In this weeks' Toronto & York Region Labour Council news:
- Ford’s Failure: Ontario plunged into State of Emergency
- Long Term Care Crisis: Enough is enough
- Manna Wong: Days left to elect progressive voice to council
- ICYMI: Toronto’s Unions call on Mike Harris’ Order of Ontario to be rescinded
- 150th Anniversary: Delegates endorse statement
- LEC is hiring: Client Support Worker
- Spotlight on… U.S.’s labour response to insurrection
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FORD’S FAILURE: ONTARIO PLUNGED INTO STATE OF EMERGENCY
Ontarians are facing another 28 days of lockdown as Ford declares a State of Emergency. For folks in Toronto and Peel living under red measures since November, these additional restrictions may bring little comfort. Schools remain closed until February. Curbside pickup continues. But with no new incentives like paid sick leave, rent relief or a bolstering of testing, let alone vaccinations, it’s hard to imagine a major reduction in the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus.
Meanwhile, Toronto’s Board of Health are taking measures into their own hands. A new motion to be considered next week calls on further Provincial and Federal support intended to facilitate self-isolation for families due to COVID-19 infection in a household, and urges paid sick leave provisions, particularly for essential workers, in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
We will be addressing the motion and calling for more generous paid sick day provisions over the coming days.
LONG TERM CARE CRISIS: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Ontario is set to pass another grim milestone today: over 3,000 deaths in our long-term care facilities. At least a third of homes in the province have declared a Covid-19 outbreak, with more horrific stories of homes engulfed by the virus make headlines every day. The neglect, underfunding and overcrowding of Ontario’s long-term-care facilities under the watch of numerous governments over many decades has been tragic.
Sadly, the situation has only worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic, which struck residents living in these facilities the hardest, resulting in thousands of needless deaths.
The only immediate action undertaken by the Ford administration to deal with the crisis? Legal liability protections for private owners.
This as the private company selected by the Ontario government to run a troubled long-term care home has links to Doug Ford’s PCs and the founders of an astroturf group that ran a series of mysterious anti-teacher attack ads in 2020, according to a new investigation by Press Progress.
The Toronto Star – whose exemplary coverage has kept the crisis on the front pages – have initiated a call to action. While it fails to address the role of for-profit incentives in care, it is on the right track to address some of the systemic failures and protect our most vulnerable.
MANNA WONG: DAYS LEFT TO ELECT PROGRESSIVE VOICE TO COUNCIL
“I’m ready on day one. I can hit the ground running. Scarborough has been left out for some time. I want to make sure this is not the case, that the pandemic recovery is not on the back burner.” - Manna Wong
Scarborough-Agincourt, you have days left to elect a progressive and tenacious voice to city council. TDSB Trustee Manna Wong is one of 27 candidates vying to replace a disgraced former councillor – and as The Star recently pointed out, is the only candidate with political experience.
Manna is labour’s candidate – she was overwhelmingly endorsed by delegates in the autumn and has been advocating for improved public services and increased community participation.
“The people of Scarborough deserve a strong, principled voice at city hall. So much depends on this election: whether or not our public services will be defended and supported or whether people are going to be talking about cost cutting and turning their backs on front-line workers.“ – John Cartwright, Toronto & York Region Labour Council President
Watch John’s video urging Scarborough-Agincourt to vote for Manna.
As election day draws closer, we want to send a sincere thank you to all our affiliates and individual members who have worked tirelessly to support Manna’s campaign. It has been truly inspiring to see so many labour faces out mainstreeting despite the cold and the pandemic.
Now, voters must do your part and vote Manna!
ICYMI: TORONTO’S UNIONS CALL ON MIKE HARRIS’ ORDER OF ONTARIO TO BE RESCINDED
Doug Ford’s Conservative government has shown its true colours with the awarding of the Order of Ontario to disgraced former premier Mike Harris. Reaction has been swift and widespread across civil society as people recall the callous behaviour of the Harris regime.
His 1995 “Common Sense Revolution” brought the worst traits of the politics of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan into Canada’s largest province. Greed and avarice were glorified, while millions of Ontarians were marginalized.
Toronto’s labour movement joins many others calling for the retraction of the Order of Ontario to Mike Harris. And we commit to shining a powerful light on his shameful record — one that deserves to be remembered as a cautionary tale by all Ontarians.
150TH ANNIVERSARY: DELEGATES ENDORSE STATEMENT
This year – 2021 – marks the 150th anniversary of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. For a century and a half working people have organized collectively here around a vision of economic and social justice. That epic journey will be celebrated over the coming year as we share the stories of those who came before us, and the lessons of solidarity and struggle that guide our movement today.
We are in the “Dish with One Spoon Territory,” a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee. Our story began on the land of Indigenous communities, and it has been forged by those who have come from around the world as immigrants or refugees to build Canada’s largest urban centre. Each generation learns that in order to have a fair share of the prosperity they create, people need collective representation. From the beginning our Council defined itself as a movement of social unionism, embracing broader goals than just workplace contracts. Our founders believed in the principle that “What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all”.
Labour Council adopts to undertake a comprehensive program to celebrate the 150th anniversary, as outlined in our statement, unanimously adopted at the January delegates meeting.
We are currently in full-on preperations. If you would like to contribute or would like to make a suggestion, please contact Allie Elwell firstname.lastname@example.org
LEC IS HIRING: CLIENT SUPPORT WORKER
The Labour Education Centre is looking for a Client Support Worker. Working with the Social Worker, they will be primarily responsible for designing and delivering social and job supports to TradeLinx participants during and after completion of a 12 week pre-apprentice construction training program. When necessary, arrange for other therapists or mentors to deliver social and job supports on a contract basis.
Additionally, the Client Support Worker will organize events to attract TradeLinx graduates to stay in touch with the program. These events could include events with diverse journeypersons already in the trade to facilitate mentorships, workshops on job related topics such as widening understanding of career opportunities within their chosen building trade, green building techniques, anti-racism resilience, income tax filing, financial guidance, how to start a contractor business.
Labour Education Centre employees are represented by the union of Canadian Office and Professional Employees (COPE) Union Local 343. This job is at the Project Representative level. The annual salary is $62,535.15. There is a significant health benefits and pension (RRSP) plan and generous vacation time.
Apply to: Fayzal Samji, Assistant Executive Director email@example.com by noon, Tuesday January 19, 2021.
SPOTLIGHT ON… U.S.’S LABOUR RESPONSE TO TRUMP INSURRECTION
Our sisters and brothers in America have been in the fight of their lives to protect their democracy from facism. The American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) have come out unequivocally in favour of U.S. President Trumps’ removal from office:
“The deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob looking to overturn the results of a free and fair election, encouraged and inspired by President Donald Trump, was one of the greatest attacks on our democracy in American history. And the fact that trespassers were allowed to roam the halls of Congress without consequence is one of the latest examples of why we must tear down the systems and abiders of white supremacy.
Trump is an affront to every union member, and a clear and present danger to our nation and our republic. He should resign or be removed from office at once, whether through impeachment or the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
While the current moment is dark, and the next eight days will be watched carefully, Biden’s incoming administration offers workers hope for the future. Biden again pledged today to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, while his incoming Labor Secreatry, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, is the first union member to run the department in over half a century: Walsh is the former President of the Boston Building Trades Council.
To keep tabs on labour activities in the US, follow the AFL on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aflcio/
p.s. Since the launch of Alphabet Workers Union last week, its membership has more than tripled with over 700 members signed up.