MESSAGE FROM LABOUR COUNCIL
Public Sector Leadership Summit
Come to an ATU “Let’s Talk” Forum
York Region Labour Awards
Big Pharma Plays Rough
The Worst Trade Deal?
Women’s Political Forum – Sign Up Now
ATTENTION ALL PUBLIC SECTOR UNION ACTIVISTS
This Thursday, April 15th the Public Sector Leadership Summit will bring together hundreds of union activists in the public sector at all levels - federal, provincial, municipal - including education and healthcare – to start developing a common response to the attacks on public services and the standards of public sector workers.
Keynote speaker will be noted economist Armine Yalnizyan of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Our special guest will be Ken Neumann, Steelworkers Canadian Director, who will link the eight month strike at VALE Inco in Sudbury with the attacks on public workers pensions. Tam Goossen and Judy Persad of the Good Jobs for All coalition will outline the plans for a massive campaign going into communities about the value of public services to the quality of life of everyone.
An action plan will be presented that will also involve going on the offensive – with a major campaign to demand the cancellation of corporate tax cuts that will further shrink public revenues. If you are a union member in the public sector, please join us!
The flyer is at www.labourcouncil.ca/publicsectorforum.pdf
COME OUT TO ATU’S “LET’S TALK” FORUM
Toronto’s Transit Workers’ Union, ATU Local 113, held the first of its Town Hall meetings where frontline TTC workers meet transit riders for an open and constructive discussion about public transit service in Toronto. Nearly two hundred people came out to Downsview Secondary School for the event, which was broadcast on Rogers TV and Talk 1010 Radio. Lots of good questions about service, bunching up of vehicles arriving late, and why the TTC is behind the times when it comes to technology.
The next event is this Sunday, April 18, 1:00pm – 3:00 p.m. - Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute,2450 Birchmount (north of Sheppard)
For more information - www.wemovetoronto.ca or www.ttcriders.ca
YORK REGION AWARDS SOCIAL
If you are a union activist working in York Region, come and join us on Wednesday April 21st for a social evening. Toronto and York Region Labour Council is presenting a series of awards recognizing the efforts of unions and union activists in York Region. These include outstanding work in Health and Safety, United Way, union communications, equity, and Union Counsellor training. Fa Lim, the courageous leader of the non-union PMP workers who blockaded their plant over severance, will be receiving the Community Activist award.
As well, we will be joined by some of the locked-out Steelworkers from the Sears warehouse in Vaughan. Sheraton Parkway Hotel, Highway #7 and Leslie 7:00 pm ▪ Admission free ▪ Snacks and cash bar
BIG PHARMA PLAYS ROUGH
The war is heating up between the provincial government and the prescription drug industry. Premier McGuinty is determined to tackle the soaring costs of generic drugs, which cost far more in Ontario than other jurisdictions. In response, big chains like Shoppers Drug Mart are unleashing a “capital strike” by reducing hours and upping dispensing fees. It has targeted London, home town of Health Minister Deb Matthews.
The government deserves our support on this fight. Drug costs are also the main pressure on our negotiated health benefit plans. Check out the OFL’s call for a push-back at www.ofl.ca
THE WORST TRADE DEAL EVER?
Food sovereignty, public services, climate justice… All are under threat from a new free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.
Haven’t heard of it? That’s because even though negotiations are halfway finished, the public is being kept in the dark. This is the biggest, most intrusive free trade agreement Canada has ever considered. It is nastier than NAFTA or the WTO.
The new rules would affect culture, public services, environmental protection, economic development, water, health care, and even broadcasting policy. You can learn more at a public meeting on Wednesday April 21st where three prominent European social justice activists will speak about Europe’s international trade agenda.
International Students Centre 33 St. George St. 7:00pm. For more information http://www.canadians.org/events/index.html
WOMEN’S POLITICAL FORUM
If you’ve ever wondered what City Council does, how it works or how a School Board Trustee impacts the day to day life of your children, come to the Forum on April 24th. Sessions cover the fundamentals of civic politics, how to be an effective campaigner in the upcoming municipal elections, or even how to become a campaign manager. The municipal elections are upon us. The women's political forum is Saturday, April 24, starting at 9:00 the OFL building.
To register and for workshop descriptions go to www.labourcouncil.ca/womensworkshops.pdf or contact Maureen at 416.441.3663 ext. 222 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debriefing Report on Financial Literacy Task Force meetings, April 6th, Vancouver
The CLC Pacific Region organized Labour's response to the Financial Literary Task Force. We established a "ready" room situated in the hotel where the Task Force was operating so that affiliates could come to prepare for their presentations, confer with other presenters and debrief following their presentations. We also collected copies of the presentations made by our affiliates.
Labour presenters included the BC Federation of Labour, Nanaimo & District Labour Council, FIPSE and UFCW 1518. Also present at the site, participating as observers were the IBEW, COPE 378 and the PSAC.
Each of the Labour presenters were debriefed following their session so that we could provide a report to the rest of the country on what to expect. Here is a synopsis of the debriefs:
1. Members of the Task Force were determined to keep to their understanding of a narrow mandate of what constitutes "financial literacy". The Task Force is essentially looking at education products and services. All except one question relating to CPP, were about education programs.
They specifically ask questions like: "What are your doing to educate your members and what kind of follow up do you do to ensure that your training is effective?"
Members of the Task Force repeatedly tried to reign in labour speakers who spoke on pensions and broader economics - to no avail.
2. The Task Force are using a pyramid design to describe financial literacy with programs and services related to financial literacy being the bottom block on that pyramid. Not sure what else might be in the pyramid however. One of our labour presenters argued with the pyramid idea with this analogy: financial literacy is but one spoke in a wheel - you can have great financial literacy but if you have a lousy paying job, no daycare, no pension and medical benefits and no job security, your financial literacy isn't the undoing of your financial health.
3. The Task Force Members are sensitive to the argument that labour is not represented in the make up of the Task Force. Here is one indignant response: "There are 30 people on the Task Force - with that small a number we cannot represent everyone!"
4. Our observers noted that the Task Force members were uneasy with Labour's presence and felt far more relaxed with some of the small business types that were presenting (who were really looking for government contracts). They caught on that labour presenters pushed the five minute presentation time frame and in one case cut the microphone recording off at five minutes.
Key Messages: it is really important that the task force hear repeatedly from Labour that we are in the game - we are the predominant teachers of financial literacy because we offer our members negotiated pensions, jointly trustees plans, training for trustees and negotiators as well as a host of courses offering financial planning (ie. the Pacific Region offers three different level of courses through winter school and our popular weekend program on retirement planning called "Retire in Style.)
We need to keep hammering the point home that the Task Force itself isn't valid without labour's presence within the decision making body - it is an area which they do not have an answer.
All of the affiliates thanked the CLC for having the "ready" room space available to them along with the briefing notes and group briefing session provided prior to the time of their submissions.
Good luck with the rest of the presentations across the country. Amber