Congratulations Vivianne Simon! You have shattered the glass ceiling!
On March 9, 2023, History was made when Vivianne Simon, the first woman of colour to hold such a position, and the second woman to become a service representative, was acclaimed to the position of Business Representative at IAM District 78.
Vivianne’s career started in the healthcare sector at the Ukrainian Canada Care Centre, wherein she helped organize her workplace, eventually becoming the Chief Steward.
She later went on to get involved in a mentoring program at her workplace, under the guidance of her mentor Kim Valliere. She appreciates and acknowledges the IAM’s mentoring program role in her professional development.
As a lover of truth, fairness, knowledge and equity, the IAM provided the platform she needed to actively promote these values, through the various committees like the Women’s Committee, Human Rights Committee and the Workers of Colour Committee.
Vivianne Simon has shown us through her shining example, that Women of Colour, can break barriers and overcome challenges. The Union’s strength in Knowledge and Solidarity is the perfect medium and breeding ground to give members an opportunity to grow, create opportunities for advancement for the individual and group, advocate for their rights without fear of reprisal and have the perfect work/life balance necessary for every individual.
Vivianne hopes to see many more women, and women of colour, join her on this incredible journey of representing the members of the IAM.
Kudos to you Vivianne Simon!
I end with a quote from the quintessential, powerful black woman, the First Lady Michelle Obama ” I am coming down from the mountaintop, to tell every young person that is poor and working class, and has been told regardless of the colour of your skin that you don’t belong, don’t listen to them. They don’t even know how they got at those seats.”
February is Black History Month and a great time to remember the immense contributions and accomplishments of the Black People in Canada. It is the time to honour their legacy and their communities, by paying homage to their Stalwarts past and present.
“Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; A Future to Build” is the 2024 theme for Black History Month in Canada. This theme as the title indicates, felicitates with vigour and gratitude the past struggles, victories and valuable Black heritage, keeping an eye on the future, with aspirations to embrace new opportunities and avenues for growth. The theme has been chosen to align with the 10th year of the ‘ International Decade for People of African Descent’ which recognizes that this group is particularly vulnerable and has to have their human rights protected, advanced and acknowledged.
The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery in the United States. February 1 is known as National Freedom day in it’s honour.
Two important facts about Black History Month : It was first celebrated in the second week of February in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12th and Abolitionist/editor Fredrick Douglass on February 14th. Carter G.Woodson initiated the first celebration which led to Black History Month and then officially in 1976 as part of the U.S.A’s bicentennial the week was expanded to a month.
Reverend Jesse Jackson’s march for jobs – around the White House
A couple of biographies down below of great and famous Black people in Canada, who have helped shaped our Canadian heritage and identity and have left an indelible mark on Canadian History and society, thereby promoting the wellbeing and prosperity of our great country.
Harriet Tubman : A former enslaved woman from Maryland, she went on to become ” The Moses” of her people and “conductor” who led hundreds of enslaved Blacks to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Despite great personal risk when the United States Fugitive law was passed, and having angry slave owners posting bounties for her capture, she continued her work guiding runaway enslaved people further north into Canada. She became a leader in the Abolitionist Movement and during the Civil war worked as a nurse and spy for the Union forces in South Carolina.
Ihlan Abdullahi : She is an educator in public health , a professor at Simon Fraser University, a dedicated community organizer, story teller and advocate residing on the unceded territories of the Musquea, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her relentless work addresses health and social inequities, helping to contribute to the collective liberation of the communities she belongs to . Her focus is particularly on Black youth and newcomers. As an immigrant to Canada she draws her inspiration from her family’s journey and struggles. In 2020 she was nominated for the Top 100 Black Women to watch in Canada and in 2021 was shortlisted for the Woman of the Year Award, hosted by Muslims Achieving Excellence. She made her Directorial debut in 2021 with her Documentary “Dreamers”, which follows the journey of two Somali youth with dreams of becoming Professional Soccer players. She has centred Black refugees in her work in research, hoping that she can can explore the role of community organizing and social innovation in public health systems. Her other aspiration is to explore how grassroots community organizing and the process of decolonization through systems change lens can contribute to the upliftment and liberation of these communities.
