," said Wright after the meeting. "Finally after 21 months of abuse and fighting, we're going to get a meeting."

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