KDLC News, May 5 2023

May 5, 2023

In this newsletter:

  1. PSAC strike ends with tentative agreements
  2. VOTE: Public Referendum on Hospital Privatization
  3. Report on April 28 Day of Mourning Ceremony
  4. Ignite the Spark: Women’s leadership workshop
  5. CLC Ontario summer schools
  6. News Briefs
  7. KDLC meeting, dates, contact info

1. PSAC strike ends with tentative agreements

The 155,000-strong federal strike by PSAC members ended with tentative agreements with Treasury Board on May 1, and then Canada Revenue Agency on May 4. The May 1 tentative agreement had 120,000 members back to work, the May 4 tentative agreement, 35,000. As of publication, voting dates have not been announced.

The strike of 7,000 PSAC members in the Kingston region included picket lines at CFB Kingston, and the Corrections institutions of Collins Bay, Joyceville, and Millhaven. There were also protests at the office of Member of Parliament, Mark Gerretsen.

During the second week of the strike, PSAC National President Chris Aylward announced an “escalation”. Picketing, snake marches, and occupations targeted ports, bridges, downtowns, and numerous other federal workplaces. Escalation in Kingston included hard pickets at CFB Kingston.

Did you know? The postal workers’ strike of 1965 forced the minority Liberal government of Lester B. Pearson to concede the right to bargain collectively and strike to federal public servants? The 1965 postal strike was an illegal strike demanding better wages, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to strike.

2. VOTE: Public Referendum on Hospital Privatization

All across Ontario, local health coalitions are organizing a public referendum on the Doug Ford government’s privatization of public hospitals. Voting takes place May 26-27 at voting centres across Kingston. Advance voting is also underway.

The Question:
Do you want our public hospital services to be privatized to for-profit hospitals and clinics?” 

  • How to vote in Kingston
    Community voting booths will be setup across the city on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27. Pop-up advance polls are happening between now and May 26. All Ontario residents aged 16 or older and who pledge to only vote once are eligible to vote. The Kingston & District Labour Council will also provide notice of voting locations once available.
  • Volunteers needed: literature drops, voting booths, workplace votes
    Volunteers are needed to staff voting booths, organize workplace votes, and distribute literature at work and in neighbourhoods. The Kingston Health Coalition can provide both literature and materials needed to hold workplace votes. If you or your union is interested, please contact the Kingston Health Coalition at 613-305-2716, or email kingstonhealthcoalition@gmail.com.

3. Report on April 28 Day of Mourning Ceremony

The Kingston & District Labour Council hosted the annual Day of Mourning Ceremony on April 28 at the OPSEU Regional Hall in Kingston. More than forty people gathered to hear three compelling guest speakers. At 11am, a moment of silence was observed to honour and remember those killed and injured on the job.

Long-time union health and safety advocate, Dorothy Wigmore, provided an engaging, informative history of the origins of the Day of Mourning beginning with Steelworker union activists in Hamilton, Ontario in the early 1980s. Following the moment of silence, Gabriel Allahdua delivered a passionate and informative presentation identifying the inequalities and injustices of the migrant labour system, and the pressing need for change. Allahdua’s experience as migrant farm worker in Ontario is documented in his book Harvesting Freedom: The Life of a Migrant Worker in Canada. The event concluded with CUPE 1479 president, Liz James, delivering a troubling report on the health and safety challenges and rising violence in our schools. A wide-ranging and constructive discussion followed.

In attendance were members of 15 different unions; Kingston City Councilors Conny Glenn (Sydenham), Wendy Stephen (Lakeside) and Paul Chaves (Loyalist-Cataraqui); and the United Way KFL&A’s Bhavana Varma and John DiPaolo. Kingston Mayor Brian Paterson sent his regrets.

4. Ignite the Spark: Women’s leadership workshop

“Lighting the way for women to assume leadership”

When: Saturday, May 27, 10am-3pm
Where: OPSEU Hall, 824 John Counter Boulevard, Kingston, ON

“Women can make a difference by holding elected offices in government, unions, community organizations, and school boards. This interactive workshop hosted jointly by the Kingston & District Labour Council and OPSEU/SEFPO Provincial Women’s Committee has been designed to help women identify their personal inspiration and envision themselves making a difference in the political sphere. Whether you are considering running for elected office, never considered it before, or are simply curious, this workshop is for you!”

Register: kingstonlabourcouncil@gmail.com
RSVP with any dietary restrictions by Monday, May 22nd
Link: click here.

All interested women are welcome!
Lunch provided

5. CLC Ontario summer schools

Direct link to details and registration

When: July 16-21
McMaster University, Hamilton
Early registration deadline: May 22
Fees: see website for costs

“If your union wants to train the next generation of local activists or expand the skills that today’s leaders and activists already have, the CLC Ontario Summer and Women’s Schools 2023 is here to help our labour movement succeed.”

6. News Briefs

  • Healthcare workers protest in Kingston
    Several hundred healthcare workers from five unions – CUPE, OPSEU, ONA, SEIU and Unifor – protested the Ontario government’s healthcare privatization agenda at Breakwater Park by Kingston General Hospital. Speakers from the unions said more two-tier healthcare would see declining healthcare for most people, better care for the richest, lengthen wait times, and make the public healthcare staff shortage even worse.
  • May Day in Kingston
    International Workers’ Day was observed in Kingston with a free barbecue at Skeleton Park and a march through downtown streets in the early evening of Monday, May 1. The event was organized by the May Day Collective, and sponsored in part by the Kingston & District Labour Council.
  • KDLC delegates heading to CLC convention
    KDLC is sending three delegates to the Canadian Labour Congress in Montreal, May 8-12: KDLC President Janet Heyman (OPSEU, CUPE), Julia Lynch (CUPE 109 – retired), and Young Worker delegate Levi Duhaime (PSAC 901). The convention agenda and schedule can be found here.
  • Kingston road rules changing in school zones
    New school road safety measures are being implemented across the City of Kingston beginning September 2023. “Community Safety Zones” will keep speed limits to 40km/h on streets surrounding schools, and 30km/h directly in front of schools. Fines for traffic violations are doubled in these zones. For more information and maps from the City of Kingston, click here. This new road safety plan was created after a motorist killed 10-year-old Xóchitl Azul Rivera outside her Kingston school, Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary, on January 31, 2022.

7. KDLC meetings, dates, contact information

  • Next KDLC General Meeting: May 15, 7pm
    Meeting details and documents will be distributed May 8
  • Next KDLC News: May 19
    To list events and reports in KDLC News, please send to kingstonlabourcouncil@gmail.com before May 17.
  • All official correspondence:
    Please email: kingstonlabourcouncil@gmail.com