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following articles are from the December 1-31,2017, issue of People's
PV Ontario Bureau
union delegates met in
With the return of two large affiliates and the sale of the OFL building, the treasurers’ report was praised as being miraculous and that a million dollars in debt had been retired. Not mentioned was that the financial crisis had been caused by a few large affiliates withholding their dues per capita, in protest of the previous leadership. The return of OPSEU and the SEIU had largely been expected this past year, since they made it clear they would return if Sid Ryan were replaced as president. However, it is unclear how much of their withheld dues these two unions paid upon re-affiliating. It is likely that they only paid a token amount, similar to what the CAW paid upon their return from an extended absence in the last decade. The labour movement needs to find a way to prevent an affiliate from withdrawing its funds and financially strangling its provincial labour central when it disagrees with its decisions.
The OFL is
“FedForward” team was handily re-elected. Hamilton activist Barry Conway
challenged for the presidency, on a platform of fighting resurgent fascism and
stopping raiding, but his campaign had only begun during the convention, so it
was very small. Still,
The proposed Action Plan was presented for discussion on the first day of the convention, a significant improvement over the past two decades. The plan included 118 items, ranging from statements on various areas of struggle, ongoing work for improved labour laws, fighting for decent green jobs, and a commitment to organize new communities and sections of the working class. Overall, the action plan rededicates itself to achieving equity and diversity in the OFL’s approach to political action. In promoting peace and equality, the plan asks that workers not be divided but instead stand firm against white supremacy, islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-black racism and racism in all of its forms.
The convention adopted a motion, advanced by the Action Caucus and submitted by a number of affiliates, declaring housing a human right and demanding that the provincial government: immediately introduce a comprehensive social housing program and delivers it according to need; develop and implement an emergency plan to build new, publicly owned social housing; legislate real rent controls and roll backs for all renters; legislate a ban on evictions and utility cut-off due to involuntary unemployment, including strikes, lockouts and layoffs.
The resolution also calls for the OFL to launch a campaign with labour councils and affiliates to mobilize workers to demand a provincial housing program.
As with many of the action plan
items, it remains to be seen which priorities the executive council and
executive board set over the next two years. A number of commitments made in
the 2015 plan remain unfulfilled. Furthermore, the Buckley leadership
deliberately abandoned the
Ironically, the new plan proposes
that the success of the
In the midst of this cautious and, at times, orchestrated sense of unity, the issue of the OFL’s election strategy and labour’s relationship to the NDP emerged as a sharply divisive flashpoint.
The most controversial amendment to the action plan focused on the goal of achieving “one million votes for the NDP”. With specific timelines and commitments, the amendment calls on all affiliates to collaborate uncritically and unconditionally with the Ontario NDP, to train voter organizers in key ridings, and to mobilize a minimum of 150 organizers from union activists, including young workers and retirees. No other section of the action plan contains such detailed commitments for either the OFL leadership or the affiliates.
The election amendment was sponsored
by unions with longstanding links to the NDP, and was opposed by unions not
aligned with any specific political party. Its introduction was set up by
The debate on the floor revealed some of the underlying political divisions within the OFL and the labour movement as a whole. Some delegates indicated they favour a “strategic voting” approach which allows their members to vote for that candidate best positioned to block or defeat a Tory candidate. Others argued that the NDP is the “only party that supports the labour movement”. Many progressives argued that this insertion was divisive and would in the long run, weaken the unity of the OFL by making uncritical and unconditional support for the NDP a binding tactic in the upcoming provincial election. Examples were given where the NDP did not embrace the labour movement’s positions and where their campaign platforms lagged behind those of other parties.
In the end, the action plan was divided into two parts, with the election tactic voted on separately. The bulk of the plan passed unanimously, but with diminished enthusiasm. The election strategy passed with a 70-30 vote, and the feelings of division and bitterness extended throughout the room.
The challenge to the trade union movement, in the aftermath of this convention, will be to recover the sense of unity that filled the room at the start. The best way to do this is for the OFL to engage and mobilize all affiliates around those elements of the action plan that were unanimous – including fighting racism and white supremacy, organizing the unemployed and unorganized, and pressing for strong action on the housing crisis.
Without question, for this to happen the labour movement needs a much stronger and structured Left, who can speak to the necessity of projecting a comprehensive set of independent demands for workers. Such activity would force political parties to answer to working class issues, much more effectively than by giving “carte blanche” to the NDP or any other political party.