The Honourable Lincoln M.Alexander : Born in 1922, he served with The Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World war between 1942 and 1945. A graduate of Hamiltons’s McMaster University, he later passed the bar examination as a alumni of Toronto’s Osgoode Hall School of Law. He was appointed as Queen’s Counsel and was the first Black person to become a member of Parliament in 1968 serving in the House of Commons until 1980. He was also the Federal Minister of Labour in 1979-80. He was appointed as Ontario’s 24th Lieutenant Governor in 1985 and was the first member of the racialized community to serve as the Queen’s representative in Canada. Education and Youth were the hallmarks of his Mandate. His illustrious career also included being the Chancellor of the University of Guelph, the Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and also the Honorary Commissioner for the International Year of Older Persons Ontario Celebrations. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada and to the Order of Ontario in 1992 and was Named the “Greatest Hamiltonian of All Time.” On December 2013 the Province of Ontario proclaimed January 21st(Lincoln Alexander’s birthday) as “Lincoln Alexander Day”
Carrie Best : She was born on March 4, 1903 in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, married in 1925 and died in 2001. In the 1940’s, she and her son Cal were arrested for sitting downstairs in the Whites-Only seats at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow. They were then charged with disturbing the peace, convicted and fined. She founded the first Black-owned and published Nova Scotia newspaper called ‘ The Clarion ‘ and in 1952 aired her radio show ‘The Quiet corner’ Some of her landmark achievements are:
Member of the Order of Canada in 1974
Awarded the Queen Elizabeth medal in 1977
Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979
Awarded an honorary doctorate of civil laws (DC.L)
Founded the Kay Livingstone Visible Minority Women’s Society of Nova Scotia in 1975
Inducted into the Nova Scotia Black Wall of Fame in 1980
Received the Harry Jerome Award in 1986
Received the Harambee Membership Plaque in 1987
Received the Black Professional Women’s Group Award Certificate in 1989
Received the Minister’s Award of Excellence in Race Relations- Minister of State for MultiCulturalism in 1990
Received the Nova Scotia Human Rights commission Award in 1991
Received the Town of New Glasgow Award for work in race relations in 1992
Received the Congress of Black Women Certificate in !993
I conclude with a noteworthy quote by Marty Meehan ” BLACK HISTORY MONTH MUST BE MORE THAN JUST A MONTH OF REMEMBRANCE; IT SHOULD BE A TRIBUTE TO OUR HISTORY AND REMINDER OF THE WORK THAT LIES IN THE MONTHS AND YEARS AHEAD.“
Thank you to all our members who attended the Christmas social and a special thank you to our Social Committee headed by the Chair Nesha Ramdeen, Jennifer Vuurman, Joshua Tunde-Ajay, Linda Stewart, Edith Daniel and Angelee Richards for making it a night to remember.
The air was festive, food fingerlicking good, and everyone left home with a gift and had a great time.
Ralph Martin (IAM Canadian Chief of Staff) addressed the members and recognized their selfless contributions and dedicated service, especially during Christmas and the Holiday season.
Kim Valliere Canadian Special Representative and District 78 Business Representative, regaled the crowd with trivia questions and generous prizes.
The Central Chair Ben Osakue thanked all the members for participating and gracing the occasion.
Kudos to the Social Committee for a job well done!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and it’s all thanks to you!!
On behalf of the executive board of LL1231, we would like to wish all our members a season full of cheer, light, happiness and prosperity for you and your families.
In light of all that is going on in the world let us spread the message of peace and compassion.
We would like to acknowledge all the hard work of our members and thank you all for being valued and integral members of the union. Your contributions and dedication on the job is unparalleled. You have made this year worth celebrating and we can’t wait to see you in the New Year!!!
Our IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. is retiring on January 1, 2024 after an illustrious and successful career.
He is the first Latino International President in the History of the American Labor movement. “Bob” as he is affectionately called, has been responsible for the groundbreaking growth of the IAM under his dynamic leadership.
Through Bob’s leadership, the IAM has grown into new industries, including healthcare professionals, gig workers, tech workers, veterinary technicians, museum workers, architectural workers and more.
His innovative and entrepreneurial spirit took the IAM into the most stable and strongest financial position in decades. This was largely due to the fact that he had dedicated his life to this union and it’s membership. He brought in new organizing tactics and strategies, created membership programs to assist members and their families and made history by initiating a rank and file membership vote for the IAM’s endorsement for U.S. president in 2020 and again in 2023.
