December 18, 2019
This year, labour and community have been hard at work defending the rights of Ontarians. We know that we have the Power of Many and we can push back against Conservative government cuts. They have backed down on some cuts to autism services, the planned upload of Toronto’s transit system, and paused their changes to social assistance reforms.
The OFL launched a Ford Tracker upon the election of the Ford government in 2018. The cuts continued through 2019. To stay up-to-date you can follow the government’s cuts and cancellations here.
With the launch of the Power of Many campaign and powerofmany.ca, resources are easily accessible for activists across the province. Sign up to be part of a rapid response network.
Throughout the year the OFL Power of Many campaign held regional activation meetings in communities across the province building the resistance to the harmful policies put forward by Premier Ford and the Conservatives.
In 2019, we drew together as a united power of many to escalate our resistance to government cuts. We will continue the fight in 2020.
Here are some of the highlights of the year, our 2019 Power of Many Year in Review:
- December 17, ten Ontario unions representing more than 250,000 thousand affected broader public sector employees, announced their intention to launch a coordinated Charter challenge against Bill 124, and announced an aggressive campaign to repeal Bill 124. Watch coverage from CP24.
- The OFL called on the government of Canada to demand the return of Bolivia’s democratically elected government.
- In November, the OFL elected the first woman to lead the Federation, President Patty Coates, along with Secretary-Treasurer Ahmad Gaied, and Executive Vice-President Janice Folk-Dawson.
- Chris Buckley did not run for re-election at the OFL convention. At convention, the OFL played a tribute video to his work for the Federation. Watch that video here.
- The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) announced it was actively reviewing all options at its disposal, including legal action, against the PC’s Bill 124, Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, which allows the government to impose salary and compensation caps, including for pension and health care improvements, on a variety of unionized and non-unionized public sector workers.
- October 28, when MPPs returned to Queen’s Park after a five-month break, the labour movement was there to meet them and remind them that they must build an Ontario for all. Watch the press conference or the video of the action.
- OFL Secretary-Treasurer Patty Coates was one of 8 people arrested for occupying Doug Ford’s office to demand that he take action to protect temp agency workers, after Enrico Miranda was killed when a machine he was cleaning came on at Fiera Foods. Miranda was the fifth worker to be killed at Fiera Foods since 1999 and the second to be killed since the Conservatives were elected in Ontario. Read the OFL open letter to Fiera Foods and Patty Coates’ op ed demanding better regulation of worker safety.
- The OFL supported labour canvasses and labour candidates across Ontario. Read the op ed from OFL President Chris Buckley in the Hamilton Spectator. Ultimately, the federal election elected a Liberal-led minority government, showing Ontarian’s opposition to the Conservative’s austerity agenda. Read the statement here.
- The OFL called on Ontario’s Conservative government to create a budget for everyone, not a budget that fails to introduce measures and protections for workers, their families, their communities and the public services Ontarians depend on. Watch the OFL submission here.
- The OFL stood in solidarity with job action by education workers. Read the statement here.
- September 25, Enrico Miranda a temporary agency worker at Fiera Foods was killed when a machine he was cleaning came on. Outraged, the OFL demanded a criminal investigation into the death, then rallied outside Fiera Foods to protest unsafe working conditions at the company. Miranda was the fifth worker to die at the facility since 1999. Action on this issue continues. You can demand action here.
- The OFL stood in solidarity with Climate Strikers worldwide.
- The OFL spoke out about revelation of racist actions by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- On Labour Day the labour movement came together under the banner: Unite Against Racism. Read the op ed from President Chris Buckley.
- The OFL joined with the Canadian Federation of Labour in calling for an end to the violence against pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, condemning the use of violence, repression, and threats to protestors by those in power.
- The OFL demanded government action on auto industry layoffs.
- Presidents of Federations of Labour across Canada jointly called on Canada’s premiers to embrace universal pharmacare.
- The Power of Many demanded the government restore legal aid funding, which was cut by 35 per cent in the provincial budget.
- Labour and community activists marked one year of Conservative rule in Ontario and demanded an end to cuts with Province-wide Days of Action June 7 and 8.
- This year marked the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the beginning of the modern Pride movement. The OFL and the Power of Many recognized this important date by participating in more than 20 Pride events in communities across Ontario.
- From May 9, 2019 to June 28, 2019 the OFL called a boycott of Canadian Niagara Hotels Inc., over their refusal to bargain with Workers United Canada Council Local 2347, who were on strike for 80 days. Read the declaration of the boycott: http://ofl.ca/breaking-ontario-federation-of-labour-announces-boycott-of-canadian-niagara-hotels/
- April 17, the OFL held a Day of Action against PC cuts to education and health care. More than fifty actions were held across the province, including banner drops, public rallies, and visits to Conservative MPP offices.
- April 11, the OFL responded to the PC’s scorched-earth budget.
- The Conservatives passed Bill 66, which allows overtime averaging to pay workers for fewer of their overtime hours. The law also allows reduced reporting of toxic substances in workplaces and communities, and deems public entities as ‘non-construction employers’, opening the door for non-union companies in the construction trades to bid on and build public infrastructure projects. It also stops requiring the employer to post the Employment Standards Act in the workplace. Read the OFL statement on the passing of this harmful Bill.
- When Fiat Chrysler announced the layoffs of more than 1500 workers, the OFL called on the Premier to stop stalling and develop an Auto/Industrial strategy for Ontario that will protect the jobs of workers in the automotive industry.
- More than 800 labour and community activists came together in March for a Power of Many Conference, sending the message to the government: We are organized and we are coming. See photos from the conference, or read the press release.
- The OFL launched Power of Many Rapid Response networks across the province. The RRNs are groups of local community and labour activists who deliver prompt solidarity actions in response to government cuts and cancellations.
- The OFL stood with education workers against proposed changes to class sizes and curriculum that will compromise learning. Read the statement here.
- The OFL and the Ontario Health Coalition spoke out against a government plan for health care that was revealed through leaked documents, calling it a “gargantuan nightmare scenario.” Union leaders demanded public consultation on the omnibus health care bill.
- OFL launched a new history series for African Liberation and Black History Month.
- We must keep up the campaign to end the discriminatory practice of carding. Sign the petition here.
- The Women’s March sent a strong message “We are not going back.” To see pictures from the day click here.
- In January, as 1.7 million workers lost $1/hr raise on New Year’s Day, the President of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Rocco Rossi gleefully tweeted about his own prosperity, writing “Celebrating the 1-percenter way. Let them eat cake.” The OFL was quick to respond.