PV Vancouver Bureau
This year's change in government in British Columbia has raised hopes that the province's staggering income and wealth gap, a legacy of policies going back over thirty years, may finally be acknowledged and perhaps even addressed to a significant degree. But NDP Premier John Horgan and his cabinet face big challenges in tackling the wide-scale levels of poverty in this province.
One trusted measure of economic
Using the most recent data, the report issued on Nov. 17 shows BC’s child poverty rate for children age 0-17 in 2015 was 18.3%, representing 153,300 children. This is nearly a full percentage point higher than the national average of 17.4%. It is down slightly from the 2014 rate of 19.8%.
In 2015, while BC children made up just 18% of the province’s total population, they made up 22% of all British Columbians living in poverty.
The report contains new 2016 census data highlighting the much higher poverty rates among some groups of children in the province, with recent immigrant children at 45%, off-reserve Aboriginal children at 31%, and racialized (‘visible minority’) children at 23%.
“Children living in lone-parent families continue to have the highest poverty rate at 47.7%, or close to one in every two children in these family type, says Adrienne Montani, provincial coordinator of First Call. “As most of these families are led by women, this points to the continued need to make sure our poverty reduction efforts address issues disproportionately affecting women, such as the gender wage gap and the lack of affordable quality child care.”
Other key findings in the 2017 report include:
* In 2015, the child poverty rate for children in lone-parent families (47.7%) was more than four times the rate (11.2%) for their counterparts in couple families.
* 2% of the 14,490 children living with grandparents, alone or with relatives, non-relatives or in foster care, were living in poverty.
* Nearly half (45%) of recent immigrant children were poor, one in three (31%) Indigenous children were poor (not counting children living on First Nations reserves), and 23% of racialized (‘visible minority’) children were poor.
* In 2015, a single parent with one child working full-time for the whole year for minimum wage would have only earned $18,761, leaving them $10,111 below the $28,872 LIM before-tax poverty line.
* Poor families with two children in BC in 2015 had median incomes that were $11,000 below the poverty line. This means over half of them were even deeper in poverty.
* The 2017
* For a couple with two children on welfare in 2015, their total income was $23,468, just 64% of the poverty line income of $36,426, leaving them $12,958 below the poverty line.
* Approximately 85% of the poor children in BC live in the province’s 25 urban areas. However children living outside urban areas had a 23.3% poverty rate, much higher than the provincial child poverty rate of 18.3%.
* Across BC,
23 out of the 29 regional districts had at least 1,000 children living in
* The income of BC’s richest 10% of families with children took home 24% of the income pie, compared to the 2% shared by the poorest 10% of families.
In addition to calling for a provincial poverty reduction plan, the 2017 report card makes 21 public policy recommendations that would help reduce the child poverty rate to 7% or less by 2020.
Key recommendations to the provincial government include implementing the $10 a Day Child Care Plan; bringing the minimum wage up to $15 an hour and indexing it, significantly increasing income and disability assistance rates and extending the provincial child tax benefit for all children under 18. Additional provincial recommendations include enhanced supports for youth transitioning out of government care, removing financial barriers to obtaining a post-secondary education, paying living wages and substantially increased investments in affordable housing options for families, among others.
Federal contributions to many of these key areas are also targeted in the report’s recommendations, as well as areas that are under federal jurisdiction, such as enhancing Employment Insurance benefits and eligibility, eliminating refugee transportation loan debt and extending universal health coverage to prescription drugs, dental and eye care and hearing aids, among others.
First Call wants both senior levels of government to end discrimination and immediately increase funding for First Nations child welfare, education and community health services and services for urban Indigenous people, and develop a long-term poverty eradication strategy in collaboration with First Nations and other Indigenous organizations and communities.
For more information, visit http://firstcallbc.org
By Liz Rowley, leader of the Communist Party of Canada
The 19th International
Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) took place November 2-3 in
It was a fitting location as 106 parties from countries, including the Communist Party of Canada, came together to mark the centenary of the first socialist revolution in history to survive and thrive over more than 70 years. “Great October” opened the way for new socialist revolutions to follow in this century, as the world continues its transition from capitalism to socialism in increasingly difficult, dangerous, and complicated circumstances.