From assisting military veterans with free service in VA claims assistance, introducing an addiction services program, starting a woman’s leadership initiative and launching a Committee on the Future, Bob has helped the IAM bring about an immense change in its overall trajectory and vision.
Another ‘feather in his cap’, was presiding over delegate action at the 39th and 40th IAM Grand Lodge Conventions and passing a Membership Bill of Rights expanding resources for organizing and increasing strike benefits and implementing electronic meetings.
You’re a true professional who’s shown by example that excellence is something to aim for daily. You inspire everyone around you to be more, and I know that will only continue in your retirement.
Congratulations Bob on an outstanding career. On behalf of LL1231, the Executive Board and it’s membership we wish you the best for your retirement!
We are also excited for the IAM’s next chapter under the leadership of our next International President Brian Bryant.
Of the 200 labour activists who lobbied on Parliament Hill under the banner of the CLC (Canadian Labour Congress), 57 were from IAM Canada.
The main issues to be addressed were, the need for a quicker implementation of the Anti-Scab Law, a national Pharma care plan and sustainable jobs.
A detailed report by LL1231 Trustee Johua Tunde down below, gives a comprehensive view of the events that transpired :
He states “The just concluded 2023 Ottawa Lobbying at Parliament Hill, was purported for the elected officials to understand and actively support the policy goals. The 3 main themes are 1. Sustainable Jobs 2. Anti- scab legislation 3. Pharmacare
Pharmacare: 1. Universality: all Canadians must be entitled to same level of Pharmacare 2. Accessibility: All Canadians must have reasonable access to the Prescription medication they need, regardless of their income, age or where they live. No co payments, no deductibles. 3. Comprehensiveness 4. Publicly administered 5. Portability-access to Canadians in all provinces/territory
It is important that the federal government accelerate the plans (Pharma care 2023).
Anti-scab legislation This is the replacement of striking workers by their employers with the use of scab labor. This process pits desperate workers against each other . It’s against the values of social justice, equality and fair pay held by working people in Canada.
Recommendations – The bill should be brought into effect immediately by Royal Assent. – All exceptions for bargaining unit work performed by scab workers should be removed (Anti-scab legislation, 2023)
Sustainable Jobs The introduction of Bill C – 50, the Sustainable Jobs Act, is an important first step and Canada’s unions are pleased that it reflects many of our priorities.
Recommendations -Keeping Canada’s promises – Have workers at the table – Commit to creating new jobs, protecting good Jobs, and making sure people can move from high carbon to low carbon Jobs – Sustainable Jobs must mean good jobs – Invest in training – Invest in communities – Invest in the future – Consulting and engaging affected stakeholders – Climate change is a health and safety issue ( Sustainable Jobs 2023).
References 1. Pharma care 2023: Canadian Labour Congress
2. Anti-Scab legislation 2023: Canadian Labour Congress
3. Sustainable Jobs 2023: Canadian Labour Congress
Sister Lystra Mohammed LL1231 Trustee, in her report says “It was my first time going to Ottawa to Lobby at Parliament Hill. Registering and learning about the guide to lobbying from the Canadian Labour Congress was very informative. Meeting with the different Delegates from my group and hearing everyone’s views about the topics we were going to discuss and lobby was all new to me.
These are the topics that the Delegates was lobbying for:
ANTI-SCAB LEGISLATION 2023
SUSTAINABLE JOBS 2023
There was a lot of information from the CLC which had us equipped with what we were to talk about with the MPs and the elected officials. It was also left open to discuss our Legislation issues with them. I had the opportunity to meet with 3 elected officials from different parties and they were all receptive about what we had to say and had positive feedback to give us. I also had the opportunity to talk about Pharma care. As PSWs we have clients who are directly affected by this, not having enough funds to get essential medication and the negative impact it can have on their health as a whole, which can be detrimental to them and their Healthcare. The lobbying was a success as some members of my group were known to the officials, as it was not their first time lobbying at Ottawa. IAMAW was very powerful and was know to most of the Politicians. I was so proud to be involved with our union and look forward to these legislations being passed .I thank everyone who made it possible for me to attend.”
