Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grey-Bruce Labour Council Sees Change at Executive

For Immediate Release, May 28th, 2012 Grey-Bruce Labour Council Sees Change at Executive The Grey-Bruce Labour Council, the voice of workers in the Grey-Bruce region for over fifty years, elected a new President, Vice-President and Trustee in a mid-term by-election in Hanover on May 28th, 2012. Affiliate Unions, through their Delegates, supported Hazel-Pratt-Paige (CAW), Brad Drake (UFCW) and Becky Thompson (OPSEU) as newly the elected President, V-P for Grey and Trustee. The by-election was brought about as long standing President Dave Trumble has taken on a new role within the Labour Movement as a Staff Officer within his Union. Gogi Bhandal, CLC Staff, conducted the elections and the Council offers thanks for her dedication and assistance. The remaining Executive positions remain unchanged and are Anna Morrison (OECTA), Kevin MacKay (PWU), Mike Dunn (PWU) and Len Hope (CAW and CURC). Over the weeks leading to this meeting the Council had prepared for the pending leadership change. Past President Dave Trumble who is going to remain a delegate to Council noted that �it is clear that the work of ensuring dignity and respect for working people is sustained in the light of unprecedented attacks from government and corporations will be taken on with commitment and vigor by the new Executive and all Delegates to the Grey-Bruce Labour Council�. Newly elected President Hazel made note of her, Brad�s and Becky�s long standing experience with Labour Council �and with the strength of this rural Council and our Affiliate Unions, Friends and Partners there is little doubt that the entire Grey-Bruce Labour Council Executive and Delegates will remain a very strong voice for workers in our Region�.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Some Labour Council History

As part of the Canadian Labour Congress founding convention in 1956 Labour Councils were established across Canada. One such Labour Council was the Owen Sound and District Labour Council or as known today, the Grey-Bruce Labour Council. In 1956, and for many years after, industry flourished across Canada. Owen Sound was no exception. People found employment, put down roots and middle class lives were established. In addition the trade union movement gained momentum as people recognized that union protection would ensure that while a middle class was growing it would continue to grow as strong union representation ensured fair and equitable distribution of growing wealth. Distribution of the wealth working people created through their labour. Owen Sound and our region benefitted from shipping, manufacturing, growth in the utility sector, technology sector growth, increased public services such as healthcare and education and much more. The foundation of socially responsible and sustainable economies and communities were established and strange as it may seem, all, within a variety of governments and party politics. Throughout this time the Labour Council was a home for working people and although the issues may not be the same as they are today your local labour council gave a community voice to all working people. Clearly businesses and sectors experienced a variety of changes up to the late 1980’s, but the changes reflected nothing more than changes that had effected economies for decades; demographics, technology and demand for example. The late 1980’s began the visible and concerted attack on working people with the first free trade agreement. In short order Ontario lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs to places where people could be easily exploited. Canada lost millions of jobs to the same agreement. Owen Sound was not spared and lost jobs and industries. At the same time the public sector continued to grow as the need for public services was recognized and expanded. Along with this came increased level of unionization in this sector. This was extremely important as it was clear that public sector employees were as easily exploited as there long serving private sector manufacturing counter parts. Attached to this change came the government and media attacks on unions, public services and regulation. Not since the days of Frost in Ontario and King in Ottawa had government made a choice to attack their own people for the singular purpose of enriching corporations and undercutting their right to safe and regulated workplaces. The depth of the attack and the fact that it would be indistinguishable from Liberal to Conservative was also a first, but it became clear that it was about right wing reactionary policies compared to left wing progressive policies. The essence of this process remains unchanged except for its virulence and the addition of the fringe of the right wing that would pull each and every progressive piece of legislation out of existence. What also remains unchanged is the role that Labour Councils have played throughout this entire time. The Councils and the Grey-Bruce Labour Council have, along with every progressive organization, worked to educate people to the harm being done and to work in all aspects of society to push for a legislative framework that supports workers, keeps high paying unionized jobs at home and ensures that no vulnerable person is ever left behind. The Grey-Bruce Labour Council will experience a change in leadership at the end of May and is going to remain true to a clear and strong history of inclusiveness. Your Labour Council will not only work towards the goals noted previously, but will ensure that the workers of our communities and region will have a voice that will be heard from coast to coast if need be. As President of the Grey-Bruce Labour Council for almost all of the period from 1995 to present it is easy to see that the new leadership will not only lead, but innovate and the progressive partnerships will only be enhanced. In Solidarity Dave Trumble, President Grey-Bruce Labour Council