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Anti-Racism Coalition urges RSU to reinstate former employees

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By Al Downham

Ryerson’s Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC) urged Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) President Andrea Bartlett Thursday to reinstate two employees due to “serious equity issues” with their layoffs.

In a letter released by the Canadian Union of Public Employees [CUPE] Local 1281, ARC asked Bartlett to reinstate Gilary Massa – the RSU’s former Executive Director of Communications and Outreach (EDCO) ‑ and Dina Skvirsky, her temporary replacement.

“The entire Ryerson community has been enriched by [Massa’s] leadership, thoughtful engagement and dedication to equity,” the letter said.

Massa and Skvirsky were let go after the RSU’s restructuring in early December, eliminating the EDCO position. It has been replaced by a new General Manager position with separate duties to overlook financial operations and annual transitions of RSU executives.  

“While employers are entitled to restructure during the time that an employee is on leave they are not permitted to use reorganization as a cloak for unjust dismissal,” the letter said.

Since Massa is a racialized new mother, ARC called Massa’s layoff “especially odious.”

Bartlett said early this month the decision was difficult but “done in accordance with the Employment Standards’ Act.”

“Individual people were not the reason for why this role was eliminated,” Bartlett said. “This was a business decision because of serious financial concerns and serious operational concerns.”

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