Sister Marcia Stone Recording Secretary of the LL1231 said in her report, “This was my second time there this year and I find this experience again very educational. I met with Ruby Sahota Brampton North, Liberal Party of Canada, again. I wanted to asked her the follow-up questions but I didn’t get a chance because of the tight schedule. I spoke to her about Pharma care. I told her that I would stand with her in her endeavour to create a single-pay prescription drug plan that provides coverage for all residents regardless of their income, age, or where they live. I gave her an example of my mother who had to pay $350.00 for one drug because she did not have private insurance coverage despite being a senior on a fixed income. She assured me again that she will surely look into the matter. We all stand for Solidarity“
Sister Marene Robinson reported that “On November 28th a group of 10 delegates from LL1231 attended the Canadian Labour Congress, Lobby at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Our goal was to lobby the government on the things that are affecting our members now and in the future. This year we lobbied on three major issues: Pharmacare, Antis-scab legislation and sustainable jobs.
We asked the government to create a single-payer universal public prescription drug plan that provides coverage for all residents regardless of what their income are, were, or where they live. We also asked that the plan be portable and must follow Canadians no matter which province or territory they move to or live in.
Canada Pharma care plan must have a comprehensive list of medicines that ensure superior drug choice, safe and effective prescription drug use and the best value for money. It should be evidence based for the best health outcomes and should be evaluated on an ongoing basis by an arms-length, publicly accountable non-partisan oversight body.
With high prices, people are struggling and hurting. No one should have to make the tough choice of choosing whether to pay for rent, groceries or the medicine they need. Universal Pharma care will help.”
In concluding Marene said, ” Ottawa was cold, we had some long walks, but our hearts were warm knowing that we were doing what was good for our members and our country Canada. Thanks for the opportunity to represent our union.”
The schedule of events at the CLC Lobby at Parliament Hill, are described below for those that are interested :
On Monday evening, the IAM had a caucus meeting of members from across Canada. They discussed their important issues, which included lobbying on behalf of workers and working families. The CLC also conducted “Lobbying Training” for the delegates of the different Unions.
First time IAM attendees were taken under the wings of the veteran members, showing them the ropes, thus making them comfortable in their interactions with the Senators, MPs and other political dignitaries that were present.
On Tuesday, more than 200 labour activists met with MPs on Parliament Hill under the banner of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
“The more we lobby our elected officials on topics important to workers and the more we are comfortable in doing so, the more we will be able to persuade them that we are a force to be reckoned with,” said Derek Ferguson, Grand Lodge Representative responsible for Political Action. “I look forward to having as many IAM members trained in political action and lobbying as possible so that we can be a voice for working people.”
Some pictures of the event.
IAM CANADIAN CHIEF OF STAFF GORD FALCONER ADDRESSING ATTENDEES
Canadian Labour Congress President Bea Bruske talking with IAM LL1231 attendees
IAM WAS WELL REPRESENTED AT THE EVENT
IAM District 78 and LL1231 attendees with MP Gaheer Iqwinder
IAM District 78 and LL1231 attendees in their meeting with MP Brassard
The 17th Biennial Convention of the Ontario Federation of Labour began by acknowledging that we were meeting on Indigenous land that had been inhabited by First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples from the beginning. Gratitude was expressed for the opportunity that was bestowed on us as settlers, to be able to live, meet and conduct business and enterprise on this land that the Indigenous people, have for thousands of years held stewardship and taken care of.
The contributions and historical importance of the Indigenous peoples has left an indelible imprint on our lives and we made a collective commitment to make the promise of Truth and Reconciliation real in our communities and bring justice for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls across the nation.
Our generation has faced some challenging times with socio-economic inequities, a serious cost of living crisis, increasing hate, a looming climate crisis and democracy being threatened at the grassroots.
In order to fight back we need to persevere and have strong faith in our collective abilities. This will not be possible without a vision and a determined approach to fight back. We must join forces together and create an action plan to overcome these obstacles that have been created by the people in power who wish to further deregulate markets, expand unfair trade and investment practises, destabilize workers rights, disrupt progressive taxation and welfare state programs, privatize health care and public services thereby giving the lion’s share to the wealthy.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!
