December 8, 2017
The Ontario Federation of Labour works for solidarity and equity. Here are fourteen ways the OFL worked for equity in 2017:
- Online, the OFL updated its website to include useful tools for labour activists. Most notably, the OFL added a labour actions registry, which allows striking and locked out workers to let labour activists across the province know how to act in solidarity. The revamped website also includes an events calendar where you can submit labour events in your area.
- Traditional Territory acknowledgements are an important element of gatherings across the province, and this year the OFL Aboriginal Circle produced a document that provides information on giving an accurate acknowledgement, and about how to acknowledge traditional lands in an appropriate way.
- OFL officers walked the picket lines and spoke at rallies across the province, supporting striking and locked out workers.
- The OFL held a number of assemblies throughout the year, and prior to the OFL’s #PowerON Convention 2017, brought together over 100 young workers for an assembly that created connections among community organizers.
- For Black History Month, the OFL collaborated with the CLC and Coalition of Black Trade Unionists to present a film screening and discussion on race, work, and activism at an evening even titled: Empowering our community: Politicizing our struggles.
- OFL Secretary-Treasurer Patty Coates attended the United Nations for the sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of women, where the theme was women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
- The OFL provided marshals and organizing for Women’s March on Washington Toronto, in protest of President Donald Trump’s election and misogynist comments. The rally drew over 60, 000 people into the streets of Toronto.
- The OFL building was sold in 2017, but the sculpture honouring workers that graced the building entryway found a new home at the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton.
- In the spring, the OFL held its third annual Sister to Sister Leadership Summit, bringing together over 100 labour activists to learn new skills and share their expertise.
- The OFL awarded the inaugural Solidarity and Pride Champion Award to CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, in recognition of a lifetime of activism on behalf of GLBTQ+ communities.
- With Labour Councils taking an active role in organizing and advocating, several cities across Ontario celebrated their first Pride celebrations this June. Congratulations to these organizers for working to create these important events.
- OFL and Labour Councils supported Equal Pay Day, calling on the government to implement policies that would close the gender wage gap. In November, the OFL supported a Supreme Court intervention on equal pay by the Equal Pay Coalition.
- The OFL took part in fighting for changes to Bill 127, Healthier Ontario Act. That Act passed into law in May of 2017, and states that workers are entitled to benefits for “chronic or traumatic mental stress.” While advocacy is still required on this Bill, the step forward must be noted.
- May 9, 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the Westray Mine Explosion, and the OFL marked the day along with labour activists across Canada, continuing its commitment to call for criminal investigations into workplace deaths through the Kill a Worker, Go to Jail campaign.
The OFL looks forward to working with activists across Ontario in 2018.
Read more best of 2017: