March 2016 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.

  • International Women's Day Luncheon
  • $15 and Fairness / Make it Fair campaign
  • Syrian Refugees and Labour
  • President's book-off time

International Women’s Day Luncheon

This past Saturday, our Labour Council hosted our third annual International Women’s Day Luncheon. We had over 200 people in attendance, and were treated to excellent addresses by K-W MPP Catherine Fife and Unifor staff representative Jean Walters. The event was a lot of fun, and we raised thousands of dollars for local women’s shelters.Thanks go to the volunteers on the Women’s Committee who planned and organized the event, especially Committee Chair Shelley Tapsell. Many other volunteers helped out on the day of the event, serving food and setting up and cleaning up. The event takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it for the experience we give to all the women in attendance: they leave this event with a pride in the achievements of unions in advancing women’s rights.

$15 and Fairness / Make it Fair Campaign
Tonight we will hear a presentation from Marjorie Knight, a Cambridge resident who is working with the Workers’ Action Centre to organize an event in Waterloo Region on April 15 as part of the continent-wide movement for a $15 minimum wage. We are also at a crucial time in the Ontario government’s Changing Workplaces Review: the report from last year’s public consultations will be released shortly, so we will have a window of opportunity for pressing for improvements in Ontario’s employment and labour laws. The OFL has designated Waterloo Region as one of about fifteen Ontario communities in which it wants to see concerted action on this campaign: let’s get off to a good start by helping make sure our local April 15 event is a success! Please do what you can to support this event by recruiting co-workers and friends to attend.

Syrian Refugees and Labour
We will also hear a presentation tonight from an administrator at Wilfrid Laurier University who has been very involved in local efforts to sponsor refugees from Syria. The Executive felt this presentation would be a good way to start a conversation about what local unions can do to contribute to efforts to settle refugees in Waterloo Region. The CLC’s Refugee Resource Toolkit should give us ideas!

President’s Book-off Time
I have been working full-time on the Keep Hydro Public campaign out of the CUPE Ontario office in Richmond Hill since late January, so I haven’t been able to take the day per week of leave time for the Labour Council since. Neither of our current Vice Presidents are in a position to be able to take the leave time from their jobs, either, but thankfully both Darlene Wilson and Mark Cairns have stepped up their volunteer efforts to keep the Labour Council running. My thanks go to both of them.

Respectfully submitted,

Marc Xuereb
March 8, 2016

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