Labatt boycott costing MUN students

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There are many ways that supporting an outside strike can affect student life here at Memorial University.

When the Metrobus strike was on-going and being shown unwavering support from the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union (MUNSU), students were unable to commute the city or make class. 

When the students’ union stood with the airport workers, students returning home were unable to do so without great hassle.

And now, with the boycott of Labatt products, students aren’t able to get their favourite beer in the gymnasium we call the Breezeway.

Not just about beer

It is significant enough being told to stand in solidarity when you probably just want a beer, but there is much more happening behind the scenes than not being able to get your Stella or Blue Star.

The student’s union is the primary funder of student groups across campus with its $1.1 million budget from student dues.

Each ratified group receives $120 each semester for operation costs, with each resource centre garnering $1,000 each semester to provide education, knowledge and resources about their respective groups to the campus population.

But that $1.1 million only goes so far when you have 13,000 students to provide for and over 100 campus groups.

So where does the rest of the money come from for the student groups?

It comes from government, it comes from outside community groups, and it comes from private businesses — one of those formerly being Labatt Breweries.

Each year Labatt gives back to its community that supports its business by giving to local charities, sports groups, and of course, to the students.

With tens of thousands in sponsorships over the past three years in products and donations to groups at Memorial University, they certainly do give back.

“I would love to help out with fundraising efforts,” said Steve Tobin, a sales representative for Labatt Breweries, “but unfortunately your Student Union issued a Labatt boycott and I have to respect their decision.”

To the disappointment of Labatt, again Tobin commented “So despite the fact that I am more than willing to sit down and help out the students of the university, my hands are tied.”

It comes down to the fact that student groups are now placed at a disadvantage for sponsorship of their fundraising events.

The faculty of engineering, music, archaeology, business, biology, and medicine have all been previously sponsored by Labatt, but because of the boycott the sponsorship deals have come to an end.

With MUNSU supporting the Labatt boycott, where is the money going to come from now?

Can the students’ union pick up the tab that groups are now going to incur?

Maybe if the Breezeway wasn’t losing $161,000 it would be a potential option.

Without the added support from Labatt, functions and events will simply not go ahead.

And that is the bottom line.

When it comes to informing, engaging and taking action, the students’ union has more than a thing or two to learn before it makes decisions that are now proving a detriment to the student body at Memorial University.

Noah Davis-Power

St. John’s

Organizations: Labatt, Memorial University of Newfoundland Students, Student Union

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Recent comments

  • To Wild Rose
    August 02, 2013 - 15:47

    It was the students' union that gave me rules and guidelines to keep lazy instructors from piling 3 exams on me in the last week of classes. It was the students' union that introduced me to campus, showed me around and made me friends before I even attended my first class. It was the students' union that charged me the same price for goods and materials that were traded fairly by the single mothers co-op of el-salvador instead of a sweat-shop in bangladesh. It was the students union THAT ELIMINATED DEBT ON PROVINCIAL STUDENT LOANS AND INSTATED A TUITION FREEZE THROUGH POLITICAL PRESSURE ON TOBIN AND DUNDERDALE! It was the students' union that stood up and said no to fee increases. It was the students union that got Chartwells out of MUN. It was the students' union that stood up and fought for Adult Basic Education and education in rural Newfoundland when Dunderdale gave us the cold-cut-shoulder.It's the students' union that continues to fight for these things because they're important and they matter. It was the students' union that gave students academic freedom, rights and fought against discriminatory and money-gouging access copyright scams. And I'll continue to support the students' union in this province - the only province with 100 percent solidarity between all publicly funded post secondary institutions. Newfoundland is doing for education in this country what Tommy Douglas did for health-care in Saskatchewan. And it's because of the students' union.

  • Corporate Psycho
    July 30, 2013 - 17:19

    The student union did the right thing. Totally support them.

