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November 27, 2019

Award winner Ken Maclam and OPSEU President Smokey Thomas

Ken Maclam, Vice President of OPSEU local 740 and Chair of OPSEU Provincial Young Worker’s Committee, is the recipient of the 2019 Power of Many OFL Young Worker’s Award.

The OFL Young Worker’s Award, which is presented at each convention, goes to a young worker or youth activist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in mobilizing and empowering young workers or youth activists to create change in their workplaces or their communities.

Maclam has brought his outgoing, energetic style to activities in the region, engaging members – especially young workers – to get involved in the union and their communities.

Ken served two terms on OPSEU’s Provincial Young Workers’ Committee (PYC) from 2013 to 2017. He was chair for three of those years, during which he was directly involved in planning OPSEU’s annual Young Workers’ Conferences, which tackled various topics that disproportionately affect young workers: youth leadership and activism, bargaining and collective agreements, young workers’ rights and responsibilities to protect against workplace health and safety hazards, precarious work and underemployment.

In 2015, OPSEU’s PYC collaborated with the OPSEU Health and Safety Unit, sitting on an advisory panel to research, identify and address psychosocial factors that increase the risk of injury among young workers in Ontario.

Ken spearheaded the “Don’t Vote” campaign during the 2015 federal election, an edgy, sarcastic, and fun campaign focused on reaching out to youth outside of OPSEU’s membership to start a conversation about why young people should vote. Ken’s work on the Don’t Vote campaign also extended beyond the 2015 election, it fostered dialogue on important topics like social justice, the need for investments in social programs, fair taxation and better public services.

In 2019, Ken was re-elected to his second term as OPSEU Executive Board Member for Region 7. He is currently the board liaison to OPSEU’s Indigenous Circle and a representative on OPSEU’s Central Political Action Committee (CPAC). Maclam is a role model to other young leaders within Region 7, OPSEU and the broader labour movement.

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