by Julius Arscott
The Workers Action Movement, a grass roots alliance of labour militants that fights concessions bargaining and demands greater union democracy, is running a slate of candidates for top positions in the Ontario Federation of Labour. The vote will occur at the OFL convention in Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Hotel, November 25-29, with about 2,000 delegates expected to attend.
WAM candidate for OFL President is CUPE Local 5167 external vice-president Barry Conway, who got 17 per cent of the votes when he ran for the OFL top position in 2017. Conway is also a member of the IWW. Kurt Young, from Sheet Metal Workers’ Union, Local 30, a picket captain in one of the many strikes that recently rocked the building trades in Ontario, and a leading member of Socialist Action, is vying for the OFL Executive Vice-President spot. WAM hopes to run a candidate for Secretary-Treasurer as well.
The insurgents’ “WAM it to the Bosses” campaign is focussed on the need to mobilize opposition to the agenda of the Doug Ford Conservative government and its wealthy Bay Street backers. After decades of concessions bargaining, stagnant wages and increasingly precarious employment, the labour movement has withered. Youths, immigrants and people of colour are increasingly precarious workers. They find little reason to be engaged in their unions, if they are lucky enough to belong to one.
WAM is calling out the misleadership of Labour for its weak response to Doug Ford’s cuts to public services and to his attacks on vulnerable people. Token rallies and cavalcades of trucks circling Queen’s Park don’t cut it. The leaders of the OFL and affiliated labour unions have done too little to mobilize and engage the membership.
A WAM-led OFL would immediately encourage affiliated unions to increase compensation demands in bargaining with the employer, end two-tier benefits and wages, combat racist and sexist discrimination and unsafe conditions in the work place. It would actively support social justice movements by going beyond polite protest outside the doors of the Ontario Legislature. A WAM-led OFL would convene a conference to plan a counter-offensive to the bosses, including escalating job actions, up to an unlimited general strike to bring down the Ford government and force an early election.
To contribute to the campaign, go to: www.thewam.ca
Or visit: @workersactionmovement