The vision document of the OFL(Ontario Federation of Labour) clearly states and reflects the vision of the IAM :
Our fights are rooted in working class struggles that are sweeping across the globe
We must empower the working class to stand up against inequities and injustice
We are a generation defined by our resilience and our capacity to challenge the status quo, implement changes at the grass root level and build movements that demand and bring forward results.
We will change the world and infuse, fairness, justice, inclusion and equity into every facet of life. We have to act now!
Low and middle income families across the country and the globe are fed up with feeling the squeeze as the cost of living soars amid frozen or reduced wages, public services crumbling, education cut backs and health care on the brink of collapse. Compounded with economic inequalities, there is an uprising of fascism, colonialism, racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia….the cries across the board is ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!
The ENOUGH IS ENOUGH campaign aims to tap into the frustration and anger with the status quo and channelize that to create a better future. A future that includes demanding real wage increases, better public education and Health care, groceries that are within everyone’s reach, cheaper gas and basic goods, rent control and affordable housing and corporations, banks and the wealthy few, paying their fare share.
The OFL plea is, “JOIN US AS WE ENVISION A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE IS UPLIFTED”
In order to achieve all of this the OFL came up with an action plan that identified four broad goals which would provide support for struggles underway, especially with regards to strikes and labour disputes. It would also rebuild labour’s capacity to organize and mobilize both union and non-union workers all over Ontario and help them develop into rank-and-file leaders. It would prepare for another “Bill 28 moment,” and lay the foundation for defeating Ford in June 2026, at the same time fighting for an Ontario New Democratic Party where workers from all communities, backgrounds and orientations feel welcome and at home.
Which now brings us to the actual events that took place:
WE SAID GOODBYE TO THE OLD LEADERS AND BROUGHT IN NEW LEADERSHIP AND A NEW OFL
Two new officers and a third was re-elected to form the leadership and guide the OFL for the next term of two years. Calling themselves by the catchy name “Team Ignite” they were elected by the delegates and felicitated at the OFL Convention. Laura Walton from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) was acclaimed as President; Ahmed Gaied from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)was re-elected as Secretary Treasurer and Jackie Taylor from the United Steelworkers was acclaimed as Executive Vice President. The elections were the Highlight of the Convention and the new leadership would take them to the next phase of the journey with the theme ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’.
The opening ceremony was conducted by Krista Maracle, Ethel LaValley and Dan Bowers of the Indigenous Communities.
The IAM and LL1231 sent a host of their delegates to represent the membership from across Ontario. For some of the delegates it was their first time and so they were guided through the process by those that were veterans. There was also a new delegates orientation before official proceedings began. Delegates heard many inspirational speakers and leaders like Andria Babbington, President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, Ausma Malik, Toronto City Councillor, Terry Melvin, International President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress and Natalie Mehra, Executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, who urged the delegates to take back the message to their memberships, to get involved with the labour movement if they want to see significant changes in the way the Ontario government treats Ontarians in the future. Vigorous debates and discussions were conducted whilst the delegates navigated through a multitude of resolutions which would guide them on their onward journey in the Labour movement. The Resolutions become official policy when approved by the majority of delegates.
The Womens and Human Rights forums held on Monday and Tuesday night, saw a large number of IAM delegates in attendance. Elections were held for Labour Councils, Persons with disabilities, First Nations, Métis and Inuit, Womens, Solidarity and Pride (2SLGBTQIA+), Smaller Affiliates, Young Workers and Workers of Colour. The idea behind having the many forums and workshops was to enrich and broaden the awareness of the delegates.
IAM SISTERS IN THE HOUSE FOR THE WOMEN’S CAUCUS.
Pictures from the OFL BLACK AND RACIALIZED WORKERS Election Caucus.
Frank Saptel Communications Representative IAMAW gave an invigorating speech on CLIFF at the WORKERS OF COLOUR forum and encouraged us to use this platform to tell our stories.
IAM LL1231 Delegates with Yvette Blackburn newly elected VP of the OFL BLACK AND RACIALIZED WORKERS.
IAM DISTRICT 78 AND LOCAL LODGE 1231 DELEGATES IN ATTENDANCE AT THE HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM
Human Rights forum : Panelists of the Focus on Palestine workshop
David Chartrand, IAM Canadian GVP who attended the Convention is quoted here saying “The OFL Convention was a great way to show IAM delegates that we are a part of a greater movement. There may be some disagreements, but, at the end of the day, we are all Brothers and Sisters and Siblings and we are all in the same fight. If we want to succeed, we MUST be part of a strong movement fighting for our rights and the rights of all workers!”
