The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) held it’s 30th Constitutional convention in Montreal.
Unions that were affiliated to the CLC gathered together to participate in the vision of “Lifting Everyone Up.”
What is the purpose of conventions, one may ask…
Conventions are the place where plans are proposed, discussed and resolutions are passed which direct the course of policies that are on the way to be newly implemented. They could also be the place where changes are made to existing policies which determine the shape of the constitution for Canada’s largest labour group.
The important decision reached was the unanimous endorsement of Team Unite for the leadership of the CLC, supporting Bea Bruske, Lily Change, Siobhan Vipond and Larry Rousseau.
Many in the IAM delegation were first time attendees eager to learn how conventions work and how their input can formulate and implement policies to guide the labour movement fighting against conservative agendas.
Our IAM members from Local Lodge 1231 spoke passionately on the Care Economy Action Plan and shared their thoughts and experiences as healthcare workers particularly during the time on COVID 19.
Some pictures of the event.
Executive board members, Secretary Treasurer Liza Thambaiah, President Merry St. Barnard and Vice President Nesha Ramdeen with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
Recording Secretary Marcia Stone, Nesha Ramdeen , Liza Thambaiah and Merry St. Bernard at the convention hall.
I am sharing a thorough comprehensive report written by our accomplished Secretary treasurer Liza Thambaiah down below :
The 30th Constitutional Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress started off with an invigorating performance by Julie Black. She performed Solidarity forever the unionist theme song in her authentic fashion. Independent first nation’s leader Alan Harrington and Jagmeet Singh were all speakers at the opening ceremony.
Beau Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress addressed the delegates and welcomed a contingency of over 2000 participants from unions and affiliates from a cross section of Canada. The IAMAW was well represented with about 50 members in attendance. The President reminded us of the Theme of the convention “Lifting everyone up”. The mayor of Montreal Valerie Plante also welcomed us to the town.
Some Action Plans that were tabled included, affordability, Indigenous, climate crisis, care economy, building up Canada and organizing. Plans and resolutions were vigorously debated on the floor by passionate union members, especially on subjects of the care economy, Indigenous rights and freedoms and combating racism and hate inside the unions and in society. Many members shared personal experiences with so much emotion that I was brought to tears.
Some keynote speakers included, Romeo Saganash Cree leader and indigenous rights advocate, Jagmeet Singh N.D.P. leader, Chris Smalls President of Amazon’s newly founded labour union in Staten Island. New York who gave a sensational speech on how he formed the union. There was also a roundtable discussion on the care economy that I found extremely informative and moving. A video was presented on the topic and LL1231 had Dorine Agendia as a participant and she outlined the challenges of being a nurse working in the community. She was very eloquent and articulate in her presentation.
I was elated to have been giving the opportunity to participate in the Workers of Colour caucus and election. The experience was one of my major highlights of the convention. I helped to vote in two new Vice Presidents and two alternates. They are Jordan Forde CUPW union, Venessa Sharma, Alternates;- Robert Deonarine and Muna De Ciman. They are all excellent leaders and I am confident that they will work diligently on issues pertaining to Workers of Colour. All current members of the C.L.C. were re-elected to their posts, President Beau Bruske, Vice President Larry Rousseau, Vice President Siobhan Vipond and Secretary-Treasurer Lilly Chang.
We all took to the streets of downtown Montreal and marched in solidarity for all issues that negatively affect workers. I came away from the convention with so many new friends, also with renewed commitment to help push the C.L.C’s mandate of lifting everyone up by lobbying, encouraging and engaging members in the fight so we can gain a better standard of living for all workers and their families and build a better stronger Canada together. “UNION STRONG”
Our LL1231 President Merry St. Bernard said ” The Canadian Labour Congress was my first one. The experience was great. It was well organized and structured to everyone’s needs. At the New Delegates orientation we learned the Code of Conduct rules and procedures on how to vote. At the Indigenous Worker Caucus I learned a new word NU-EECH-EE-WAGAN. When we walked the streets of Montreal we demonstrated that when workers organize together, we lift everyone UP!”
Recording Secretary Marcia Stone, was convinced by attending the CLC in Montreal that when workers organize, they demonstrate a show of strength and solidarity and they uplift each other.
Vice President Nesha Ramdeen, said there were about 2000 plus delegates gathered together from across Canada, to discuss a variety of resolutions, to make changes in the Constitution, in order to make the lives of union members better in the workplace.
The various issues that workers face range from lack of respect in the workplace, Racism, Discrimination, Decreasing Housing Affordability, Poor Benefits to name a few. These issues are addressed in these conventions, resolutions are passed to reflect in the constitution and thereby changes can be made, to better Working conditions and create fair and equal opportunities for all members.
The Executive board members who attended the Convention would like to express their gratitude to The GVP office members who chaperoned and guided them through their first CLC convention.