  • Billy Driscoll
    July 30, 2013 - 13:06

    “The faculty of engineering, music, archaeology, business, biology, and medicine have all been previously sponsored by Labatt, but because of the boycott the sponsorship deals have come to an end.” Good luck, sounds like their parties will be entertaining now. Maybe they will now be sponsored by Color Your World, the party's will be as fun as watching paint dry.

  • MUNSU Wasting Money On Breezeway Bar
    July 30, 2013 - 10:45

    The campus bar the Breezeway, once the most popular and profitable bar on the Avalon is losing over $150 thousand a year but the MUNSU doesn't do anything about the losses. Obviously, no one at MUNSU studies business or accounting. Clearly no on on MUNSU studies political science either because of the 16,000 students at MUN, only 1200 voted in the student union elections, less than 9 percent. Call MUNSU what it really is, a little club for a bunch who only take care of and pay themselves with mandatory student union fees.

    • david
      July 30, 2013 - 11:45

      I'd say that, given MUNSU is a stepping stone for many to get into Newfoundland provincial politics, it is proving to be an excellent apprenticeship and training ground. Simply excellent.

    • Gekko
      July 30, 2013 - 21:26

      MUNSU knows nothing and cares less about running a business. They should get their own house in order before wading into things like the Labatt strike, and they should start by bringing in an actual businessperson to run the campus bar. But they won;t do that, it would mean laying off a few of their friends and that someone might actually be paying attention to "spillage"/how much booze is being given away. For them to lose almost a quarter of their budget on the Breezeway is mind-boggling, students should be mad as hell about the way MUNSU nonchalantly throws away money that doesn't belong to them. These people cant even come close to breaking even on a university bar of all things, the last thing they should be doing is lecturing successful people in the business community like Labatts.

  • PaulNorthRiver
    July 30, 2013 - 08:10

    Oh dear....the poor students might have to get their fave beer elsewhere because their Student Union has taken a stand in support of working men and women. What a tragic day this is. All hail the Corporation!

  • Jeff
    July 30, 2013 - 07:47

    So you’re okay with corporations using their donations to strong-arm recipients. I guess, that kind of takes the pressure off of independent bodies to think and act.... well... independently.

    • david
      July 30, 2013 - 09:47

      So Jeffy...the union side can be the petulant, irresponsible and even destructive goons they are, but the corporate side has to be the gracious, "bigger minded" party. This shows not only your ignorant hypocrisy, but the wholly unintended high ethical esteem with which you TRULY regard corporations...well done, eejot.

    • Jeff
      July 30, 2013 - 10:49

      David, I never accused corporations of being gracious and I never would. I'm pointing out that the author here has no problem with independent bodies being responsible to corporate funders rather than their constituents. I won't comment on your reading comprehension, but as for petulant, goonish behaviour, as always, one only needs to look at your own conduct, 'eejot.'

    • Chantal
      July 30, 2013 - 11:10

      You are an angry little man, aren't you? Samping around and name-calling.

    • Joe
      July 30, 2013 - 11:42

      I wonder why the writer sent this letter to The Telegram rather than the university paper. I guess writing to the community involved would not garner enough attention to the writer. It appears that the student union has decided to put this policy in place not the union. I guess business operators who are mainly unskilled and uneducated people would rather the public have no right to make their own independent decisions. So much for freedom of thought.

  • roy
    July 30, 2013 - 07:27

    Don't worry students, i'm sure the workers at Labatt. when the strike is over will dig into their pockets and give you any money lost. Ha>Ha. After all you are supporting them and they realy care about you.

  • david
    July 30, 2013 - 07:19

    And in their socialist utopian opinions and actions, the resulting consequences provide these students with their first encounter with the real world. I suggest these students use this time of sobriety to reassess their own understanding of the world ---- including blind obedience to political leaders who stray out of their depth. It might be the most educational moment of their university experience. Meanwhile, enjoy your self-inflicted and very misguided stance.