David Chartrand IAM Canadian GVP and Ralph Martin Grand Lodge Representative
Some of the impressions of the LL1231 Delegates that attended the Convention:
It was Joshua Tunde’s (Trustee of LL1231) first attendance of the OFL convention, and he says “It’s inspiring to see the diversity of the members attending from all walks of life. I immediately felt I belonged because they stand for the improvement of workers lives. All the speakers referred to the importance of unity- standing up together to collectively use our voices and act. Enough is Enough is the theme of the convention and this is the time for change. The conventions gave recognition and respect to the Indigenous peoples and together we sang the Inspirational Bread and Roses. The Convention serves as a learning opportunity and I learned a lot.”
Joshua Tunde Trustee LL1231
Said Lystra Mohammed Trustee of LL1231 “It was my first time going to the OFL and the atmosphere was enthusiastic and exciting. It was a group of workers who looked like they were ready for the fight. The music every morning had me ready for the day.
The opening ceremony with the traditional Algonquin language prayer was very emotional for me. Also knowing the history of the residential schools in Canada and what Canada had done to the First Nations people, making the aboriginal people lose their cultural and spiritual identity was heartbreaking. It made me realize the forgiveness of this nation of people. Learning that these people are still having to boil water, and that clean water is a fundamental human right, and that the indigenous people are still under a water advisory is shameful.
The passing of Resolutions and the hearing of Pros and Cons’, people talking about it passionately and the process of each one being passed was a great leaning experience, as also was going to the different workshops like, Women’s, Human Rights and Workers of Color. Hearing everyone views and opinion was a truly enlightening experience.
It was moving to hear our very own Secretary Treasurer Liza Thambaiah talk about her experience on emergency resolution on the African Refugee Crisis. Her speech touched my heart and I hope many of the delegates realize what we as a nation can do to improve on this human crisis and the lives of the refugees.
Sister Liza Thambaiah’s impassioned speech on Canada’s African Refugee Crisis
Also very touching was hearing our brother Aaron Miller talk about his own experience on Mental Health Issues bringing awareness of the subject and what we can do as healthcare professionals.”
IAM District 78 Delegate Aaron Miller addressing the convention
Sister Lystra goes on to say, “The March on the streets was invigorating and had me motivated to go on and on, despite it being so cold and windy. I enjoyed every moment of it and every day of the Convention was a learning and new experience for me. Thank you all who made it possible.”
LL1231 Delegates at the Housing Rally in Downtown Toronto
In her report Sister Lystra added, “Slogans that stood out for me.
Fighting back and Striking back together. If we fight together, we can win everything.Are you with us?
Lives are not the cost of doing business.
Dreams without limits.
Keep being the voice of peace, call for an immediate cease fire and release of hostages.”
Marcia Stone Recording Secretary says “Going to the OFL for the first time, the experience was very educational and I am happy I was there to participate in the change of the Resolutions. There were several of Resolutions that stood out to me.
