This is a critical moment in our province’s labour movement – and for our collective future in Ontario. We find ourselves in a time of deep political chaos caused by the corruption and outright lies of a conservative government. This is coupled with an uncertain and challenging economic climate for workers, their families, and our communities we have not seen in decades. These are very challenging days….
But there is hope!
There is renewed energy sparking amongst workers and with affiliates of the Federation. More and more Ontarians are becoming acutely aware of their power as workers. And as they build power, working people are also building hope that through collective action we can build power to push back against the government and employers. Workers are talking to one another, connecting with one another, and demanding more.
Even with this positive momentum it’s important to understand that the threats we face are potent and powerful – skyrocketing inequality, an uneven recovery from the pandemic, accelerating climate change, structural racism and all levels of government dead set on stripping public services and the supports all workers need and deserve in their communities.
Team Ignite is stepping forward to be the next leadership team of the Ontario Federation of Labour because we believe deeply in the power of collective action, and unity in the labour movement. We know that power only grows when coupled with community and social coalitions across our province. Team Ignite is offering to lead to provide workers and their unions with a strong, bold voice with a clear roadmap to a better society.
We commit as a team to work to build solidarity and unity in the labour movement – between private and public sector unions, with building trades unions – all of us together, because in the end we all want the same things – good jobs, a positive future for our kids and grandkids, caring communities build on love and support not envy and hate, with services we can all benefit from for a stronger tomorrow.
When we couple this renewed solidarity of our movement with a commitment to build stronger and lasting partnerships with community coalitions, to foster electoral political action to elect more workers to represent our communities, to truly reclaim our province and our future – nothing is impossible.
This is how we challenge corporate greed. This is how we rebalance the scales in favour of workers instead of CEOs. This is how we face the climate emergency with renewed strength. This is how we defeat those who would try to use hate to divide us.
ORGANIZE - Putting workers at the centre of the labour movement
When workers organize together – stand together and fight together – we win! We saw that last fall as the Ford Conservatives were forced to repeal Bill 28 – the most draconian piece of anti-worker, anti-labour legislation passed in Ontario’s history – in a matter of days.
But this amazing and historical victory didn’t happen by magic. It took months and months of hard work and internal organizing on the part of education workers in CUPE, who were the clear target of this legislation. It took internal, institutional commitment to support workers to talk with one another, but build confidence and build power. And once that power was established, it took working with community coalitions to build it beyond unionized workers, it took the leaders of other unions to come together to have sometimes challenging conversations about what solidarity could look like. It took so many pieces and players working together to bring about the victory of Bill 28’s repeal.
That is exactly what Team Ignite wants to bring to our future – a renewed focus on learning the lessons from this important moment in our history, to strengthen the entire labour movement for the future.
We will support affiliates to take up these methods of building power through one-on-one conversations, internal organizing, and a renewed respect for rank-and-file members as the true engine of our movement.
BUILD - Nothing is more transformative than a good, sustainable union job
Bosses, CEO’s, Corporations have had the power for too long. It’s time to balance the scales, and that starts by organizing more workers and providing more good, union jobs. Union organizing efforts shouldn’t be piecemeal. We don’t need to view one another as competitors – that is a lie planted by those in power to make the organizing for workers into unions even more challenging as we fight with one another, often for the same already organized workers. ENOUGH. We need transformative change to support the millions of Ontario workers struggling to get by. The Ontario Federation of Labour can be the centre of gravity for organizing in the province. We commit to bringing those responsible for organizing in each affiliate together regularly to build relationships with one another, to set common goals, and to find ways to start supporting one another to bring more worker to our movement rather than fighting one another.
WIN - Engaging in political education to keep our movement fighting forward.
We’re seeing more strikes, more organizing, and more of the public supporting workers and their unions. Yet many within our movement remain on the political sidelines – or support provincial and federal and local politicians and political parties that advance policies that absolutely hurt workers, their families, and their communities. Union work is political work, and the Ontario Federation of Labour will engage in broad based political education and grassroots organizing to ensure our movement remains forward thinking. We must take the power we build in our workplaces and with our members and use it in electoral politics. We can take the unity and solidarity we build as affiliates to further strengthen these measures. For too long some have believed we have to settle for “not as bad as the other guy” – when we know, if we truly build power and knowledge through grassroots political education, find candidates who truly represent workers, their communities, and our shared interests, when we apply the power of working people to electoral outcomes, we won’t have to “settle” any longer.
As we progress forward in our movement for change, meeting with affiliates and frontline workers to discuss their needs, we will be continuing to build our vision around the needs of Ontario’s workers.