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While providing strong leadership in policy direction, committee elections and discussion on the floor of the 2007 Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) convention, CUPE Ontario was proud to stand united with other unions on a number of fronts.
A lingering division between the public and private sector unions that began during the Bob Rae years emphatically came to an end at the OFL’s 50th anniversary convention. On day one, public and private sectors stood strong together to unite workers on the principle of the workers’ right to strike, refuting the direction of the recent Magna-CAW deal.
OFL members then endorsed an economic strategy that fights for jobs in communities across the province. Again, both private and public sector unions came together in recognition of the fact that manufacturing jobs contribute to the tax base of communities that funds public services.
As well, there was a unified front in addressing the McGuinty government’s proposed poverty reduction strategy. As CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan said, Unionization is the best poverty fighter to ensure that workers can live and retire in dignity and security. Along with agreeing that organizing efforts and poverty reduction strategies must focus on women, workers of colour and newcomers, OFL leadership made the decision that women would lead the convention rally at the U.S. consulate and Queen’s Park on November 29th.
Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario Executive Board 2nd Vice President, was a key speaker at the Queen’s Park event held just prior to the government’s Throne Speech. She called on the McGuinty government to step up efforts on its Pay Equity program and to address the need for 3.5 hours of care daily for residents of long-term care facilities.
CUPE Ontario submitted 10 resolutions to the floor. Seven of nine regular resolutions were either individually debated or debated under the OFL Action Plan and adopted by the convention. These resolutions addressed anti-violence, fighting health care privatization, keeping health services local, changing the school funding formula, keeping post secondary education and childcare public, and fighting for pay equity.
CUPE Ontario congratulates the following members who were elected to OFL positions:
Andrew Brett (CUPE 1281) – VP Youth
Edgar Godoy (CUPE 2191) – VP Visible Minority
Teresa Colangelo (CUPE 2191) – VP Workers with Disabilities
Donna Wiebe (CUPE 822) – Labour Council Rep
These members will bring the CUPE culture and militancy to the leadership body of the OFL. They join CUPE Ontario’s already strong OFL representation, which includes President Sid Ryan, Candace Rennick, OFL VP of Affirmative Action representing women, and Irene Harris who was re-elected as OFL Secretary-Treasurer and is a CUPE rep.
Throughout the week, members in our delegation intervened in virtually every debate, demonstrating the strength of leaders in CUPE Ontario locals as well as the depth of understanding and knowledge on issues that exists in our great union.