A pre-fascist period
Speaker after speaker noted the
growth of far-right and fascist movements in countries around the world, and in
particular in the
All over Europe, the history, achievements and victories of socialism are being eradicated, while imperialism’s propaganda machines pump out the lies that socialism was a failure, that socialism and fascism are synonymous; that austerity, militarism, xenophobia, and war are the only way forward.
In Latin America, reaction has
overturned progressive governments in Brazil, Argentina, and Ecuador, and is
working hard to destroy the Bolivarian revolutions in Venezuela and Bolivia,
the peace agreement and FARC in Colombia, and to overthrow socialist Cuba.
The Trump administration is threatening war and invasion in countries around the world, with military spending that is unprecedented at $603 billion in 2017-18. At the same time Trump is amping up the attack on the US population, with massive corporate tax cuts and de-regulation which his administration hopes to offset with a protectionist trade policy and xenophobic foreign and domestic policies, attacking immigrants, refugees, undocumented workers, Indigenous and racialized peoples, women, and the LGBTQ population.
Human rights used as instrument of fascization
As the Belgian Communists succinctly pointed out at the IMCWP, the world is in a pre-fascist period, where imperialism is on a global offensive, using human rights as an instrument of fascization.
This includes the struggle around imperialism’s
doctrine of “responsibility to protect”, and the idea that free speech,
assembly, and other democratic rights are the justification to allow fascists
to organize and propagate hatred. But hate crimes and incitement of hatred have
nothing in common with civil and democratic rights; this is criminal activity
wherever it appears, and must be opposed and exposed as fascist ideology.
Likewise the “R2P” doctrine is an attempt to promote illegal wars and invasions
for which there is no legal or other justification. This is the case is
Socialism is the alternative
A sharp struggle, uniting the broadest social forces, is called for now to defeat the forces of fascism, reaction and war. But it must also be linked by the Communists, to the struggle for an alternative to the social, economic and other conditions that create the conditions for these menaces to be tolerated, even embraced by some working people. As Rosa Luxemburg said 100 years ago, the choice is socialism or barbarism. Communists must therefore focus much more on socialism as the only alternative to decaying capitalism and imperialism, without making this demand a condition of unity in the struggle.
Simultaneously, much more
theoretical work needs to be done on the problems of socialist construction and
the socialist economy, as well as on 74 years of Soviet power in the
Resistance is growing
While imperialism’s offensive is on-going, resistance round the world is growing. Some parties have had to temporarily retreat in face of imperialism’s offensive, but they too are working to build the alliances and tactics that can move the struggle forward and put the working class and its allies in the offensive position, which is decisive and urgent everywhere. New problems, such as coming mass unemployment due to automation in the capitalist countries, and the peak environmental crisis and climate change, have forced themselves onto the agenda. Capitalism has no answers here, though these issues are looming. War and peace is also a critical issue, as the existence of the world’s peoples it threatened by a nuclear or environmental catastrophe.
In this regard, the crisis on the
The national question has also
become a major factor in
Internationalism and solidarity
The parties passed resolutions supporting the peoples’ struggles for peace and against imperialist interference, in many countries. This included solidarity with the peoples of Latin American and Caribbean; Turkey, Cyprus, the peoples of the Middle East, North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Balkans; and solidarity with the Catalonian people against the Spanish government’s reprisals. A final statement was also adopted unanimously by the gathering, committing the parties to common actions on May Day 2018, to mark the bi-centennial of Karl Marx’s birth with new theoretical work, to expand campaigns to popularize socialism. The statement is available on the website of the IMCWP, solidnet.org.
The Communist Party of
had unsuccessfully attempted to run as an independent candidate in former PM
Stephen Harper’s riding of
On that point, Inglis declared the $1,000 deposit requirement “is of no force and effect." Szuchewycz had argued that while the deposit was refundable to candidates who meet other reporting obligations, it constitutes a wealth test deterring poor and marginalized people from becoming candidates.
deposits have been required since 1874, with the aim of preventing so-called
"frivolous" candidates from ballot status. Deposits were half
refundable until 2000, when they were made fully refundable as part of the
ruling in the Figueroa case. Named for the leader of the Communist Party of
The Supreme Court and an
the wake of the
Paul Cavalluzzo of Cavalluzzo Shilton McIntyre Cornish LLP, who practises constitutional and electoral law, said the decision was “fair and not particularly surprising.”
