In this weeks' Toronto & York Region Labour Council news:
- Delegates Meeting: This Thursday, January 7th
- Manna Wong: 10 days until by-election
- Fords’ Failures: “What’s going right?”
- Tropicana Workers Reached Deal
- Jan 12: TWHP: Environmental Organizing in Toronto in the 1970s
- Spotlight On… Google Employees Form Union
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DELEGATES MEETING: THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 7TH
Happy New Year! We hope you had a safe holiday season and we look forward to seeing you at the Delegates meeting this Thursday, January 7th.
Our first virtual gathering of the year will feature our friends from Tropicana Community Services on their inspiring strike and how they plan to keep up the fight in the new year. We will discuss our strong opposition to Mike Harris named to the Order of Ontario and hear from Manna Wong, running for City Council in the upcoming Scarborough-Agincourt by-election. Get your history hat on, as we’ll be kicking off the start of our 150th anniversary celebrations with a new quiz.
We will, however, begin on a somber tone with a moment of silence those who lost their lives due to COVID, including Brother Joe Sottile, a member of CUPE Local 2.
Delegates will receive the agenda and statements to be discussed, as well as the Zoom details, ahead of the meeting. All union members are welcome to join on our YouTube page.
MANNA WONG: 10 DAYS TO E-DAYManna needs your help! With just 10 days left in the Scarborough-Agincourt City Council by-election, it’s all hands on deck to e-day. Currently the local TDSB School Board Trustee, Manna is a strong, principled leader who deserves to win this race, and take her place as a progressive voice at City Hall. Manna and her campaign have been campaigning hard over the holidays. But in order to secure a progressive voice at City Hall, volunteers are needed to do mainstreeting, make phone calls, drop off literature and more. There’s a task for everyone – no matter your comfort level or availability.
Text “Manna” to 55255
N.B. Advance Voting kicks off this Friday January 8 to Sunday January 10, between 10am and 6pm at two locations: Stephen Leacock Community Centre (2520 Birchmount Rd - click to view on Google Maps) or L'Amoreaux Community Recreation Centre (2000 McNicoll Ave - click to view on Google Maps).
FORDS’ FAILURES: “WHAT’S GOING RIGHT?”
“The hospitals are being pushed to the brink, the long-term care homes are on fire, our vaccines are locked in freezers and there’s no clear plan. Something radical may need to happen. I doubt it will. I guess you could ask the question, what’s going right?”
Six weeks after Toronto went into the lockdown on November 23rd, cases have more than doubled and there seems no end in sigh for the chaos in the health, education and social care systems. Grim headlines expose the deepening crisis in our long term care facilities. Parents and educators scramble to teach our children. And workers are still forced to choose between isolating or turning up for work as ever more draconian evictions loom. Frontline workers previously promised inoculation over the holidays are still waiting for their first jabs.
Meanwhile, the Ford government is busy honouring Mike Harris and downplaying luxurious Caribbean holidays. Billions remain in provincial coffers – our hard-earned taxpayer money meant to boost our pandemic response – while working people continue to bear the brunt of their incompetence.
We are optimistic the City of Toronto’s decision to publish workplace Covid-19 data will help shed a light on a source of outbreaks that “far outpace the spread in the general public.”
Yet schools – which we already know can be hotspots for community spread – are yet to see any real investment on staffing or infrastructure needed to keep them safe.
Ford’s failure continues to hurt our workplaces and communities.
TROPICANA WORKERS REACHED DEAL
Just two days before Christmas, we were heartened to learn that Tropicana workers and SEIU Local 2 reached a deal after seven weeks on the picket line.
With the immense support of several community leaders, elected officials, parents, labour leaders, and many others, the workers are finally walking away with their first collective agreement. The modest wins serve as a starting point for a further struggle by workers to address issues of endemic misconduct at the highest levels of Tropicana management.
Tropicana workers along with all of the SEIU Local 2 would like to extend a warm thank you to the many elected representatives, community leaders, parents, labour unions, and community members who came out in support of workers during their strike. Workers were strengthened by their attendance at rallies, donations and other expressions of solidarity.
JANUARY 12 - TWHP: TRANSFORMING BROWN TO GREEN
Join the Toronto Workers History Project (TWHP) as they look back at Environmental organizing in Toronto in the 1970s, with a particular emphases on the issues and campaigns that emerged from working class communities.
The Toronto Workers History Project (TWHP) is a collective of workers, unionists, professors, students, artists, teachers, librarians, educators, researchers, community activists, and retirees dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the history of working people in Toronto. Recently featured in Our Times magazine, The People’s Point of View – Our Times Magazine , They are committed to bringing to light the experiences of working people and their contributions as individuals and collectively to the building of this city, in the home, in the paid workplace, and in the community.
What: Environmental Organizing in Toronto in the 1970s
SPOTLIGHT ON... ALPHABET (GOOGLE) WORKERS UNION
Every week, we will bring you a snapshot of an initiative or organization doing great work within our labour community.
Workers at Google and other Alphabet companies this week announced the creation of the Alphabet Workers Union with support from the Communications Workers of America (CWA)— the first union open to all employees and contractors at any Alphabet company, with dues-paying members, an elected board of directors, and paid organizing staff.
Google began as a small tech company with a “Don’t Be Evil” mantra, but has quickly become one of the most influential companies in the world. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, now has more than 120,000 workers. It’s responsible for vast swaths of the internet, controlling tools used by billions of people across the world - yet half of Google workers at Alphabet companies are hired as TVCs—temps, vendors, or contractors—without the benefits afforded to full-time employees.
“Everyone at Alphabet — from bus drivers to programmers, from salespeople to janitors — plays a critical part in developing our technology. But right now, a few wealthy executives define what the company produces and how its workers are treated. This isn’t the company we want to work for. We care deeply about what we build and what it’s used for. We are responsible for the technology we bring into the world. And we recognize that its implications reach far beyond the walls of Alphabet.” – Parul Koul and Chewy Shaw, the executive chair and the vice chair of the Alphabet Workers Union.