We just have to put the action plan to work. We have to commit and demand the OFL’s 2023 “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH “. Organize and host a series of strategies, discussions among affiliate leadership about how to organize and coordinate its activity in a way that moves the Labour Movement out of defensive struggle and puts it on the offensive against Ford. “
Recording secretary of LL1231 Marcia Stone and Trustee Joshua Tunde
Secretary Treasurer Liza Thambaiah is quoted here saying :
“The 17th Ontario Federation of Labour Convention was held at the Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center in the heart of Downtown Toronto. Some of my personal insights and highlights are as follows: 1) The indigenous circle smudging ceremony was very uplifting. 2) There were over 1,000 delegates participating and representing unions from all across Ontario. Several Dignitaries from the Ontario New Democratic Party and guest speakers were also in attendance. 3) The election of a new OFL executive took place and I was grateful to be part of the democratic process. Laura Walton (Second woman President elect), Ahmed Gaied (re-elected for a second term as Secretary/Treasurer) and Jackie Taylor (Vice-President). 4) Guest speaker Terry Melvin from the Coalition of Black Trade Unions gave a resounding and provocative speech. He pointed out that we all belonged to the human race and we should not allow politicians to get us into the trap of divisiveness on issues that we all share. He reiterated that we are all stronger together. 5) There were many heated debates for and against several Committee resolutions and the ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: WORKERS STRICK BACK VISION DOCUMENT. 6) These are some of the resolutions that was carried and should make a great impact on workers and society, Anti-oppression and anti-discrimination training for Ontario Federation Labour and all affiliates, increasing funding support to the Ontario Health Coalition, Community engagement, Community building, Equity, Racial Justice and Real Reconciliation, Develop active bystander intervention training and resources on gender-based violence, funding for the investigation of unmarked graves at residential school, safe drinking water for first nations, combating anti-black racism in the Federal public service ,Canada Health Act, Including black history in the education curriculum, ending exploitation of international students at post-secondary institutions, care for women- pay equity for workers in social services who are mostly racialized women, housing for all, ensuring a low carbon future with more good unionized jobs, Health and safety empowerment, enforce the pay transparency act, 2018. These are just a few, If any LL1231 members are interested in reading the resolutions document please feel free to contact anyone who attended the convention and it will be provided to you. 7) The march by delegates in support of renters against greedy landlords took place from the Sheraton Hotel to Bay Street was powerful in getting the message across. Solidarity was definitely on display. 8) I was totally honoured to have been able to have the opportunity to cast my ballot for the new OFL black and racialized Committee Vice-President (Yvette Blackburn), Abdi Hagiyusuf and alternate (Elizabeth Ha). Finally, I am again thankful to all the iamaw delegates for their support in helping me navigate and better understand the inner framework of the Ontario Federation of Labour. Mingling with new and familiar siblings and gaining tremendous support and knowledge along the way was a magnificent experience on my part. Solidarity not only in words but deeds.”
Lastly LL1231 President Merry St. Barnard in her report said ” It was my first time attending the OFL Convention, and I found it to be an amazing experience with great conversations that led to a profound educational experience. It gives me a better understanding of Canada’s largest provincial labour Federation which represents 54 unions and over one million workers. We went to a couple of caucuses and forums wherein we took part in the elections of some major committees like, Womens, Workers of Colour and Team Ignite to name a few. This year the vision statement was ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Terry Melvin was one of the inspirational speakers at the convention, who set the room on fire with his passionate speech. The Rally on Queen street demonstrated the brotherhood and Unity of the members. We had and awesome closing ceremony conducted by the Indigenous Community. All in all it was an awesome and educational experience, worth every penny.”
Editor’s note : I am hoping that this article will give a comprehensive view of the OFL Convention to all our LL1231 members. Let us glean wisdom from this event and carry it forward to empower each other.
Some pictures of the OFL Convention :
The new leadership of the OFL with Dave Chartrand IAM Canadian GVP and Gord Falconer Chief of Staff of the IAM
IAM DISTRICT 78 DELEGATES AND LL1231 DELEGATES WITH THE LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY JAGMEET SINGH AND HIS DAUGHTER
MICHAEL CORRADO ADDRESSING THE DELEGATES
THE NEW EXECUTIVE BOARD OF THE OFL BEING SWORN IN.
CLOSING CEREMONIES BY ETHEL LAVALLEY AND THE INDIGENOUS CIRCLE AT THE VERY PRODUCTIVE 17TH BIENNIAL OFL CONVENTION
Please mark your calendar and make sure that you attend the Christmas social that will be held on the 21st of December, after the Union meeting at 7pm. The venue is the IAMAW District 78 office at 557 Dixon Rd, Unit 102, Etobicoke, ON M9W 6K1. Tel. 416-225-9003/1-877-905-0078
There will be snacks and dinner served. Please RSVP Nesha Ramdeen at email@example.com to confirm your attendance and let her know if you have any allergies or food restrictions.
The next LOCAL LODGE 1231 Union meeting will be held on Thursday 16th November 2023, at 7 pm, at 557 Dixon Rd Unit 102, Etobicoke, ON M9W 6K1. Tel. 416-225-9003/1-877-905-0078
We encourage you to attend and participate in large numbers. We would love to hear your views and ideas and participate in healthy, respectful discussions, to ensure the democratic process, to make the Union Stronger. All are welcome!!!