“The judge found there are less intrusive or more proportional ways to ensure a candidate is serious and protect the integrity of the electoral system,” he said. “Obviously she felt by demanding the deposit it is a disincentive for people with impecunious means to run for office."
He also noted that, “If you’re wealthy, you can afford the $1,000 and still be a frivolous candidate... The focus should be on encouraging people to run for office, and if you impose this for people who can’t afford it that shouldn’t be lawful.”
to the ruling, the Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party of
"We welcome the ruling in the Szuchewycz case as another important victory over the historic application of unfair and undemocratic restrictions against electoral rights in this country. By its very nature, any requirement for a financial deposit targets working class and low-income people who seek to become candidates in elections.
"The exorbitant requirement for a $1000 deposit was a significant barrier for independents, and particularly for smaller parties which rely on the support of their members rather than donations from wealthy individuals and corporations. This ruling builds on the historic Figueroa case, in which our party won a major court victory against Election Act rules which forced small parties to nominate at least 50 candidates and put up $50,000 in deposits before spending a nickel on a campaign, in order to keep their registered status.
"In the most recent federal election, our party had to meet a wide range of requirements to nominate 28 candidates, such as collecting thousands of signatures, and providing the deposits for each candidate to submit through a complicated nomination process. These requirements do nothing to encourage debate over the crucial issues in an election campaign, but they do force parties such as ours to devote time and energy on overcoming hurdles to participation. This exercise makes it even more difficult to get our message out to voters, or to succeed in taking part in some all-candidate forums which unfairly exclude many candidates.
"We note that election deposits have been abolished in provincial legislation in at least two provinces for several years now, eliminating a systemic barrier to democratic electoral rights. We hope that the government takes note and drops any idea of an expensive and unnecessary appeal of this ruling, and instead focuses on ways to encourage wider democratic popular participation in the electoral process. This should include action on PM Trudeau's pledge to end first-past-the-post elections, in favour of a mixed-member proportional representation system which would ensure that all votes are truly counted when it comes to electing our members of Parliament. The Prime Minister's decision to abandon this platform pledge was a shameful, self-serving decision by a party with a history of making progressive promises, only to impose reactionary policies when in power.
"The Communist Party also continues to demand other democratic electoral reforms, such as a steep reduction in campaign spending limits, measures to ensure that all parties and candidates are provided fair and equitable coverage in the mass media, and a prohibition against candidate forums which are open only to certain parties. This must also apply to leaders' debates. This will enable electors to cast an informed vote, free of the current undemocratic filtering. As well, right to recall legislation should be enacted. Steps in these directions would help to ensure that election campaigns are opportunities for a full and free debate on critical issues, rather than a corporate media horse race between a few parties which uphold the status quo or propose only minor reforms."
People’s Voice Editorial
The annual year-end retail madness has already started, with barrages of corporate advertising, Santa Claus parades, re-runs of “holiday favourites”, and homilies about the season of good cheer. At People’s Voice, we enjoy time off with family and friends over the winter solstice as much as anyone, but things are far from merry for millions of people.
For example, over 21% of single
Or think about the huge numbers of
people desperate for an affordable place to live. In
Statistics can become numbing,
especially when the mainstream media celebrates consumer spending as a virtue.
But here’s another: the two richest Canadians - billionaire business owners
David Thomson and Galen Weston Sr. - have the same amount of wealth as the
poorest 30 per cent of the country combined. This is a life and death issue. On
average, the highest income earners in
Instead of hoping that charity will lift people out of poverty, we need a wide range of government policies to transfer wealth from the rich to the poor. That’s our wish for 2018.
People’s Voice Editorial
Opponents of the massive Site C dam
The initial news from this process pointed towards cancellation. As critics have long argued, Site C will likely cost at least $3 billion more than the previous estimate of $9 billion to complete. It also appears that other sources of renewable energy could provide as much power as this dam, without flooding irreplaceable agricultural land. Cancellation would preserve the unceded territories of indigenous peoples in the region. For a brief period, it appeared that former premier Christy Clark’s desperate drive to push Site C past the point of no return might fail.
Since then, proponents of the project have launched a massive PR blitz to confuse the debate. Cancellation would be too expensive, they argue, ignoring the future costs of lost food production. Jobs would be lost, they claim, as though redirecting government spending towards urgent social and economic priorities would not create employment. Renewable sources could not meet future energy needs, they say, using inflated projections. But perhaps most important, it appears that cancellation could contribute to increased BC Hydro rates, a political hot potato for Horgan.
