Last weeks Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) convention in Vancouver was all about elections. Left and right in the Congress battled for the position of Secretary Treasurer left open by feminist Nancy Riches retirement, and the left won.
In the left corner was Hassan Yussuff of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).Yussuff was the first person of colour to be the CLCs executive vice-president, a position that he held for three years.
In the right corner was James Clancy from the National Union of Provincial & General Employees (NUPGE), backed by the Steelworkers, Teamsters and the conservative United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
While the race represented progressive action verses the status quo, it was also an attempt to punish the CAW for the antics of its controversial president Buzz Hargrove.As senior vice-president of the CLC, Yussuff should have been a shoe-in for the Secretary Treasurer position.
The fact that there was a fight illustrates deep divisions in the labour movement. That Yussuff won the fight shows that the left is gaining strength.
Another sign of the strength of the left or activist wing of the CLC was seen in the election for two vacant executive vice-presidents positions. Clancy and the Teamsters election support pact for Quebec Teamster Francois Laporte failed to derail the election of progressives Barb Byers from the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and Marie Clarke-Walker of Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Clancys forces bussed in delegates especially for the vote, an anti-democratic tactic sometimes used in union elections. The convention delegates went from 2,400 on Wednesday to more than 3,000 on Thursdays election day. Despite the attempt to stack the vote, Yussuff won by over 800 votes.
Other union federations like the Ontario Federation of Labour have outlawed such practices by requiring delegate registration before the Convention begins.
The convention also saw some important policy resolutions adopted, among them a commitment to promote proportional representation.
View photos from the convention below by clicking on the caption.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.