OPCM (Ontario Provincial Council of Machinists) Convention convenes after 3 long years

The OPCM held it’s 59th Annual convention in Ajax Ontario, after 3 long years, due to the Pandemic. They covered a diverse range of topics ranging from organizing, mentorship, political action and choosing a new executive board .

Increasing diversity in IAM was clearly reflected in the inclusion of more women and people of visible minorities.

It was wonderful to see how many of the attendees were first time delegates due to the special efforts and inclusionary measures of District 78.

Many presentations were made, including one done by the IAM Canada General Vice President David Chartrand who spoke about the many new initiatives being promoted by the IAM across North America.

Some pictures of the event.

Some of the LL1231 members who attended the convention, shared their experiences and were happy to bring the knowledge and skills they gained, back with them, to share with our fellow members.

Said Liza Thambaiah, Secretary Treasurer of LL1231, ” There was almost a 100 delegates and guests in attendance. I was excited since this was my first OPCM Convention, but there were many first time delegates with recognizable faces as well.”

Liza goes on to say ” Some of the highlights of the convention were Ivana Saula’s presentation outlining the LEADS program which helps to empower women in the IAM, to step into leadership roles within the union. The GVP DAVE CHARTRAND and Gord Falconer emphasized the need to engage with members, updating lodges bylaws to include virtual meetings and encourage members involvement in Political Action. Rootisha Rampat District Lodge organizer gave a comprehensive presentation on organizing at the district and the importance of increasing union membership. Some of the new executive board members elected to preside for the next three years included Nesha Ramdeen our LL1231 Vice President as Educator and Heather Johnston as Communicator.”

Liza concludes by saying, that she is extremely grateful for being afforded the opportunity to attend the OPCM convention as it was educational, inspiring and fun.

Lystra Mohammed Trustee of LL1231 says she learned a lot about contract flipping at the Canadian Office. GVP Dave Chatrand’s speech made her extremely enthusiastic to be actively involved in the IAM. Also impressive was the presentation done by Ivana Saula on AI and what impact it will have on our members. She says the highlight for her was hearing our very own Rootisha Rampat Organizer at the District 78 talk about how she gets her leads.

Recording secretary Marcia Stone, says that the convention was educational and the speakers spoke on a multitude of ways to bring about positive changes in the IAM. She had a lot of her questions answered at the OPCM Convention and overall had a great experience.

Trustee Joshua Tunde narrates that the OPCM was an eye opener for him. He got to know how the Union operates at the provincial level. He gained a wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics including AI and its probable negative impact on workers. Also discussed was the importance of incorporating a safe guide on the use of technical language in forthcoming negotiations. He says the convention was relaxing and educational.

The Executive board of LL1231, it’s members and the delegates who attended the event, want to thank the organizers, District 78 and all those who participated in the convention for making it truly memorable for them.

MEMBER OF THE MONTH

Susanna Duncan is our member of the month for June!

Congratulations Susanna!

Originally from Georgetown Guyana, and a dental hygienist with more than 8years of practise, she is now a Personal Support Worker and union steward with Spectrum Healthcare. We are proud and happy to have her as a member of our team.

Susanna is empathetic, compassionate, caring and loving, some of the adjectives her co-workers use to describe her. She has strong values of teamwork, leadership and communication. In her spare time she enjoys listening to music and reading.

Her favourite quote is by Maya Angelou…”My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, compassion, humour and style.”

Thank you Susanna for your hard work and team spirit!

REPORT OF THE 30TH CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF THE CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS

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.

PLEASE FILL OUT THE SURVEY BELOW!

Your feedback is needed to advocate for you, at both the bargaining table and in lobbying with Government.

By filling out this survey you can help us to better understand your needs and we could also, see through your eyes, your working conditions, challenges that you face on the job and important core issues that need to be addressed in the workplace.

Please use this as an opportunity to improve your work life and that of your colleagues as well.

As GVP Dave Chartrand said “In order to advocate for our members, both at the bargaining table and through lobbying efforts and to understand the needs of our members, we need to gain an insight into the work conditions, challenges, and issues confronting members throughout the various sectors the IAM represents”.

https://iamaw.checkboxonline.com/IAM-CANADIAN-TERRITORY—WHITE-COLLAR-OCCUPATIONAL-SURVEY-ENGLISH-Copy

Thank you in advance for participating in this survey.

MEMBER OF THE MONTH

Huraiya Ebrahim is Member of the month for May, 2023.

Huraiya is a Personal Support Worker from the Peel Region who has worked diligently during her 15 years of service at Spectrum Health Care.