Failure to halt this huge white elephant might bring the NDP some short-term relief on hydro rates. But the long-term costs would be devastating. This decision will be the first major political test for the new government; we urge them to do the right thing for the future of BC - cancel Site C now!
As we commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women on Dec. 6 this year, we must acknowledge the weight of revelations of women’s experiences with sexual harassment and gender-based violence through the #metoo campaign.
While we hear daily revelations from
A recent study quantified this trend
even further. According to the poll, “there are almost 15 million adult women
In 2016, legislation in
But only so much change can be legislated. The problem of harassment and gender violence is deeply rooted in our capitalist system. Capitalism depends on the systemic oppression of women in order to reproduce itself. Fighting oppression is a longer-term goal that will only end exploitation and oppression when the capitalist system itself is replaced with socialism.
However, harassment, sexual assault and gender violence is behaviour that can be ‘fixed’ in the short term. Legislation helps, but doesn’t go far enough. Women, and some men, in precarious workplaces whether unionized or not, indigenous, immigrant, migrant, racialized, queer and poor workers are left to fend for themselves in most workplaces. Hotel workers are often forced into challenging positions based on their interactions with ‘guests’ in intimate surroundings. Women in the building trades face a misogynist environment in their everyday working lives. Women who work as servers, cleaners, government workers, nursing home workers, post-secondary workers all face harassment in their working lives - and the list goes on and on.
Both men and women are socialized within our patriarchal society. Some may not realize how their socialization may lead them to perpetuate the disproportionate power imbalance that exists in all structures and institutions in our society. This doesn’t include nor excuse those men who are well aware of their predatory behaviour. But it does give us a starting place to begin an educational process to strengthen the numbers of activists, both men and women, who will challenge behaviour and help develop an informed culture of consent.
Survivors should not be expected to ‘solve’ the problem of gender-based violence. The individual examples must be addressed with systemic solutions. We need to identify allies in this struggle and put together a central strategy and action plan to address sexual harassment and gender violence in the workplace and in society. A national women’s movement would help enormously in developing this strategy. In its absence though, the labour movement could an essential ally in this struggle.
However, the labour movement itself is not above the systemic oppression that defines our current political and economic system. There are secrets hidden in affiliates, local unions and labour centrals that normalize rape culture behaviour and fail to support survivors. The decline of women in the leadership of affiliates, local unions and labour centrals doesn’t help strengthen the image of the labour movement as a woman-friendly environment.
But – if we build a labour movement that is more reflective of the workers it represents; diversity on the basis of racialization, gender identity, national identity, gender orientation, ability, etc, - we can change the pattern. We can build engaging, inclusive, welcoming locals, affiliates and councils that are able to confront harassing and oppressive behaviour quickly and effectively. We can build alliances with women and social justice groups across the country. We have no time to waste.
Unifor is calling for immediate action following the release of a survey that found nearly half of women journalists polled around the world reported facing gender-based violence in the workplace.
"The level of harassment women
journalists face for simply doing their jobs is simply unacceptable," said
Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "Media outlets in
The survey by the International Federation of Journalists, of which Unifor is a member, found that 48 per cent of women polled reported that they had suffered gender-based violence in their work, and 44 per cent had suffered online abuse. The abuse took place both in the workplace and out in the field, with 45 percent of perpetrators being people outside of the workplace – sources, politicians, readers or listeners – while 38 per cent were a boss or supervisor.
Two-thirds (66.15 per cent) did not make a formal complaint, and of those who did complain, 84.8 per cent said adequate measures were not taken. Only 12.3 per cent were satisfied with the outcome.
Unifor Media Director Howard Law
said the situation in Canada is no better than what is reflected in the survey,
which polled 400 women journalists in 50 countries, including
"Women journalists from 50 countries tell the same story – gender-based violence in the world of work is widespread and action to combat it is either non-existent or inadequate in virtually every case," said IFJ Gender Council co-chair Mindy Ran.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) represents 600,000 journalists in 187 unions and associations in 146 countries. The results of a second survey on union action against gender-based violence at work will be published later this year.
