December 2015 President's Report

I am pleased to submit the following report on my Labour Council work, and on some key issues I wish to bring to your attention.

  • Cambridge becomes Living Wage employer
  • Health & Safety Dinner Dinner
  • OFL Convention
  • People’s Climate March
  • Contracting Out at WLU

Cambridge becomes Living Wage employer
Cambridge City Council passed a motion to become a Living Wage on November 17th, becoming only the third municipality in the country to do so. This means that Cambridge will be recognized for paying all its full-time employees at least $16.05, and it commits to a process of looking at bringing the wages of its part-time and contracted staff up to the living wage! Thanks to the Councillors who supported this motion, especially Councillors Pam Wolf, Donna Reid, Mike Devine, Shannon Adshade, and Jan Liggett. Our Labour Council should feel much pride at this accomplishment, as it would not have passed without the presence on Council of so many labour-friendly Councillors supported by our Better Choices coalition, nor without our decision to endorse and support the Living Wage Waterloo Region movement. CLC President Hassan Yussuff wrote to me to congratulate our Labour Council for the accomplishment, and our Facebook post on the issue was shared 332 times and viewed by over 9,100 people!

Health & Safety Dinner Dinner
Over 140 people attended our annual Health & Safety Dinner on November 18th at the Puslinch Community Centre. Congrats to Shawn Rouse of Unifor 1106 for winning our Health & Safety Activist of the Year award. Guest speaker Sylvia Boyce spoke of the United Steelworkers’s Stop the Killing Campaign and how we can work with our local police force to build their capacity to conduct successful prosecutions against negligent employers. Waterloo Region Deputy Police Chief Kevin Chalk was in attendance and appeared open to working with us on the issue. If you want to get involved in Labour Council advocacy on this issue, please contact Darlene Wilson.

OFL Convention
I spent November 22-27 in Toronto at the OFL Convention along with over 1,500 union delegates from across the province, including over twenty activists from our Labour Council. We engaged in several lively debates and emerged united to fight together. I will be working with our By-Laws and Resolutions Committee to make the appropriate Committees of our Labour Council aware of the many resolutions passed at the Convention, so they can act on them. We elected a new set of Officers to the OFL: congratulations go to new OFL President Chris Buckley, Secretary-Treasurer Patti Coates, and Executive Vice President Ahmad Gaied.

People’s Climate March
I was glad to see several Labour Council activists at the People’s Climate March in Waterloo on Sunday, November 29th. The Waterloo event was one of over 2300 events in 175 countries that day: over 785,000 people across the world participated! Let’s keep up the pressure to demand that local, national, and world leaders make significant commitments at address climate change.

Contracting Out at WLU
I attended a rally for custodians, tradespeople, and groundskeepers at Wilfrid Laurier University on December 3rd, and was happy to see many other Labour Council activists in attendance. The approximately 120 members of CUPE 926 are in a tough fight against an administration determined to contract out work to people who would be paid well under a living wage, with no pensions or benefits. They are going to need our support over the coming weeks and months!

Respectfully submitted,

Marc Xuereb
December 8, 2015

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