In her words ” I love my job and my clients. I enjoy laughing and help my clients and coworkers. I am always ready to help out and therefore have a good relationship with my coworkers.”

We applaud you Huraiya, for your hard work, congeniality at the work place and your helpful attitude. Thank you for all that you do, to serve your clients and the community.

Rose of Sharon Charity Drive

Two of the sisters Rai Sagar and Heather Johnston did the drop off for the 1231 women’s committee charity drive. 

Rose of Sharon provides support to young moms ranging in age from 14-29. 

Justine Kobitowich- Nutrition & Resource Coordinator was the main contact and stated that they were currently in need of larger size diapers and other baby items like creams and formula. 

Deanne Kukulewich the executive director gave the ladies a tour of the facility and explained about the different services and programs they offer- from counselling and support to high school classes and life skills; such as nutrition and cooking. 

They have a program for the babies and young children while the moms are in the classes or receiving services. 

They have a large number of volunteers that help with the donations that come in as well as a food pantry and clothing sections for the babies and moms. 

They are very grateful for the donation that the members of 1231 put together! 

In pictures-

 Heather Johnston, Rai Sagar and Deanne Kukulewich

Heather Johnston and Jennifer Vuurman

PLEASE DONATE GENEROUSLY!

The IAM DL 78 Women’s Committee, is organizing a charity drive for The Toronto District School Board Caring and Safe Schools Program.

PAC SYMPOSIUM AT THE WILLIAM W. WINPISINGER EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER, REPORT BY OUR EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS

Said our LL1231 President Merry St. Bernard, “IT WAS AN AMAZING WEEK, I WISH I HAD THAT WEEK BEFORE GOING TO OTTAWA. I BELIEVE IT WOULD HAVE GIVEN ME MORE CONFIDENCE. WE HAD DISCUSSIONS ON LOBBYING AND ANTI-SCAB LEGISLATION, COMMUNICATIONS, ETC.”

This is what our our Recording Secretary Marcia Stone had to say, ” I GAINED VALUABLE INFORMATION ON HOW TO BRING AWARENESS TO OUR NEEDS IN HEALTHCARE. WE LEARNED HOW TO APPROACH THE MINISTERS WITH OUR CONCERNS AND I WILL TRY TO EMPOWER MY FELLOW MEMBERS ALSO TO PARTICIPATE, SO THEIR CONCERNS CAN BE HEARD.”

Below is a comprehensive report given by our Treasurer Liza Thambaiah:

There was a large group of over 78 in attendance at the Political Action Symposium from Locals lodges, committees, and District Lodges from across Canada. All sectors were represented including, aerospace, Airport workers, manufacturing, automotive and Healthcare.  The Canadian General Vice President, Dave Chartrand gave the opening speech.

The following were some key points of discussion. I) Effective lobbying; an NDP MP and also a CLC member represented a conservative MP and members were able to practice hands on with sector specific issues. We had the opportunity to develop confidence and learned how to engage the MP by giving personal examples, also the importance of taking photos and getting a commitment to help on the issue as well as making sure a follow-up is done either by email, phone or in person.   2) The impact of AI, GPT both the negatives and positives on the workforce. Some examples of negatives were the decrease in workforce, more workload, tracking, constant upgrading of skills. Some positives are working from home, less commuting, job being done faster just to mention a few. The IAMAW is trying to come up with a national strategy to help protect workers whether it be through Collective Bargaining or Legislation.3) Feedback on the IAM sector specific survey that was sent out to members back in November 2022 had poor response. It was decided that the survey will be sent out again. This survey was done to gather information from members regarding the main issues affecting them on the job, so that the union can develop sector specific strategies by means of Collective bargaining or legislation to enhance the standard of living and protect workers from unscrupulous employers. There were only 35 responses from the healthcare sector. Hopefully, there will be a better response the second time around. 4) Emphasis was placed on the importance of growing membership. Some brainstorming ideas were IAMAW logo decals on cars, involvement at community events, larger turnout at labour day parade, sponsorship at junior sporting events like baseball having a banner in place, participation in Gay pride parade with union flags and sponsorship or banners at Caribana and other ethnically diverse festivals. Finally, action plans were drawn up by all sectors to outline, develop and implement concrete steps to engage members in all union activities especially the Political Action Committee. Some of our plans included officially setting up a PAC, ongoing lobbying of MPs in all member constituencies in groups and giving feedback to members at meetings or through the local website. 

To conclude in Liza Thambaiah’s words, “I am especially, enthusiastic about taking the action plan to the members, encouraging their engagement, and seeing the plan to come to fruition.”