By Kimball Cariou
By an odd coincidence, when
Communist Party of Canada leader Liz Rowley and I travelled to Russia last
month, our flight had a stopover in Zurich - the city where Vladimir Lenin and
other revolutionary exiles lived before the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II
allowed them to return home. Three hours later, we were disembarking in
As described above on this page, we
The timing was also a unique opportunity for over 200 delegates and many other unofficial foreign participants to take part in a range of other activities to mark the centenary of the October Revolution.
On the directly political side, this
included a special “Forum of Left Forces” held a few days later at the
Others were present on behalf of
liberation movements which won victories over their colonial and imperialist
masters in large part due to the fraternal assistance of the
Special gala cultural celebrations
were organized by the Communist Party of the
Delegates were taken on several tours
to places associated with the history of the revolutionary movement in
November 7 was the 76th anniversary of the famous 1941 military parade in Red Square, from which Red Army troops marched directly to the outskirts of the city to battle the Nazi invaders. On this occasion, IMWCP delegates and other visitors witnessed a special re-creation of that parade, organized to represent the war against fascism, the defeat of Napoleon’s armies, and other notable episodes from Russian military history.
Later that afternoon, the CPRF held a street demonstration attended by thousands in downtown Moscow, using the occasion of the October Revolution centenary to recall the working class gains achieved during and after 1917, and to raise demands for progressive change in today’s capitalist Russia.
One feature of all these activities
was the presence of large numbers of young people. After the overthrow of
socialism in the
Voice recently interviewed Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández, the Ambassador to
Currently, what is
the general, economic and social situation in
For almost 20 years, the Venezuelan
people have resisted firmly internal and external attempts to destabilize the
country. The election and implementation of the National Constituent Assembly
is the most recent example of the degree of political consciousness that
Commander Hugo Chavez thought us. Unfortunately, with the beginning of the
National Constituent Assembly’s work, the imperial threats have increased—even
military ones, and unilateral and illegal economic sanctions have been imposed,
trying to establish a diplomatic-financial fence against
This imperial strategy has the
support of transnational media corporations, which have spread an image of
What should Canadians know about the National Constituent Assembly?
The National Constituent Assembly is already a political-juridical fact and is a faithful reflection of the sovereign will and the firm dignity of a people with a clear political conscience.
The election of the National Constituent Assembly was a successful process for the Venezuelan society. It was supported by the participation of more than 8 million Venezuelans. Our people’s only desire is to live in peace and independence. We have developed a transparent electoral timetable. We try to maintain and deepen the social gains achieved since the arrival of the Bolivarian Revolution under the leadership of Hugo Chavez.
Have the mainstream Canadian media
interviewed you about the developments in
mainstream Canadian media follows patterns established by big television channels
and international media agencies, carrying a communication campaign of reality
distortion and international discrediting against
What is the status of diplomatic and economic relations between
Is it safe for Canadians to travel for tourism and business in
on business and tourists’ trips, can give their testimony about the guarantees
that they have received during their stay in
Any other comments you would like to make to our readers?
violate the human rights of the vast majority of poor sectors since they
provoke economic difficulties. These sanctions increase even more scarcity and
shortages caused by the economic war that hegemonic power centres lead against
the homeland of Simon Bolívar and Hugo Chavez. Such circumstances lead us to
Dozens of students and supporters gathered on November 22 in the Cap U Student Union Lounge for a panel organized by the newly formed Student Worker Alliance Group (SWAG) to discuss what a Living Wage would mean for low-wage workers on campus.
The panel, called “A Dialogue on Justice,’ included Tom Walker, Labour Studies Professor at Simon Fraser University; Kimball Cariou, Editor of the People’s Voice newspaper; Deanna Ogle from the Living Wage for Families Campaign; and Máire Kirwan, Director of Staff Membership at the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU).
Delia Tanza, Analou Espina, and Stephan Scott, who are cleaners at Capilano University and members of the Bargaining Committee, shared their personal stories and struggles that led them to form a union with SEIU Local 2 earlier this year.
Tanza reiterated the need for public
support on campus for the cleaners to win a fair first contract and explained
to the audience; “I want a union, and my coworkers want it, because we want
safety and benefits… We work for very little salary, just one job is not enough
for us… I am a single mom and work 3 jobs. I work in the morning, I work here [
The crowd and panel members discussed what a Living Wage means for workers and their families; in particular, for contracted service workers who have been put in more precarious situations due to constant contract flipping and a competitive bidding model that has created a race to the bottom.
