Red and Black Notes analysis on OCAP and Canadian unions against the Tory government.
When Conservative Premier Mike Harris was elected in 1995, trade unions and their supporters chanted "Hey Mike, Hey Mike, What do you think of a General Strike?" Harris wryly commented that there was no need for a general strike. He knew what the unions could do, but more importantly he knew what they would do. Nothing.
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) is one of the best known anti-poverty organizations in Ontario. It has acquired a reputation for militant direct action tactics on such issues as affordable housing, welfare, homelessness, and immigrant and refugee rights. In a political climate where powerful politicians and vested interests wish the poor would just quietly die, OCAP has proven to be a vocal critic.
In 1989 three Ontario cities, Windsor, Ottawa and Sudbury, held marches against poverty which converged in Toronto. After the marches it was decided to create a provincial body in order to try and raise the issue of poverty in the face of indifference from politicians. OCAP was the result. While OCAP does have organisational affiliates across the province, the group is based in Toronto.
Striking First Ontario Credit Union workers have no regrets after they occupied the company’s east Mountain branch and padlocked the doors to try to get the financial institution back to the bargaining table.
Hamilton police smashed the glass on a door to gain entry to the Queensdale and Upper Sherman Avenue branch to end the occupation an hour after it began at 3 p. m. yesterday.
Workers at a plant in Guelph, Ontario struck on Saturday in support of sacked Toronto car employees occupying their plant for severance pay.
The Guelph Mercury reported that auto workers at Guelph Products Collins & Aikman went on a wildcat strike Saturday to support workers at a Toronto plant pushing for severance pay for 200 laid-off workers.
Nearly 75 of the Guelph plant's staff walked off the job around 3:30 p.m. and management barricaded the turnstile entrances with chains and steel bars so the workers couldn't re-enter.
150 auto workers occupied their factory yesterday in a dispute over unpaid severance pay whilst hundreds more demonstrated outside.
Workers barricaded doors at the Collins & Aikman plant in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto, yesterday. The factory produces floor, acoustic systems and cockpit modules for cars.
200 workers have been laid off at the plant since it filed for bankruptcy in 2005, but they have not been paid severance pay. The company claims that its US arm won't release the funds.
Staff on Toronto public transport could take the action in response to cuts in day jobs which workers say is a cost-cutting move which will harm safety. The proposed cuts follow one janitor saving a 4-year-old child who had been abducted.
A wildcat strike which could begin as early as May 8 would grind the transport system the TTC to a halt, and force the 700,000 people who rely on the city's buses, streetcars and subways every work day to find alternate transportation.
Early on Friday, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and many people facing cuts to their welfare and ODSP cheques due to the slashed "Special Diet Allowance" occupied and shut down the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal at 47 Sheppard Ave. E. in Toronto.
The Tribunal was closed for the day as result of this action.