We were 30 minutes away from a call for a general strike. 30 minutes. RankandFile leaked it, and militants with exec positions in large unions confirmed — at 10 a.m. on Monday, November the 7th, multiple large unions with the backing of the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress were going to announce a general strike. This is the story of how we got to that point. Hosts Emily and Daniel recount that events that led this labour movement to precipice of historic mass job action — the OSBCU strike, Bill 28, and OPSEU solidarity wildcat actions. They are joined by Julius Arscott, a three-term OPSEU SEFPO Executive Board Member and 2021 candidate for President of the Canadian Labour Congress, who shares what happened behind the scenes and why a general strike is closer than in a very long time.
Nearly 200 members of OPSEU Local 546 are on strike against the Technical Standards and Safety Authority in Ontario. These front line workers inspect elevators, ski lifts, food trucks and amusement park rides. They check fuel-burning equipment, boilers and pressure vessels, as well as gas stations, propane dispensing stations and nuclear power plants. They are on strike because the TSSA, an agency that works at arms length from the provincial government, has been trying to make do with fewer safety inspectors, less regular inspections and less accountability. The workers need and deserve a wage catch-up.
Danny Drew is a non-binary activist running to be mayor of Guelph. Born and raised in Oshawa, they moved to attend the University of Guelph in 2009, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Danny worked in a wide range of jobs, always encouraging co-workers to exercise their rights and push for unionization. Currently seeking to win rights for thousands of workers via reclassification, they’ve supported many striking workers on picket lines.
Some 1,000 British Columbia General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) workers went on strike chiefly to obtain a cost of living allowance (COLA) to match inflation. More than 86,000 members of the BCGEU work in both the public and private sectors across the west coast province. The bargaining committee for the public sector component, representing 33,000 members, gave a 72 hour strike notice on August 15 after months of unsuccessful bargaining.
The global political situation is sobering, even dire, but its very volatility is pregnant with radically progressive potential outcomes.
Efforts to rebuild the New Brunswick New Democratic Party as a socialist, labour-based, working class party made considerable progress at a convention held at the Lions Club Community Centre in Moncton, July 22-24, 2022. It was the first NB NDP convention in five years. It attracted over thirty delegates, both in-person and online, plus several observers. In the struggle to organize and convene the gathering, the NDP Socialist Caucus played a leading role, spear-heading efforts to overcome resistance by the provincial NDP leader who resigned rather than comply with the party’s decision to proceed.
It was a mockery of workers' democracy.
The zoom conference hosted by the labour bureaucracy on June 20, it's so-called review of the June 2 Ontario election, along with a look at the future of the unions, allowed no grassroots workers to speak. Only a panel of NDP cheerleaders and labour hacks offered versions of the same opinion -- that it is necessary to work harder in order to win the next provincial election. If any further proof was needed, this echo chamber exercise demonstrated that there will be little progress until the conservative bureaucrats are replaced by class struggle militants, from the bottom up. The urgency of building a chapter of WAM in every union and allied workers' mass organization is very clear.
In this episode of The Red Review, brought to you by Socialist Action, Emily and Daniel talk with Isabelle Moreton of Brisbane, Australia. Isabelle provides analysis and commentary on various political struggles, including disability justice, queer and trans liberation. With the Labor Party winning the majority of seats in the recent election, who better to speak to about what this actually means for the exploited and oppressed masses in Australia and for the international labour and socialist movement. Expect a more banter-y conversation with striking similarities drawn between the Canadian and Australian political context.
The Socialist Action 2022 International Education Conference was held on Saturday, June 4.