Yesterday I joined the throngs of people at Queen's Park to encourage the Provincial government to increase the minimum wage to $ 15 and to revise the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act to provide for decent working conditions.I confess that it was the LAST thing I wanted to do on a Saturday after a busy week and an even busier week (how is it even possible) ahead. Nonetheless I was there.
Here are some shots from the rally.
The rain held off and we were able to ensure our voices were heard.
Here is an article from the CBC regarding the rally:
Thousands from across the province gathered at Queen's Park on Saturday as part of the Rally for Decent Work, which in addition to calling for labour rights, is also advocating for a $15 per hour minimum wage. According to Queen's Park security, more than 3,000 attended the event.
The rally coincided with Ontario raising its minimum wage to $11.40 per hour, up from the last increase in 2015 to $11.25. Alberta, P.E.I. and Saskatchewan also increased their minimum wage on Oct. 1 as well, and Alberta has already pledged to bring its minimum wage to $15 by 2018.
"We have people in the province of Ontario working two and three minimum wage jobs just to keep the wolves away from their front door, and at the end of the week, they're going to food banks to feed themselves and their families," Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) president Chris Buckley told CBC News.
The 15 cent increase is tied to Ontario's consumer price index, the main measure of inflation in the province.
The government raised the minimum wage to $11 in 2014 — then an increase of 75 cents — which marked the first time the benchmark wage had gone up since 2010.
"To the critics out there who say they can't afford a $15 an hour minimum wage or it's going to result in job loss, I would say show us some proof," Buckley added, saying small businesses that cannot afford a higher wage should talk to the province to work out a solution.
The Rally for Decent Work also marks the the start of Decent Work Week, and the event was organized by the OFL and its community partner Fight for $15 and Fairness.
This list is good, but American. Here in Canada we would add Maternity Leave, Parental Leave, subsidized childcare spaces, pensions, Family Medical Leave, and Critically Ill Child Leave.
Then there was the creation of the middle class and a more equitable distribution of the nation's wealth.
All brought to you by the struggle and lobbying of your Union brothers and sisters who believe at the core that what we wish for ourselves we wish for all.
I understand we in the union movement can make life challenging for those who are not in the union movement. Unfortunately none of the achievements were willingly given. From time to time we need to use a strong collective hand to convince those with power and resources to do the right thing.
Enjoy the Labour Day Weekend (of yes, thank your Union bros and sisters for that too).
This was a weird evening. I had arrived back in Burlington after having been away for work for four days. I popped over to Metro to buy some limes and was paying for my groceries when a huge cloud of black smoke came from the refinery in the distance.
When I left the store all of the street lights were out - of course no one knew what to do at an intersection when the lights were out.
Back home the power was out . . . the smoke alarms and CO2 detectors beeping.
My phone had no signal.
I sat in the car listening to the news - the power was out across much of NE North America. During the initial stages there were all sorts of rumours -most focused on terrorism. They said it might be days before the power was on again.
I pulled out our camping equipment figuring we could use the stove, lantern, battery radio, etc to get by for awhile.
When Paul came home we sat on the porch with a cool drink in our hands listening to the news on the radio.
Without ANY lights we saw brighter stars then we had ever seen in our neighbourhood.
It was a tough night for sleeping - hot and no air conditioning. The bloody detectors outside the bedroom door beeping away.
About 4 in the morning there was a HUGE noise. Our power came back on and everything electrical in our house sprang back to life. The cats went nuts. I just turned on the fan and nodded back off to sleep . . .
I'll be here for the next 5 days. Our Provincial Executive meets all day today (yes, on a Sunday) and the ETFO Annual Meeting runs from Monday until Thursday.
While I have been to 20 Annual Meetings of the union over the years but this will be my first in this new role. I confess that I am a bit nervous. I used to just show up, listen do my assigned tasks, and leave. Now there is a level of responsibility that I have not experienced before. Instead of hiding at the back with my colleagues I will be sitting up at the main table where people will be watching what I am doing and searching my facial expression. This is going to be a challenge for ADHD non poker player expression Jerry.
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.