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The labour movement has lost a great activist with the death of Ron Poynter in Hamilton, Ontario on December 28, 2007. Ron served two terms as the President of CUPE 794, which eventually became CUPE 4800, and leaves a legacy of work in the broader labour and political movements.
Ron came to Canada in the late 1970s from Britain where he was involved in the labour movement as a member of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE), according to Henry Evans-Tenbrinke, a long-time close friend. In Canada, Ron joined Local 794 as a painter at Hamilton’s Henderson Hospital, becoming an active member on the Political Action Committee.
During the next two decades, Ron was very involved with the labour movement through his local, the Hamilton Labour Council and the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. He never missed a Labour Day march and was the first to show up on the picket line to show his support for striking workers in the region. Ron was also a founding member of the Ontario Health Coalition.
Ron was actively involved in organizing the Days of Action and was involved with each one organized across the province. Ron was one of the first to point out the parallels between Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as he had seen first-hand what happened to the labour movement under Thatcher.
Ron was always willing to help new stewards and still came to the local after he retired. In the political sphere, Ron played an active role in politics, working on the campaigns of Hamilton MPP Andrea Horvath and MPs Wayne Marsden and Chris Charlton, among others.
A dedicated and loyal friend who could be counted on in any situation, Ron leaves behind his wife Valerie and extended family. He will be missed by members of his local, CUPE Ontario and the labour movement in Hamilton and across the province.
Ron was very much involved with the Hamilton Workers Arts and Heritage Centre. It is fitting that a memorial service will be held in his honour on January 12, 2008 from 5:00- 9:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations in Ron’s memory be made to the Worker’s Arts and Heritage Centre located at: 51 Stuart Street Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8L 1B5 Telephone: 905.522.3003 Fax: 905.522.5424 email: [email protected]