Kirwan elaborated on what HEU contracted workers said a Living Wage would mean for their lives and families. “They said that they’d be able to go home at night to say good night to their kids, or they wouldn’t have to survive on the food bank, or they would be able to do something fun with their kids because they would have a little extra money. These are things that many of us take for granted.”
Deanna Ogle discussed examples of
some successful Living Wage campaigns that have forced Employers to provide Living
Wages to all direct and contracted workers, but still, there is a lot of work
to be done. A Living Wage in
Living Wage campaigners have argued that governments and public institutions should be the ones leading the way in setting higher standards.
The panel also discussed some of the challenges in winning a Living Wage and the need to keep on organizing workers and fighting for improvements.
“You can’t take anything for granted. We all have to fight to win every single battle, but you always know any gain that you make is in danger of being pushed back… There are no easy short-term solutions. Yes, having a union is almost always better than not having a union, but it’s not the end of the struggle,” said Kimball Cariou.
Founded in conjunction with
negotiations of the contracted cleaners at
On Nov. 29, SWAG and SEIU Local 2 will organize a rally to stand with low-wage working people on campus. The groups deliver a petition and open letter to University President Paul Dangerfield, callomg on all stakeholders to implement a formal Living Wage and Benefits policy for all campus workers.
(Based on a report from www.justiceforjanitors.ca)
Morning Star Editorial, www.morningstaronline.co.uk
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko led a ceremony in Kiev’s Independence Square on Nov. 21, laying flowers and lighting candles to the memory of the “Heavenly Hundred” killed during anti-government protests that began in 2013.
Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman and parliamentary speaker Andriy Parubiy perpetuate the myth that all the dead perished at the hands of security forces, portraying the Euromaidan events of four years ago as a simple case of good versus evil.
Good was represented by
demonstrators who filled the square to protest against then president Viktor
Yanukovych’s decision to postpone plans to sign an Association Agreement with
the European Union and to seek closer economic ties with
Evil was personified by Yanukovych,
He learned quickly that Brussels wouldn’t compromise over the extent of its influence as initially peaceful Maidan protesters were joined, without discussion with the Kiev government, in the square by EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton and US Senator John McCain and encouraged in their actions.
Matters swiftly took a violent turn when snipers on roofs fired at both protesters and police officers while detachments of far-right paramilitary groups spearheaded attacks on security forces.
Yanukovych subsequently fled the
country to Russia, fascist groups were integrated into the armed forces and
second world war criminals, notably Stepan Bandera, who slaughtered Jews and
Poles, were honoured with monuments as historic memorials to
Anti-fascist forces in the Donbass
set up people’s republics in
Even though the Communist Party
never backed secession from
KPU general secretary Petro Symonenko’s devastating critique of the post-coup government’s plan to divest the country of 3,500 public corporations at fire-sale prices to foreign speculators explains this determination. The justification for this treasonable act is that these enterprises lose money, are a financial burden and would be better run under private ownership.
Similar statements were heard when the federal republic of Germany annexed the German Democratic Republic, axing its industries as outdated and plunging eastern German workers into penury.
History suggests that new owners
will slash workforce numbers in quest of profits or simply close these firms,
dumping tens of thousands more Ukrainian workers onto the scrap heap. As
Symonenko points out, the capitalist paradise promised for
Poroshenko and his allies are so
determined to enmesh
It beggars belief that a country
that suffered so greatly under nazi occupation could elevate the likes of
Stepan Bandera while dropping its backing for
Stan Rogers made a big impact in his short life. By the time of his death in
1983, at age 33, he'd written a body of songs that marked him as a uniquely
Canadian balladeer, including "Barrett's Privateers", "The Mary
Ellen Carter", and "Northwest Passage". The latter has been in
the news a lot in recent years, especially since the mystery alluded to in
Adams: Unplug From
Canadian BDS Coalition is asking artists to endorse an open letter to Canadian
rock superstar Bryan Adams, asking him to honour the call of Palestinian civil
society for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the state of Israel by
cancelling shows in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in early December. One might expect
as much from an artist who, in debating supporters of
Adios Daniel Viglietti (1939-2017)
of the outstanding musicians of Latin America, Uruguayan singer, guitarist, and
composer, Daniel Vigiletti, died on October 30 while undergoing surgery in