In this weeks' Toronto & York Region Labour Council news:
- Thursday: Last Delegates Meeting of 2020
- Tropicana Strike Update
- Ford’s Failure: Workers exposed while Ontarians suffer
- ICYMI: Linda McQuaig - Why Can’t We Make Vaccines?
- December 6 - “Day of Remembrance” Virtual Candlelight Vigil
- Durham Labour Council Job Posting
- Spotlight on… Charter of Inclusive Workplaces and Communities
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THURSDAY: “OUR VICTORIES, OUR STRUGGLES" FINAL 2020 DELEGATES MEETING
The end of year is fast approaching (good riddance, 2020!) and we are preparing for the final Labour Council Delegates meeting this Thursday, December 3 by Zoom, starting at 7:30 pm.
This years’ theme “Our Victories, Our Struggles” will give us a chance to celebrate and reflect on one of the most unprecedented years in our collective experience.
We will share a moment of silence for all workers we’ve lost this year and, as we do every December, honour the victims of the Montreal Massacre.
Delegates will receive login details and documents just ahead of Thursday’s meeting.
Date: Thursday, December 3
P.S. Show your festive cheer: come dressed up in holiday or your affiliate colours, indulge in a meal from a local restaurant or create a festive zoom background!
TROPICANA STRIKE UPDATE: SOLIDARITY RALLY THIS SATURDAY
Even as the weather cools and the pandemic worsens, Tropicana management prefers to spend its publicly-funded budget on strike-breakers and security guards and its time on spreading falsehoods rather than engage with workers’ concerns in good faith. Tropicana recently sent a letter to its donors and members to misinform its stakeholders about the Tropicana workers’ strike.
Tropicana has only ever offered at least three more years of wage freezes and other clawbacks to entitlements. Even after workers had informed the Ministry of Labour that they are willing to go back to the table, management rebuffed their request to meet. Workers have thus continued to picket.
Tropicana isn't any old workplace: it's a publicly funded community resource with a mission to lift youth up - not sacrifice its staff.
"Tropicana is integral to the lives of countless And I am proud to be one of them..." wrote MPP Jill Andrews in her touching personal letter of support
"This behaviour is a grave disregard of Tropicana's obligations to the Black community, of which we are apart," wrote the Coalition for Black Trade Unionists.
Tropicana workers need YOUR help.
Sign the petition and attend the solidarity rally this Saturday!
Date: Saturday, December 5
Where: Tropicana Head Office -- 1385 Huntingwood Dr, Scarborough, ON M1S 3J1
FORD'S FAILURE: WORKERS EXPOSED WHILE ONTARIANS STRUGGLE
Premier Ford got his fight back this week, but instead of tackling the coronavirus, he was busy battling with the federal government over an unknowable vaccine timeline and his auditor general after his inactions were called out.
We know workplaces are vectors for infections. A new report from the Ontario Health Coalition found the number of people infected in workplace outbreaks far exceeds the general community spread of the virus and that certain sectors are hardest hit than others. They examined outbreaks in non-health care settings between October 31st and November 18th. The numbers are alarming: while cases among the general population increased 22.97%, these sectors saw significantly higher rates of infection: schools and daycares (86.9%); retail, restaurants and entertainment (71.65%); and public services (39.14%).
We know our health care workers and exhausted and burnt out. They have argued for better protections with minimal success. Chronic understaffing, an increased workload, and anxiety over infecting their families has resulted in exhaustion and burnout. Sacrificed: Ontario Health Care Workers in the Time of Covid-19 is a major study that documents the anger, frustration, fear, and a sense of violation that may have long-lasting implications.
While waiting for his miracle, Premier Ford COULD be legislating paid sick days for all workers. He could be investing in health & safety infrastructure and resources. He could transfer money already in the bank to municipalities to hire more boots on the ground.
ICYMI: Why Can’t We Make Vaccines?
Canadians will be waiting longer for vaccines. As Linda McQuaig writes in The Star: Canada Is Now Paying the Price for Privatizing Its Vaccine Research and Production Lab on the privatization of Connaught Labs three decades ago.
"Unfortunately, we’ve ventured a long way from the days when we had a publicly owned and medically innovative enterprise that dazzled on the world stage and kept Canadians at the front of the line for vaccines...
Indeed, it’s ironic — and infuriating — that we find ourselves in a disadvantaged position regarding the coronavirus vaccine since Connaught was a world leader in vaccine development and production.
If Connaught Labs still existed today, its scientists would almost certainly be involved in the quest to come up with a coronavirus vaccine, working collaboratively with other researchers — just as they played a key role in helping U.S. virologist Jonas Salk develop the polio vaccine in the 1950s."
DECEMBER 6 - “DAY OF REMEMBRANCE” VIRTUAL CANDLELIGHT VIGIL
Join the Ontario Federation of Labour on for its Inaugural “Day of Remembrance” Virtual Candlelight Vigil, on Sunday, December 6, to reflect, support and remember.
On December 6, 1989, 13 female students and a female administrator at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal were murdered because they were women. The shocking impact of their deaths led Parliament to designate December 6 as a national day of remembrance. Nearly 30 years later, the effects of this tragedy continue to be felt and women remain targets because of their gender.
The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is about remembering victims; it is also a time to take action. We each have the opportunity and the responsibility to stand up against misogyny, sexism, and hate — and it starts with creating a culture of respect.
We ask participants to have a candle for lighting during the event.
DURHAM LABOUR COUNCIL IS HIRING!
Durham Region Labour Council is seeking a permanent part-time Support Staff. We are looking for someone willing to build and grow a democratic union culture while working under the supervision of the Executive and in close collaboration with a diverse membership. With almost 70,000 workers and their affiliated unions across Durham Region, DRLC members work at food stores, offices, plants, in public services, construction and much more. The labour council brings these members together every month for regular meetings, and carries out events and activities between meetings.
Persons interested should send their resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org Please include 2 references. Union members and retirees are encouraged to identify as such in their cover letter.
Applications will be accepted via e-mail no later than Friday, December 4 at 5:00 PM eastern.
SPOTLIGHT ON... Charter of Inclusive Workplaces and Communities.
Every week, we will bring you a snapshot of an initiative or organization doing great work within our labour community.
The Charter of Inclusive Workplaces and Communities is our call to action for all unions and union members to not just reduce and eliminate racism, but to foster and strengthen inclusive workplaces and communities.
“Discrimination in all its forms threatens our country’s rich social fabric, including the workplaces of union members and the communities in which we live... We commit to standing up for the rights and dignity of everyone in order to promote inclusive, just and respectful workplaces and communities.”
Every print edition of Labour Action magazine includes a tearable Charter. Display it proudly at work (or home) to show your solidarity and commitment to ending racism.
Because to succeed, we must all show leadership to champion the cause of