Stewards Assembly

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1weasel
Stewards Assembly

I see Michelle has posted a picture of the assembly on the front page.  For those not aware, the Toronto & York Region hosted a Stewards Assembly at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto last evening.  It was a packed room that represented the various locals in the city, along with some of our elected officials.  Hopefully, there will be a writeup to go with the picture.

Michelle

There will be!

Michelle

BTW, it would be great if you could share your impressions and your experience last night here!

1weasel

It was a good evening to be sure.

Jenny Ahn (CAW) and Carolyn Egan (USWA) were the co-chairs for the event and got things going by their introducing economist Jim Stanford (CAW) who presented an entertaining look at the current economic troubles. Stanford correctly pointed out that we did not create this crisis but to stand firm against those who wish to profit from it.

Testimonials were given from a spectrum of people undergoing different phases of the crisis. A brother dealing with a tattered EI system; a sister who had her wages slashed due to Bell outsourcing; a hotel worker uniting the continent's hotels under union protection; and there was an ACORN activist detailing the fight for a $10 minimum wage in Ontario.

Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress and John Cartwright, event host and President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, both gave rousing appeals for member to aid the Good Jobs for All campaign. Judy Persaud and Winnie Ng were there and gave a presentation on how the campaign started and its goals. Those are: empowering workers, green fobs for all, investing in social infrastructure and reforming Unemployment Insurance.

Also present were MPP Peter Tabuns, MPs Jack Layton and Olivia Chow, and the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller. There could have been other politicians present but I couldn't tell from where I was sitting. Mr. Miller had some resistance from the back of the crowd but won people over with TTC purchase commitments.

Smokey Thomas gave issued a spirited plea for the assmbled to brainstorm at the tables and present ideas for the leadership in advancing our cause. I was a bit sceptical at first but that wore off quickly as the ideas flowed out.

I'm probably missing a few things & should have kept some notes.

Unionist

Thanks for the overview, 1weasel. This sounds like a great initiative by the Labour Council. Maybe it will spread.

[url=http://www.labourcouncil.ca/sa09/index.htm]I found these photos[/url] of the event. And there's more about it (though no full review yet) [url=http://www.labourcouncil.ca/]on their home page[/url].

 

Michelle

It really was an excellent event.  My article should be up either today or tomorrow - it's not hugely in-depth, just an overview report about the evening with a few "streeter" quotes from the participants.

Here are some photos I took of the event:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24056390@N03/sets/72157617850608806/

Michelle

Hey, I forgot to post the article I wrote in this thread!  It was on the front page of rabble yesterday and the day before.

http://www.rabble.ca/news/2009/05/toronto-union-stewards-organize-collec...

Unionist

Beautiful! Thank you Michelle. I'd like to know who first thunk this up. We definitely need to repeat this experience.

 

Michelle

Thanks!

The Toronto and York Region Labour Council spearheaded it.

November5

It is really heartening seeing a third mass gathering of trade unionists in Toronto in a short while - the Good Jobs summit, the rally for a progressive coalition, and now the Stewards Assembly.  There seems to be so much anger and energy.  My only regret was that only a short period of time was available for discussion.  It was great to be face to face with others in the movement and simply talk to one another.  We need more opportunities like this - places where rank and file leaders can get to know each other and genuinely work together.

Michelle

I received this from the Toronto and York Region Labour Council (they sent it out to their e-mail lists the other day):

STEWARDS ASSEMBLY

Thanks to everyone who helped make the May 7th Stewards Assembly a resounding success! All told, over one thousand six hundred stewards, staff and leaders jammed the Sheraton's grand ballroom for this historic event. You can see coverage and video clips at www.labourcouncil.ca. 

What next? We asked those who attended the Stewards Assembly to follow through on four simple tasks:

1. Take the Fix EI petition back to the workplace, get every member to sign, get them back to your union and delivered to Labour Council by Friday May 29th. It's the least we can do for those who have lost their jobs.

2. Put the Solidarity Checklist poster up on every union bulletin board in every workplace, and reproduce it in union newsletters and websites.

3. Have a focused discussion with members in the workplace about the issues raised at the Assembly and in the Solidarity Checklist. What do the six points mean and what can we do to make them real?

4. Mobilize for a great turnout from your union (and community) to the June 13th rally starting at 1:00 p.m. at Metro Hall.

We are asking every union officer and rep assist in having the first three tasks accomplished in a timely manner. Copies of the petition, poster and rally flyer can be downloaded from www.labourcouncil.ca . Then June 13th is our chance to raise our voices and tell the federal government and all politicians in the GTA that we expect them to take real action to deal with this crisis.

We have created a piece of history on May 7th. Let's keep on making a difference and building a powerful movement right here in greater Toronto.